I came across these translated examples:

  1. [Talking about a place]:


    Mínɡnián xiàtiān wǒ dǎsuàn qù yí cì

    I plan to go there next summer.

  2. 三年以前我去过上海,去年我又去了一次,明年我想再去一次

    Sān nián yǐqián wǒ qùguò shànghǎi, qùnián wǒ yòu qùle yīcì, míngnián wǒ xiǎng zài qù yīcì.

    I went to Shanghai three years ago, I went there again last year, and I want to go again next year.

In English (or Spanish), typically we would not say "you go one time to a place", one time is already implied in the verb to go and it feels weird to state it unless you want to emphasize for some reason "you are going just one time". Why 一次 is specified in these examples? Previously, I had understood the use of 一次 in the second example was required for 又 and 再, however the first example does not have any special structure.

  • 1
    I’m not sure about Spanish, but in English the “one time” idea is very common in colloquial language. “I’m going to take a trip to Shanghai”, “I’m going to have a nap”, “I’m going to have a feed”...
    – dROOOze
    Aug 11, 2020 at 23:34

4 Answers 4


Grammatically, 次 is a verbal classifier (a classifier proper), which expresses how many times the action indicated by the verb occurs. The origin of your confusion comes because classifiers are not used in English but they are natural in Chinese.

Classifiers (verbal or nominal) must come with a numeral phrase. In this sense, the numeral 一 (one) might be interpreted here having more a grammatical function than a semantic function (i.e., it doesn't carry enough meaning to be translated in the target language). Indeed, it is possible to omit the entire numeral phrase 一次 and just say 明年夏天我打算去, provided the place is clear from the context.

As an example, the sentence 我昨天买了一本书 presents a slight ambiguity, right? It could be "Yesterday I bought a book" ("one" has grammatical function, translated as indefinite article) or "Yesterday I bought one book" ("one" has semantic function, translated as "one"). Though without further context, you should favor the former, because of what I said above.

Finally, whereas the number "one" may or may not be semantically relevant, any other numeral is likely to be so.

As always, check the context:

老朱呢?我来叫他一声 = Where's Lao Zhu at? Let me call him ("one" is grammatical)

我叫了他两声,他还不听 = I called him twice, he still doesn't listen ("two" is semantic)

那本书我不太记得,我只看了一遍 = I don't quite remember that book, I only read it once ("one" is semantic)

请你来帮我一下忙 = please give me a hand ("one" is grammatical)

我被他骂了一堆 = He scolded me badly (literally, a pile) (verbal measure word (!), "one" is grammatical)


I think it's not anything but convention here. You can say 我明年还想再去 in Chinese if you don't want to specify one time.

我明年还想再去一次 means I want to go there one more time.

  • But what is it more normal when you speak in Chinese: to specify 一次 or not?
    – Puco4
    Aug 11, 2020 at 2:50
  • 1
    @Puco4 It depends on what you want to say. Both are normal. If you feel you like the place and you can't visit often because cost, distance, etc but you want to visit it one more time, you can say 我还要再来一次. If you feel the place is very nice and you want to visit more times(but not sure how many'), you can say 我还想再来.
    – dan
    Aug 11, 2020 at 4:30

Why don't you just think of 一次 as 'once' and 再一次 as 'once again'?

I went to Shanghai once 3 years ago,
last year I went there once again,
and next year I'm going another time. (didn't want to repeat once again again)

Hace tres años me fui una vez a Shanghai, pero no me gustó en nada.
I went to Shanghai once 3 years ago, but I didn't like it.


Because we lack of adverb that describes "again". So we have to specifically use "once more" to describe "again". 再一次 function as again.

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