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please take a picture of us


Here is another sentence that I am trying to break down. please take a picture [photo] of us qǐng gěi wǒmen zhào yī zhāng xiàng 请给我们照一张相 The thing that puzzles me is the four word construction at the end of the sentence: zhào yī zhāng xiàng That seems to translate to "take a photo" "one" "measure word for flat objects" "photo". I can see this is that construction: gěi <someone> zhào xiàng. Why add the "yī zhāng"?


Robert,你好! I am very sorry for the late reply. Although you may say 请给我们照相 directly, but in Chinese, shorter sentences tend to be more formal or in some cases they may also seem a bit blunt. Thus, we often add the measure word and number simply to lengthen the sentence and give it a friendlier tone. However, don't forget that this can only be done with VO ( verb 照,object 相 ) constructions. Keep up the great work! - Lin Ping


Thank you for explaining that. The grammar is getting trickier as I learn more of it. I would never have guessed that the extra words soften the tone.


Hi Robert,

When asking for "something", in this case "picture/photo", it is better to add "one" so that the other person would know there is a limit in the request.  Whereas without the "one", it is generally taken as open ended and mean a longer term request.

Similarly, when asking for water, we usually ask for "one cup"  of water and would rarely just ask for water.

Hope that helps.

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