Words Used To Describe Quantity

(thatsmandarin.com) | Jun 23, 2021

Imagine you've been studying Chinese very hard and you want to find an appropriate word that you can use to brag about the quantity of Mandarin Chinese you have learned. Well, a knowledge of some commonly-used Mandarin Chinese words to describe quantity is what you need in this situation.

Hence, The purpose of this article is to give a brief introduction to some typical Mandarin Chinese words used to describe quantity(数量,shù liàng).

1. 很多 (hěn duō)

In this word, 很 (hěn) means "very", and 多 (duō) means "many". Despite of the fact that 多 (duō) already has the meaning of "many", what you need to remember regarding the use of this word is that 很 (hěn) has to be included every time you want to express "many + noun" in Chinese.


wǒ yǒu hěn duō zhōng guó péng you
I have many Chinese friends.


2. 大量 (dà liàng)

If you analyze this word character by character, you'll find out that the meaning of this word is "a large amount" or "a large number". The second character "量 (liàng)" can refer to either quantity (数量 shù liàng) or volume (容量 róng liàng).


tā yǒu dà liàng xiàn jīn
He has a large amount of cash.

现金 (xiàn jīn): cash


3. 不少 (bù shǎo)

This word is actually a synonym of 很多 (hěn duō), which also means "many" or "quite a few". The logic behind this word is that its original meaning is "not only a few", in which "not" stands for "不 bù", and the equivalent of "only a few" in Chinese is "少 shǎo".


shàng hǎi yǒu bù shǎo fǎ guó can ting
There are quite a few French restaurants in Shanghai.


4. 很少 (hěn shǎo)

As 很 (hěn) means "very", it's easy to deduce that the meaning of this word is "scarce".


tāng mǔ de gōng zuò jīng yàn hěn shǎo
Tom has had only a little work experience.

工作 (gōng zuò): work, job
经验 (jīng yàn): experience


5. 一些 (yī xiē)

一些 (yī xiē) means "some", and it is commonly used in Chinese people's daily lives. The word can be used to describe both countable and uncountable nouns.


wǒ yǒu yī xiē zhōng wén shū
I have some Chinese books.


6. 一点儿 (yī diǎnr)

一点儿 (yī diǎnr) means "a little", and it is usually followed by an uncountable noun. Instead of 一点儿 (yī diǎnr), "有点儿 (yǒu diǎnr)" should be used if you would like to express "a little + adjective".

wǒ huì shuō yī diǎnr zhōng wén
I can speak a little Chinese.

niú ròu yǒu diǎnr là
The beef is a bit spicy.


7. 几 (jǐ) + measure word

If you have more or less learnt some Chinese, you must know that 几 (jǐ) means "how many", and it is often used to ask a question. However, 几 (jǐ) can also mean "several" if it is used in a positive statement. Here are two examples to help you better understand the difference.


nǐ yào jǐ bēi chá?
How many cups of tea would you like?

wǒ yǒu jǐ gè wèn tí
I have several questions.

问题 (wèn tí): question, problem


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