In the following sentence on this article:

LA LISTE国际美食排行榜于2015年由法国人首创,收录165个国家的16000个优秀美食地点,参考500多个专业美食指南和民众在线点评,得分靠前的1000家餐厅进入下一年度全球美食排行榜。

Pleco says the following on the entry for 多个 (the same as MDBG):

  1. many
  2. multiple
  3. multi-

However, all of them seem to make no sense. I feel it is either as many as or more than ~.

So which one is the correct? Or does 500多个 mean more than 500 (like 535) or as many as 500 (emphasize the number)?

Also, does the reverse expression exist (e.g. 多个500)?

  • number + 多个, more than + number, (it is in dictionaries) – user6065 Dec 21 '17 at 0:59
  • @user6065 Which dictionary? I referred to both Pleco and MDBG but they don't have the explanation. – Blaszard Dec 21 '17 at 1:04
  • dictionary: number + 多 more than + number, to count objects must be followed by a measure word, e.g. 个, bkrs: 多:much, many; more than, over, iciba:助 (用在数量词后,表示有零头) more; over; odd; 动 (超出原有的或应有的数量或限度) exceed a number; – user6065 Dec 21 '17 at 1:13
  • see comment #3, bkrs, iciba, it is also discussed in the section on numbers in any grammar, (applies to comment which has meanwhile be erased) – user6065 Dec 21 '17 at 1:16
  • Then what does the 个 mean here? Is it the measure word for 专业美食指南和民众在线点评? – Blaszard Dec 21 '17 at 1:30
up vote 3 down vote accepted

N 多 个 = over N:

Pleco has a bunch of sample sentences:

If you type 多个 open the entry then click SENTS you’ll get something like this:

enter image description here

Which features sentences like:

一百多个人

yībǎi duō ge rén

more than 100 people

and

他们有保留曲目二十多个。

They have a repertoire of over 20 songs.

So 500多个 can be 501 - 599, basically.

  • Great tips! Having used Pleco for 4 years, I didn’t know the cool feature! – Blaszard Dec 21 '17 at 3:19
  • BTW is the 个 a measure word here? – Blaszard Dec 21 '17 at 4:45
  • 1
    Yeah, absolutely. You’ll see variations of it for different objects: 500多本书,500多条狗,500多泡尿,etc. – user3306356 Dec 21 '17 at 4:50
  • Whoa, which font is that? – A O Feb 23 at 9:14
  • @AO in Pleco? FZKaiTi 方正楷体. – user3306356 Feb 23 at 9:31

In this context, it is “500多/个” instead of “500/多个”. “500多” means slightly more than 500. If the number is relatively small, like 10, 20 or 30, and is a whole number, use “几”.

As another example: 200多个人吃了20几桌菜,喝了500多瓶啤酒,一共吃了3个多小时,花了十几万块钱。

  • Then what about 三个多小时?Why is it not 三多个小时? – Blaszard Dec 22 '17 at 16:11
  • @Blaszard Because “N多 个” is only used when N is a multiple of 10, 100, 1000, 10000, etc, but not when N<10. For example, 五十多、一百多、三千多、六万多、六十多万、一百多万…… It is used as an approximation, i.e. using only one significant figure. But 三个多小时 does not actually have the same form. It means “slightly more than three hours, i.e. between 3 and 4. “十多 个 小时” may refer to 11 hours, 12 hours, 13 hours, etc., but “十 个 多 小时” refers to a time period longer than 10 hours, but shorter than 11 hours. – wks Dec 22 '17 at 16:20

If you have 500多 of something, it just means that it is over 500, but fairly close to that. It's similar to saying "over 500." If the number of people were something like 521, saying 500多 would make a lot of sense.

The expression set a base, so people can get a rough idea on how much/many they should spend or have. For example, A: how much is it? B: 500多。Basically, B feels that it's unnecessary to tell the exact number, because A may not want to be that accurate as well.

The similar in English: A: what's the temperature? B: in the 40s. B means the temperature falls into 40 ~ 49.

To add on top of what others have mentioned, "500多个" basically means five hundred and something piece of X. (Edit: Be careful that "多个" is not a word here, the correct way to separate the word would be "500多" + "个")

"500多" Literally means 500 (and) something, or five hundred (and) something, in this context


Some personal rant below


While this kind of usage has already become relatively common nowadays, I would like to advise against writing it out this way with Arabic numbers personally.

Writing the word out with Chinese numbers, like "五百多个" is ok and everybody would understand it directly and immediately, however, if you write "500多个", then it could be confusing to readers even if the reader is native in Chinese, especially at first sight, because all the zeroes have been spelled out in the form of Arabic number despite the "and something" part in the original sentence, and what's worse in Chinese compared to similar English usage is that there isn't even a word function like (and) is this kind of expression. Therefore, Reader might be tempted to think those Arabic numeral zeroes in the sentence might actually mean the round number before they actually read the sentence clearly. To avoid such a situation, it would probably be better to use Chinese numerals instead of Arabic numerals in this expression.

Your Answer

By clicking "Post Your Answer", you acknowledge that you have read our updated terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy, and that your continued use of the website is subject to these policies.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.