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I was reading a short story on Du Chinese and came across this phrase 一大亩瓜田。 The app described 亩 as a classifier for fields.

I haven't learned yet of the adjective coming before the classifier. Is this just limited to certain adjectives or situations? Is it because 大 is describing the whole unit of the melon field, or some other reason I'm not aware?

Thanks for your help.

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大 or 小 before a classifier describes the size or amount of it

Example:

一堆 = a pile of; 一大堆 = a large pile of; 一小堆 = a small pile of

堆 is not a measurement unit but a description of a form. The adjective 大 or 小 roughly describes the object's size in this form

In the case of 一大亩, since 亩 is a measurement unit, there is no difference in size between 一亩田 and 一亩地; 這一亩 and 那一亩. The adjective '大' (big) is, therefore, a subjective description for emphasis (the speaker considers 一亩 is a big area)

  • 一 (number)

  • 大 (size/ amount)

  • 亩 (classifier; measurement unit)

  • 一亩田 = one mu of field (the speaker is stating the actual size of the field, which is 667 square meters)

  • 一大亩田 = one big mu of field (the speaker consider 667 square meters is a big area)

Another classifier for 田 is 片, which is not a measurement unit:

一片田 = a field

一大片田 = a large field

(大 or 小 roughly describes the size of the classifier 片)

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  • similarly, in English you could say "a huge ton of iron" but a ton cannot be big, small, or huge, it can only ever be a ton. so the "huge" is emphatic Dec 11 '20 at 9:01
  • @小奥利奥 That's why saying 我家有一大畝田,你家只有一小畝田 doesn't make sense because it is illogical to consider 一畝 big and small at the same time.
    – Tang Ho
    Dec 11 '20 at 9:32
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亩 here is a classifier for fields, so 一大亩瓜田 translates to " a large chunk of melon field" or more concisely "a large field of melons". 大 comes before 亩 because it's describing the chunk (of field) not the melons.

亩 also has a more common meaning as a specific measuring area metric, roughly a Chinese acre. It wouldn't make sense to modify the quantity of a metric unit, just as you wouldn't say "a big acre" or "a small acre".

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