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Chinese Measure Words (Part 4): Foods, Household Items, Clothing

Food

Food is a huge part of Chinese culture, so it is no surprise that there is a colorful assortment of specifiers for foods, meals and the dishes in which they are served.

food

fèn portion 一份面 (yī fèn miàn) “an order of noodles”

一份汉堡 (yī fèn hànbǎo) “a hamburger”

piàn piece 一片饼干 (yīpiàn bǐnggān) “a piece of cookie”

(塊)

kuài piece, slice 一块蛋糕 (yīkuài dàngāo) “a slice of cake”
kǒu sip, mouthful 口 means “mouth”.

一口水 (yīkǒu shuǐ) “a sip of water”

一口面包 (yīkǒu miànbāo) “a byte of bread”

dào dish 一道名菜 (yīdào míng cài) “a famous dish”
dùn meal 一顿早餐 (yī dùn zǎocān) “a breakfast”
wǎn bowl 一碗饭 (yī wǎn fàn) “a bowl of (cooked) rice”

(盤)

pán plate 一盘水果 (yī pán shuǐguǒ) “a plate of fruit”

(籠)

lóng bamboo drum 一笼蒸饺(yī lóng zhēng jiǎo) “an order of steamed dumplings”

The character’s top part is the symbol for bamboo.

drop 一滴水 (yī dīshuǐ) “a drop of water”
bēi cup 一杯茶 (yī bēi chá) “a cup of tea”
píng bottle 一瓶啤酒 (yī píng píjiǔ) “a bottle of beer”

(壺)

teapot 一壶茶 (yī hú chá) “a pot of tea”
guàn can, jar 一罐蜂蜜 (yī guàn fēngmì) “a jar of honey”
whiff, smell 一股香味 (yī gǔ xiāngwèi) “a pleasant aroma”

Household Items

houssehold-item

chuáng bedsheets 一床棉被 (yī chuáng mián bèi) “a cotton blanket”

床 means “bed”.  The character shows the symbol for wood under a roof.

(條)

tiáo towel, tablecloth 一条毯子 (yī tiáo tǎnzi) “a blanket”

(盞)

zhǎn lamp 一盏台灯 (yī zhǎn táidēng) “a standing lamp”
painting or drawing 一幅画 (yī fú huà) “a painting or drawing”

The left side of 幅 is the symbol for cloth.

(幀)

zhēn printed picture 一帧照片 (yī zhēn zhàopiàn) “a photograph”

The left side of 帧 is the symbol for cloth.

Photos can also be counted using张 (zhāng), which emphasizes their flat shape.

Clothing

clothing

jiàn article of clothing 一件衣服 (yī jiàn yīfú) “an article of clothing”

一件衬衫 (yī jiàn chènshān) “a shirt”

(條)

tiáo a long article of clothing 一条领带 (yī tiáo lǐngdài) “a necktie”
tào costume 一套西装 (yī tào xīzhuāng) “a (Western) suit”

一套制服 (yī tào zhìfú) “a uniform”

(頂)

dǐng hat 一顶帽子 (yī dǐng màozi) “a hat”

 

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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