# Difference between 十几个人 and 几十个人

I read somewhere that in order to express "over a number of things/people" we can use this pattern: (multiples of ten)+几+classifier+noun like 十几个人:more than ten people (less than 20) However, somewhere else I came across this pattern 几+十+classifier+noun The sequence of 十 and 几 are exactly reversed in these two patterns. I wonder if these two patterns have the same meaning or not?

• 几十 >= 20 not > 20 Sep 1 '21 at 8:21
• @xenophōn but people will just say 20 when it is exactly 20 :) Sep 1 '21 at 14:43

So the latter has more people.

Generally, the 几 in the word means that this number can be chosen arbitrarily from all numbers greater then 2, so 几百个人 is 200-999 people.

If you just want to express that there are a lot of people, then you usually put 几 in front to show there is more.

• Feel like 几 usually indicates >= 2... Aug 25 '21 at 14:48
• Yep, sorry my bad. (Actually I am a native Chinese, how on earth did I make that mistake??) Aug 25 '21 at 14:49

My answer might not be how teachers would explain this typically, but here it is..

When you ask someone 這東西有幾個(几个)?, you can think of 幾(几) as a character that represents the uncertainty of counts.

So for "這東西有幾個", you can view it as "這東西有?個"

Same rule applies to your question:

Same rule also applies when you want to answer:

^ This however only makes sense if the count is under a hundred.
If more than a hundred, then we typically use 多: