Chinese Numbers: A Simple Guide to Counting in Mandarin (2023)

Counting in Chinese might seem like a daunting task, but it really is one of the easiest and most rewarding parts of the language.

One of the first things you will learn in yourMandarin Chinese coursesIt's like counting to ten. Unsurprisingly, this requires a bit of memorization since each number has a different name. But as you might have guessed, things get interesting after ten. DespiteMandarin is considered the most difficult for English speakers to learn, you might be pleasantly surprised that counting over tens and up to billions is actually very easy.

In fact, thanks to the Chinese counting system, you can go from absolute beginner level to almost countable levels in a matter of hours. In fact, counting in Mandarin is so easy for Chinese childrenexceed regularlytheir Western English-speaking counterparts. There are two main reasons why learning to count in Mandarin is easier than you might think:

  • The first ten numbers are all monosyllabic.As you will see, each of the first ten numbers has a very short and easy to remember name.
  • Numbers above 10 do not have unique names.Starting with 11, the numbers are just a multiplication and/or addition of the first ten numbers. Even if you're not good at math, it's actually a lot easier than it sounds. Read on and you will see!

Let's start then!

Why it makes sense to learn the numbers in Mandarin

Chinese Numbers: A Simple Guide to Counting in Mandarin (1)

Spending a few hours learning to count in Chinese can have tremendous benefits. For example, knowing how to count will help you:

  • Ask for a certain number of things.When you go to the supermarket, you can ask for the exact number of fruits and vegetables you want to buy.
  • Stay away from unlucky numbers.Luck is a big part of Chinese culture, so there are certain numbers you're dying to avoid!
  • Make plans!Knowing the numbers in Chinese will help you tell the time in Chinese and make plans for specific dates. You can celebrate birthdays, schedule drinks, and even reserve dinner!
  • Learn some jargon.Yes! you read well Number lingo is very common in China, so learning to count will also help you learn useful Chinese lingo.

So at this point you should be ready to start learning Chinese. So, without further ado, let's dive into how to read and write numbers in Chinese.

How to read and write numbers in Mandarin

The first thing you should know about reading and writing numbers in Chinese is that there are two ways of representing numbers: with Arabic numerals and with Chinese characters. Just like in English, you can use real numbers or "spell" the numbers by writing their names in letters.

(Video) Learn Chinese Numbers: Count 1 to 10, 1 to 20, 1 to100 in Mandarin Chinese - Day 15

Usually only one or two-digit numbers are written with characters. Years, addresses, telephone numbers and all other large numbers are written with Arabic numerals, as in German. What a relief! You don't have to memorize hundreds of different characters just to learn how to write numbers.

But that is not the case. Even if the years and phone numberswarwritten with characters, you still wouldn't need to memorize more than 11 characters to write any number. The way the writing system is constructed means you don't actually have to remember much. As long as you can do some basic arithmetic (and we mean reallyBasic!), you will get by with just a dozen characters.

Ready to get into it? Let's start counting!

How to count from 0 to 10 in Chinese

Counting to ten is absolutely the hardest part of counting in Chinese. Yes, we mean business! Once you've mastered the first ten, it's all about stacking them in different orders. But we'll get to that in a moment! First, let's start with the first ten Mandarin numbers.

10diezThat issch

How to count from 11 to 99 in Chinese

We promised you that learning the first ten numbers is the hardest part, and we're not one to break our promises! Here's the good news: If you can already count to 10, then you already have what it takes to count to 100! Beyond 10, you just need to stack your numbers in a certain way to get to 100. Here's a quick formula:

  • A × ten (10) + B

A is multiplied by 10 and then B is added to the result. Let's plug some numbers into our formula:

  • (2)×diez (10)+3=2×10+3=23 (two-ten-three)
  • (5)×diez (10)+5=5×10+5=55 (five-ten-five)
  • 8×diez (10)+9=8×10+9=89 (eight-ten-nine)

And this is! That's all you'll ever need to know about math, and performing these calculations will become second nature once you start practicing. In fact, you don't even have to do the operations in your head: as long as you remember that the first digit comes first, followed by 十 (That is) and then the second digit, everything will be fine.

There are two things to note, and one reason the math formula above is important is that for 11-19 you don't have to say one to ten. Since it's redundant to multiply one by ten, you can omit the one altogether and just say "ten and five" for 15.

The other thing to consider is if the second digit is a zero. With our formula above, you would add a zero, which is redundant. So instead of saying "three-ten-zero" for 30, you can just say "thirteen".

