A photo from the campus shop:

Bottles of yogurt and a sign with writing 纯享促销 7元/并
(large image)

I transcribe and translate this to:

纯享促销 7元/并
Purejoy promotion: 7 yuan/bottle

(Here, Purejoy (纯享 chúnxiǎng) is a brand of yogurt.)

I'm confused about 7元/并, and in particular why (bìng) = "and" is written and not (píng) = "bottle".

Question: Why is 7元/并 written instead of 7元/瓶?

Possible explanations:

  1. 并 is an abbreviation for 瓶 (which I think is the most likely case).
  2. It's just incorrect.
  3. A unit of this product is called a "并", which I haven't heard of before.
  • 2
    That's nothing but a loose writing, usually because the clerk is very busy so they made an easy-but-understandable tag words. Apparently, the correct word is 瓶.
    – dan
    Jul 24, 2018 at 8:31
  • Human introduces languages to communicate, as long as you can fully understand its meanings, it is fine. Jul 24, 2018 at 12:19
  • It is an incorrect abbreviation (though people can understand), since 并 is the left half of 瓶. The reason they wrote it like this may include: they were lazy, there forgot how to wrote the other half of 瓶, and there were not enough space in the card to wrote the other half of 瓶.
    – Steve Yang
    Jul 24, 2018 at 18:21
  • I've seen waiters write 旦 for 蛋, because I assume it's easier and faster to write when the place is busy and both words sound same. Jan 18 at 14:04

9 Answers 9


I'd say both you 1 and 2 apply here.

It is is an "abbreviation". A lot of characters can take a more simple form in handwriting, to make writing easier. It is not a correct form. It is not standardized.

Some of the character forms come from an abandoned simplification scheme in China: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_round_of_simplified_Chinese_characters, some of them are just made up in daily life.

I'd say I would treat this as incorrect. I do not have much difficulty recognizing the label, with the very specific context where it is used. But without the context, I'm not sure if I can recognize it as a simplification of "瓶".

  • “瓶” doesn't seem to appear on any list of second round simplifications: babelstone.co.uk/CJK/N3695.html
    – Mou某
    Jul 24, 2018 at 9:51
  • Yeah, I checked the list before answering. There are a lot of man-made simplifications not on any lists.
    – fefe
    Jul 24, 2018 at 12:26

You can see that 并 is the left half of the character 瓶. And my guess is it would be quite crowded and messy to write the more complicated standard version with a marker pen on this label, or the shop assistant is simply being lazy. However based on my personal experience this substitution is quite rare.


It's incorrect

Chinese abbreviation won't squeeze character form.

But there was a thing called 二简字, which is an abbreviation for 二次简化字.

We all know Chinese is simplified in main land, it was simplified twice, the second simplification only live for a short time due to the criticism.

Though 二简字 is not allowed to use, we can still see the 二简字 on signs, 禁止停车 -> 禁止仃车, 快餐 -> 快歺

I don't like 二简字, it looks like very ugly.


It's an abbreviation, but it's wrong and not a standard, people are just too lazy to write it. You may see similar case: "早餐" => "早歺"


This could perhaps be a doctors handwriting.

The paper 某中心医院四个月不合理处方分析, under the heading 2.1 处方书写不规范, notes:



2.1.1 有错别字夥书写不规范 医生忙于接待病人,忽略了处方书写的质量,造成书写不规范、缺项、书写错误等。如有的医生为省事随意简化汉字,把“瓶”写成“并”,把“胶囊”写成“胶束”等。处方管理规定中要求一律书写通用名,但有些医生依然书写商品名,如将“琥乙红霉素片”写成“利君沙”。书写不规范,容易使药师在调剂时发生差错,也容易使患者错误用药。

Which mentions:


The article also mentions the "non-standard handwriting" of doctors which calls to mind doctors handwriting.


they're just lazy, and you can easily find the true meaning of 元/并, if you familiar to Chinese. in English, are you OK? sometimes simplify to r u ok


Because the person wrote it wrong. This is just like poor selling in English. In this case, the wrong Chinese character was used.


The very possible reason is:The writer was a poor-educated person (may just finished Grade 2 and never got chance to lean the word “瓶”)


From the top characters, I think the person is educated and know how to write 瓶. My guess is that there's simply not enough room, or whoever writes this is lazy. This is not one of the second round of simplified characters. Option 2 is the answer, it is incorrect, and the writer expects ppl to understand it within the context.

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