# Difference between 两 and 二? [duplicate]

I know both mean "two," but what differentiates the two?

If there is a difference, when do I use 两 and when do I use 二?

• Or when do you use 弍, or 贰 for that matter? Or 双, 对 and so on? It is a bit like two, twice, double, couple in English, you eventually sort it out by reading and listening.
– user4452
Mar 27, 2016 at 13:38
• covered by Chinese grammars Mar 27, 2016 at 14:06
• See here Mar 28, 2016 at 2:14

according to 《现代汉语规范词典》：

translation:

Major different of "二" and "两" in contemporary Chinese: 1. As a number or in mathematics, uses "二" but not "两". 2. In ordinal, decimal numbers and fractional numbers, uses "二" but not "两". 3. When used with normal counter word, for single digit number, uses "两" but not "二". For multiple digit numbers, uses "二" but not "两" in the digit in units. 4. When used with Chinese traditional units of measurement, both of them can be used. An exception is when "两" is used as a unit, only "二" is used. When used with official and unofficial unit of measurement, "两" is often used. 5. For digits other then the digit of unit in multiple digit numbers, "两" is preferred.

Example:

• What you mean by "measure word" is not clear in the answer. Do you mean 两 is a measure word?
– Stan
Mar 27, 2016 at 18:11

• Not necessarily true, like 三三两两, 模棱两可, 两败俱伤, 两难, etc.
– Stan
Mar 28, 2016 at 6:48
• 三三两两 模棱两可 两败俱伤 are idioms, known as 固定搭配。两难 I will say it is 固定搭配 as well。In 两败 and 两难，两 are followed by 败 and 难，it proves what I answered. Mar 28, 2016 at 17:29
• Hi chchannn, thank you for your contribution! It would be better if you add more information with reference :D Mar 30, 2016 at 19:28