1

I was reading about 《三只半虾》 齐白石, 以画虾享誉画坛。

三只虾:3 prawns

半虾:half a prawn

一半只虾: half a prawn

三只半虾:3 and 1 half prawns?? or 3 half prawns = 1 and 1 half prawns??

*三半只虾???= ?

1
3

三只虾:3 prawns

good

半虾:half a prawn

Wrong. It should be 半只虾

一半只虾: half a prawn

Wrong. See above.

三只半虾:3 and 1 half prawns?? or 3 half prawns = 1 and 1 half prawns??

Three and a half prawns.

Chinese grammar wiki has a page about Expressing half with ban.

The structure "Number + Measure Word + 半 + Noun" means "Number and a half nouns"

2

三只半 = 三只 + 半只 = 3.5只

三半只虾 Is wrong, but you can say 三个半只虾, which means there are 3 pieces, and each piece is a half prawn. It doesn't equal to 1.5 只虾 (一只半虾), because there is not a complete one.

1

3.5只。

‘半’ following a measure word means 'and a half' (e.g. 两年半: two years and a half; 三只半虾:three prawns and a half), while followed by a mearsure word it means 'half a' (e.g. 半只虾: half a prawn).

2
  • 两年半 doesn't have any measure word – blackgreen Aug 7 '20 at 21:04
  • 两年半 is actually a shorter form of 两年半(时间)and the latter is quite common in both written and spoken language (e.g 这个项目花了我两年半时间。It took me 2 years to finish the project.). So here 年 is better to be interpreted as a measure word - it specifies the time is measured by 'year', instead of 'day/week' etc, and would make more sense in the general 'number + measure word + noun' framework in Chinese. – Mu Young Aug 9 '20 at 8:26

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.