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.
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 hěnduō zhōngguó péngyou
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 dàliàng xiànjīn
He has a large amount of cash
现金 (xiàn jīn): cash
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”.
shànghǎi yǒu bùshǎo fǎguó canting
There are quite a few French restaurants in Shanghai
很少 (hěn shǎo)
As 很 (hěn) means “very”, it’s easy to deduce that the meaning of this word is “scarce”.
Tom de gōngzuò jīngyàn hěnshǎo
Tom has had only a little work experience
- 经验 (jīng yàn): experience
- 工作 (gōng zuò): to work, job
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 yīxiē zhōngwén shū
I have some Chinese books
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 zhōngwén
I can speak a little Chinese
niúròu yǒu diǎnr là
The beef is a bit spicy
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 wènti
I have several questions
- 问题 (wènti): question, problem
We hope this article on Mandarin Chinese words used to describe quantity was helpful! If you’re looking to learn some more Mandarin, have a read about Mandarin Chinese Polyphones！