Jump to content
Learn Chinese in China

Sign in to follow this  

Pinyin rules for 个

Recommended Posts


Hi everyone, I am romanizing lots of Chinese sentences for teaching purposes, and I have read 《新华拼写词典》 thoroughly. Even though this book is quite comprehensive about pinyin rules I have a question about the "pinyinization" of the classifier 个 since some cases are not explained in it.

For instance it says 一个人 should be written yī gè rén, which is ok for me when it means "one person", I also think it should be written yīgèrén when the meaning is "alone" but I can't find the reference anymore. I would appreciate if anyone can confirm this.

Also, I am not sure whether I should put the tonemark on 个 in some cases; for instance in  一个钟头 yī gè zhōngtóu the classifier is marked because it is preceded by 一, but then in 他是个宽宏大量的人 tā shì ge kuānhóng-dàliàng de rén, I think should be written without tonemark since this reflects the way of speaking it out. The book applies this rule of writing the corresponding tone or the 轻声 depending on the context also with other characters like 上 or 里, but never with 一, which is always rendered with the first tone. So my question is when I should write 个 with a fourth tone and when toneless?


Thank you in advance.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
Site Sponsors:
Pleco for iPhone / Android iPhone & Android Chinese dictionary: camera & hand- writing input, flashcards, audio.
Study Chinese in Kunming 1-1 classes, qualified teachers and unique teaching methods in the Spring City.
Learn Chinese Characters Learn 2289 Chinese Characters in 90 Days with a Unique Flash Card System.
Hacking Chinese Tips and strategies for how to learn Chinese more efficiently
Popup Chinese Translator Understand Chinese inside any Windows application, website or PDF.
Chinese Grammar Wiki All Chinese grammar, organised by level, all in one place.


It's a tricky question.


Normally you can think when 个 is a count word together with numbers like 一个,两个,三个,四个,etc, it should be in fourth tone. And when there is no number word attached to 个,like the example you provide, xxx是个xxx,it should be read in 轻声。


Though in spoken Chinese, 个 is kinda always tend to in 轻声, even it marked as fourth tone in pinyin.


I'm sure there may be some corner cases which not apply, but I don't have that off-hand.

  • Helpful 1

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and select your username and password later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Click here to reply. Select text to quote.

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

  • Create New...