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helixness

一只狗 or 一条狗 ?

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helixness

This is my first semester taking Chinese.

I was reading an assignment I wrote to my chinese friend who claims nobody says “一只狗“ and that the correct way of saying it is "一条狗“.

Oddly most chinese text books use 只 but many of my friends say 条.

Weird question (and pretty useless), which one is mostly used to not sound too white?! ^.^

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imron

I hear both in daily life. Google seems to think they're much the same, with coming out slightly ahead of .

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renzhe

Isn't 条 something you'd use for snakes and dragons?

Could this have something to do with the fact that virtually all (pet) dogs in China are small? Kind of like the reason why you hear 小狗 often, and it wouldn't really apply to big dogs.

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skylee

To the OP, both are ok. Another count word for "dog" is 頭 / 头.

Here is an interesting discussion on this topic -> http://iask.sina.com.cn/b/1747293.html :D

为什么说一条狗,而不说一头狗?

过去是叫一头狗, 现在叫一条狗, 将来叫一个狗.

是狗进化的中级阶段.

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skylee

I've found this court document -> http://legalref.judiciary.gov.hk/lrs/common/ju/ju_body.jsp?DIS=64825&AH=&QS=&FN=&currpage=T

You can see that "兩頭狗" and "兩隻狗" (para 3) and "一頭狗" and "一隻狗" (para 9) are used interchangeably. In fact in HK where Cantonese is spoken only "隻" is used in the spoken language. But in writing, 隻 / 頭 / 條 are used interchangeably.

But in an examination / test, only use what your teacher / textbooks have taught you. I was taught that a bar of chocolate was correct (+5 points) and a piece of chocolate was incorrect (-5 points). :)

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universe2278

hehe,as a chinese ,i use 一只狗 in writting chinese ,but mostly refer to the little doggy, it's the same in oral chinese. only little dog will be called as 一只小狗.

All others we say 一条狗

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yersi

条 is for small dogs, 只 is for larger dogs, I believe. Some cities like Beijing have limits on the size of the dogs you're allowed to own and Chinese generally prefer smaller breeds which might be why your friend has never heard 只 used.

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peekay

Hmm like universe2278 says, here in Beijing I hear 一只小狗 for small dogs, 一只猫 for cats, etc., so seems that 只 is mostly for certain small animals, not the other way around.

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helixness

Thank you all for the replies! :)

I also heard 只 was for smaller and 条 for larger, didn't know about 头 though!

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universe2278

In Chinese,we use specific quantifier applying to specific objects,so ,there are many quantifiers and every has it's limited usable range. I'm afraid u have to member them by hard work

eg. 一头猪,一头牛,一头骆驼        //mostly the object is big

  一只羊,一只小狗,一只兔子,一只手套  //little one

  一条狗,一条蛇,一条大河         //slim or long

   

other quantifiers

一盏灯,一杯水,一个板凳,一坐山,一汪清水

now i tell u a trick,if u can't remember the right quantifier during talking ,just use 个 to fill in ,it's ok most time

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anonymoose
I was taught that a bar of chocolate was correct (+5 points) and a piece of chocolate was incorrect (-5 points).

But they mean different things. What is a 'bar' of chocolate in chinese?

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HashiriKata
What is a 'bar' of chocolate in chinese?
From what skylee said above, I'm pretty sure you can use 块 for it (among other alternatives :mrgreen:)

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anonymoose
From what skylee said above, I'm pretty sure you can use 块 for it (among other alternatives )

Maybe I should have made my question clearer. What I meant is, how do you differentiate between a bar of chocolate and a piece of chocolate in Chinese?

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HashiriKata

If this of any help: I've seen it's used with 条, so I guess 块 is the general word to use and 条 is more for a long piece. And of course, I'm waiting for correction :mrgreen:

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skylee

Re chocolates. I took that test decades ago but I still remember it clearly (because I didn't and still don't agree with the teacher :) ). We were required to fill in the blanks. The question was simply " a ________ of chocolate". I wrote "piece" in the space, and later the teacher told me that the model answer was "bar". :)

IMO, a bar of chocolate is like a snickers and I would use "排" or "條". A piece of chocolate is something like an after eight mint, and I would use "塊“ or “片”.

Imagine in a test where the students are asked to fill in the blank for "一 ____ 狗". I wonder what the model (or right) answer is.

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anonymoose
IMO, a bar of chocolate is like a snickers and I would use "排" or "條". A piece of chocolate is something like an after eight mint, and I would use "塊“ or “片”.

Actually, I wouldn't classify an after eight mint as a piece of chocolate - I would say it's simply a chocolate (no measure word).

In my mind,

a bar of chocolate is a complete product, which is meant to be broken up before eating, or eaten bite by bite,

a piece of chocolate is a part broken off from a larger unit, such as a bar,

and a chocolate would be a small but complete individual unit, meant to be eaten in one go (hence, a box of chocolates - a box containing bite-sized individual pieces), such as an 'after eight', as skylee mentioned, or a 'quality street'.

啊,这个话题真令人垂涎欲滴......

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daveonhols

The question about dogs is interesting.

We definately learned 条 and our teacher (from Beijing) was very certain about this. One day I was talking to one of my Chinese friends (not sure which one so don't know where she's from) and she was adament that it was wrong and the correct one is 只. I asked my other Chinese friends and got all sorts of answers from only 条 is ok or only 只is ok, to either is fine or it depends on the dog etc etc. Now I quite often make a point to ask my Chinese friends if I meet any new ones which measure word that they use for dog! I'm convinced there's no official "correct" answer.

Now I just stick to 条 because that was taught to me by my favourite teacher and I prefer to use the less common measure words, it seems more interesting and I feel like I'm using more vocabulary that way. For example 口 (kou3) for members of a family and 位 (wei4) for people in general etc. As someone mentioned earlier, I understand you can use 个 for pretty much anything, but I think you're losing a certain richness in the language if you do that.

Just my opinions and exerience, I'm definately not an expert!!

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skylee
it depends on the dog

This is a very good answer.

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fmcti

There is no different between the two as far as dog is concerned. While you can say 一只蚂蚁 (an ant) and you can't use the other one for ant. While you can say 一条虫子 (a worm) and you can't use the other one for worm. It has nothing to do with the size.

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