7

I know a similar question has already been answered but I still have a lot of doubts.

To my understanding if a number is ≤9, you need to put "多" after the measure word (or after the name if it doesn't require a measure word), for example:

两年多, 两个多小时, 两公斤多苹果, 四公里多

and if the number is >9, you need to put "多" before the measure word, for example:

二十多年, 二十多个小时, 二十多公斤苹果, 四十多公里

When I told my friend "十一多年" he corrected me with "十一年多" saying that if the number ends with a number which is not 0 (like 1 or 2), you have to put "多" after the measure word, but if the number ends with a 0, you have to put "多" before the measure word (二十多年), except for 10, which requires "多" after the measure word (十年多).

I then asked for another example, this time with 天 instead of 年. In this case he said that both "十多天" and "十天多" are acceptable. The first one with the meaning of "from 10 to 20 days" and the second one with the meaning of "from 10 to 10.1/10.2/10.3/... days".

I thought of an example that was written in that other question I linked at the beginning. If you add "多" at the end it refers to a number with decimals:

"$50.5"(五十元多) or "$55"(五十多元)

In fact apparently this is also the case of "小时"

十个小时多=from 10 to 11 (10.3 / 10.8...) or 十个多小时=from 10 to 20 hours

If I understood correctly this would add to the rules I wrote above a third one: if the "多" is at the end of a sentence the number will gain the meaning of a number with decimals. But why this is not the case of 年? Also, because of that I guess it's not correct to say, for example, "两多张床", because you can't really count bed with a number with a decimal. How do I say "more than two beds" then?

Are there specific rules depending on the measure word?

3

In my opinion, all the measure words, including 年,小时,and etc, work the same way. Let's take 年 for example.

  1. 多年 should be used only after numbers x10, like 10, 20, 30, .... For example, 十多年:teens; 20多年:twenties; 30多年:thirties; ... ... 90多年:nineties(90-99); Thus, you can't say 9多年,11多年,...
  2. 年多 can be used after any positive integer numbers like, 1,2,3,...,100,...; 年多 connotes a bit more than, usually less than 1 year. For example, 4年 > 3年多 > 3年.

The same thing for other measure words. Both 五十元多 and 五十多元 are correct, but mean differently. "十个小时多=from 10 to 11 (10.3 / 10.8...) or 十多个小时=from 10 to 20 hours" is correct too. But expressions like 55多小时 and 55多元 are incorrect.

As for the specific question "How do I say "more than two beds" then?", you can use 多于, 不止 or 比...多. More: 多; than: 比 or 于, so more than: 比...多, or 多于; For example, there are more than two beds in my home: 我家的床多于两张; 我家的床比两张多; 我家的床不止两张;

  • Thanks for the reply. I'm replying to you but I'm responding to @Bruce too because by reading your and his answer I noticed a difference. You said 十个多小时 means "from 10 to 20 hours", but Bruce said it's 十多个小时 that means "from 10 to 20 hours". I made a little scheme about 天 and 年 to make things clear. I would like to know if this is correct and make a version for hours too. Thanks! – Don't Care Jun 28 '18 at 12:55
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    @Don'tCare, Oops, I haven't paid more attention on that. I just copied it from your question. 十个多小时 means a bit above 10 hours. 十多个小时 means from 10 to 20 hours. I will edit my answer. – dan Jun 28 '18 at 13:00
  • Thanks! That makes things clearer. What about my scheme? Can you confirm that is correct? – Don't Care Jun 28 '18 at 13:16
  • The scheme in your question is not proper. if the number is >9, you need to put "多" before the measure word, 二十多年, well, you can still put 二十年多, but means differently. That's the main difference between your scheme and mine. – dan Jun 28 '18 at 13:33
  • Isn't that what I wrote? 十一年多 (because it's not x10) and 二十多年 (because it's x10). Actually I'm talking about the scheme I posted in the first comment, not the one in the question. – Don't Care Jun 28 '18 at 13:54
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I’d like to cite Liu Yuehua 刘月华.

