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I'd like to know if there are specific ways to use each measure word or all can be use freely.

  • Would it be possible to edit to give a better idea of what this means? I don't understand what it means to use a measure word freely or unfreely, or specifically or unspecifically. (The closest I can imagine is that certain measure words match certain nouns.) – Becky 李蓓 Jan 7 at 3:57
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Quote:- "I'd like to know if there are specific ways to use each measure word or all can be use freely"

If I understand the question correctly, my answer is:-

(1) there are specific ways to use each "measure word" Just like in English or I suspect any other language, you have measure words like a "troop" of monkeys, a "flock" of birds, and you could not say a flock of monkeys or a troop of birds, so too in Chinese.

(2) therefore, no, not all measure words can be used freely. Like you could say "十条鱼", or "十本书", and never "十本鱼" or "十条书"

However, one measure word could, in a limited capacity, be used "freely", and it is "个" (gè) It is a go-to measure word when you are at a sudden loss for the correct measure word.

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  • Collective nouns are a bit different to measure words, e.g. in “one bird” or “100 birds”, we cannot add in a collective noun, but we’d need a measure word in the Chinese equivalent. – Becky 李蓓 Mar 15 at 22:28
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Not all measure words can be used freely. For example 一片披薩 in English: a slice of pizza, people don't say 一間披薩. This example shows that you cannot use it freely 一間 cannot be used on 披薩(pizza). While people can use 一間披薩店 in English: a pizza store. This example shows that 一間 can be used on 披薩店(pizza store).

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