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Beginner Lesson 18.1 – Ask Which

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Learn how to ask which in Chinese. Be able to use the structure of Measure Word in Chinese.

  • Ask Which in Chinese: 哪
  • Measure Word in Chinese (III). See also (I) and (II).
  • Classmate and Student in Chinese: 同学  学生



Grammar 1: Ask Which in Chinese · HSK 1

nǎ  which

哪 is the pronoun we use to ask which in Chinese. It cannot be followed directly by a noun. Instead, we need to follow this structure:

哪 + Measure Word + Noun

For example:

  • nǎge rén
    which person
  • nǎwèi lǎoshī
    which teacher


Grammar 2: Measure Word in Chinese (III)· HSK 1

zhè 这 this, nà 那 that, and  which are all Pronouns in Chinese. When they are used before nouns, we need to follow this structure:

Pronoun (//) + Measure Word + Noun

This is one of the most important usages of Measure Word in Chinese. Here are some examples:

zhège píngguǒ 这个苹果 this apple
nàge xīngqī 那个星期 that week
nǎge yuè 哪个月 which month
zhèwèi péngyou 这位朋友 this friend
nàwèi lǎoshī 那位老师 that teacher
nǎwèi tóngxué 哪位同学 which classmate
zhège 'érzi 这个儿子 this son
nàge nǚ'ér 那个女儿 that daughter
nǎge gēge 哪个哥哥 which big brother


Sometimes 这, 那 , 哪 can be directly used before Nouns, with the Measure Word omitted. Here are some examples:

zhèzhōu 这周 this week
nàtiān 那天 that day
nǎnián 哪年
which year

NOTES: We can say nànián 那年 that year and nǎnián 哪年 which year, but we don't say zhènián 这年 for "this year" because we say jīnnián 今年.


Grammar 3: 同学 VS. 学生 in Chinese· HSK 1

In Chinese 学生 means student, while 同学 means classmate, basically people who take the same class with you. But sometimes 同学 can be used to address someone who appears to be a student. Generally, 学生 is the identity of being a student, and 同学 is either "your classmate", or the name or title you use to address someone that you believe to be a student, usually when (1) you are older and not a student yourself, or (2) you are also a student but not necessarily in the same class or school.

Lesson Discussions

Brendan Lawler
Premium Student
Brendan Lawler

I’m a bit confused on the usage of 位 and 个. I thought 位 was when you are referring to people, but throughout the video you use 个 in front of student, teacher, classmate, etc, but use 位 in front of 小姐 and 先生. Are there certain exceptions to when you should use 位 in front of people?

Premium Student

I am not an expert but what I understood is that we use “wei” in front of people we want to show respect to.

Graduated Student

when you say together “tong” it seems you prononce “pong” instead of “tong” . If it is so , why this writing in pinyin ? And how can you know when you say thing “dong xi” if it is singular or plural ?

Jeff Johnson
Premium Student
Jeff Johnson

it is remarkable. If you close your eyes it absolutely has a “p” sound. I listened to it several times myself. the same goes for the audio button in the vocab list. it sounds like PONG not TONG. In the pinyin drils all the “T”s sound like “T”, so I don’t know why this one sounds this way. I will say “T”ONG anyway.

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