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Answer to the Exercise on Don’t Be Rude! Count People the Right Way Using “个(gè),”  “位 (wèi)” and “口(kǒu)”

Aug. 27, 2014

Correct Answer: B

In the Chinese language, different measure words are used along with different nouns. Today, we will help you learn three measure words for counting people which are “个(),” “位(wèi),” and “口(kǒu).” All of them are used in the same format: numeral + “个()”/“位(wèi)”/“口(kǒu)” + noun. However, they are actually quite different in usage.

Let’s start by taking a look at “个().” This is a general measure word which can be used along with most nouns to count people, such as “一个孩子(yígè háizi) one child,” “两个姐姐(liǎnggè jiějie) two sisters,” etc.

Examples

Gébì zhùzhe liǎnggè niánqīng rén.
隔壁   住着      两个     年轻      人。
There are two young people living next door.

Lǐ Léi yǒu sāngè háizi.
李 雷  有    三个   孩子。
Li Lei has three children.

However, only using “个()” to count people is not sufficient because we have other measure words which can help to make our meaning more clear. Now let’s move on to the words “位(wèi)” and “口(kǒu).”

You can use “位(wèi)” as a more formal alternative to “个()” when referring to people in high positions such as leaders, elders, teachers, lawyers, doctors and so on. As such, Chinese people often use “位(wèi)” when referring to a number of people to be polite and to show respect.

Examples

Zhè shì wǒmen gōngsī de sānwèi lǐngdǎo.
这    是   我们     公司   的    三位    领导。
These are the three leaders of our company.

Liǎngwèi nǚshì, qǐnɡwèn nǐmen mǎi shénme?
两位        女士,请问        你们   买    什么?
Ladies, what would you like to buy?

Tā shì wǒ fēicháng xǐhuan de yíwèi zuòjiā.
他   是 我   非常      喜欢     的  一位  作家。
He is one of the authors that I really like.

Generally, “口(kǒu)” is a measure word which is used for counting the number of members in a whole family. The structure used is “numeral + 口(kǒu) + 人(rén)” as seen in phrases like “三口人(sānkǒu rén),” “五口人(wǔkǒu rén),” etc.

Examples

Wǒ jiā yǒu wǔkǒu rén.
我   家  有     五口  人。
There are five people in my family.

Duōme xìngfú de yìjiā sānkǒu a!
多么      幸福   的 一家  三口   啊!
How happy to have a family of three!

So the correct answer is B.

<<Back to “Don’t Be Rude! Count People the Right Way Using ‘个(gè),’  ‘位 (wèi)’ and ‘口(kǒu)’”

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