(Video) Numbers in Chinese 1-10, 1-20 and 1-100 | Chinese Numbers 1 to 10, 1 to 20 and 1 to 100 | HSK1

Here is a detailed table of the numbers from 11 to 99. Have a look and you will surely find the counting rhythm in Chinese in no time.

11oncehe hassee and
12candyThat isShih Ahr
13Happensch sanShih Sahn
14catastropheand hereShih
fifteenQuitsshí wǔShih woo
sixteensixteenshí liùShih Bajo
17seventeenThat isShih-chi
18Eighteenshí baShih bah
19NightThat isShih jeou
20twentyThat isah schi
21twenty-oneThat isah schi
22twenty-twowhere is she?ahr schih ahr
2323That isahr shih sahn
24twenty fourand here it isOh shit
25twenty fiveèr shí wǔah shih woo
26twenty sixèr shí liùahr shih bajo
27Twenty-seventhat's allah shih chee
28Twenty eightThat isahr shih bah
29Twenty-nineis sì jiǔahr shih jeou
30thirtysan shisahn shih
31thirty-onehe hassahn shih
32thirty twogripe shí ersahn shih ahr
33Thirty threesān shí sānshah shih sahn
34Thirty-fourand nowSahn Shih anyway
35thirty-fivesān shí wǔsahn shih-woo
36Thirty-sixsān shí liùsahn shih liow
37thirtysevennumber shī qīSahn Shih Chee
38thirtyeightsān shí bāSahn Shih Bah
39thirty ninesān shī jiǔsahn shih jeou
40Fourtyand openShih
41Forty oneAnd that's itShih
42forty twoand open itShih ahr
43Fourty threeand open itanyway shih sawn
44forty fourand then againShih Shih
45Fourty fiveand open itsih shih woo
46forty sixAnd andanyway shih low
47Fourty sevenand open itverdammt shi chee
48Forty-eightand this isShih bah
49forty ninesi si jiǔShih jeou
50Fiftywǔ shíwoo shih
51Fifty-onewǔ shí yīwoo shih
52fifty-twowǔ shí èrwoo shih ahr
53Fiftythreewǔ shí sānwoo shih sahn
54Fifty-fourand this iswoo shih sih
55Fifty-fivewǔ shí wǔwoo shih woo
56fifty sixwǔ shí liùwoo shih liow
57fifty sevenwǔ shí qīwoo shih chee
58fifty eightwǔ shí bāImpressive
59fifty ninewǔ shí jiǔwoo shih jeou
60sixtyliù shíBajo Shih
61sixty oneliù shí yīBajo Shih
62Sixty-twoliù shí èrbajo shih ahr
63Sixty-threeliù shí sānbajo shih sahn
64sixty-fourliù shí jaunder shih anyway
Sixty-fiveSixty-fiveliù shí wǔbajo shih woo
66sixty sixliù shí liùdeep shih deep
67sixty-sevenliù shí qiBajo Shih Chee
68Sixty-eightthat's itBajo Shih
69sixty-nineliù shí jiǔbajo shih jeou
70seventyWhat is that?bye
71seventy-oneThat isbye
72seventy twoThat isbye ah
73Seventy-threeqī shī sanBye shih sawn
74seventyfourand this isBye anyway
75Seventyfiveqī shí wǔBye, woo
76Seventy sixqī shí liùBye Shih Liow
77seventysevenWhat is?bye Bye
78seventy eightqī shī bābye bye
79seventy nineqī shí jiǔbye bye
80eightyba shibah ski
81eighty oneThat isbah ski
82Eighty-twoThat isbah shih ahr
83Eightythreebā shí sānbah shih sahn
84eighty fourand sobah ski
85Eighty-fivebā shí wǔbah shih woo
86eighty-sixbā shí liùbah shih bajo
87eighty sevenbā shī qībah shih chi
88eightyeightit is notbah shih bah
89eighty nineThat isbah shih jeou
90ninetyjiǔ siOMG
91ninety onejiǔ shí yīOMG
92ninety twojiǔ shí èrjeou shih ahr
93ninety threejiǔ shí sánjeou shih sahn
94ninety fourjiǔ si si siWe're sorry
95Ninety-fivejiǔ shí wǔjeou shih woo
96ninety sixjiǔ shí liùjeou shih liow
97Ninety-sevenjiǔ shí qījeou shih chee
98ninety eightjiǔ shí bājeou shih bah
99ninety ninejiǔ shí jiǔjeou shih jeou

How to count from 100 to 1000 in Chinese

After you learn to count to 99, you move on to the next natural progression. Counting to 100 works the same, except you use 百 (bǎi) by 100 instead of 十 (That is) to go past a hundred.

