Archive for the ‘Numerical measure words’ Category

Numerical measure words illustrate the frequency of past actions.

Basically speaking, the numerical measure words 一次 and 一遍 both have the meaning of “once” or “one time”. For example 这本书我看过一遍 and 这本书我看过一次  both mean I have read this book once.*

*Note that the above sentences utilise a passive sentence structure, whereby the subject is placed at the start of the sentence for emphasis.

The 一 of both numerical measure words can be substituted (Ex.: 两次, 两遍) to show “two times”, “four times” etc. 

Although the general meaning of 一次 and 一遍 is the same, the implications of both numerical measure words are divergent.

一次 focus on the sheer frequency of the past actions whereas 一遍 emphasizes the quality of the times.  In other words, 一遍 indicates the action was completely finished. 

Referring to the previous examples,
 
这本书我看过一遍 (I have read this book completely from the first chapter to the last chapter)

这本书我看过一次 (I have read this book but maybe not every chapter or page)

So, as you can see: not all numerical measure words are equal!

Michael and Jing

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