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Confused about the use of 几 Tonight at my Chinese language class at my local university I asked the teacher about the different uses of 几. Everything I have learnt has indicated that it can be used to mean "how many?" when asking a question and also to mean "several" or "a few" in a statement. Examples: 你们家有几口人?How many people in your family? 今天我看了几本书。Today I read several books. My teacher, who is from Beijing, told me this is wrong and that 几is only used in questions. Is she correct? Thanks for your help :-)
Nov 5, 2012 10:58 AM
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Answers · 9
几,this word can be useed not noly only in the question sentence, you can also use it in other senteces. the other viewers have already make some examples for you. hope you can benifit from it,
November 6, 2012
1、means "how much / how many " answer the "几"question with the figure。 你家有几口人? 我家有五口人。 现在几点了? 7:30 我们做几路车去公园?15路公交车去公园。 2、means something or the time are uncertain. 我这几天工作很忙。 i'm busy these days. 我今天看了几本书,都很好。 这几件衣服我都很喜欢。
November 5, 2012
I think you are right. When 几 is pronounced as jǐ, it can be used in questions, like 几个人? ALSO, it can be used to express uncertain number between 1 and 10,like 几本书 | 十几岁 | 几百人.
November 5, 2012
Now to your question: A to-be-or-not-to-be interrogative issue. If this is the case: 今天我看了几本书。(rather than 今天我看了几本书?) I wouldn't say it's so wrong, personally, but it's not so right, either (haha!) 今天我看了几本书。can be like a statement but an unfinished one though. More info shall suffice for it. e.g. 我今天看了几本讲到巴西咖啡豆还有越南咖啡豆的书,看得我都想去开店了! I read some books today, which are (maybe here 'were' better?) about Brazilian and Vietnamese coffee beans. I was so into it that I would start a business straight away! e.g. 我今天翻了几本书、啃了几口饼干后,又跑去睡了。 I flipped through some books, got some bites of biscuits, and then went back to bed again. - Yes, 今天我看了几本书。does sound like an interrogative, but when the subject 我 gets replaced by 你 it will make an interrogative 100%. e.g. 你今天看了几本书? How may books you read today? (makes sense) e.g. 你今天看了几本书。 You read some books today. (nonsense) e.g. 我今天看了几本书? How many books I read today?' (nonsense) This one sounds like a Jack guy being asked, 'Jack, what is your name?' by an Alzheimer's patient. I mean, how possibly I couldn't know how many books I read today, not even a rough number I can recall for it. e.g. 我今天看了几本书。 Today I read some books. (makes sense but sounds incomplete somehow) e.g. 我今天看了几本书--你问我? How many books I read today--you ask me? (makes sense) e.g. 他今天看了几本书--你问我?--我问谁啊? How many books he read today--you ask me?--I ask whom? (makes sense) e.g. 我今天看了几本书?让我想想啊,我看了....点点点 How many books I read today? Hmm, let's see, I read... blah blah blah (makes sense) - Mind ElleLee's words, and also the definition '二' in anita998710's. They both gave out an insight that 几 has got yet occasionally ignored. Take the original piece, for example: 我今天看了几本书。 I would think you're saying 2 to 4 books, probably. Or maybe 7. 9? Well could be.. but err, 9 within a day?! You must be a superwoman or talking about children books, most of which I see only pictures (haha!) Also, you would ask an under-10-year-old kid 你几岁了? indead of 你多少岁了? - Not sure if you already knew to make sentences such as: 我今天看了三、四本书。(here it will be only a full stop '。' without question) I read 3 to 4 books today. 我今天看了五、六本书。 I read 5 to 6 books today. These are very common ways of expression, using two neighbouring integrals for a rough number under 10 exclusive because of 九、十 'nine and ten' making it like 九十 'ninety' in speech. Well in addition to 几本书, you could practically use 一些书 and 若干本书 as well (both which I will absolutely not think you're questioning or soliloquising in any case) for 'some books', well if you want to stick with the teacher's viewpoint and play safe.
November 6, 2012
This is a good question! Yes, she is right! Butttttttt in this spinning world, everything changes fastly and so does a 'living' language since we as the people speaking it are changing. A dictionary, authoritative or not so authoritative, is like laws and always goes behind the living trend; it used to take a decade or years, but now like months merely, to have its every latest edition updated. - In the text, that (here I use 'that' because there are additional two 几s with same writing but different meanings, speaking of 'simplified characters' set) 几's traditional form is 幾. In traditional characters set: 幾, a polyphone, sounded 1) ji1 [adj][adv] OR 2) ji3 [adj][adv]. 几, sounded 3) ji1 [noun]. In simplified characters set: Only one 几, or a trinity 几 (haha!), which stands for 1) OR 2) OR 3), depending on the context. This is just a tip of the iceberg, that why 'simplified characters' are *seemingly* easy to learn (at first) but actually harder to learn (later on) one may find. They are *not distinct* as 'traditional characters' and *confusing* from time to time. /* here I only demonstrate the ways in Modern Chinese marked as [ ], not regarding archaic ones you'd bump into whilst reading Classical Chinese. */ - Here are some examples: e.g. 今天我看了几本书。 I read some books today. /* here 几 stands for 2) */ e.g. 早上我放了几本书在茶几上,你有看到吗? I put some books on the teapoy this morning. You saw them? /* here the first 几 stands for 2), here the second 几 stands for 3) */ e.g. 那几本书我几乎没在看了,想看就拿去看吧,不过看完请放回茶几上OK?谢谢。 I almost don't read those books now. Take them if you want but you mind putting them back on the teapoy as you finish, please? Thanks. /* here the first 几 stands for 2), here the second 几 stands for 1), here the third 几 stands for 3) */
November 6, 2012
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Language Skills
Chinese (Mandarin), English
Learning Language
Chinese (Mandarin)