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Making Sense of Grammar
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Group 5 question 3
asked Nov 22, 2022 in Questions about Chinese Grammar by Cheng Tsz CHing (280 points) | 23 views

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About classifiers, a number is necessary if we want to use classifier in Chinese. There are three types of classifiers in Chinese: “Count-classifier,” “Mass-classifier,” and “Verbal classifier” (Li, 2000).  

For count-classifier, it is used to name countable nouns like “本” and “個” for “一本書” and “一個人.” However, we cannot use a count-classifier with uncountable nouns, for example:  

We cannot use “個” with “水” (water) to “一個水” as water is an uncountable noun.  

We cannot use “‘個” with “空氣” (air) to “一個空氣” as air is an uncountable noun. 

For mass-classifier, it is used to group uncountable nouns into the countable unit.  

I.      “水” (water) is uncountable, but “一瓶水” (a bottle of water) is countable.  

II.    “糖” (sugar) is uncountable, but “一包糖” (a pack of sugar) is countable. 

We can also use mass-classifier with countable nouns, while count-classifier cannot use with uncountable nouns. 

For example: 

“包” can use with “一糖果” (a pack of candy) or “一薯片” (a pack of potato chips). Nevertheless, when these countable nouns are counted in separately, they have to use different count-classifier such as “一糖果” and “一薯片.”

For verbal classifier, it is used to count the number of times that the action occurred, but not the number of objects. Such as "次," "下," "回," example:

I.      我打了他一

II.    我去了五香港。 

Also, some types of verbal classifiers can show the tools or objects you used for the actions. For example, “我給了他一” or “我插了他一.” From the sentence, we know that I use my ‘腳’ for the kicking action and a “刀” for the stabbing action.

answered Nov 22, 2022 by Cheng Tsz CHing (280 points)

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