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How to Count in Chinese

Learning numbers and counting in Chinese is simplified because the Chinese number system is extremely regular. The entire number system is based on counting the number of tens and then adding the ones. For example, 11 is shíyî, which is 10 (shí) plus 1 (yî); 21 is èrshíyī, which is 2 (èr) times 10 (shí) plus 1 (yî).

Chinese Numbers
èr 2
sân 3
liù 6
jiŭ 9
shí 10
shíyî 11
shíèr 12
shísân 13
shísì 14
shíwŭ 15
shíliù 16
shíqî 17
shíbâ 18
shíjiŭ 19
èrshí 20
èrshíyî 21
èrshíèr 22
èrshísân 23
sânshí 30
sânshíyî 31
sânshíèr 32
sìshí 40
sìshíyî 41
sìshíèr 42
wŭshí 50
liùshí 60
qîshí 70
bâshí 80
jiŭshí 90
jiŭshíjiŭ 99
yìbãi 100
yìqiân 1,000

In Chinese, numbers are read the same way they are in English. You would say how many hundreds, how many tens, and then how many ones. For example, you would say 135 by saying, yìbãi (one hundred) sânshí (three tens, or thirty) wŭ (five). So, 6,427 would be read as liùqiân sìbãi èrshí qî.

The following phrases can show how numbers can be used in conversation.

Chen: nĭ duó dà? (for people older than 10); nĭ jĭsuì? (for children) (How old are you?)
Michael: wŏ èrshíwŭ suì. (I am 25 years old.)
Chen: shuāngrénfáng shì duōshăo qián? (How much does a double room cost?)
Michael: shuāngrénfáng shì yìbăiérshí kuài. (It costs $120.)
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