So I’ve read that 部 is used for machines, films and literature. So does that mean I can use 部 for words like 书,词典, etc even though they usually go with 本?

  • 那部电影把我吓得要死。 this can also work and here 那 may be pronounced nei4 (especially in Taiwan) and it normally comes before a MW (measure word) and means those. =)
    – Abe Shudug
    Oct 24 '18 at 20:24

The answer is sometimes.

The reference to literature does not refer to physical books, but to works of literature. E.g.


(The) twelve greatest 21st century novels chosen by the BBC

The case with 字典 and 詞典 is different, as it can refer to the "work" or to the "book".


The first (character) dictionary in China, the Shuowen Jiezi

Note that poetry collection 詩集 can also be used in this way, although individual poems not so.

書 wouldn't go with 部 - it doesn't refer to a work.


besides the distinction between the physical book and the work, 部 also implies the massive body of content and the grandeur theme.

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