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If I spent 100.50, would I have to say, "一百块零五毛" if yes, why do I have to put the "ling" after the "kuai" since "yibaikuai" already establishes the number 100?

  • It has nothing to do for the number 100. ¥1.50 can be read as "一块零五毛". "零" is there to show that you have something more than some "块"s, and that something is smaller than a whole "块". – fefe Jun 23 '18 at 5:55
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We say "one hundred dollars and fifty cents" in English. 零 functions the same as 'and' , of course you can say "one hundred dollars fifty cents" or "一百块五毛" but that would make it sound like the phrase is broken into two parts –

If it is "一百五十五块五毛" ($155.50) , we don't put 零 between "块" and "毛" ; we only add 零 when the previous digit is zero

Examples:

"一百五十块零五毛" ($150.50)- last digit of 'dollar' is zero, therefore 零 is added before '五毛'

"一百五十五块五毛" ($155.50)- last digit of 'dollar' is not zero, therefore 零 is not added before '五毛'

"一百万零五千元" (One million and five thousand dollars) - need 零 between 一百万 and 五千元 because the last digit of million is a zero

"一百二十五万四千三百二十一元 ($1,254,321)- no 零 needed

"Five hundred and five dollars" ($505) = 五百零五元

"Five hundred fifty five dollars" ($555) =五百五十五元

  • Thank you especially for clarifying that 零 functions the same as "and" in case the last digit is 0, honestly made everything clear. – BoomPhrasing Jun 23 '18 at 6:53
  • I feel this has more to do with prosody than anything else. Chinese is quite a rhythmic language. – Vitaly Osipov Jun 25 '18 at 1:08
  • @Vitaly Osipov Same in English, "one million and five thousand dollars" sound more natural than "one million, five thousand dollars" – Tang Ho Jun 25 '18 at 1:21
  • @TangHo Maybe it does, yet from my uneducated point of view prosody is way more important in day-to-day spoken Chinese than in eg. English (prose). – Vitaly Osipov Jun 25 '18 at 1:30

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