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Omission of Chinese Measure Word “个(Gè)”

Welcome to our Chinese learning series – Ask Litao. In each video of this new series, we’re going to answer your questions about learning Chinese.

Today’s question is from one of our YouTube students, this student wrote the question in Chinese characters:
老师,说“9 hours”一定要用量词“个”,“九个小时”,不是吗?
Do we have to use the measure word 个(gè) when we say “9 hours” in Chinese?

1. In Chinese when we say a certain amount of hours, the measure word 个(gè) can either be used or omitted.
For example,
九个小时(jiǔ gè xiǎoshí) and 九小时(jiǔ xiǎoshí) both mean “nine hours”. You can say:
我昨天睡了九个小时。
Wǒ zuótiān shuìle jiǔ gè xiǎoshí.

Or you can also say:
我昨天睡了九小时。
Wǒ zuótiān shuìle jiǔ xiǎoshí.
The two sentences have the same meaning of “I slept nine hours yesterday.”

This rule also works on 星期(xīngqī), which means “week”. To say “one week” in Chinese, 一个星期(yī gè xīngqī) and 一星期(yī xīngqī) are both correct.

她想休息一个星期。
Tā xiǎng xiūxi yī gè xīngqī.
她想休息一星期。
Tā xiǎng xiūxi yī xīngqī.
The two sentences above both mean “She wants to rest for a week.”

2. When it comes to 月(yuè)-month, the measure word 个(gè) cannot be omitted.
For example, to say “three months” in Chinese, you must use the measure word 个(gè), which is 三个月(sān gè yuè), because without the measure word 个(gè), 三月(sān yuè) refers to March.

In Chinese we use “Number (1~12) + 月(yuè)” to say the names of the months, that’s why you have to add the measure word 个(gè) between the “number” and “month” when you say how many months you’re talking about.

3. The third situation is for 年(nián), 天(tiān), 分钟(fēnzhōng) and 秒(miǎo), it would be incorrect if you add the measure word 个(gè).
For example, to say “one year”, “ten days”, “five minutes”, “thirty seconds”, you can only say:
一年(yī nián)
十天(shí tiān)
五分钟(wǔ fēnzhōng)
三十秒(sānshí miǎo)
Don’t add the measure word 个(gè)! The reason is 年(nián), 天(tiān), 分钟(fēnzhōng) and 秒(miǎo) are normally used as measure words by themselves, so we don’t need to add another measure word.

Omission of Chinese Measure Word “个(Gè)”

Welcome to our Chinese learning series – Ask Litao. In each video of this new series, we’re going to answer your questions about learning Chinese.

Today’s question is from one of our YouTube students, this student wrote the question in Chinese characters:
老师,说“9 hours”一定要用量词“个”,“九个小时”,不是吗?
Do we have to use the measure word 个(gè) when we say “9 hours” in Chinese?

1. In Chinese when we say a certain amount of hours, the measure word 个(gè) can either be used or omitted.
For example,
九个小时(jiǔ gè xiǎoshí) and 九小时(jiǔ xiǎoshí) both mean “nine hours”. You can say:
我昨天睡了九个小时。
Wǒ zuótiān shuìle jiǔ gè xiǎoshí.

Or you can also say:
我昨天睡了九小时。
Wǒ zuótiān shuìle jiǔ xiǎoshí.
The two sentences have the same meaning of “I slept nine hours yesterday.”

This rule also works on 星期(xīngqī), which means “week”. To say “one week” in Chinese, 一个星期(yī gè xīngqī) and 一星期(yī xīngqī) are both correct.

她想休息一个星期。
Tā xiǎng xiūxi yī gè xīngqī.
她想休息一星期。
Tā xiǎng xiūxi yī xīngqī.
The two sentences above both mean “She wants to rest for a week.”

2. When it comes to 月(yuè)-month, the measure word 个(gè) cannot be omitted.
For example, to say “three months” in Chinese, you must use the measure word 个(gè), which is 三个月(sān gè yuè), because without the measure word 个(gè), 三月(sān yuè) refers to March.

In Chinese we use “Number (1~12) + 月(yuè)” to say the names of the months, that’s why you have to add the measure word 个(gè) between the “number” and “month” when you say how many months you’re talking about.

3. The third situation is for 年(nián), 天(tiān), 分钟(fēnzhōng) and 秒(miǎo), it would be incorrect if you add the measure word 个(gè).
For example, to say “one year”, “ten days”, “five minutes”, “thirty seconds”, you can only say:
一年(yī nián)
十天(shí tiān)
五分钟(wǔ fēnzhōng)
三十秒(sānshí miǎo)
Don’t add the measure word 个(gè)! The reason is 年(nián), 天(tiān), 分钟(fēnzhōng) and 秒(miǎo) are normally used as measure words by themselves, so we don’t need to add another measure word.

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