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Answer to the Exercise on Two Must-know Grammar Structures of “半(bàn) Half”

Dec. 15, 2014

Answer: A

In the Chinese language, “半(n)” can be used to express the meaning of “half.”

The structure is: Number + Measure Word + 半(bàn) + Noun

With this structure, the noun can be a time word, such as “月(yuè) month” or “小时(xiǎoshí) hour.” It can also be another object like “food,” “fruit,” “a tool,” etc. The measure word should be chosen according to the noun. As such, we have “两个半月(liǎng’gè bàn yuè) two and a half months,” “五斤半苹果(wǔjīn bàn píng’guǒ) five and a half jin (2.75kg) of apples,” etc.

Examples

Salesgirl: Qǐngwèn nín xiǎng yào diǎnr shénme?
Salesgirl:请问       您   想    要    点儿     什么?
Salesgirl: Can I help you?

Zhào Wěi: Yìjīn xiāngjiāo hé liǎngjīn bàn píng’guǒ.
赵      伟:一斤    香蕉     和    两斤   半      苹果。
Zhao Wei: A jin (0.5kg) of bananas and two and a half jin(1.25kg) of apples.

Boss: David,    nǐ chídào le sāngè bàn xiǎoshí!
Boss:David,你 迟到    了 三个   半     小时!
Boss: David, you are three and a half hours late!

David: Hěn bàoqiàn, lǎobǎn!
David:很   抱歉,     老板!
David: I’m sorry, sir!

There are some words that act as their own measure words, notably the time words “天(tiān) day” and “年(nián) year.”

The structure is: Number + 天(tiān)/年(nián) + 半(bàn)

Examples

Liú Fāng: Nǐ zài Yīngguó zhù le duō cháng shíjiān?
刘    芳: 你 在    英国     住  了  多    长       时间?
Liu Fang: How long have you been living in England?

Judy: Liǎngnián bàn le.
Judy:两年        半   了。
Judy: Two and a half years.

Wǒ gǎnmào le, qǐng le yìtiān bàn de jiǎ.
我    感冒     了,请  了  一天  半   的 假。
I took a day and a half off because I got a cold.

Be sure to pay particular attention to the words “二(èr)” and “两(liǎng),” which share the same meaning of “two.” However, “二(èr)” is usually used for counting, such as “一、二、三…(yī, èr, sān…) one, two, three….” And“两(liǎng)” is generally used before measure words, such as “两个(liǎng’gè),” “两只(liǎngzhī),” and so on.

In our test, Richard has been learning Chinese for two and a half months, so the correct answer is A.

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