See how easy it is to count from 100 to 1000 in Chinese.

100one hundredyi bǎito compare
200two hundredatoh buy
300three hundredcountingbuy cream
400four hundredsi bǎibuy it
500fivehundredwǔ bǎiwow buy
600sechshundertliù bǎibuy little
700sevenhundredthat's allCompare bye
800EighthundredFrau Bibuy bah
900nine hundredjiǔ bǎiGame kaufen
1000Milyì qianyes chir

Counting over 1000 in Chinese

Surely counting millions in Chinese must be extremely difficult. To the right? Not! Counting past 1000 is as easy as counting to 1000. In fact, it can be even easier if you already know the basics!

The only thing to note is that the big numbers are separated by four digits instead of three. For example, in English we count in thousands, millions, billions, trillions, etc. In Chinese, we count in tens of thousands, hundreds of millions, trillions, etc. Just remember that when you write numbers in Arabic numerals, commas still go every three digits , just like in English!

Here is a table on how to count to a trillion in Chinese!

numberMandarinPinyinpronunciationEnglish nameLiteral translation
10diezThat isschDiezDiez
100one hundredyi bǎibyeOne hundredOne hundred
1000Milyì qianyes chirMilMil
10.000ten thousandthat's allthe oneten thousandten thousand
100.000hundred thousandshí wanShih-Wanhundred thousandten ten thousand
1.000.000a millionyi bǎi wànand goodbye Wana millionone hundred ten thousand
10.000.000Ten millionyi qian wane chian wanTen millionthousand ten thousand
100.000.000100 millionthere wentand andA hundred millionA hundred million yeahbillionten hundred million billionyì bǎi yìbye yesten billionone hundred million billionand y andand they cried yeshundred billionbillion one hundred million trillionyí zhaowe willa trilliona trillion

How to put it all together

Now that you know the general structure of counting in Chinese, it's time to put it all together. Here are some "hard" numbers that you'll see aren't that hard to put together after all!

(Video) Learn Chinese Numbers 1-10, 1-100 & 1-1,000,000 | Say Big Numbers in Mandarin Chinese

387three hundred and eighty sevensan bǎi bā shí qīsahn comprar bah shih chee
756seven hundred and fifty-sixqī bǎi wǔ shí liùchee comprar woo shih liow
120One hundred and twenty)yì bǎi èr (shí)Kompro ahr shih
566five hundred sixty sixwǔ bǎi liù shí liùwoo compare liow shih liow
803800 3bā bǎi líng sānbah buy leeng cream
222Two hundred and twenty twoèr bǎi èr shí èrahr compare ahr shih ahr
678six hundred and seventy eightliù bǎi qī shí bānow i buy chee shih bah

Chinese number songs

Number Song by JunyTony

If learning music is your thing, this catchy and exhausting song will teach you how to count to a hundred. Just listen to this catchy tune a few times and you'll learn to count in Chinese before you know it.

Multiplication Ninety Nine - Chinese Multiplication Song

If you want to take things to a whole different level, try the Chinese multiplication song 九九乘法 (Jiǔ jiǔ chéng fǎ). Even if you've already learned your multiplication table, this fun song can show you how easy it is to count and do math in Mandarin Chinese!

Ordinal numbers in Chinese

Now that you've learned the cardinal numbers in Chinese, it won't take you long to figure out how to say the ordinal numbers. All you have to learn is the ordinal word 第 (to say) and add itBeforethe number. For example, to make "one" "first", just say 第一 (Many). The same goes for the second, third, fourth, tenth, fiftieth, hundredth, etc.!

Here are some example sentences using ordinal numbers in Chinese:

this is my first time flyingThis is my first time taking a flight.zhè shì wǒ dì yī cì zuò fēi jīClick Download to save Zhuh Shih Woh Dee E Tzi Tzuo Fay-Gee mp3 youtube com
lesson threethe third lessonManydee sahn kuh
sixteenth personthe sixteenth personsag shi liù g rendee shih liow guh rehn
fiftieth sentenceThe fiftieth sentencedì wǔ shí jù huaàdee woo shih joo hua

Chinese number jargon

Yes you areLearn mandarin onlineWith us, you know that we like to include real-world applications of the language whenever possible. After all, it's not about reading textbooks and learning to communicate with people!

