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The usage of measure words for Chinese currency

Jul. 31, 2013

Answers:

块;毛;块;毛;块

Basically, there are three measure word units for Chinese currency in oral Chinese, 分(fēn), 毛(máo), and 块(kuài). In Mandarin, 毛(máo) can be said as 角(jiǎo) and 块(kuài) can be said as 元(yuán). 1块=10毛; 1毛=10分.

分(fēn) is falling into disuse because of inflation. You won’t see a number higher than 10 before the units 分(fēn) and 毛(máo). The number before 块(kuài) is not limited. The basic unit of currency is 块(kuài) and if someone tells you how much something costs and doesn’t say a unit, it’s probably 块(kuài). More often than not, 块(kuài) can be omitted. For instance, “这件衬衫八十块(Zhèjiàn chènshān bāshí kuài)” means “this shirt costs eighty Yuan.”

Let’s learn a very interesting expression: 我和这件事没有一毛钱的关系(Wǒ hé zhèjiànshì méiyǒu yìmáoqián de guānxi) means that “I have nothing to do with this matter.” It literally means, “I don’t even have a dime of a relationship with this matter.” Here, 一毛钱(yìmáoqián) means very small or none. Of course, this expression is very informal.

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