How to ask about quantity or price of something in Mandarin
Learn how to use “duō shao” to ask about quantity or price of something in Mandarin Chinese.
The word “多少, duō shao” is often used to ask about quantity of something.
"多少, duō shao " in English means "how much or how many".
The character “多, duō” means “more” or “many.”
The character “少, shao” means “few” or “less”.
"多少, duō shao" is in general followed by a "measure word" and "noun". The noun can be either countable or uncountable.
Its structure is as follows:
"多少, duō shao" + measure word + noun?
"多少个人, duō shao ge rén?" (How many people?)
“多少, duō shao” means how many.
“个, ge” is the measure word to describe the noun “人, rén”.
“人, rén” is a noun, mean persons.
So, combine them, “多少个人, duō shao ge rén?” means “How many people?”
Let see more examples:
"多少本书, duō shao běn shū?" (How many books?)
"多少块蛋糕, duō shao kuài dàn gāo?" (How many pieces of cake?)
"多少(块)钱, duō shao (kuài) qián?" (How much is it?)
Be reminded that if you are expressing money using "多少, duō shao", a measure word of money is “块, kuài” is used. However, the measure word "块, kuài" is always omitted.
Thus, when you ask how much of something, you can simply say "多少钱, duō shao qián ", instead of "多少(块)钱, duō shao (kuài ) qián”.
Next, when asking about price of something, we can use the following sentence structure:
Subject + "多少钱, duō shao qián"?
zhè ge bēi zi duō shao qián?
How much is this cup?
The subject of the phrase is “这个杯子, zhè ge bēi zi”
“这, zhè” is a pronoun, it means “this”.
“个, ge” is measure word, to describe the noun "杯子, bēi zi".
“杯子, bēi zi” means a cup.
Combine them, the subject means "this cup", so, “这个杯子的价值, zhè ge bēi zi duō shao qián?” means "How much is this cup?"
Finally, let see more examples:
zhè ge píng guǒ duō shao qián?
How much is this apple?
zhè jiàn yī fu duō shao qián?
How much is this shirt?