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Making Sense of Grammar
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What is the difference between duō shǎo (多少) and jī gè (幾個)?

asked Jan 16, 2018 in Questions about Chinese Grammar by admin (23,690 points)
edited Jan 22, 2018 by admin

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Chinese wh-word 多少 (du¯osh˘ao/ how much/many) is used to ask questions about quantity. As there is no mass/count distinction among Chinese non-human nouns, 多少 can occur in front of a noun meaning either “how much” or “how many.”

→ 你們有多少錢? ( n˘ı-men y˘ou du¯o-sh˘ao qi´an/ How much money do you have?)

→ 你們有多少人? (n˘ı-men y˘ou du¯o-sh˘ao r´en/ How many people do you have?)

多少 also functions as a pronoun to answer a question with du¯osh˘ao. For example, in the sentence 你們要多少,我們給多少 (n˘ı-men y`ao du¯o-sh˘ao, w˘omen gˇei du¯o-sh˘ao/We will pay any amount that you ask for.), 多少 functions as a pronoun for a certain amount of money.

However, if the number is small and can be easily counted, then  (j˘ı/how many) is more likely to be used.

→ 你現在有幾個孩子? (n˘ı xi`an-z`ai y˘ou j˘ı ge h´aizi/ How many children do you have now?)

Reference: Chinese: a linguistic introduction by Chao Fen Sun

answered Jan 16, 2018 by admin (23,690 points)
edited Apr 25, 2018 by admin
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