Chinese measure words: complete list, common measure words, top ten measure words and measure words flash cards

List of Chinese measure words:
A measure word (liàngcí 量词 量詞), also known as a classifier or a count word, is used along with numerals to define the quantity of a given object or objects, or with “this”/”that” to identify specific objects.

Usage depends on personal preference and dialects. For example, some people use 三部车 (三部車) and others use 三台车 (三台車) to mean three cars. Still others use 三辆车 (三輛車) or in Cantonese 三架车 (三架車), with all of these measure words serving the same purpose.
List of Idiomatic Count/Measure Words
Chinese Pinyin Main uses Examples
把 bǎ (ba) “handful” — objects that can be held, relatively long and flat objects knife 刀, scissors, sword, key 钥匙, umbrella 伞, fan 扇子, spoon 勺子, fork, toothbrush, hammer, padlock, pair of scissors, pistol, rifle, chair 椅子, handful of rice 一把米, handful of sand 一把沙, bunch of flowers, handful of seeds, bunch of chopsticks, skeleton, fire, teapot 茶壶
班 bān (ban) scheduled services (trains, etc.), group of people, a class as in pupils
包 bāo (bao) packet, package, bundle sweets, cigarettes 烟, sugar 糖, cookies
杯 bēi (bei) “cup”, “glass” — drinks/beverages tea 茶, wine, alcohol 酒, water 水, milk 牛奶, fruit juice 果汁, soda 汽水, Coca -cola 可口可乐
本 běn (ben) “volume” — bound print matter book 书, magazine 杂志, novel 小说, scripture 经文, dictionary 字典, notepad 笔记本, textbook 课本
笔 (筆) bǐ (bi) strokes of characters; large quantities of money 12 strokes 十二笔; a large quantity of money 一笔钱; a deal 一笔交易
部 bù (bu) machinery, vehicles; productions mobile phone, telephone, car 轿车, play 话剧, novel 小说, movie/film/motion picture 电影, opera 歌剧, literary work 著作
册 cè (ce) volumes of books
层 (層) céng (ceng) “floor”/”story”; “layer” 9 stories (in a building) 九层楼; layer of dust 一层灰, seven layer cake 七层蛋糕, coat of paint 一层油漆

For the complete list of Chinese measure words see:

Chinese measure words flash cards with enable audio

See the link:


Which measure words do they really use?

As a friend who recently arrived in China said, “Yes but do they really USE all of those measure words?” I don’t know about all. But yes, unfortunately, they do use a great deal of them.

These are all the measure words I have heard in natural conversation. Maybe not worth memorizing, but as one learns to speak Chinese, and especially for listening, they’re certainly worth being able to recognize (I can get stumped pretty easily when I hear a seemingly out of place word). ll also give the context I heard the word used in.

If you want to know what other things that measure word applies to, I suggest consulting the back of Chubby or some other measure word reference.

Measure word > for what kind of thing

  1. > stuff with handles (knives), chairs
  2. bān > scheduled transportation
  3. běn > bound stuff (books, magazines)
  4. > sums of money
  5. > cell phones, sequels of a book/movie
  6. duàn > sections of long stuff, parts of songs
  7. duǒ > flowers
    • I can’t remember the sentence, but it was definitely about flowers.
  8. fèn > bundles/batches (servings of food, multi-page documents)
    • yào jǐ fèn? 要几份= How many servings (do you) want?
  9. jiā > stores
  10. jiān > rooms, houses (one room)
  11. jiàn > shirts

    Continue reading this article at:

Top ten measure words

Top 10 measure words to know

Besides “gè ,” there are the ones I use most frequently in my daily life (I’m a teacher):

  1. jié > for 1 hour class periods
  2. běn > for bound stuff (books, magazines)
  3. zhāng > flat stuff (pieces of paper, tables, CDs)
  4. fèn > for bundles/batches (servings of food, multi-page documents)
  5. wèi > for people (polite)
  6. zhī > 1 of a pair (1 chopstick, 1 shoe, 1 eye)
    zhī > stick-like things (pen)
  7. shuāng > pairs (2 chopsticks, 2 shoes, 2 eyes)
  8. liàng > vehicles with wheels (but not trains)
  9. shǒu > songs, poems
  10. tiáo > for roads, long pieces of clothing (pants)

The list comes from:

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3 Responses to Chinese measure words: complete list, common measure words, top ten measure words and measure words flash cards

  1. 安妮 says:

    你好老师!我想问你语法问题。怎么说 “which” 用中文?譬如说, “which” 屋子,对不对说 “哪屋子”?还是,“什么屋子”?

    • Shu says:

      你可以用“ 哪个屋子” There are a few measure words for house– 个, 间, 和 栋。 譬如: 这里有两间屋子,你喜欢哪一间?我喜欢这一间。那个房子是你的吗?是的, 那是我的。这栋房子比那栋房子大。好问题。明天见。

    • Shu says:

      We would say 能不能说 instead of 对不对说。说:“哪个屋子” 对不对?is good too:)

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