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I've read in the Chinese Grammar Wiki, that if you want to express "which", you have to use the following sentence structure:

Subj. + Verb + 哪个 (+ Noun) ?

But in the book HSK Standard Course 1, there is the following question:

你是哪国人? (The book translates it to "Which country are you from?".)

Why is in this case the word 个 omitted before 国?

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  • Okay I have answered it myself. It seems that the sentence structure in the Chinese Grammar Wiki is incomplete. In the HSK1 book it is stated that for the use of the interrogative pronoun 哪, the structure is "哪 + measure word/noun + noun".
    – HSK1
    Mar 9, 2022 at 10:09
  • Hi, I read your comment only after I wrote my answer. Sorry for the possible redundancy. Mar 9, 2022 at 11:10
  • No, it wasn't redundant. I didn't know that 你是哪个国家的人 would also be possible to say. Thank you!
    – HSK1
    Mar 9, 2022 at 11:17

2 Answers 2

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Two clarifications, one about the structure, the other about the measure word.

1) The structure

Subj. + Verb + 哪个 (+ Noun) ?

The above structure cannot be generalized and applied to all contexts. It's just an example. Another example structure can be:

哪 (+ Noun) + Verb + Object?

As you can see, in the above structure, the interrogative particle 哪+Noun is the subject of the sentence.

2) The measure word

The measure word 个, as well all other measure words, is not related to the interrogative particle 哪, but to the noun. I mean that you could also need to say, for example, 哪位, 哪些, 哪台, 哪本, etc. according to the measure word the following noun needs.

你是哪国人?

You could also say 你是哪个国家的人?But I would prefer the already commonly used shorten form 哪国人.

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The difference of 哪 and "哪个" is that "哪" means "which", while "哪个" is shortened from "哪一个" that means "which one".

Below are two equivalent sentences but the grammatical arrangement:

你是 哪国 人? Or 你是 哪 国人? - Which country do you belong to/come from?

你是 哪个 国家的人? Or 你是 哪个 国家的 人? Which (one) country...? Note, "哪个" was shortened from "哪一个".

But note, there is a complete phrase after 哪个 instead of a simple noun. So, it is incorrect to say: "你是 哪个 国人?".

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