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Numbers Continued: How Many?

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Numbers Continued: How Many?

Welcome to Lesson 5! Before we get started, take a moment to count to 5 in Chinese. 一 ,二 ,三 ,四 ,五 ,... What's next? Let's finish by counting up to 10 in this lesson. After this lesson you'll be able to:

  • Count from 0-10
  • Ask "how many" or "how much money"
  • Talk about your age

Flash Cards - Vocabulary
Flash Cards - Vocabulary
Complete Lesson (PDF)
Printable PDF version of this lesson

Numbers Continued: How Many?

Be sure to spend time studying the roots of the character, it's composition, and making associations so you can easily remember it. Print our flash cards onto business card stock paper to make your own - and review them often.

六 ( liù ): six
Radical: 八 (eight)
Component: 八 (eight) and 亠 (lid)
六 means six.
Memorization Hint: When spoken, this word sounds a bit like the name Leo. You can simply double the three downward strokes to make six as three is half of six.

七 ( qī ): seven
Radical: 一 (one)
Phonetic: 一 (yi)
Component: 一 (one) and 乚 (second)
Using the radical一, this character means 7.
Memorization Hint: Imagine this character upside down. Can you see the number 7 crossed by 一? I used to write sevens this way when I was a kid, it looked cool.

八 ( bā ): eight
Radical: 八 (eight)
Component: 八 (eight)
The character 八 represents 8, and you’ll find it later on in many characters.
Memorization Hint: If you imagine the Arabic number 8 as two circles sitting on top of each other you’ll need two sloping lines down either side to keep them from falling down.

九 ( jiǔ ): nine
Radical: 乙 (second heavenly
Component: 乙 (second heavenly stem)
The 乙 radical is part of the list of Heavenly Stems. The Heavenly Stems were combined with the characters of the Earthly Branches to record days and months 4,000 years ago in China. Adding one curved, vertical stroke makes the character 九, or 9. The pronunciation for the number 9 is the same as 久 (jiǔ) which means long-lasting. Did you guess that 9 is a lucky number?
Memorization Hint: This word sounds much like the name Joe. Perhaps Joe is Leo's (六) older brother.

十 ( shí ): ten
Radical: 十 (ten)
Component: 十 (ten)
The number 10 is also a radical in Chinese. If you go to China and forget how to pronounce the number 10, take your two index fingers and hold them up in this cross-shape and you'll be understood right away.
Memorization Hint: This character starts by first writing the number one (一) and then crossing a vertical line through it. The number 10 is also started by first writing the number 1.

零 ( líng ): zero
Radical: 雨 (rain)
Phonetic: 令 (lìng)
Component: 雨 (rain) and 令 (command)
零 is made up of two parts: the radical 雨 (rain) and the phonetic 令 (lìng). Notice the variation of the 雨 character. The four dots have been turned to the horizontal and the legs shortened. This is common as it makes the characters easier to write. Today you might more commonly find the Arabic number 0 written instead of this character.
Memorization Hint: Picture someone standing in the rain giving commands then zoom back and notice that there's nobody there listening to him. I don't know about you, but I wouldn't stand in the rain listening to someone giving commands.

几 ( jǐ ): how many, how much (for small amounts)
Radical: 几 (small table)
Component: 几 (small table)
While 几 also means small table, as the radical shows, you'll see it more commonly as a question word for quantitative amounts. 几 must be followed by a measure word, like 个 from Lesson 4.
Memorization Hint: You can notice the shape of a j on the left side of this character and possibly an i on the right side.

岁 ( suì ): years, years old
Radical: 山 (mountain)
Component: 山 (mountain) and 夕 (evening, night)
When telling someone how long you’ve been around, you should always follow the number of years with 岁. Be sure to think of 岁 as a measure word when you’re asking someone how old they are. Replace 个 with 岁: 你几岁?
Memorization Hint: Mountains have had many years and their age increases as the evenings pass.

钱 ( qián ): coins, money, currency
Radical: 钅(gold)
Component: 钅(gold), 戈 (spear)
你有没有钱? "Do you have money?" 钱 is a general word for money when used alone.
Memorization Hint: Remember the gold radical for a hint with this character. The right side resembles tally marks where someone might be counting off their bills.

块 ( kuài ): chunk, piece, dollar
Radical: 土 (earth)
Component: 土 (earth)
块 is a very versatile character, but let's focus on the third meaning for this lesson. Paired with 钱, you can use this word to mean "money", but particularly a specific amount of money. One way to ask "how much?" is by saying: 几块钱? Typically, when you hear this question, the asker is referring to RMB (rén mín bì), the Chinese currency. Answer by placing the number amount in place of 几, for example 十块钱.
Memorization Hint: By turning your head to the right of this character, you might notice a resemblance to the letter K on the bottom of the right side. Use this to remind you of the initial sound for 块.


