Lesson Five

How much is this

 How many lessons have we learned so far?

Let us count together: one, èr two, sān three, four

We have learned four lessons, which consist of the following topics.

·        Greeting

·        Telling people about your family members

We have also learned the question words: 什么 shénme what, shéi who, how many. During the class exercises of the last four lessons we have learned how to say哪儿 nǎr where, which and expressions such as: 对不起 duìbuqǐ sorry and 不知道 bù zhīdào don’t know.

Basic expressions

We will learn some useful words and expressions used for shopping in China in this lesson. It is certainly desirable to learn how to bargain in a market in China. 


zhè ge



this one

this  GE



nà ge



that one

that  GE



duōshǎo qián



how much

how much (money) 

It isn’t impolite in China if one says “I want …” and the word want can be useful in making requests in China. Lets look at the following expressions.


wǒ yào zhè ge



I would like to have this one.

I     want  this GE



wǒ bú yào nà ge



I wouldn’t like to have that one.

I    not   want  that GE


Let’s learn the following dialogue:

a.       多少         钱?

    zhè  ge  duōshǎo     qián

    this GE  how much  money                     

   How much does this cost? (How much is this?)



    zhè  ge   bā   kuài     qián

   this  GE    8   KUAI  money                   

   This costs eight dollars. (This is eight dollars.)


a.       多少         钱?                   

    nà   ge    duōshǎo    qián

    that GE  how much  money                    

   How much does that cost? (How much is that?)


b.           钱                    

     nà ge  jiǔ kuài     qián

   that GE 9  KUAI  money                    

    That costs nine dollars.

Here are the new words used in this dialogue. 

        zhè       this

        nà         that

       qián      money    

        kuài      kuai [a measure word for Chinese dollar]

        bā        eight

        jiǔ         nine

Read the following dialogue after me:

a.      问,    多少        钱?

     qǐng     wèn, zhè ge duōshǎo     qián

please ask,  this GE how much money         

Excuse me, how much is this?


b.              钱。            

      zhè ge    bā kuài    qián      

 this GE  8   KUAI dollar

This is eight dollars.


a.             钱?            

      nà  ge  duōshǎo    qián                  

     that GE how much money              

    How much is that?


b.            钱。             

     nà   ge  jiǔ kuài    qián        

     that GE 9  KUAI dollar

     That’s nine dollars.


b.                个?                    

     nǐ   yào     nǎ      ge   

     you want  which GE                         

     Which one would you like to have?


a.       个。                          

      wǒ yào zhè ge                                      

      I want this GE.                             

     This one, please.


b.     呢?                            

     nà   ge   ne           

     that GE  how about                        

     What about that one?


a.  对不起,我  要。                     

     duìbuqǐ,    wǒ bú  yào      

      sorry       I     not want                        

     No, thanks.


Notes on expressions


Please note the following points.

  1. There are no verbs in the above sentence. For instance


          zhè ge  bā kuài   qián

          this GE 8 KUAI dollars. 

It is quite common to omit the verb element when a number refers to a topic, as in

        多少       钱?

          nà   ge duōshǎo    qián

          that GE how much money


          nà    ge jiǔ kuài     qián

          that GE 9  KUAI dollars


  1. There are two ways to pronounce zhè this, and there are two ways to pronounce that.
  1. not  first appeared in不知道 bùzhīdào don’t know in Lesson 4. The negation not is placed before verbs, adjectives and adverbs as in 不好bùhǎo no good; 不是búshì it is not; 不要 búyào don’t want. However, bù(bú) not cannot be placed before yǒu have. The negative form for yǒu have is 没有méiyǒu don’t have, as in

没有    哥哥

tā  méiyou  gēge

he not have elder brother

He does not have (an) elder brother.

  1. The tone for not is changeableWhen it is followed by a third tone or a first tone, it changes into the fourth tone as in 对不起 duìbuqǐ sorry, 不知道bù zhīdào don’t know. When it is followed by a fourth tone, it changes into the second tone as in 不要 bú yào don’t want
  1. 那个呢? Nà ge ne that GE NE how about that one? /what about that one? The question particle NE ne how about can be placed after a pronoun or a noun to form a tag question.

Tape version

Part one: new words








How much or how many [the expected number is more than 10]






Chinese buck















[question particle]


Part two: expressions


this  GE  how much  money

How much is this?


this  GE  eight  bucks

This costs eight bucks.


that  GE  how much  money

How much is that?


that  GE  nine  bucks

That one costs nine bucks.


I  want  this  GE

I want this.


I  not  want  that  GE

I don’t want that.

Part three: conversation


please  ask,  this  GE  how much  money

Excuse me, how much is this?


this  GE  eight  bucks

This costs eight bucks.


that  GE  how much  money

How much is that?


that  GE  nine  bucks

That one costs nine bucks.


you  want  which  GE

Which one do you want?


I  want  this  GE

I want this.     


that  GE  question particle

How about that one?


sorry,  I  not  want

Sorry. I don’t want it.