Measure Words Table

Measure words (量詞) are also known as classifiers and are used in between the quantity of an object and a noun:

e.g. 一隻貓

jat1 zek3 maau1
one/a cat

In the example above, 隻 (zek3) is the measure word.

Measure words are based on the characteristics of the noun, and there’s a wide variety of them that are used in Chinese. Measure words are also used in English and other European languages, but to a lesser extent. Examples include ‘one bottle of water’ and ‘one pair of shoes’, wherein ‘bottle’ and ‘pair’ are the measure words.

There are over a hundred measure words used in Chinese. This table summarises some common ones that I have used for the measure word flashcards. Listen to the audio for the flashcards here.

MeasureJyutpingUsage Example
deoi3A pair
e.g. a couple, shoes, gloves
一對鞋 jat1 deoi3 haai4
one pair of shoes
do2Flowers, clouds一朵花 jat1 do2 faa1
one flower
e.g. cake, pizza
一塊蛋糕 jat1 faai3 daan2 gou1
one slice of cake
e.g. car, taxi, bus, aeroplane
一架車 jat1 gaa3 ce1
one car
gaan1Building or establishment
e.g. house, restaurant, hotel, room
一間屋 jat1 gaan1 nguk1
one house
gin6Item of clothing or gift
e.g. shirt, coat
一件衫 jat1 gin6 saam1 one piece of clothing
e.g. people, apple, ball, head
(please note that 一位 (jat1 wai2) is a more respectable measure word for people)
一個蘋果 jat1 go3 ping4 gwo2
one apple
lap1Small object
e.g. sweets, diamonds, star
一粒糖 jat1 lap1 tong4
one sweet
po1Trees一棵樹 jat1 po1 syu6
one tree
tiu4Long flexible objects
e.g. fish, snake, skirt, trousers, towel, string
一條魚 jat1 tiu4 jyu4
one fish
一條裙 jat1 tiu4 kwan4
one skirt
一條褲 jat1 tiu4 fu3
one pair of trousers
zek3An item that is part of a pair or a group; also used for animals e.g. a glove, a shoe, an eye, a watch一隻貓 jat1 zek3 maau1
one cat
e.g. water, oil, wine, fizzy drink
一樽水 jat1 zeon1 seoi2 one bottle of water
zi1Objects that are long and thin e.g. pen, needle一支筆 jat1 zi1 bat1
one pen
zoeng1Objects with a smooth flat surface e.g. paper, table一張紙 jat1 zoeng1 zi2 one piece of paper

This second table has more measure words that I used for measure word flashcards part 2. Listen to the audio for the flashcards here.

baa2Objects that are long and have a handle e.g. knife, scissors一把鉸剪 jat1 baa2 gaau2 zin2
one pair of scissors
baau1Bag一包薯片 jat1 baau1 syu4 pin3
one packet of crisps
bou6Vehicles (N.B. 架 gaa3 can also be used for vehicles), musical instruments, electronic devices e.g. phone, computer一部電腦 jat1 bou6 din6 nou5
one computer
bun2Books, magazines一本書 jat1 bun2 syu1
one book
deoi1Pile e.g. clothes, rubbish一堆衫 jat1 deoi1 saam1
one pile of clothes
dik6Drop e.g. blood, rain, water一滴水 jat1 dik6 seoi2
one drop of water
fuk1Drawings, maps, paintings一幅地圖 jat1 fuk1 dei6 tou4 one map
fung1Letters一封信 jat1 fung1 seon3
one letter
gau6Lump e.g. rock, brick一嚿石頭 jat1 gau6 sek6 tau4
one lump of rock
gun3Can一罐汽水 jat1 gun3 hei3 seoi2
one can of fizzy drink
hap6Box e.g. chocolate, nails一盒釘 jat1 hap6 deng1
one box of nails
pin3Slice e.g. cheese, meat一片芝士 jat1 pin3 zi1 si6
one slice of cheese
sau2Large vessels e.g. ships一艘船 jat1 sau2 syun4
one ship
wun2Bowl一碗飯 jat1 wun2 faan6
one bowl of rice
zo6Objects that are large or grand e.g. buildings (such as skyscrapers) mountains, statues一座山 jat1 zo6 saan1
one mountain