Here are some examples which I have found in genuine Chinese textbooks and material. They all have a measure word omitted for unknown reasons.

  1. 我把这()事儿忘了。

  2. 您觉得这()音乐怎么样?

  3. 第三()医院

  4. 这()书房干净吗?

  5. 亿光四()大产品


3 Answers 3


There are several cases here.

Exemplar 1, 2, 4 are colloquial and informal. In this case measure words are optional after 这.

In exemplar 3, 第X YY is a common pattern to name institutions in mainland China: 第一人民医院, 第九中学, 第二汽车厂, etc. This is a remnant of the scheduled economy.

In exemplar 5, X大YY is also a common pattern: 四大名著, 六大奇书, 三大改造, etc. It means the top X most prominent items of a category.

  • Agree, the 3rd and 5th one are not the case for optional measure word Oct 12, 2023 at 14:28
  • glad you pointed out the informality. Huge amount of chinese language becomes optional unless needed for comprehension when super casual haha.
    – zagrycha
    Oct 13, 2023 at 4:02

They all have a measure word omitted for unknown reasons.

Because they all pointed to a single specific event/item, which is equivalent to the English form of "this + a singular noun").

Singular Noun vs Plural Noun:

  1. 我把这(件)事儿忘了。vs 我把这幾件事儿忘了。

  2. 您觉得这(首)音乐怎么样? vs 您觉得这幾首音乐怎么样?

  3. 这(間)书房干净吗?vs 这书房干净吗?

Other Cases:

  1. 陸軍第三()医院 - The Third Hospital of the Army. Here, "第三(The Third)" is part of the name that is meant to indicate its rank, and uniqueness, in the chain of hospitals operated by the Army. It does not quantify the hospitals as in "陸軍第三座医院" - "The third/number three hospital that operated by the Army."

  2. 亿光四()大产品 - the measure word is often omitted when the adjective "大" proceeds the noun to emphasize its outstanding quality/quantity, such as "江南四(個)美女", "十(項/個)建設, so does "亿光四(項/個)产品. (Similarily, "亞洲四(個/條)龍.)


Measure words are optional in Chinese for the most part.




  • I would disagree. There are many times measure words may be needed for clarity, or it is rude and too casual to leave out measure word, in the end measure words are usually the proper form. If you just said sometimes instead of most of the time I would agree with you.
    – zagrycha
    Oct 13, 2023 at 4:04
  • A few examples would be helpful. Oct 14, 2023 at 4:58
  • not sure what you want an example of, so here is one of each: 十二名學生 --名 is a formal and polite measure word, 個would be more casual and nuetral, no measure word would be very casual. Imagine giving a formal speech with super casual wording, mayne not so good, dropping measure words is usually like that. (◐‿◑)
    – zagrycha
    Oct 14, 2023 at 5:10
  • an example of when it is needed for meaning-- 一沓信紙 is a pile of papers, 一張信紙 is a sheet of paper, 一款信紙 is a type of paper. All very different concepts. If context is clear you may be able to leave the measure word off, but if it isn't clear you need it for comprehension. And regardless its casual to drop so back to point one of matching formality as needed. Hope it makes sense o(∩_∩)o
    – zagrycha
    Oct 14, 2023 at 5:19
  • Um, sure. What I was saying was measure words are not needed most of the time, not all the time. Speaking of formal speech, measure words are very rare in classic Chinese. For example, 四時五行七律八掛. How about a famous Confucius saying 三人行必有我師? Oct 16, 2023 at 2:22

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