It must be pretty easy, but what does 多 mean here?


  • I'm not sure if more than 3 or just over 3 imply less than 4 as the Chinese means.
    – halfelf
    Commented Nov 24, 2012 at 9:00
  • @halfelf In this case it means "just over 3".
    – user3871
    Commented Nov 24, 2012 at 16:13

6 Answers 6


[Number] [Measure word] 多 [Noun] = More than [number] [noun]s:

“I've only been here a little over three months.” (The adds the meaning of "only just".)


It means the person has been there for more than three months, but fewer than four months.

Translated, it says, "I've only been here for slightly more than three months."


As everyone else has said, it means "just over x amount" in this context. The major hint for "just over" is , meaning "merely", or "just". So, they could be saying "I've only been here just over three months... give me a break!"

Another thing you may see to indicate "it's just over", or "it's been about this long" is the use of 左右 zuo3 you4 ("left, right").

我才来了三个月左右 = I arrived here about three months ago.

The sentence means: I've been here for just over three months.

Side-note: you should be wary around sentences that have both 才 and 了.

For example, check the google results for your sentence (7 results) as compared to the google results for the same sentence without the 了 (11,100,000 results).

In any event, the 多 should be interpreted as meaning "over" or "more than," and, in conjunction with the 才, it should be interpreted as meaning "just over" or "just a bit more than."


In this case, "多" can be taken to mean "plus". Plus, as an adjective, carries the meaning of "more than, by a certain amount".

I have only been here for three months plus.

I have to disagree with what many have written here regarding the purpose of "才". Using the following example as a form of disambiguation:

I have a meeting at three plus, now is only 11 plus, we still have time for lunch.

"才" has no implication on the actual time since "多" in 三点多 is not much different from "多" in 十一点多. In the context of your sentence, "才" is merely used to emphasize the shortness of the time period that you have been here. In my example, "才" is used to emphasize the earliness of time.

"多" by itself means exceeding by less than a unit of measurement. Example:

  • 十多度 (between 10 and 20 degrees, 1 unit = 10 degrees)
  • 一岁多 (between 1 and 2 years old, 1 unit = 1 year)
  • 三个多月 (between 3 and 4 months, 1 unit = 1 month)

Put it in a simple way, first, we know 多 means many. But the 多 here has a meaning of many or less - 多少。 So literally is 3 months and " many or less". Because the speaker is not sure many or less, so here 三个多月 in English term is 3 months or so.

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