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When I looked up how to say "next" some time in the last couple of months I found "下一个".

So I was using that and seemed to be mostly understood. But then I started noticing that just "下一" was used by others.

I know that "个" is the generic counter/classifier, so is it actually part of the phrase/term for "next" or could it be just a kind of mistake from using Google Translate?

There are different ways to use "next" in English and I'm sure there must be in Chinese too. In my case I always needed to say things like "to the next city / town / petrol station / service area".

So what do I need to know about using "下一个" or just "下一"?

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下[一]个 means next one (down the list). 上[一]个 means previous one (up the list). 一 or 一个 does not contain any meaning of next or previous. –  Question Overflow Jan 30 at 3:20
    
@QuestionOverflow: Could that be comparable to how in English "the next one" neither "the" nor "one" contains any meaning of next? –  hippietrail Jan 30 at 4:27
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Yes, definitely. –  Question Overflow Jan 30 at 8:38
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3 Answers

Noun phrases in many cases require classifiers (= measure words). 个 is the generic classifier, but you should use whichever classifier is appropriate. Note that 一 is usually elided from "下一个":

  • Next month = 下(一)个月

  • Next week = 下(一)个星期

  • The next book (e.g., imagine it's a series) = 下一本书

  • The next photo = 下一张照片

Some words are "their own measure word" in some sense. 天 is really the only one in this category that struck me as weird. The others are words that usually are measure words but occasionally stand on their own:

  • The next day = 下一天

  • The next (bus/train/subway) stop = 下一站

  • The next sheet = 下一张

One word I've encountered optionally takes a measure word: 小时. It's (normatively) correct to always use 个, but in some people's colloquial speech, it (like 天) acts "as its own measure word":

  • The next hour = 下个小时

  • Don't think I've heard "下小时", but I've definitely heard it sans-measure-word in other contexts, e.g., "还有三小时" (= Three hours to go!)

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Just want to hijack this for a second :) how would you say the next three days? would it be 下一三个天,下三天, 下三个天,ect... Really asking is the 一 necessary or just a counter for a singular like a or the is used in the English example –  50-3 Jan 29 at 20:24
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@50-3 I don't think 下 would be used to express "next" in that circumstance. You might say 今后三天 (the 3 days after now). To answer some of your questions: The 一 is analogous to "a"; you wouldn't use both 一 and another numeral (e.g., 三) simultaneously; and 天 is its own measure word, so you wouldn't use 个 with it. –  Stumpy Joe Pete Jan 29 at 21:07
    
You can say 下一星期 for next week as well. But for next month, 下一月 is weird prosodically, though 下一月份 is fine. –  user58955 Jan 29 at 21:16
    
星期 is also its "own measure word". It's fine to say 一星期, you don't need to say 一个星期 for one week. –  user58955 Jan 29 at 21:18
    
@50-3 It depends on the context and usage. 'Within the next three days' = '三天之内'. 'By/After the next three days' = '三天之后'. If you just want to say 'the next three days' as a noun phrase, you can say '今后三天' (formal) or '接下来三天' (colloquial). –  NS.X. Jan 29 at 23:11
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Since you're in Taiwan, I'll use traditional characters.

No, it's not part of of the phrase "next". It's separate. 下 indicates "the next" and 一個 as you said is a counter. 下一個 literally is "the next one", 下兩個 "the next two", 下三個 "the next three", etc.

You'll have heard these:

  1. 下一位 (xià yī wèi) "next person" (when in a queue/waiting in line)

  2. 下一站 (xià yí zhàn) "next stop/station" (public transportation)

  3. 下一頁 (xià yī yè) "next page"

In my case I always needed to say things like "to the next city / town / petrol station / service area".

下一個 works for all those. 城市 (chéng shì) or 城鎮 (chéng zhèn) would be OK for city and town, better if you know the name of where you're going.

Petrol station is 加油站 (jiā yóu zhàn) and service area is 休息站 (xiū xí zhàn)

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Just a note that the meaning of "service area" I was using was "服务区", but it's not crucial to the quesiton. –  hippietrail Jan 30 at 5:52
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Thanks for the correction. :-) –  amateur Jan 30 at 11:26
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So what do I need to know about using "下一个" or just "下一"?

“下” means "next" in English. but the latter "一" or "个" is not a fixed phrase with "下". “一” is a numeric word plus "个” (a unit word). So from linguistics speaking, the structure of the phrase is:

方位词(localizer)+数词(numeric word)+量词(Unit word)/或者名词(noun)

So you can substitute any of them, such as:

1) *前面+三+排*座位上的人聚精会神看电影。

2)*左边+一+枚*纽扣掉了。

3) *右边+二+位*同志请让出道,谢谢。

4)*前+一+小时*你在干什么?

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