Level 1 Lesson 5.1 – Some Students Want to Buy Some Coffee

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How To Say Some In Chinese | Measure Word Xie 些 And Tai 台 In Chinese

In this video lesson we'll learn how to say some in Chinese and how to use the Measure Word Xie 些 and Tai 台 in Chinese. Also we'll get to know Loanwords in Chinese.

  • Omission of Number 一 before Measure Words
  • How to say some in Chinese: 些
  • 一些 VS. 些
  • 一些 VS. 有些
  • Measure Word Tai 台 in Chinese
  • Loanwords in Chinese



Grammar 1: Omission of Number 一 In Front of Measure Words

The following two sentences have the same meaning in Chinese, because the Number "one" can be omitted in front of the Measure Words.

  • Wáng xiǎojiě xiǎng mǎi yì tái diànnǎo 王小姐想买一台电脑。 Miss Wang wants to buy one “tai”(of) computer.
  • Wáng xiǎojiě xiǎng mǎi tái diànnǎo 王小姐想买台电脑。 Miss Wang wants to buy (one) “tai”(of) computer.


Grammar 2: Measure Word Xie 些 in Chinese · HSK 1

In Chinese, xiē 些 is a Measure Word. It suggests the amount of something is "some" or "a few". Since it is a Measure Word, it can be used in the following two ways:

Number (Limited to ) +  + Noun

  • yìxiē kāfēi 一些咖啡 some coffee
  • yìxiē tóngxué 一些同学 some classmates
  • yìxiē fángjiān 一些房间 some rooms


Pronoun (//) +  + Noun

Pronouns: zhè 这 this, nà 那 that, and nǎ 哪 which.

  • zhèxiē kāfēi 这些咖啡 these coffee
  • nàxiē tóngxué 那些同学 those classmates
  • nǎxiē fángjiān 哪些房间 which rooms
  • zhèxiē 这些 these
  • nàxiē 那些 those
  • nǎxiē 哪些 which (of more than one thing)


Grammar 3: 一些 VS 些 in Chinese · HSK 1

When using 一些 to mean "some" in a full sentence, the number 一 can usually be omitted, so we can use this structure:

Subject + Verb + [ 些 + Noun ]

  • wǒ xiǎng mǎi xiē kāfēi 我想买些咖啡。 I want to buy some coffee.
  • tā xiǎng mài xiē shū 他想卖些书。 He wants to sell some books.


Grammar 4: 一些 VS 有些 in Chinese · HSK 2

有些 and 一些 both mean "some", but phrases with 一些 usually can only be used as the object of the sentence, while phrases with 有些 usually function as the Subject of the sentence.

有些 + Noun ] + Verb + Object

  • yǒuxiē shū shì wǒde 有些书是我的。 Some books are mine.
  • yǒuxiē tóngxué shì Zhōngguórén 有些同学是中国人。 Some classmates are Chinese.


Subject + Verb + [ 一些 Noun ]

  • wǒ yǒu yìxiē shū 我有一些书。I have some books.
  • wǒ rènshi yìxiē tóngxué 我认识一些同学。 I know some classmates.

有些 + Noun] + Verb + [ 一些 + Noun ]

  • yǒuxiē péngyou rènshi yìxiē Hànyǔ lǎoshī 有些朋友认识一些汉语老师。Some friends know some Chinese teachers.
  • yǒuxiē xuésheng xiǎng mǎi yìxiē diànnǎo 有些学生想买一些电脑。 Some students want to buy some computers.


Grammar 5: Measure Word Tai 台 in Chinese · HSK 4

In Chinese, the Measure Word 台 is used for nouns that refer to machines or equipment. It can also be used in the following two ways:

Number ++ Noun

  • liǎng tái diànnǎo 两台电脑 two "tai" (of) computer
  • sān tái kāfēijī 三台咖啡机 three "tai" (of) coffee maker

Pronoun (/ //) + 台 Noun

Pronouns: zhè 这 this, nà 那 that, and nǎ 哪 which.

