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Chinese Measure Words (Part 3): Events, Buildings & Structures


Some measure words in this category describe the duration of time required, while others are specific to the type of event.

jiànincident一件事 (yī jiàn shì) “an incident, a circumstance, a thing”

This is also commonly used for articles of clothing.


jiéevent, episode一节课 (yī jié kè) “one class” from a series or a course

节 refers to one episode of a series of continuing events (a course, a TV series, etc.).


ména subject or series of classes你在修几门课­n  (nǐ zài xiū jǐ mén kè) “How many subjects are you taking?”

Literally, 门 means “door”.

time, occurrence三次 (sān cì) “three times”

第一次世界大战 (dì yī cì shìjiè dàzhàn) “First World War”


chǎnglarge event一场大雨 (yī chǎng dàyǔ) “a heavy rain”

一场战争 (yī chǎng zhànzhēng) “a war, a conflict”

一场架 (yī chǎng jià) “a fight”

场 means “field”.  As a measure word, it refers to large open-space events, whose cause can be either natural or man-made.

duàna period of time一段往事 (yī duàn wáng shì) “a past event”

一段情事 (yī duàn qíng shì) “a love affair”


zhènsudden, passing event一阵雨 (yī zhèn yǔ) “a quick rain shower”

一阵风 (yī zhèn fēng) “a gust of wind”

a moment一刻疯狂 (yīkè fēngkuáng) “a moment of madness”
fāna long period of time, or an activity that requires significant effort一番好气象 (yī fān hǎo qìxiàng) “a stretch of good weather”

下一番努力 (xià yī fān nǔlì) “expend a lot of effort”

banquet一席宴会 (yīxí yànhuì) “a banquet”
tànga trip一趟旅行 (yī tàng lǚxíng) “a tour”

去一趟日本 (qù yī tàng rìběn) “take a trip to Japan”

白费一趟 (báifèi yī tàng) “a wasted trip”

The character’s left side is the symbol for walking.

Buildings and Structures:

building and structure


jiānroom, house一间屋子 (yī jiān wūzi) “a room”

一间客厅 (yī jiān kètīng) “a guestroom”

一间卧房 (yī jiān wòfáng) “a bedroom”


dòngtall building一栋大楼 (yī dòng dàlóu) “a tall building”


céngfloor五层大楼 (wǔ céng dàlóu) “a five story building”, literally “five floors of building”
wall一堵墙 (yī dǔ qiáng) “a wall”

一堵防火墙 (yī dǔ fánghuǒqiáng) “a firewall”

miànwall一面墙 (yīmiàn qiáng) “a wall”

面 means “face”, and refers to one side or panel of a wall.

suǒmulti-building complex一所医院 (yī suǒ yīyuàn) “a hospital”

一所大学 (yī suǒ dàxué) “a university”


chǎngfield, open public space一场宴会 (yī chǎng yànhuì) “a party”

一场游戏 (yī chǎng yóuxì) “a game”

The character’s left side is the symbol for earth.

jiāplace of work一家公司 (yī jiā gōngsī) “a company”

一家银行 (yī jiā yínháng) “a bank”

一家商店 (yī jiā shāngdiàn) “a store”

家 means “home”.  The character shows the picture of a pig under a roof.

zuòlarge structure一座桥 (yī zuò qiáo) “a bridge”

一座水塔 (yīzuò shuǐtǎ) “a water tower”

座 means “a seat”.  As a measure word, it refers to the named object’s stable, stationary nature.  In addition to man-made structures, it can refer to large, protruding geographical formations:

一座山 (yīzuò shān) “a mountain”

一座岛 (yīzuò dǎo) “an island”

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Joe Varadi

Joe Varadi lived and studied in Shanghai and Taiwan, in a simpler time before blogs and smartphones got big. He is the creator of Trasee! for Chinese Trasee, a mobile app for Chinese reading and handwriting that incorporates many of the techniques he developed while learning Mandarin.

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