# Do you use 个 when describing distances/weights？

I'm trying to figure out if you ever use 个 when describing distances or weight. For example, people say "十公里“ NOT "十个公里“ － right？ does the same apply for weights? like 公斤？

No, in general, you shall not use 个 before a unit, no matter what the unit is used for (mass, length,area etc ). 个 is a counter/measure word in Chinese, one of whose functions is to count something, like a unit, so you don't need to put a unit before a unit. In some weird scenarios, you may use 个 before a unit.for example,

Here, kilogram itself is treated as a common word instead of a unit.

• Good explanation, but the example sounds artificial - in real life scenario it would be phrased differently to avoid any possible ambiguity, e.g. `本文中公斤一词出现了几次`. Jul 28 '14 at 5:54
• @ns.x Yes, it's constructed by me on purpose. That's why I say "weird". Jul 29 '14 at 14:05

Yes, in some special cases.

Formally, the construction should be `numeral + quantifier + noun`, such as:

``````你今天打算跑几公里路？

``````

If `路` can be deduced from the context, it could be omitted:

``````你今天打算跑几公里？

``````

And in spoken language, it could be transformed to an "odd" construction of `numeral + quantifier + noun` further, in which `公里` is regarded as a noun.

``````你今天打算跑几个公里？

``````

Here's another example:

``````你家卧室有几个平方？

``````

Anyway, this usage is very limited, for example, you can use it for the quantifier `斤`, it's unnatural.

``````鸡蛋你打算买几个斤？

``````
• No. In Chinese we use quantifiers only before objects. And units can be used as quantifier. 几个公里 is ridiculous, which I never saw anyone use. But as to 一个平方, it's an exception. So is 一个立方. I don't suggest using these exceptions, which probably confuse Chinese learners. Jul 28 '14 at 4:19
• @SeanC. I can't summarize the grammar explicitly and clearly even though I'm a native Chinese, all I can say is these exceptions exist in the Chinese, especially in spoken language. I know it probably confuse Chinese learners, I just want they know it is used by Chinese, and when they hear them somewhere they won't be confused.
– user4072
Jul 28 '14 at 4:30
• @SeanC. BTW, you can find many samples of `几个公里` at Baidu. baidu.com/…
– user4072
Jul 28 '14 at 5:06
• Usually we say "你今天打算跑多少公里？" Jul 28 '14 at 6:24