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Beginner Lesson 16.1 – Have Vs. Don’t Have

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Have And Don't Have In Chinese | Measure Word Ge In Chinese

Learn how to say have and don't have in Chinese. Be able to use the Measure Word Ge and ask and answer quantities in Chinese.

  • Have and Don't Have in Chinese: 有  没有
  • Measure Word in Chinese (I). See also (II)(III).
  • Measure Word Ge in Chinese: 个
  • The Number Two in Chinese: 二 vs. 两 (II). See also (I) and (III).
  • Ask and answer quantities in Chinese



Grammar 1: 个 Measure Word Ge in Chinese · HSK 1

ge 个 the most commonly used Measure Word

Having Measure Words is one of the characteristics of Chinese language. When naming the quantity of something, we say:

Number + Measure Word + Noun

There are many different measure words for different kinds of objects. And the Measure Word Ge in Chinese is the most commonly used one. It is for anything that doesn't have a special Measure Word. (Also it can be used as a casual universal measure word in colloquial language.)

Generally, if you are not sure about which Measure Word to use, using 个 is good enough for people to understand you. Even though they can tell right away that you're not a native speaker.

Below are examples of Measure Word Ge in Chinese.

  • yíge lǎoshī
    one teacher
  • sānge gēge / jiějie / dìdi / mèimei
    三个哥哥 / 姐姐 / 弟弟 / 妹妹
    three big brothers / big sisters / little brothers / little sisters
  • sìge Zhōngguórén
    four Chinese people
  • wǔge péngyou
    five friends
  • yíge 'érzi / nǚ'ér 
    一个儿子 / 女儿
    a son / a daughter
  • yíge míngzi
    a name


Grammar 2: Have and Don't Have in Chinese · HSK 1

yǒu 有 to have (something)méiyǒu 没有 to not have (something)

When we have, possess, or own something, we use the verb 有. And if we don't have, possess, or own something, we use the verb 没有. So have and don't have in Chinese are expressed by 有 or 没有.

  • wǒ yǒu yíge píngguǒ
    I have one "ge" apple
  • wǒ méiyǒu gēge
    I don't have big brother

In English we can say "I don't have an apple" or "I don't have a teacher". But in Chinese, when using 没有, no number is used after 没有.

  • wǒ méiyǒu píngguǒ
    I don't have apple
  • wǒ méiyǒu yíge píngguǒ
    I don't have an apple


Grammar 3: The Number Two in Chinese 二 VS. 两 (II) · HSK 1

We learned in Lesson 14.1 that to say 2 o'clock we must say 两点, instead of *二点. When saying the quantity of objects / things, we also need to use 两 instead of 二.

  • liǎngge píngguǒ
    two apples
  • èrge píngguǒ
    two apples


Grammar 4: Ask and Answer Quantities in Chinese· HSK 1

When asking about the quantity of something, we need the Question Word 几 again, and here's the structure we use:

+ Measure Word + the Object

Q: nǐ yǒu jǐge píngguǒ
      how many "ge" apples do you have
A: wǒ yǒu liǎngge píngguǒ
      I have two "ge" apples


Q: nǐ yǒu jǐge jiějie
      how many "ge" big sisters do you have
A: wǒ yǒu liǎngge jiějie
      I have two "ge" big sisters

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