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Forum Rocket Chinese Chinese Grammar Lesson 2.2 and 2.6 - question regarding 一张

Lesson 2.2 and 2.6 - question regarding 一张


My understanding is that 一张 (yīzhāng) is one followed by a measure word for flat objects. However, in this lesson, it is used in this sentence: 七百二十元一张。(Qībǎi èrshí yuán yīzhāng。) The English translation is "720 yuan each." The implication here is that 一张 means "each" and I kind-of recall the interactive audio saying as much. I have it entered into MyVocab as "each (per ticket)". What it really seems to mean is "a". Is this normal usage? Google translate gives "Seven hundred twenty yuan a." Also, in lesson 2.6, it gives the following sentence as an example: 一张飞机票多少钱?(Yīzhāng fēijīpiào duōshǎo qián?) How much is each plane ticket? This may be quibbling but would a more precise translation be "How much is a plane ticket?" Is there a better way to say it or is it simply understood?


Robert你好! In the sentences above both translations are valid. Of course the translations have slight differences but on the whole they are the same. Sometimes in Mandarin we use the measure words to imply the meaning 'each' especially when we are talking about many things, hence to two different translations. If we want express 'each' very clearly then we would add 每 which would then become 每一张多少钱。 It is good that you recognize that a measure word in Chinese can have the meaning 'a' and 'each' depending on its context but I would caution spending to much time looking for an exact translation because there will never be an exact translation that is applicable in all contexts. This is a problem that hinders many students when they learn a foreign language (myself included when I learned English), concentrating on individual words can often lead us to distort the overall meaning of a phrase. I realize this is a wee bit off topic but you are a very active member on the forum and I feel like you deserve whatever extra tips or advise I can provide. Keep up the good work! - Lin Ping


Thank you for answering that. I knew there was something subtle going on. One thing I have learned is that the sentence structure in Chinese is very different from English and that as a rule, one should never translate word for word. I do try to understand expressions and groups of words. When I first started learning Mandarin, I focused on the Pinyin and pronunciation. I am now focusing on learning the Hanzi as well and in the process I am noticing these things.

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