Chinese Numbers: The Complete Guide for Counting in Chinese from 0 to 100+

chinese numbers

Numbers are the foundation of language and we use them constantly in our daily lives. In China, the numbers used are divided into Chinese and Arabic numbers, and Chinese numbers are further divided into upper and lower cases. In order to standardize the use of numbers, China has clarified the respective usage of Arabic numbers and Chinese numbers.

This article will give you a complete guide on  Chinese numbers from 0 to 100+ and will also teach you how to use numbers in daily life, such as introducing your age, giving phone numbers, saying dates, etc. I promise you’ll know how to talk about numbers like a Chinese native by the end of this article! Now it might be a bit long, so bookmark it first if you wish to read it later.

The complete guide for counting in Chinese from 0 to 100+

Are you ready? Then let’s start with 0-10!

Chinese Numbers 0 to 10

The trick to learning most Chinese numbers is to master 0-10!

First of all, there are actually three ways to write 0 in Chinese – namely the Arabic numeral “0”, the Chinese character lowercase “O” and the Chinese character uppercase “零(líng)”. Each 0 has its own specific use and should not be used interchangeably.

The zero in Chinese can be used to link two number units, similar to the way we use “and” in English. For example, instead of saying “one thousand and two hundred”, the Chinese people say 一千二百 (yì qiān líng èr bǎi), which literally means “one thousand and two hundred”.

When it comes to the numbers 1, 2, and 3, remembering them is quite simple.

One horizontal stroke 一 (yī) means 1

Two horizontal strokes 二 (èr) means 2

Three horizontal strokes 三 (sān) means 3!

Easy, right? Counting is probably one of the easiest parts of learning Chinese! It’s very predictable and logical just like English ones. But remember, as the Chinese language doesn’t have articles like a, an, and the, the number 一 (yī) is often used as an article and it’s pronounced differently such as 一万 (yíwàn, 10 thousand)、一千(yìqiān, one thousand). So don’t trust any source that tells you the pronunciation of “一” never changes!

However, 4-10 are not as simple as just horizontal lines! You’ll have to memorize the table below and try to use them as much as possible. You can also use LingoDeer App to practice the strokes of these Chinese letters!

The complete guide for counting in Chinese from 0 to 100+

Chinese Numbers 11 to 100

11-20 is easy. Once you know 1-10, you’ll know how to write 11-100! They all work by adding numbers together.

Number Hanzi Pinyin
21 二十一 Èr shí yī
22 二十二 Èr shí èr
23 二十三 Èr shí sān
24 二十四 Èr shí sì
25 二十五 Èr shí wǔ
26 二十六 Èr shí liù
27 二十七 Èr shí qī
28 二十八 Èr shí bā
29 二十九 Èr shí jiǔ
30 三十 sān shí
31 三十一 sān shí yī
32 三十二 sān shí èr
33 三十三 sān shí sān
34 三十四 sān shí sì
35 三十五 sān shí wǔ
36 三十六 sān shí liù
37 三十七 sān shí qī
38 三十八 sān shí bā
39 三十九 sān shí jiǔ
40 四十 sì shí
41 四十一 sì shí yī
42 四十二 sì shí èr
43 四十三 sì shí sān
44 四十四 sì shí sì
45 四十五 sì shí wǔ
46 四十六 sì shí liù
47 四十七 sì shí qī
48 四十八 sì shí bā
49 四十九 sì shí jiǔ
50 五十 wǔ shí
51 五十一 wǔ shí yī
52 五十二 wǔ shí èr
53 五十三 wǔ shí sān
54 五十四 wǔ shí sì
55 五十五 wǔ shí wǔ
56 五十六 wǔ shí liù
57 五十七 wǔ shí qī
58 五十八 wǔ shí bā
59 五十九 wǔ shí jiǔ
60 六十 liù shí
61 六十一 liù shí yī
62 六十二 liù shí èr
63 六十三  liù shí sān
64 六十四  liù shí sì
65 六十五 liù shí wǔ
66 六十六 liù shí liù
67 六十七 liù shí qī
68 六十八 liù shí bā
69 六十九 liù shí jiǔ
70 七十 Qī shí
71 七十一 qī shí yī
72 七十二 qī shí èr
73 七十三 qī shí sān
74 七十四 qī shí sì
75 七十五 qī shí wǔ
76 七十六 qī shí liù
77 七十七 qī shí qī
78 七十八 qī shí bā
79 七十九 qī shí jiǔ
80 八十 bā shí
81 八十一 bā shí yī
82 八十二 bā shí èr
83 八十三 bā shí sān
84 八十四 bā shí sì
85 八十五 bā shí wǔ
86 八十六 bā shí liù
87 八十七 bā shí qī
88 八十八 bā shí bā
89 八十九 bā shí jiǔ
90 九十 jiǔ shí
91 九十一 jiǔ shí yī
92 九十二 jiǔ shí èr
93 九十三 jiǔ shí sān
94 九十四 jiǔ shí sì
95 九十五 jiǔ shí wǔ
96 九十六 jiǔ shí liù
97 九十七 jiǔ shí qī
98 九十八 jiǔ shí bā
99 九十九 jiǔ shí jiǔ
100 一百 bǎi

Large Chinese Numbers

If you already know 1-100, the numbers that follow shouldn’t be too hard. You already know how it works! The only difference is that you need to use the number 0 sometimes!

