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Chinese Grammar: Lesson: Numbers

It’s easy to learn to count in Chinese. Once you’ve mastered numbers up to 10, you can count up to 99 in the blink of an eye.

Single digits

Single digits work the same way as in English.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Counting up to 99

To form a two-digit number, simply state its tens digit and its units digit. For numbers 11-19, say ten () and state the units digit.

11 is ten () and one (), so it's 十一 in Chinese.

Twenty is literally two () tens (): 二十.

Thirty three is .

99 and above

Once you know the words for a hundred, a thousand, ten-thousand and zero, counting up to hundreds of thousands is easy to work out.

  • : a hundred
  • : a thousand
  • : ten thousand
  • : zero

The Chinese counting system is based on 4 numbers. This means that unlike in the Western world where a comma after a thousand (1,000), the Chinese place their comma after 4 numbers, i.e 1,0000 ( , ten thousand.) This is important to memorize as a lot of the numbers in Chinese follow that rule.

Example

A hundred and twelve is .

A hundred and five is literally “one hundred zero five”:

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