# Expressing existence with 有: Are measure words compulsory?

I learn a new structure with 有.

Place + 有 + Object

I wonder if measure words are compulsory. I see everyone says: 我家有很多花。以前有一座桥。那个商店没有面包。

But nobody says: 我家有花。以前有桥。

So, are measure words compulsory to precede the object in this structure?

Moreover, are these sentences correct?

(1) 宿舍东便有商店，图书馆和食堂。 (2) 宿舍东边有一家商店，一家图书馆和一个食堂。

"我家有花" and "这里以前有桥" are legit sentences. By not having measure word and classifier, it mean "I have flower in my home" and "there used to be bridge here" -- The quantity or number is unspecified. It can be a single flower or a houseful of it; It can be a single bridge or a few of them. It just stated 'there's flower' and 'there's bridge' in general

If you add measure word and classifier, the quantity or number would become specific

• 我家有(兩盆)花 = I have (two pot of) flower in my home -- Not one, not three, but two

• 这里以前有(一座)桥 = "there used to be (a) bridge here" -- Not two, not three, but one

(1) 宿舍东便有商店，图书馆和食堂。 (2) 宿舍东边有一家商店，一家图书馆和一个食堂。

Both are correct.

Sentence (1) didn't state the number of the objects (there could be any number of stores, libraries and cafeterias)

Sentence (2) specifically stated the number of each object -- (one shop, one library and one cafeteria)

• Thanks so much :D If I replace 有 with 是, is the usage the same? Apr 5, 2020 at 1:20
• "是" = "is"; "有" = "have" (1): "宿舍东便是商店，图书馆和食堂" means "The east of the dormitory are shops, libraries and cafeterias". It describes what things in the east are. (2): "宿舍东便有商店，图书馆和食堂" means "The east of the dormitory have shops, libraries and cafeterias". It describes what the areas in the east have
– Tang Ho
Apr 5, 2020 at 2:02
• As you say, I think in terms of grammar use, they are the same. If I change the Subject, are there any differences in terms of meaning of couples of sentences? (1.1) 桌子上有猫 (1.2) 桌子上是猫 (2.1) 学校里有中国书店 (2.2) 学校里是中国书店 Apr 5, 2020 at 3:26
• if you can tell the difference between "is" and "have" you can tell the difference between 1. 前方是一條看不見盡頭的路 and 2. 前方有一條看不見盡頭的路
– Tang Ho
Apr 5, 2020 at 3:35
• so, you do understand the difference between 'is' and 'have'
– Tang Ho
Apr 5, 2020 at 10:20

Both of them is correct. People can understand what you are talking about. But if you want to express more then one store second option cannot be chosen since second option means there is one thing you specify. First option can mean there are unspecified quantity of things.