The word 本子 means "notebook". So by analogy, it is deduced that the measure word for it, must be 本 just like 一本书

But in Chinese learning materials, I see this word coming with the measure word 个.

Is 一本本子 grammatically incorrect? Or it just sounds weird and abnormal?

  • Perhaps for completeness, I should add that it is not "grammatically" wrong to say 一本本子. My answer primarily is to try and clear your query as to why your learning material uses 个 and not the customary one of 本. Your objective as a probationary learner, perhaps studying for some formal tests, is to confirm yourself to the learning material version which is prepared by people learned in the language. Out of the classroom, you are free to delve into some of the quirky nuances of the Chinese language which has fertile scope for imaginative wordplay, which you will soon learn as you progress. Jan 1, 2022 at 4:13
  • I meant to say "... to confine yourself...." Jan 1, 2022 at 4:32

5 Answers 5


一本本子 is grammatically correct,but sounds weird,because of redundant.if we use 一本本子,it sounds like a stammer.


Measure words are not restricted to be used on a certain object simply because certain words appear in it or form part of the object.

Though the word "notebook" has the word "book", (书), in it, it is not a book as such but an "article" with which you perform certain tasks with, notably to make written entries.

Thus you don't buy a notebook to read, like a "book", but to do something with it.

An analogy is the word 秘书, (secretary), which has the word 书 in it. You don't call a secretary 一本秘书 simply because the word 书 appears, but 一名秘书

Thus a notebook, 本子, is not functionally treated as a book, but an article for work performance, like any other article. Hence 一个本子


The answer of Wayne Cheah is correct.

I'd like to add a couple of references to Mainland's videos about 一个本子.

Video 1. Teacher says: 对了,一个本子

Video 2. 个本子挺可爱...🙂🙁 (in the title and ones in subtitles).

Besides, the measure word used at the following page is always :


And in the dictionary《现代汉语词典》the following example sentences can be found (it is never used the measure word 本):

  • 两个本子都是宋本。(see 本子)
  • 用纸订成一个本子。(see 订)
  • 一个本子上的文字抄写到另一个本子上。(see 过录)

一本本子is correct. 一個本子sounds like what foreign born Chinese, who don't learn proper measure words, would use. Since 個 is a generic measure word, they tend to use it for everything, such as 一個房子,一個汽車,一個鋼琴, etc., instead of 一間(棟)房子,一部汽車,一架鋼琴.


一本本子 is correct, and it is not weird in any way. However, it is preferred to say 一本筆記本子, 一本素描本子,..etc.

I don't want to criticize your learning material without knowing its context, but the correctness of 一個本子 is quite subjective (or objectionable), as 個 is not a common unit classifier for quantifying things like "book(書)", "paper(紙)", "sheet(床單/被子/蚊帳)". So, avoid the use of 一個本子 if it refers to a booklet consisting of blank papers bound together (a notepad/notebook) that is for writing use.


However, as noted by others, 一個本子 can be correct when the "本子" refers to 劇本(戲碼), "playbook", a written book for "play". For this case 一個本子 = 一個劇本 and 一本本子 = 一本劇本, all are correct. But again, 一個劇, 一個戲 are questionable, which shall be avoided.

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