I came across this sentence:

Yī rén shuō yī jù.
Each person say one sentence.

There are no measure words after either of the 一's. Is it a rule that you don't have to use measure words for singular items?

1 Answer 1


The full version is 一个人说一句话. 句 is a measure word here. 一人说一句 follows a speaking cadence. It can also be briefed as 一人一句 colloquially when context is clear(we know the intended action is - 说). The purpose of this omission is to make it follow a kind of speaking pattern '一人' 说 '一句'. Another example is 一日一字(a character, a day) which is the title of a TV program in the long past.

We don't usually omit 个 in a full sentence especially in writing. E.g. 一个人的日子不好过. You would probably only see 一人的日子不好过 in a poet or lyrics.

It's interesting to know that 一 xxx 一 xxx is a pattern to express an idea briefly. E.g. 一人一个,一人一句,一人一本,一日一练,一天一根,etc.

Hope this could help.

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