Nominal measure words can be divided into the following types:
-indefinite measure words;
Classifiers proper are used with words that can be counted. For example, people, objects or occurrences.
Classifiers proper are also called "individual classifiers".
yí ge péngyou
nà bă yŭsăn
The most commonly used measure word is 个 , which also serves as a general measure word.
This measure word can be used when referring to people, organizations, indefinite objects, and all words that do not belong to any existing group.
You can use 个 if you don't know the proper measure word.
five thousand people
wŭqiān ge rén
yí ge dōngxi
Some are used with only one type of nouns.
封 — measure word for letters and mails.
yì fēng xìn
yì fēng diànzǐ yóujiàn
But most measure words are used with several types of nouns.
For example, 件 is used with:
yí jiàn píjiākè
2) matters, events.
the last matter
zuìhòu yí jiàn shì
Mass-classifiers create a unit to measure an uncountable noun. For example, sugar or water.
Sugar can be counted in packs, boxes, sacks, etc.
Water can be counted in bottles, cups, buckets, etc.
Such measure words are also used in English.
nine bottles of beer
jiǔ píng píjiǔ
a box of chocolates
yì hé qiǎokèlì táng
The same item can be used with more than one measure word.
a pack of tea
yì bāo chá
a cup of tea
yì bēi chá
A feature of mass-classifiers is that they may be used on their own as a noun by adding the suffixes 子 or 儿 to them.
The particle 的 is added after some mass-classifiers to convey the meaning "completely" or, "fully".
A table full of dishes
yì zhuōzi de cài
A house full of guests
yì wūzi de kèrén
Measure words for pairs, groups and collections
They are used when referring to either a group of people or to more than two items.
The number of measure words for pairs, groups and collections is far less than the number of classifiers proper and mass-classifiers.
Here are some examples:
a pair of shoes
yì shuāng píxié
yì shuāng shŏu
a pair of glasses
yí fù yănjìng
a pack of cards
yí fù pūkèpái
a group of people
yì qún rén
a herd of horses
yì qún mă
Measurement units are used to measure length, distance or weight. For example, kilogram, kilometer.
one inch of land
yí cùn tǔdì
two pounds of apples
liǎng jīn píngguǒ
Indefinite measure words
Indefinite measure words are used when the exact quantity is not specified and to indicate "a little", "a few", or "some".
a little water
Verbal measure words
Verbal measure words are used for counting the number of times an action occurs.
In English, this measure word is "times". However, in Chinese different measure words are used for different actions.
Say it one more time
zài shuō yí biàn
I need to go to the toilet
wŏ děi qù tàng cèsuŏ
Some nouns can also serve as measure word for verbs.