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Recently I came across a lesson in a textbook that was about money, numerals, and quantities in general. There was a puzzling entry claiming that 1000.20元 should be pronounced as 一千块零二毛。 Honestly, I don't get how is there a 零 after 块? I mean, shouldn't 一千块 already mean that we're done with the integer part, in a way, and we're about to tell the fraction? Or do I get it wrong completely?

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This has nothing to do with counters but the numerating system.

Whenever there is a jump in the place values - in your case, a jump from 1 thousand dollars (千塊) to 2 0.1 dollars (毛) - 零 must be inserted in between for the sake of completeness. (You may think of $1000.2 as having 0 百塊, 十塊, and 塊, hence the jump.)

So you would expect the same goes for 1050 as 一千零五十, not 一千五十, because 十 does not immediately follow 千, or equivalently, 百 is missing.

Conversely, for 1500, no 零 is needed between 一千 and 五百, because the 百 counter immediately follows 千. Some may argue both are fine, but frankly 一千五百 is more concise and understandable.

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  • So, in that case, 1000.02元 is..? – Simullacra Feb 26 at 6:36
  • @Simullacra 一千元零二仙 – L Parker Feb 26 at 7:25
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    You can shorten 一千五百 to 一千五。 – joehua Feb 26 at 7:35
  • Or more colloquially 千五; but dropping of 百 is only allowed when there are two place values in the number only and the one dropped is immediately smaller than the other. The 一 from 一千五 is understandably dropped because there is only that one thousand. – L Parker Feb 26 at 7:54
  • 一千五 is a quite common practice in daily conversation. 千五 is not, it can have any number from 1 to 9 in front of 千. In OP's case, 零 represents the decimal point, similar to "one thousand point 2 dollars", or "one thousand dollars and twenty cents". If eliminated, it will cause confusion - .一千块二毛錢 :) – r13 Mar 29 at 4:01

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