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HSK1 Chinese Grammar:Comparing "二er" and "两liang"


They both mean two, but when do I use 二 and when do I use 两?

In Chinese, there are two words for "two." They are 二 (èr) and 两 (liǎng), and each is used in different circumstances.

Uses of 二 (èr):

二 (èr) Is for Numbers The digit "2" is 二 (èr). 

This is used generally in numbers, when counting to ten, giving out a phone number, and so on. Unlike 两 (liǎng), 二 (èr) is NOT used to say there are "two" of something and does not generally occur with measure words by itself. Numbers like 十二 (12) (shí'èr) and 二十二 (22) (èrshí-èr) end with a "2" and can still be combined with measure words. In those cases, 两 (liǎng) is not needed.


Here are some common examples of 二 (èr) in action:

  • 第 dì-èr#2; second

  • 第  个dì-èr gèthe second one

  • 第  次dì-èr cìthe second time

  • ÈryuèFebruary (the second month)

  •  号èr hào#2; the second (of the month)

  •  号 线èr hào xiànLine 2 (of the metro)

  •  楼èr lóusecond floor

  • shí'èr12

  • èrshí20

  •  块 钱shí'èr kuài qián12 RMB

  •  十 块 钱èrshí kuài qián20 RMB

  •  十  个 人èrshí-èr gè réntwenty-two people

  • Uses of 两 (liǎng)

    两 (liǎng) Is for Measure Words

    When specifying quantities (and using measure words to do it), 两 (liǎng) is used. This is when you want to say "two of something" or "both."

    Here are some common examples of 两 (liǎng) in action:


  •  个 小时liǎng gè xiǎoshítwo hours

  •  点liǎng diǎn2 o'clock

  •  天liǎng tiāntwo days

  •  个 星期liǎng gè xīngqītwo weeks

  •  个 月liǎng gè yuètwo months

  •  年liǎng niántwo years

  •  次liǎng cìtwo times / twice

  •  块 钱liǎng kuài qián2 kuai / 2 RMB

  • 百 note: 二百 (èrbǎi) is also acceptable.liǎngbǎi200

  • liǎng qiān2,000

  • 我  个 都 要 。Wǒ liǎng gè dōu yào.I want both of them.

    • Source:Chinese Grammar Wiki

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