When you start learning a new language, numbers is one of the first things you learn. To my joy learning numbers is one of the most useful things you can learn in Chinese and it's not that hard once you get the basics. After you've learned 1 to 10 you can start to use it for other things like:

- Date's
- Time
- Higher numbers
- Phone numbers
- Money
- Days of the week

Here's a table of the first 10 numbers in Chinese.

Number | Hanzi | Pinyin |
---|---|---|

1 | 一 | yī |

2 | 二 | èr |

3 | 三 | sān |

4 | 四 | sì |

5 | 五 | wǔ |

6 | 六 | liù |

7 | 七 | qī |

8 | 八 | bā |

9 | 九 | jiǔ |

10 | 十 | shí |

Using the numbers from 1 to 10 will allow you to count higher, you'll see it's as simple as stringing the numbers together.

Hanzi | Pinyin | Number | |
---|---|---|---|

十三 | shí sān | 13 | 10 (十) + 3 (三) = 13 (十三) |

二十五 | èr shí wǔ | 25 | 2（二）+ 10 (十) = 20 （二 十） 20（二 十）+ 5（五）= 25（二十五） |

五十九 | wǔ shí jiǔ | 59 | 5（五）+ 10 (十) = 50（五十） 50（五十）+ 9（九）= 59（五十九） |

The same logic applies to numbers over 100, but there are a few new words you'll need first.

Number | Hanzi | Pinyin |
---|---|---|

100 | 百 | bǎi |

1000 | 千 | qiān |

10,000 | 萬 | wàn |

1,000,000 | 百萬 | bǎi wàn |

One thing worth mentioning when using the number two above 100 plus numbers is to use a new word 兩(liǎng) instead of 二(èr).

Number | Hanzi | Pinyin |
---|---|---|

200 | 兩百 | liǎng bǎi |

2000 | 兩千 | liǎng qiān |

20,000 | 兩萬 | liǎng wàn |

2,000,000 | 兩百萬 | liǎng bǎi wàn |

Another thing worth mentioning is the number 0 零（líng). This pops up when there is a zero and it's not the last number.

Number | Hanzi | Pinyin |
---|---|---|

101 | 一零一 | yī líng yī |

309 | 三零九 | sān líng jiǔ |

You might be a bit confused why I didn't include the word 百(bǎi). This was intentional to highlight native Mandarin speaker may refer to a number omitting whether if it's in the hundreds. This may happen if someone refers to a hotel room number or a name of a place like 台北一零一（táiběi yī líng yī).

Taipei 101

When someone does says a number without omitting 百(bǎi), usually this means they are talking about money.

So with those little gotcha's out the way we can use what we learned perviously and say numbers up into the millions.

Hanzi | Pinyin | Number | |
---|---|---|---|

七百五十 | qī bǎi wǔ shí | 750 | |

三千三百 | sān qiān sān bǎi | 3,300 | |

六萬六百 | liù wàn liù bǎi | 60,600 | |

九百萬 | jiǔ bǎi wàn | 9,000,000 |

Hopefully now that I have gone over the basics of numbers in Chinese you can see it's not complicated and most of the time you can work out how to say a number just by knowing the basics.

I mentioned that once you learn numbers in Chiense you can then start to use it for other purposes listed above. In my next post I will try to go over these in Numbers in Chiense Part 2.