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Level 2 Lesson 13.1 – Help Me Find It Really Quick.

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Reduplication of Verbs in Chinese and Measure Words for Action Verbs

In today's video lesson we’ll learn how to use the two forms of reduplication of Verbs in Chinese. We'll also know how to use measure words for Action Verbs appropriately.

  • Reduplication of Verbs in Chinese VV/V一V (I). See also Reduplication of Verbs (II).
  • Measure Words for Action Verbs (I). See also Measure Words in Chinese (I), (II) and (III).
  • Special Measure Words for Action Verbs: 下 (V一下)



Grammar 1: Reduplication of Verbs in Chinese · HSK 2

The structure of Reduplication of Verbs in Chinese indicates that

  1. the action will cost only a short amount of time and/or
  2. the action will be done only for a limited amount of times

In conversations, the Reduplication of Verbs are commonly used to

  1. make a request or
  2. express one’s own anticipation.

The logic here is that, by indicating that the action will only cost a short amount of time and effort, the request of anticipation would be a relatively easy thing to do. Therefore, it should be easier to accept.

The Verbs are reduplicated in this way:

(1) For one-syllable verbs, V, there are two forms

Verbs Reduplication of Verbs




The Second V in Netral Tone


一 in Neutral Tone

xiǎng yi xiǎng
kàn kan
kàn yi kàn
wèn wen
wèn yi wèn


(2) For two-syllable verbs, Vv, the form is

Verbs Reduplication of Verbs



yùndòng yùndòng
xiūxi xiūxi
jièshào jièshào


Reduplication of Verbs are commonly used in Chinese conversations. For example,

  • ràng wǒ kànkan ba
    Let me look-look!
    Let me have a look really quick!
  • nǐ néng tīng yi tīng ma
    Can you listen-one-listen?
    Can you listen "really quick"?
  • nǐ xiǎng bu xiǎng qù yùndòng yùndòng
    (Do) you want (or) not want to exercise-exercise
    (Do) you want to exercise "really quick"?


Grammar 2: Measure Words for Action Verbs · HSK 2

In Chinese, Measure Words for Action Verbs(See also Types of Verbs in Chinese) are usually there to measure how many times an action has been done. There are only a limited amount of them and in today's lesson we'll use three:

  1. 次 cì: to measure how many times a general action has been done
  2. 顿 dùn: to measure how many times the action of having or making meals has been done
  3. 场 chǎng: to measure how many times the action of watching the full length of game(movie, performance, ...) has been done

Just like Measure Words for Nouns and Nouns Phrases [(I), (II) and (III)], Measure Words for action Verbs can be used  following (1) a number, (2) pronouns 这zhè, 那nà, 每měi, or (3) question pronouns 哪nǎ, 几jǐ, 多少duōshao

Verb + Number/(Question) Pronouns + Measure Word (+ Object)

For example,

  • míngtiān wǒ xiūxi, wǒmen kěyǐ chūqù chī yí dùn fàn
    Tomorrow I (am) off, we can go out to eat meal (for) (one) "dun".
  • nǐ yào bu yào hé wǒmen yìqǐ kàn nàchǎng diànyǐng
    (Do) you want to watch movie (for) that "chang" with us or not?
  • nǐ dǎsuàn kàn nǎchǎng bǐsài
    For which "chang" (do) you want to watch game?
  • nǐ yào bāng tā duōshao cì
    How many times (do) you need to help him?

NOTE: ① when the number before a Measure Word is 一, it can be omitted.


Grammar 3: Special Measure Words for Action Verbs: 下 (V一下) · HSK 2

下 is to measure how many times a general action has been done as well, but using 下 indicates that the action only costs a short amount of time and/or a little bit of effort. Most of the times, it’s used with number 一 in the structure V一下.

Verb  + 一下

For example,

  • qǐngwèn, nǐ néng gàosu wǒ yíxia ma
    Excuse me, could you tell me "one-xia/really quick"?
  • wǒ xiǎng zhǎo yíxia Zhāng Lǎoshī
    I want to seek Teacher Zhang "one-xia/really quick".

Also, because it indicates “short amount of time”, 一下 can also be used in the same way that Reduplication of Verb are used, to soften the tone of a request or the expression of one’s own anticipation.

For example the following two sentences have the same meaning

  • nǐ néng zhǎo yíxia ma
    Could you look for (it) "one-xia/really quick"?
  • nǐ néng zhǎozhao ma
    Could you look for -look for (it) "really quick"?
Collapse Comments
ApplePremium Student November 13, 2023 at 5:39 am

I just noticed 一下 is here after object, not verb.
Not sure if this is a mistake or not

ChineseFor.UsAcademic Team November 19, 2023 at 8:41 am

Thank you for bringing this up. Many times, for a grammatical rule, there can be exceptions and this is an example. 我 is a Personal Pronoun, so the order is “你能告诉我一下吗”.

And also many times, it is very difficult to include every exception when introducing a new grammatical structure. Most of the time, following the rule is a safe way to avoid making mistake. But the more we know about the language, the more we will be able to notice these exceptions and be able to use them in our own communication.

ApplePremium Student November 20, 2023 at 8:07 am

Thank you
你能告诉一下我吗 is also correct?

ChineseFor.UsAcademic Team December 6, 2023 at 11:27 am

“你能告诉一下我吗” is not grammatically correct.

Video 2:00 Note that if the 1st character in the VV form is in the 3rd tone, it changes to the 2nd tone in speech
This is really confusing since 2nd character already changed to neutral tone, so there are 2 rules for tones applying at the same time here?

ChineseFor.UsAcademic Team October 10, 2022 at 2:28 pm

Sorry for the confusion. Yes the Tone changes are like this:
想 – original Pinyin: xiǎng
想想 – written Pinyin: xiǎngxiang / actual pronunciation: xiángxiang

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