Hi, can someone explain the use of ben3 and what it means in this sentence? Also, would it be accept to just say "Zhuozishang you yishu."? Here's the sentence from lesson 1.9: 桌子上有一本书。 Zhuōzishàng yǒu yīběn shū。 There is a book on the table.
August 7, 2011
August 8, 2011
本 is a measure word. Maybe on advertising boards in China i.e. newspaper where space is at a premium measure words might not be used but as a rule you always have to have a measure word if you are talking about "x items". English equivalents would be 2 head of cattle, 7 sheets of paper (we don't say 7 paper with no 's' do we? - else it is wrong), etc. Chinese requires this for all nouns that are being counted even if it just sounds redundant. In your sentence provided the ben 本 is required if you are referring to just one certain book. You could drop the yi 一 and it would be correct again, but it would be referring to many books and not just one!