Liu’s Chinese grammar (实用现代汉语语法), the part on numbers and measure words, the section about words that are added after numbers to express approximation, states:

数词后加上表示概数的词语。主要有“来”、“多”、。。。。。
[多] “多”表示比前面的数词所表示的数目略多。如“二十多个(人)”,“五百多斤(米)”。“多”的位置以及用法与“来”一样:
A 数词(以0结尾)+多+量词(各种量词)(+名词)
B 数词(以1。。。9结尾及10)+量词(表示连续量)+“多”+名词

So, if the number ends in 0, the 多 follows directly, followed by any measure and, in the end, an optional noun.
If the number ends in 1 to 9 or in 10, it is followed by a measure (describing continuity?), then the 多, and finally a noun.

I didn’t read through the longer description of “来“, so I cannot say if there are any exceptions that would also apply to “多” (since Liu says 多 is used similarly to 来).

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I never think about these rules you concluded because I'm a native speaker... When I look into your rules, I find this interesting. But let's see this, I changed a little bit from your cases:

十个小时多=from 10 to 11 (10.3 / 10.8...) or 十个多小时=from 10 to 11 (10.3 / 10.8...) 
十小时多=from 10 to 11 (10.3 / 10.8...) or 十多小时/十多个小时/十几小时/十几个小时=from 10 to 20 hours 
十一个小时多=from 11 to 12 (11.3 / 11.8...) or 十一个多小时=from 11 to 12 (11.3 / 11.8...)
十一小时多=from 11 to 12 (11.3 / 11.8...) or 十一多小时(no such expression)

Actually, 十多个小时 is the same as 十几个小时 =from 10 to 20 hours. In my opinion, 十个多小时 is still =from 10 to 11. And if you have already mentioned 十一, then it should not be 十一多小时, the same, we don't say 十一多年. I know this may make you more confused. But be careful, you're using two measure/unit words when you describe hours:个(measure word) and 小时(measure word or unit word)。If you remove the measure word 个, it is the same rule you describe 小时 and 年, because here, the 小时 and 年 are both measure words and unit words。 When you add measure word 个, then the 小时 becomes only unit word.

In all your cases, 小时 is very special because you can add measure word -- 个 among the number and unit word.

I find a section to give you more info: 在常见的外语中,一般来说可数名词没有量词,直接把数词后面跟随可数名词,例如:three dogs。外国人学习汉语时,常常对可数名词使用量词感到别扭,记忆量词与可数名词的固定搭配用法就更困难了。全世界各种语言中,不可数名词都要与作为度量单位的量词搭配使用,这是普遍的必然规律,例如:一张纸 a piece of paper; 三克糖 three grams of sugar; 两杯水 two cups of water. 所以语言学家研究的焦点是可数名词的量词这一汉语特有的语法现象。

OK. Let's see the next topic, if you want to say more than two beds, you may just say 几张床 or 多张床,though 几张床/多张床= more than 1 beds. Or you can just say 两张床以上, or you can say approximate numbers, such as 三四张床/七八张床... There is a special fixed usage: 三五张床/三五个人/三五只猫, it may because there is an idiom in Chinese, called 三五成群. You cannot use other expressions like 四六张床 or 六八张床.

Hope you're still having a clear mind now. :)

  • Thanks for the reply! I replied to you too in @dan 's post because I noticed some differences between your posts. Glad if you could check out that comment :) – Don't Care Jun 28 '18 at 12:57
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    I think @dan will make a modification on his answer. Anyway, let me know if you have any other question. – Bruce Huang Jun 28 '18 at 13:09
  • Yes, he edited it and now things are clearer. Anyway I would like an answer to another related question. That friend of mine who corrected me yesterday also made me this example: 十二多个小时. But according to what I learned shouldn't it bee 十二个多小时 or 十二个小时多? Maybe that was an error on his side? – Don't Care Jun 28 '18 at 13:25
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    We don't say 十二多个小时, just say 十二个小时多,十二小时多,十二个多小时。See also 十二元多,we don't say 十二多元,but we can say 五十多元, When I see the answer by @Philipp, the reason is 50以0结尾。 – Bruce Huang Jun 28 '18 at 13:41
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    @Don'tCare, I already pointed out 多年 should be used only after numbers x10 in my answer. 12 is not any numbers of x10, so 十二多个小时 is incorrect. Well, 十二个多小时 is correct because 年多 can be used after any positive integer numbers like, 1,2,3,...,100,.... I think you should read answers one more time to digest. :) – dan Jun 28 '18 at 13:45

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