Chinese numbers

Chinese Numbers – A simple guide to learning counting in Chinese

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Chinese numbers are well-known for being simple and extremely rational. But majority of the people find them hard to learn, mainly due to language barrier. If you want to learn Chinese numbers at your ease, stick to this article.

This article, particularly, will provide you solid knowledge of counting in Chinese. It will lessen your confusion associated with learning Chinese and will boost your motivation to learn how to count in Chinese. Learning Chinese online is easy enough provided you get the right guidance with the right knowledge base.

Chinese numbers

Chinese numbers are simple to learn and they are the essential art of life. These numbers up to nine are all one syllable long and follows a set consistent pattern making it very easy to remember the entire sequence. But, as you move towards the higher numbers it becomes little confusing because the Chinese have a diverse point of orientation than Western language.

Chinese writing System is an interesting area to learn and explore. So let’s get started!

Chinese Numbers 1-10

The lower numbers in Chinese are very direct to learn and memorize. Not only they are simple to learn, the characters are also very easy to write and identify in the language due to having only one component in each of them. The basic Chinese numbers are formed of these 10 words and characters.

English Chinese Pinyin
one
two èr / liǎng
three sān
four
five
six liù
seven
eight
nine jiǔ
ten shí

Chinese Numbers 11-99

The Chinese counting from 11 to 99 is also very easy to learn. There are no new characters here rather there is a set logical pattern to follow. They use only the ten characters from 1 to 10 with a maximum of three characters per number.

The pattern

The numbers from 11 to 19 are ten plus the number. For instance, ten-one means eleven, ten-two means twelve and ten-three means thirteen and so on. From twenty onwards, it is the multiple of ten (10), plus (10), then the multiple of one (1). So twenty one means, two ten-one. If the number ends at zero, it is just the two characters i.e. the multiple and the ten.

English Chinese Pinyin
eleven 十一 shí yī
twelve 十二 shí èr
twenty 二十 èr shí
twenty-one 二十一 èr shí yī
thirty 三十 sān shí
forty 四十 sì shí
fifty 五十 wǔ shí
sixty 六十 liù shí
ninety 九十 jiǔ shí
ninety-nine 九十九 jiǔ shí jiǔ

The above pattern shows that it is not at all difficult to learn how to count in Chinese. All it requires is to memorize the pattern through which each number follows the other one.

Chinese Numbers 100’s and 1000’s

The hundreds and thousands in Chinese counting are less straightforward as compared to the counting from 1 to 100, but they are still not very difficult to learn. The important thing to remember is the characters for hundreds and thousands. The character for “hundred” is 百 and the character for “thousand” is 千.

Points to remember for the 100’s and 1000’s in Chinese counting

零: The Chinese character for 0 is 零. It is pronounced as ‘ling’ in Chinese. It is, basically, used in such cases where there are one or more than one zeros (0) in the middle of any number as the placeholders.

It is only needed when there are other digits that are other than zero (0). So, 零 is only noticeable when it is in between two digits that are any numbers other than 0.

二/两: These two characters are used for 100s and 1000s in Chinese counting. For 200, it makes no apparent variance if you say 二百 or 两百. But for 2000, you must always use 两千.

English Chinese Pinyin
100 一百 yì bǎi
101 一百零一 yì bǎi líng yī
120 一百二十 yì bǎi èr shí
200 二百/两百 èr bǎi/ liǎng bǎi
201 二百零一/两百零一 èr bǎi/ liǎng bǎi líng yī
1000 一千 yì qiān
1001 一千零一 yì qiān líng yī
2000 两千 liǎng qiān

Chinese Numbers 10,000 to 99,999,999

From the number of 10,000 Chinese numbers start to get complex. This is because of the reason that the Chinese language has a particular word and character to put “10,000”, which is 万.

This means that once you reach the point of 10,000 while counting Chinese numbers, you are required to start all over again. Let us make it easier for you. In western language we divide the big number in group of three, as 10,000, but in Chinese the big number is divided into a group of four instead of three, as 1, 0000.

So 100,000 becomes ten ten-thousands, or 十万. And 1,000,000 is a hundred ten-thousands, or 一百万.

Points to remember for the 10,000 and 99,999,999 in Chinese counting

: The zero rule is precisely the same as it is in for the numbers till 100 which it should always come in between two digits.

一十: As explained earlier, the number ten itself is 十, but if it appears with or in between any bigger digit you should always use 一十 for clarity.

万 as a “separator’: 万 is used as a divider of two portions of the number. Whenever it appears, it acts as a ‘reset’ and you just need to start counting again from the top.

English Chinese Pinyin
10,000 一万 yī wàn
10,001 一万零一 yī wàn líng yī
10,010 一万零一十 yī wàn líng yī shí
10,100 一万零一百 yī wàn líng yī bǎi
100,000 十万 shí wàn
100,001 十万零一 shí wàn líng yī
100,101 十万零一百零一 shí wàn líng yī bǎi líng yī
1,000,000 一百万 yī bǎi wàn
1,000,001 一百万零一 yī bǎi wàn líng yī
1,001,000 一百万一千 yī bǎi wàn yī qiān
99,999,999 九千九百九十九万九千九百九十九 jiǔ qiān jiǔ bǎi jiǔ shí jiǔ wàn jiǔ qiān jiǔ bǎi jiǔ shí jiǔ

How to learn the characters involved in Chinese number

We hope that the above mentioned information is exciting enough for you to kick start learning Chinese numbers. Many of you might be considering it very difficult to learn how to count in Chinese. But the good part is that it is not difficult at all. Rather, it is bit logical.

If you are finding it hard to learn the characters, the good news is that there are not various characters to learn at the very first place. The few characters that you need to learn are very basic in nature.

In fact, the Chinese counting up to Trillions just use 15 basic characters. If you are planning to learn Chinese characters it is very beneficial for you to start with the numbers so that you can get familiar with the shapes of the characters.

Conclusion

Learning Chinese numbers are the need of the hour these days. It is one of the most well-known language spoken by billions of people. It is easy to learn Chinese numbers if you follow the right guidelines just shared in this article. All you are required to do is to stick to it consistently. Keep practicing until you memorize the logic behind Chinese numbers.

With the information that you have just learned in this article, you must now be able to know about the main characters and number involved in Chinese counting. Once you get a grip on the numbers, you can move ahead to Chinese multiplication.

If you are looking for Chinese teachers online, visit our website to get the best language learning facilities at your comfort zone. Book your lessons and explore the journey of learning Chinese. Learning another language not only gives you the confidence but also makes your cross-cultural conversations fruitful.