I have both an older sister and a younger sister, so I often find myself saying:


Another possibility is something like


But both very long winded. And this second one is hard to parse.

Question: What is the most succinct way of explaining that I have an older sister and a younger sister?

I'm thinking I could just say


and whoever is listening would logically infer

  1. if I meant two older sisters, I would say 我有两个姐姐, therefore (since I didn't say that) it does not mean I have two older sisters,
  2. if I meant two younger sisters, I would say 我有两个妹妹, therefore (since I didn't say that) it does not mean I have two younger sisters, and
  3. therefore, the only remaining possibility is that I have an older sister and a younger sister.

But maybe it's only me that thinks like this.

  • 我有姊妹各一。QwQ。。。。。 Dec 25, 2019 at 2:50
  • 我有姊妹各一 is a even more literary form. It reduces the length of a sentence, just like 我有一姊一妺
    – Tang Ho
    Dec 25, 2019 at 2:52
  • Would 我有姐妹各一 work? If I say 姊妹, I think people would just look at me confused; assume I said something wrong.
    – Becky 李蓓
    Dec 25, 2019 at 3:28
  • 1
    @Becky李蓓 Maybe, 我有一姐一妹?
    – dan
    Dec 25, 2019 at 4:52

3 Answers 3



This is good.


This is usually expressed in another way: "我家一共姐仨,我是老二", or "我妈(我爸)有三个闺女,我是老二".


It might work, but I don't often hear it.

And by the way, maybe related to his question or not: If one says "我有两个兄弟", it often means he has two younger brothers (and gives no information about how many older brothers he has), but not two brothers (in all). As fas as I know "姐妹" does not have such usage.


You can say

我有一姊一妹 (I have one older and one younger sister)

In general, using literary form reduce the length of a sentence


"I have three older sisters, one older brother and one younger sister" can be translated as:



"She is the mother of three sons and two daughters" can be translated as:



我有两个姐妹 (I have two sisters)

It is ambiguous. 姐妹 means '(older or young) sister' or 'sisters' in Chinese


Simpler to say 我在三姐妹中排第二

  • Is 姊 acceptable in mainland China?
    – Becky 李蓓
    Dec 25, 2019 at 2:07
  • 1
    @Becky 李蓓 "姊" is more literary than "姐" , but using literary term in day to day speech is very normal, just like we mix idiom and slang in our daily conversation
    – Tang Ho
    Dec 25, 2019 at 2:10
  • 1
    "一姐' could be interpreted as 'boss lady" or "female department head"; '三姐' could be interpreted as a nickname of one person
    – Tang Ho
    Dec 25, 2019 at 2:27
  • Williams sisters = 威廉姆斯姐妹; "Serena Williams had been the top player in tennis for more than a decade" = "塞雷娜·威廉姆斯十多年来一直是网球界的一姐"
    – Tang Ho
    Dec 25, 2019 at 2:42
  • Is 妺 (instead of 妹) is the right character? [Actually they look almost identical...]
    – Becky 李蓓
    Dec 25, 2019 at 3:31

If we're going for succinctness in speech you could opt for something like:


I believe that this is the most natural & shortest way to express this.

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