When you say 101-109, you have to add a 0 after a hundred. If you don’t, it becomes another number entirely. Same for 200, 300, and so on. Let me give you some examples.

一百零一 ( bǎi líng yī) – “one hundred and one ”
一百一 ( bǎi yī) – “one hundred and ten”

一百零二 ( bǎi líng èr) – “one hundred and two ”
一百二 ( bǎi èr) – “one hundred and twenty ”

Now you must have noticed the tone of 一 (yī) is changed to yì. Don’t worry, it only happens occasionally with the number 一 (yī). We’ll explain that later.

From 110, there are two different ways you can say a number. But the first one is often used in spoken Chinese.

一百一(十) ( bǎi yī (shí)) – “one hundred and ten”

三百二(十) (sān bǎi èr (shí)) – “three hundred and twenty”

The concept of hundreds and tens is the same as that of adding different numbers together:

The complete guide for counting in Chinese from 0 to 100+

Chinese Numbers 1,000 & Above 

The complete guide for counting in Chinese from 0 to 100+

 

How to Use Numbers in Chinese

Phone numbers

After you learn 1 to 10, it’s much easier to tell someone your phone number! In China, phone numbers always start with 1. Note that the number one in phone numbers must be pronounced 幺(yāo) in order to avoid confusion with 7 (qi), which sounds similar to 1 (yī). Another difference is that in English, we sometimes combine two or even three numbers together, such as thirty-five or triple zero.In Chinese phone numbers, the numbers are always spoken individually.

Let’s try it out!

If your cell phone number is 13699802345, we can simply pronounce the corresponding numbers: yāo, sān, liù, jiǔ, jiǔ, bā, líng, èr, sān, sì, wǔ.

Date

Now it’s time to teach you how to tell dates using numbers. Let’s start with some Chinese that we’ll need to use.

年(nián) – year

月(yuè) – month

日(rì) available in both writing and speaking)/号(hào) only in spoken Chinese – date

The complete guide for counting in Chinese from 0 to 100+

What you need to remember is that in Chinese, people usually say dates in year/month/date order.

Here are the examples:

Today is October 4, 2020.
今天是 2020年10月4日/号。
(jīn tiān shì èr líng èr líng nián shí yuè sì rì/hào)

My birthday is April 3, 1998.
我的生日是1998年4月3日/号。
(wǒ de shēng rì shì yī jiǔ jiǔ bā nián sì yuè sān rì/hào)

Ordinal Numbers

The use of Ordinal Numbers is very simple! You just need to add the Chinese character 第(dì) before the number. You can see it as the prefix of numbers to indicate order. For example,

She is the first one to arrive at the station.
她是第一个到车站的。
(tā shì dì yī gè dào chēzhàn de)

第一 (dìyī) 第六 (dìliù)
第二 (dìèr) 第七 (dìqī)
第三 (dìsān) 第八 (dìbā)
第四 (dìsì) 第九 (dìjiǔ)
第五 (dìwǔ) 第十 (dìshí)

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What to Notice when Using Chinese Numbers

Change in tones

In Mandarin, the four most common tones (四声sìshēng) are:

The first tone – 阴平 (yīn píng), often called 第一声 (dì yī shēng), is stable and flat, meaning it does not rise or fall. It is also often described as a high tone. The word 轻 (qīng; ) is pronounced in the first tone.

The second Tone – 阳平 (yáng píng), often called the second tone (dì èr shēng), is a rising tone. The word 图 (tú; picture, map) is pronounced in the second tone.

The third tone – 上声 (shàng shēng), usually called the third tone (dì sān shēng) – is most commonly taught as a descending tone followed by a rising tone, as in 煮 (zhǔ; boil, cook).

The fourth Tone – 去声 (qù shēng), often referred to as the fourth tone (dì sì shēng), is a falling tone. The word 去 (qù; go) is pronounced in the fourth tone.

Finger counting

Apart from writing and speaking, Chinese people also use finger counting – hand gestures that signify numbers 1 to 10.

The complete guide for counting in Chinese from 0 to 100+

Taboo numbers

4 (sì) – is considered unlucky because of the similarity in pronunciation between 4 and the word 死( sǐ; death) in Chinese. It is a taboo number, just like 13 in Western countries. Usually, you will see the number 4 replaced by the English capital F or just skipped in many elevators in China.

38(sān bā) – It used to have a derogatory meaning in Chinese, referring to a person (usually women) who often meddles in other people’s affairs. In recent years, however, this term is used less often as feminist movements gain popularity and more people realize the term actually comes from Women’s Day (March 8th). Some people even proudly say they are 38 on social media, surprisingly changing the meaning of the term to something neutral or even positive.

250 (Èrbǎiwǔ) – it refers to a person who is stupid, ignorant, and stubborn. It is a number with a long history; people have been using it to curse others since the late Qing Dynasty. You don’t want to use it, and you certainly don’t want to hear people saying it to you.


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