Sometimes we use 儿化 (érhuà) without it changing the meaning of the word, e.g., (mén; door, gate) becomes 门儿 (ménr).

However, some Chinese words contain 儿化-izable words, such as 门口 (ménkǒu; doorway, gate), and I intuitively feel that it's incorrect to apply 儿化 mid-word, giving 门儿口 in this case. I want to check if my intuition is correct.

Question: Is it incorrect to use 儿化 inside a word?

Other examples are:

  • 小孩子 (xiǎoháizi; child) contains 小孩 (xiǎohái; child), which can be turned into 小孩儿 (xiǎoháir; child) without changing the meaning, but it feels incorrect to write 小孩儿子.
  • 玩具 (wánjù; toys) contains (wán; to play), which can be turned into 玩儿 (wánr) without changing the meaning, but it feels incorrect to write 玩儿具.
  • To my knowledge, -儿, -子 won't come together in a word.
    – tsh
    Commented May 14, 2018 at 7:53

4 Answers 4


"门儿口", "小孩儿子" and "玩儿具" are all incorrect, we don't say that. In the final analysis this is an idiomatic usage issue.

For example we say 东便门儿, 西便门儿; but we don't say "天安门儿". (There's a historical reason behind.)

Particularly, 小孩儿 and 小孩子 have similar meaning and usage, "小孩儿子" sounds repetitive and redundant. 玩儿 is usually used as a verb, you can say 玩儿游戏, 玩儿手机, 玩儿玩具; but not 玩儿具, 古玩儿, 玩儿笑.

Is it incorrect to use 儿化 inside a word?

Yes you can, but only in the specified cases; i.e. in which conforming to the idiomatic usages. e.g. 锅儿挑, 巴儿狗.

It is known that it's hard to summarize logical rules for 儿化音. This 北京话儿化词典.pdf might help you.


One of the most common words in Chinese has er-hua right smack dab in the middle of it: 嗝儿屁.

I don't have much to add that hasn't already been said, but I want to show you a neat little trick using Pleco. I'm pretty sure most Chinese learners have a copy of Pleco installed on their smartphones or tablets. Here's something you can do to find er-hua words. You can search the following in your version of the app:




The wonderful thing about pinyin is that 儿 as er-hua will always be noted as:


in MSM and not er. Here both @ and ? can work as wildcards, so it will return everything with er-hua inside of two other characters. Like so:

enter image description here

...and the list is long...

You can also try:


Which will now return words with two wildcard characters at the beginning + erhua in the middle + something at the end.


and again: the list is long.

The last thing you might want to know is that:


also works as a wildcard for zero to three characters.

So you could search:


or even


for zero to six characters, potentially, surrounding erhua.


Not everybody in China use "儿化". People in Beijing and other places around it usually use "儿化". It is like a local habit instead of a common rule of Chinese language.

So most of time it depends on your feeling, people will say "大门儿" but not "门儿口", and people will say "玩儿玩具" but not "玩玩儿具" or "玩儿玩儿具". That because people think it isn't read fluently.


"儿" is just used to make it easier to say it. It will not change the mean.

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