Pussy said to the Owl, "You elegant fowl!
How charmingly sweet you sing!
O let us be married! too long we have tarried:
But what shall we do for a ring?"
They sailed away, for a year and a day,



零一天 means "and a day"

but I suspect, spoken in the 21st century, in


零一年 means 2001. Or does it somehow mean "a year ago"??

  • Maybe it should be 零一年,我去「了」内蒙古的桦木沟拍摄
    – dROOOze
    Feb 3, 2021 at 2:53
  • Quote:- ”零一年 means 2001. Or does it somehow mean "a year ago"?? Shouldn't "a year ago" be "一年前"? 零一天 has already being designated to mean "and a day", and to cross-refer 零一年 to somehow mean "a year ago" would need a quantum leap in semantics, or taking poetic license a word too far? Feb 3, 2021 at 4:20
  • That's actually how chinese count, like '一百零一', '一千零一', and for 21st century, it can be dismissed to be less wordy.
    – Shaw
    Feb 3, 2021 at 19:59
  • What could possibly be wrong with "a quantum leap in semantics"? According to Professor Richard Conn Henry, Quantum Mechanics is, and I quote, "trivial"!! I thought it could refer, akin to temperatures (零下二十度)to the previous year. A flexible approach to everything is advisable and sensible!
    – Pedroski
    Feb 4, 2021 at 0:31
  • Quote:- " I thought it could refer, akin to temperatures (零下二十度)to the previous year" In that case you'll need to say -- 零下一年 ?:) Richard Feynman said "If you think you understand quantum mechanics then you don't understand quantum mechanics"? So, obviously Richard Conn Henry don't understand QM? :) Feb 4, 2021 at 4:02

5 Answers 5


As you can see '零一天' means 'and a day' is because there is a '一年' before it.

  • 一年零一天 = one year and a day

  • 二千零一年 = two thousand and one years

  • 二零零一年 = the year 2001

'零一年' is shot for '二零零一年' (the year 2001),

You cannot reduce '二千零一年' to '零一年', but you can reduce '二零零一年' to '零一年'. Just like we can shorten 1997 (the year) to 97, but can't shorten 1,997 (the number) to 97


“零一年” 指的是 2001年,并不是指前一年

例如:我是零零后。 这里的“零零”就是指的2000年

再例如:新中国于四九年成立。 这里的“四九年”指的是1949年

  • 他们荡桨向前,船划了一年零一天; 零一年,我去内蒙古的桦木沟拍摄 这两个句子中的“零一”完全是不一样的意思 Feb 3, 2021 at 2:47

Their difference is simply 零/一天 and 零一/年.


@WOODEN_PICKS 's answer is correct. I would like to elaborate on it.

In order to better understand the difference between "一年零一天" and "零一年", you need to learn to correctly "断句" (split words).

"一年零一天" = "一年/零/一天"

"零一年" = "零一/年"

The usage of "一年/零/一天" comes from how the Chinese read big numbers in Math in Chinese, for example, the number "101" is read "一百/零/一",the number "10001" is read "一万/零/一".

"零一/年" is short for "二零零一/年", ie. the year 2001. Once again, it comes from how the Chinese read big numbers in Math. In theory, "零一/年"can refer to any year ending in "01", i.e. "2001年","1901年","2101年" etc. The actual year it stands for depends on when the writing happened.

After you learn how the Chinese read big numbers in Math, You will have a better understanding of this usage.


It means there is a remaining one year following or added to the time period that comes before to make up the total. What comes before is usually much larger than the remaining one hour, one day, or in this case, one year etc.

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