I've heard the sentence 这毛衣, (so without measure word), but my chinese manual always use a measure word after :



Is the measure word optionnal in after ?

  • 3
    is a Unit/classifier/量詞. Sometimes it is optional, sometimes not. I have a small section about that in my other answer here.
    – John Siu
    Jan 8, 2013 at 17:25
  • 这件苹果?? Unless you are somehow referring to a brand name? Jan 8, 2013 at 20:42
  • @JamesJiao - Even if it is a brand name you can not use there. Jan 11, 2013 at 7:50
  • @BAK - is just like in English, where you say a glass of water, a loaf of bread. You can not just say I want a water or I ate a bread, right? Same in Chinese. Sometimes you need 件/個/條, but sometimes you don't. Jan 11, 2013 at 7:51

2 Answers 2


In Mandarin, especially Northern China dialects, measure words can be omitted when

  1. It is following a demonstrative pronoun (e.g. 这, 那), AND
  2. The numeral is 1 (one), AND
  3. It is not a collective measure word (e.g. 些, 群).

The grammatical role of the phrase does not change. E.g.

这一件毛衣 = 这件毛衣 = 这毛衣

这一些毛衣 = 这些毛衣 collective measure word 些 cannot be omitted.

  • I have heard of 这个苹果 and 这粒苹果, but never encounter 这只苹果 when referring to an apple. Is it also part of Northern dialects?
    – 杨以轩
    Jan 9, 2013 at 2:55
  • @QuestionOverflow no it's not. Actually I heard this usage from people from the south. Searching 一只苹果 online there are some hits suggesting the usage does exist though may not be correct.
    – NS.X.
    Jan 9, 2013 at 7:27
  • @QuestionOverflow As a native speaker from South China, I'd like to say I've never heard of "这粒苹果", 粒 refers to something very small(a pill, a grain of rice, etc) in general.
    – Huang
    Jan 9, 2013 at 16:14
  • @NS.X. Actually, you can use 这件苹果 in real life where 件 means "a box or package", so 这件苹果 means “this box of apples". Can you update your answer?
    – Huang
    Jan 9, 2013 at 16:16
  • 1
    @EnricoBrasil No it's actually less formal without measure word.
    – NS.X.
    Mar 23, 2018 at 3:35

“这毛衣” works, but it means "this sweater"; while "这件毛衣” means "this /measurement word in English for 件/ of sweater"; they are different grammatically. Just like: these shoes Vs. this pair of shoes


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