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When referring to a previously mentioned object, such as a computer (一台电脑), do you say 这个/那个 or 这台/那台?

i.e. does the measure word used in 这个/那个 depend on the object, or is it always the generic 个?

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up vote 9 down vote accepted

个 is a generic identifier for all objects. 这 and 那, as you know, are just specifiers for this or that.

Now, if you know the specific measure word for the object you're trying to describe, you should use it. It makes you sound more fluent/mature... you'll often hear kids in China use 个 for everything...

Like, 这条鱼 (Zhè tiáo yú) sounds much better than 这个鱼 (Zhège yú)... people will understand you regardless, but it's just how you want to come off.

Just like in English, you could a bunch to describe everything...

  • A bunch of fish
  • A bunch of birds
  • A bunch of books

But we learn how to refine how we talk:

  • A school of fish
  • A flock of birds
  • A stack of books
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Just to make sure, does this also apply when omitting the object after it has been specified in a previous sentence? Thanks for your answer. –  Klemens Baum Jun 27 '13 at 13:19
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Chinese is heavily based on context. So if the reader/listener has previous knowledge of the described object, you can continue using the appropriate measure word... 我昨天买了一本书 (Wǒ zuótiān mǎile yī běn shū)。我后来把那本送给朋友了 (Wǒ hòulái bǎ nà běn sòng gěi péngyǒule)。 –  Growler Jun 27 '13 at 13:24
    
@KlemensBaum - Another example, say you are buying a fish you can say 我要那一条 (wǒ yào nà yī tiáo) –  xiaohouzi79 Jun 28 '13 at 1:21
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