I'm trying to internalize numbers by forcing myself to think of them numerically rather than associating them with their English translations. So I thought it might be a good idea to learn my times table in Mandarin using Anki flashcards.

Is the following a valid way to ask an arithmetic question that expects a number as an answer?

七乘以六等于什么

I've tried to search for an answer online, but I can only find examples of arithmetic statements and equations, not questions. Is it ok to take an equation and change the right hand side to 什么 as I've done above, or is there a more idiomatic way?

  • 1
    use 多少 instead of 什么:cf。jukuu:6乘9等于多少?, no 以: 七乘六等于多少? 以 used in 除以 divided by – user6065 May 2 '16 at 21:04
  • @user6065 I learnt this in my primary school but I don't know if it's a standard (though I believe so): 7x6 七乘以六 or 六乘七, 7/6 七除以六 or 六除七. – Stan May 3 '16 at 4:16
  • According to examples in jukuu x乘y same as y乘以x (also 用y乘x),x除y same as y除以x (confirmed by preceding comment,more common than former): Five times six is thirty . 5乘6等于30。Four times three is the same as three times four . 3乘以4和4乘以3一样。Eight divided by two is four; 2 goes into 8 four times. 二除八得四, If you divide 10 by 3, the remainder is 1. 用三除十,余数是一。8 divided by 4 is 2. 8除以4得2。 – user6065 May 3 '16 at 5:27
up vote 2 down vote accepted

The method is correct, but the word should be '几' , not '什么'. If you ask 等于什么? it will 等于数字 ever, brain-teaser :)

几 is used more when you calculate simple questions, can be replaced with 多少 which is a common word.

七乘以六等于几?
七乘以六等于多少?

12345乘以4545等于几?(acceptable, but 多少 is more appropriate due to the complexity).

you can cut the 以, there's no difference in practice.

  • Great answer, and thanks for the extra tip at the end. – JBentley May 3 '16 at 11:01

If you think of different ways to say it in English, then you can tell the difference when it's expressed in Chinese. When it's "what is the result of 6 times 7", we say "六乘七等于什么?”. when it's "how much is 6 times 7?", we say "六乘七等于多少?”. As for doing the times table, we would say, 一七得七..二八一十六...六七四十二. Skip the operation words except on single digit.

Here is a video lesson my team and I put together on this a topic. If you click the link you should be able to view the video.

Ref: https://chinesepod.com/lessons/lets-do-math-in-chinese

Here are some typical Math equations:

一加一等於二 one plus one equals two yī jiā yī děngyú èr

一百五乘以二等於三百 One hundred and fifty multiplied by two equals three hundred. yībǎi wǔ chéngyǐ èr děngyú sānbǎi

六除以三等於二 six divided by three equals two liù chúyǐ sān děngyú èr

  • Thanks. I'm a ChinesePod member and already did find that video but didn't see what I'm looking for in the dialogue. I'll give the video a watch in case it's covered outside of the dialogue section. Thanks. – JBentley May 3 '16 at 4:54
  • 1
    This does not answer the question. OP knows how to read equations, but wants to know how to say "what does this equal?". If that information is in your link, it would be good to excerpt it here. – KWeiss May 3 '16 at 6:48

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