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Since Chinese nouns can be both singular and plural depending on context (i.e. 牙齿), what is the difference between 朋友 and 朋友们.

Example:

我有很多朋友

我给我的朋友们说

我给我的朋友说

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    see grammars or any textbook,e.g.CCG:with human nouns there is a standard plural suffix form 们。Some restrictions, however, apply to its use: it normally relates to people in groups, and therefore regularly occurs as a term of address in gatherings, e.g. 朋友们,"friends", 先生们、女士们"ladies and gentlemen"; it is not used with numbers, e.g. "3 children" is therefore 三个孩子。。;and when it is present in a sentence, the noun to which it is suffixed is invariably of definite reference:客人们 the guests , 孩子们 the children . – user6065 Dec 4 '17 at 4:53
  • 人们 seems to be an exception to "definite reference" (not necessarily of definite reference) cf. bkrs: people; men; the public; humanity: 建设边疆的人们 the people who are opening up the frontiers 草原上的人们 people of the grasslands 受折磨的人们 afflicted humanity 受压迫的人们 oppressed humanity – user6065 Dec 4 '17 at 18:50
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朋友们 is always being plural, while 朋友 can be either plural or singular depending on the context.

我给我的朋友说 doesn't indicate if there is/are one/many friend(s).

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朋友们 is not exactly used as a plural.

You should only use 们 when you are trying to use pronouns/adjectives in front of it. Such as (我的朋友们, 他的孩子们, 该死的地主们, 草原上的人们, 不太在乎的人们)

When you are trying use quantifiers in front of "friends", you would not want to use 们. (很多的朋友, 极少的人, 一半的人)。

  • How about 欢迎朋友们的到来? – dan Dec 4 '17 at 22:51
  • I don't agree. In fact there are many examples break your "pronouns/adverbs" rule. – thinwa Dec 5 '17 at 7:26
  • When you are referring to 欢迎朋友们, it is referring to your friends which is 我的朋友们. Please feel free to counter with examples. – user3019766 Dec 6 '17 at 16:58
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    Actually, 欢迎朋友们 is not necessary referring to 我的朋友们. 朋友们 is a generic greeting term for all the guests and you might not even know some of them, not to mention, they are your friends. – dan Dec 8 '17 at 2:58
  • I don't think that would make any sense, really Dan. Regardless they are just guests or friends, they are YOUR guests or friends. You may consider any stranger as friends, but they are still your stranger friends. – user3019766 Dec 10 '17 at 1:23

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