YouDao has an example of 我去洗把脸:

Zhīdàole, mā. Wǒ qù xǐ bǎ liǎn, ràng zìjǐ qīngxǐng yīxiē.
I see, Mummy. I'm going to wash my face and wake myself up.

and I just encountered it in the Chinese TV series 如果蜗牛有爱情, with the English title When a Snail Falls in Love (Wikipedia), in the first episode on QQ about 15 minutes, 49 seconds in:

 我去洗把脸 in subtitles

There's similar examples at YouDao for 洗把脸.

It seems weird to me to put 把 in 洗把脸. I would expect 我去洗脸 or 我洗脸去. YouDao indicates 我要去洗脸了 and 把脸洗 are good choices.

Question: Why is 把 in 我去洗把脸?

I see no real reason for 把 to be in there. My guess is that it's a variation on 把脸洗.

  • Note that 把脸洗 on its own is not valid. As a preposition, 把 requires that the object have some kind of complement, and also that the object undergo some kind of perceptible change, in order to be grammatical. That makes it impossible for 我去洗把脸 to be a variation of 我去把脸洗: the latter is simply ungrammatical as it stands. Jul 9, 2018 at 10:01

2 Answers 2


is used as 量词 (measure word) here.




It's usually used in spoken language, has similar meaning with 次/下. So 洗把脸 is similar to 洗一次脸/洗一下脸, but sounds more vivid and direct.


It is a quantifier, used to count or to express times and frequency.

一洗把脸 means wash my face once. Here the 把 is not a verb but a quantifier. You can view it as an idiom.

Similarly, you can use 把 to express how many times you play(usually video or PC games), such as: I am gonna play a round of PUBG ~ 来一把"吃鸡"(PUBG has a Chinese name called 吃鸡, originated from Winner winner, chicken dinner, so we call it 吃鸡,literally eat chicken (dinner)).

If you ask why do we use 把 to express quantities in this situation, I don't even know, that's why it is idiom, so try play with it, maybe you'll make mistakes, but it's fine.

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