Bargaining for goods is important when you're in China. Unless it's a supermarket or an upscale department store, you can strike a deal at any shop—and it's expected. In order to bring the price down, you've got to know your numbers!

As many countries these days are writing numbers with the Arabic system (1, 2, 3...), the same is happening in China. It's very common to write a telephone number this way and if you write down a price at a shop, you'll be understood. In Lesson 6 we'll take a moment to clarify when you should use characters for numbers in Chinese.

If there is 'zero' of something, you should say 没有 to indicate you "don't have" or something "doesn't exist". For example, if someone asks how much money you have, 你有几块钱?, but you have no money, then your response is: 我没有钱.

At this point you know how to count from ten. Counting from 11 to 99 is very easy now that you know the first ten. As you already know the Chinese word for ten is 十. To say twenty just put a two in front of the ten and say 二是, for thirty put a three in front of the ten and say 三十. Now you can figure out on your own how to go to 90. But what if you wanted to say 11? This is also easy, just put a one after the ten and say 十一. To say 12 put a two after the ten and say 是二, to say 35 put a three before the ten and five after the ten and say 三十五. Now that you know the structure you can say all numbers from zero to 99. In a later lesson we’ll cover numbers 100 and higher.

你几岁?Can you guess what that means? How old are you? To answer, simply replace 几 with your age. For example, 我 三十岁 or even just 三十岁 is enough.

Congratulations on completing your first 5 Chinese lessons! By now you’ve realized that spending time to review your flashcards daily really helps you to remember all these new words. Realize the fruits of your labor: take a moment to review your flashcards from Lessons 1-4... You already know 40 words in Chinese!


Answering in the Negative

  • There's more than one way to say yes or no in Chinese.
  • Pay close attention to what verb is used in the question and then choose the appropriate answer by the following guidelines:
    If 是 is used, then say 不 or 不是 to mean no, or 是 to mean yes.
    If 有 is used, then say 没有 to mean no, or 有 to mean yes.
Vocabulary Review:
  1. 六 liù six
  2. 七 qī seven
  3. 八 bā eight
  4. 九 jiǔ nine
  5. 十 shí ten
  6. 零 líng zero
  7. 几 jǐ how many, how much (for small amounts)
  8. 岁 suì years, years old
  9. 钱 qián coins, money, currency
  10. 块 kuài chunk, piece, dollar
After Linda and Ms. Zhang finish discussing their children, it's time to pay the bill. The typical argument over who will treat is not necessary because Ms. Zhang’s company will cover the cost.
 Nĭ de háizi jǐ suì?
 How old is your child?
Ms. Zhang: 
 Tā bā suì.
 She’s 8 years old.
Mr. Li prepares to pay. Jim is not very familiar with Chinese money and has some questions.
 Zhè shì jǐ kuài qián?
 How much money is this?
Mr. Li: 
 Liù kuài qián.
 6 RMB.
 Zhè shì bā kuài qián ma?
 Is this 8 RMB?
Mr. Li: 
 不是, 那是7块钱.(he moves some bills)  这是九块钱.
 Bú shì, nà shì qī kuài qián. (he moves some bills) Zhè shì jiǔ kuài qián.
 No, that’s 7 RMB. (he moves some bills) This is 9 RMB.
 (picks up a paper) 这是不是十块钱?
 (picks up a paper) Zhè shì bú shì shí kuài qián?
 (picks up a paper) Is this 10 RMB?
Mr. Li: 
 (laughing) 不是, 不是!是零!
 (laughing) Bú shì, bú shì! Shì líng!
 (laughing) No, no! That’s zero!
 Nà bú shì qián!
 That’s not money!
 Speaking to the waitress...
Ms. Zhang: 
 (to waitress) 几块钱?
 (to waitress) Jǐ kuài qián?
 (to waitress) How much?
Fill in the Blank:

你有____块钱? (how many)
Nĭ yŏu ____ kuài qián?
How much money do you have?

他有________孩子? (how many + measure word)
Nĭ yŏu ________ hái zi?
How many children does he have?

你的孩子几____? (age)
Nĭ de hái zi jĭ____?
How old is your child?

我的孩子____岁. (7)
Wŏ de hái zi ____ suì?
My child is 7 years old.

她____ 岁. (9)
Tā ____ suì.
She is 9 years old.

Zhè gè jĭ ________?
How much does this one cost?

你有没有____ 块钱?(6)
Nĭ yŏu méi yŏu ____ kuài qián?
Do you have 6 RMB?

____ 块钱好吗?(8)
____ kuài qián hǎo ma?
Is 8 RMB okay?

__, 一, 二, __, 四, __ (0, 3, 5)
__, yī, èr, __, sì, __
0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

__,七, 八 __, __ (6, 9, 10)
__, qī, bā, __, __
6, 7, 8, 9, 10

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