Level 1 Lesson 14.1 – There Is A Piece of Clothes in His Hand

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Existential Sentence in Chinese with 有 | Locality Noun 里

In this video lesson we'll learn about the Existential Sentence in Chinese with 有 and Locality Noun in Chinese using the example of 里. We'll also learn how to use 杯, 盘, 碗 as Measure Words.

  • Locality Noun in Chinese 里
  • Existential Sentence in Chinese with 有 (I). See also (II).
  • Measure Words in Chinese (V): 杯, 盘, 碗



Grammar 1: Locality Noun in Chinese - 里 · HSK 1

There are many types of Nouns in Chinese, with Locality Noun being one of them.

A Locality Noun in Chinese suggest a specific direction or location. It helps us know to which direction of a place/item, or which location/part of a place/item we are talking about.

For example Locality Noun 里 lǐ suggests the inside part or the inside area of some place or some object.

We put the Locality Noun 里 after a place/object like this:

Place/Object + 里

First with Place + 里

  • fángzi li
    the inside area of (a/the) house/apartment
  • jiāli
    the inside area of (a/the) home
  • xuéxiào li
    the inside area of (a/the) school
  • shāngdiàn li
    the inside area of (a/the) store
  • shūdiàn li
    the inside area of (a/the) bookstore

Then with Object + 里

  • diànnǎo li
    the inside area/part of (a/the) computer
  • shǒu li
    the inside area/part of (one's) hand
  • wǎn li
    the inside area of (a/the) bowl
  • bēizi li
    the inside area of (a/the) cup/glass
  • pánzi li
    the inside area of (a/the) plate

Be careful that for Proper Nouns such as 中国 China, 北京 Beijing, 英国 Britain, we cannot put a Locality Noun after them. So we cannot say these phrases:

  • Zhōngguó li 中国里 the inside of China
  • Běijīng li 北京里 the inside of Beijing
  • Yīngguó li 英国里 the inside of Britain.

We need to say these phrases instead:

  • zài Zhōngguó
    in China
  • zài Běijīng
    in Beijing
  • zài Yīngguó
    in Britain


Grammar 2: Existential Sentence in Chinese with 有 (I) · HSK 1

Existential Sentence in Chinese suggests the existence of something/someone at/in/on somewhere. It suggest similar meaning as "there is/are something at/in/on somewhere" sentence in English, only with different structure.

We learned that 有 yǒu means to have; to own, in an Existential Sentence it means to exist.

The structure of an Existential Sentence in Chinese with 有 goes like this:

Place/Object + (Locality Noun) + 有 + Object

  • xuéxiào li yǒu liǎngwèi lǎoshī
    there are two "wei" (of) teacher in the school
  • shāngdiàn li yǒu sāntái diànnǎo
    there are three "tai" (of) computers in the store
  • wǒ shǒuli yǒu yíjiàn yīfu
    there is a "jian" (of) clothes in my hand
  • bēizili yǒu yìxiē kāfēi
    there is some coffee in the cup

For negative sentences we put méi 没 before yǒu 有

  • pánzili méiyǒu cài
    there is no dish in the plate
  • wǎnli méiyǒu dōngxi
    there is no "things" in the bowl


Grammar 3: Existential Sentence with Time Word · HSK 1

An Existential Sentence with Time Word does not use Locality Words such as yǒu 有, because Time Words do not suggest Location. The structure goes like this:

Time Word + Object

For example:

  • yìnián yǒu shí'èrge yuè
    there are 12 months in a year
  • sān yuè yǒu sānshí yī tiān
    there are 31 days in March


Grammar 4: Measure Words in Chinese (V): 杯, 盘, 碗 · HSK 1

Just like in English we can say a bowl of something, a cup/glass of something and a plate of something, these tableware can also be used as Measure Words in Chinese.

  • yìbēi kāfēi
    a cup of coffee
  • yìbēi shuǐ
    a glass/cup of water
  • yìpán cài
    a plate of vegetable
  • yìwǎn mǐfàn
    a bowl of cooked rice
Collapse Comments

I would have thought that ‘cup’ would use the measure word ‘ba’ as it has a handle, but clearly not.

Lewis FarrantPremium Student April 30, 2022 at 6:01 am

The lesson notes say that when 里 is used as a Locality Noun, it is pronounced in the Neutral Tone. However in all of the example sentences with 里 I think you are using the third tone. Is that right? Is it because you’re reading the sentences slowly?

ChineseFor.UsAcademic Team May 3, 2022 at 2:36 am

Please accept our apology for the inconvenience. Yes 里 should be pronounced light as “li” instead of “lǐ”. And yes when reading slow and loud it is a little difficult to make it should right, but that shouldn’t be an excuse. We will definitely be more careful when making the lesson videos.
Thank you so much for making ChineseFor.Us better and again we apologize for the inconvenience.

igorgogaPremium Student April 18, 2019 at 1:59 am

Spectacular lesson as always. I really like grammar explained so well

kevmakPremium Student January 28, 2018 at 3:44 am

This was really helpful…The sentence structure is quite similar to Hindi language…Xie Xie ni

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