  • zhètái diànnǎo 这台电脑 this "tai" (of) computer
  • nàtái diànnǎo 那台电脑 that "tai" (of) computer
  • nǎtái kāfēijī  哪台咖啡机  which "tai" (of) coffee maker
  • jǐtái kāfēijī 几台咖啡机 how many "tai" (of) coffee maker
  • zhètái 这台 this "tai"
  • nàtái 那台 that "tai"
  • nǎtái 哪台 which "tai"
  • jǐtái 几台 how many "tai"


Grammar 6: Loanwords in Chinese · HSK 1

Loanwords are words borrowed from other languages. In Chinese there are a lot of loanwords, mostly from English and Korean. kāfēi 咖啡 coffee is a Loanword borrowed from the word coffee.

There are many other words like this, if you're interested, leave a comment to let us know so we can make a lesson specifically about Loanwords soon!

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BluetooPremium Student October 31, 2022 at 3:51 pm


Roxanne CuPremium Student June 8, 2021 at 9:37 am

Hello. I am interested in a separate lesson which specifically tackles loanwords. Thanks a lot.

mooncatPremium Student April 10, 2021 at 6:41 am

me too – would love a lecture or series on loanwords! also, a series specifically on etymology – that’s fascinating…

sarahzPremium Student June 5, 2020 at 8:52 am

Dear Lili,
I would not mind a lesson specific on loanwords if it is not too much trouble. It could be one or two lessons that was available in the other supplementary courses. Thank you for you hard work and dedication!

david.rappoPremium Student March 9, 2020 at 3:48 pm

I would also be interested in a loan words lecture.

OfeliaPremium Student January 31, 2020 at 5:30 pm

When do I use the measure word 台 vs 部. Thank you!

Bei Gui QiangPremium Student September 19, 2018 at 5:01 am

Lilli, I want to know why did you change the tone on ‘yi’. You spell the ‘yi’ with 4th tone but in the previous sessions, we have written it with 1st tone. Regards

We have a video on 一’s Tone Change here. And the Pinyin Tone Course is good for practicing Chinese pronunciation.

mindv0rtexPremium Student September 18, 2018 at 8:56 am

I keep struggling with tone sandhi, as I don’t always hear well what tones you pronounce. I have seen the corresponding lesson on 3rd tone sandhi, but still struggle. For instance, can you explain the process of figuring out tones in 你想买哪些水果 for the first four characters? Is it 2223? 2323?

david.rappoPremium Student March 27, 2020 at 9:19 pm

I believe that this is briefly addressed in the Tone Drills course.

CarnesivorePremium Student September 14, 2018 at 7:26 pm

In several sentences in the video you said 不好, however in a previous lesson we were taught 不行。Is 不行 only used when it’s by itself and not coupled with a sentence?

Usually 不好 is “not good, not okay (in quality)”, 不行 is “not okay (with me)” or “no way (but A LOT less offensive)”.

michael_12317Premium Student March 11, 2018 at 3:57 am

I have a question about the plural marker “们 men” which is used to refer to more than one person. Would it be possible to say “那些朋友们。”? It looks a bit odd to me to drop “们” even though “些” still gives all information about plural. Can (or even must) I omit “们” any time when context making clear that we’re speaking of more than one friend? How about saying “My five friends.” The number already makes it clear that I am speaking of more than one. So do I drop the “们” too?

T.I.PPremium Student October 25, 2019 at 9:22 am

I would like to know that answer, too. Thanks

When to use 们 is answered in a previous comment.

JanoPremium Student February 3, 2018 at 11:33 pm

A lecture about loanwords would be very welcome!

T.I.PPremium Student October 25, 2019 at 9:23 am

Sure, it would extend our vocabulary easily! We’ve been taught 拜拜 and 咖啡 so far.

AustinPremium Student January 24, 2018 at 5:03 pm

Is 些 always needed when referring to plural things?

For example, can “那个同学” still mean “those classmates”?

些 is needed only when you want to say “some” (of) something in Chinese. 那个 only refers to that “ge” of something.

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