Therefore, it would be remiss to teach you how to count in Chinese without also mentioning some useful Chinese slang numbers. These are very common in texting, so be sure to check them out if you're following oursTips for learning Chinese charactersand get a Chinese language partner!

886byeSounds like farewell (let's say goodbye), which is a common form ofsay goodbye in Chinese.eight eight six
520Loving Yousounds like i love you (wǒ ai nǐ), which means "I love you".It's five past twenty
555in tearsIt sounds like crying.five five five
666Great!Six is ​​one of the happiest numbers in Chinese, and its repeated use means "great" or "amazing"!six six six
484Yes or no?It sounds like it's not (schu schu schu) meaning yes or no.four eight four
1314ForeverSounds like a whole life (yì shēng yī shì), meaning "in life".1314
233RisaRepresents hahaha (four four) which means to laugh.Two hundred and thirty three
996The working time 996Typical working hours at Chinese technology companies, which include work from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. m. to 9 p.m. m. 6 days a week.nine nine six

Frequently asked questions about numbers in Chinese

What number brings bad luck in China?

If you are in the United States, you know not to go under a ladder, beware of broken mirrors and avoid the number 666 at all costs. But do you know what to avoid when visiting China?

(Video) Counting in Mandarin Chinese Numbers: 100 - 999 #Day 17 (Free Chinese Lesson)

The most unlucky number in China is the number 4. That's because four 四 (And) sounds like 死 (), meaning death. Therefore, the number four in Chinese should be avoided at all costs. This leads to most people avoiding the number four in their phone number or home address!

What are Chinese Lucky Numbers?

The lucky number in Chinese is the number 8 八 (Bah), since it is associated with wealth and success. It sounds similar to 发 (bye) how to get rich (do that), meaning "get rich". So if you are looking for riches and fortune, try to incorporate more eights into your life!

Other lucky numbers are 2, 6 and 9. The number two is lucky because all good things are believed to come in pairs. The number 6 is considered lucky because of the Chinese language 六六大顺, which means everything is going well. ! And finally, 9 is considered lucky in Chinese because 九 (jiǔ) sounds like 久 (jiǔ), meaning "for a long time" or "forever".

How do you count with one hand in Chinese?

You probably already know how to count to 5 with one hand, but what about 6-10? So could you include your other hand? Well, in Chinese there is a way to count to 10 with one hand! You should definitely learn this before visiting China as it is a very popular way of counting to ten in daily interactions.

Watch this short video for a quick demonstration of how to count to ten with one hand in Chinese.

What is the difference between 二 and 两?

You may have noticed that there are two ways to say two in Chinese: 二 (Hm) and two (Life). The main difference is that 二 (Hm) is generally used in counting or arithmetic, while 两 (Life) is used to express "two of" something. say 两 (Life) in Chinese is similar to saying "a few of" in English, except that using 两 (Life) is not optional. You should 两 (Life) whenever two of anything are discussed, including:

  • two months (liǎng gè yuè) - two months
  • I want two (wǒ yao liǎng gè) - I want two
  • two days (ling tian) - two days

How do you read the year in Chinese?

You already know there are special rules for reading years in English (happy three-four!), so what about Chinese? Is it necessary to read the entire issue if a specific year is mentioned? Not! Luckily, reading years in Chinese is extremely easy: you just need to read each digit! There is no need to add up or read together.

All you have to do is add the word "year" to the end of the number: 年 (Nian). Here are some examples:

20232023ér líng ér san nianahr leeng ahr sahn niehn
19971997yī jiǔ jiǔ qī niáne jiow jiow chee niehn
18301830yī bā sān líng niáne bah sahn leeng niehn follows nobody. autodesk_new
20002000èr líng líng líng niánahr leeng leeng leeng niahn

It's time to say 88!

And now you know how to count to 100 and beyond in Mandarin Chinese! Learning to count is undoubtedly an important milestone in every language learner's journey, and you should pat yourself on the back when you've achieved it!

(Video) Numbers 0-10 in Chinese - Learn Chinese Mandarin ⚫️

Why not complement this lesson with some of our helpful oneschinese items, like ourComplete Guide to Chinese Radicalsand our quick introduction toGreeting in Mandarin? Keep the momentum going!


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