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Nihongo Online School > Tips for More Effective Studying > 【numbers】-Lesson 5  Counter suffix  

【numbers】-Lesson 5  Counter suffix  

2023/09/19

Director: Kotaro Muramoto
Principal of Nihongo Online School
In September 2019, he founded "Nihongo Online School". Since then, has been teaching Japanese online lessons, with a total of over 1,000 students.
He has designed an individualized curriculum based on student’s needs and study goal. And is conscious of making the classes speech-centered in order to improve students’ speaking skills.
The school asks students to submit homework assignments worth 2 hours per lesson to improve faster. By supporting students with these features, students are able to efficiently improve Japanese language skills.

もののかぞえかた Counter suffix  

When counting in Japanese, you will need to put certain counter words after the number. This counter word changes depend on what you count,  

When you counting … 

・people : にん(人)=nin

・frequency:かい(回)=kai

・animals, fish or insects :ひき(匹)=hiki

・cups/glasses of liquid: はい(杯)=hai

・counting long and thin objects like poles :ほん(本)=hon

・books:さつ(冊)=satsu

・cars and machines :だい(台)=dai

■people:にん

When counting people, using the counter “にん”. “Number+にん”. But, 1 and 2 are irregular.  3 people onwards, the rule “number + にん(nin)” is applied.

1person=ひとり hitori, 2people=ふたり futari

3 people onwards, the rule “number + にん(nin)” is applied.

Number + peopleすうじ(数字)+にん(人)
ひとり hitori
ふたり futari
さんにん san nin 
よにん yo nin 
ごにん go nin 
ろくにん roku nin
ななにん nana nin
はちにん hachi nin
きゅうにん kyuu nin
10じゅうにん juu nin
なんにん何人なんにん nan nin?

■frequency:かい                                                

かい” is a counter that express frequency or time order. “Number+回(かい)”.

じっけんを2かいしました。

Jikkenn wo nikai shimashita. 

I did experiment for 2 times.

おなじユーチューブのどうがを2かいみました。

Onaji yutube no dougawo nikai mimashita.

I watched same YouTube movie 2times.

Number + timesすうじ(数字)+かい(回)
1いっかい ikkai
2にかい ni kai
3さんかい san kai
4よんかい yon kai
5ごかい go kai
6ろっかい rokkai
7ななかい nana kai
8はっかい hachi kai
9きゅうかい kyuu kai
10じゅっかい jukkai
なんかい何回 なんかい nan kai?

■animals, fish or insects :ひき                                                

When counting small animals, fish or insects using the counter “ひき”. “Number+ひき”.

いぬが いっぴき います。

Inuga ippiki imasu.

There is a dog.

うしが にひき います。

Ushiga nihiki imasu. 

There are 2 cows .

Number+ animals/fish/insectsすうじ(数字)+ひき(匹)
1いっぴき ippiki 
2にひき ni hiki
3さんびき san biki
4よんひき yon hiki
5ごひき go hiki
6ろっぴき roppiki
7ななひき nana hiki
8はっぴき happiki
9きゅうひき kyuu hiki
10じゅっぴき juppiki
なんびき何匹 なんびき nan biki?

■cups/glasses of liquid: はい

When counting cups/glasses of liquid, using “Number + はい”.

チャイをいっぱい のみます。

Chai wo ippai nomimasu.

I drink one cup of chai.

Number+ cups/glassesすうじ(数字)+(はい)杯
1いっぱい ippai
2にはい ni hai
3さんばい san bai
4よんはい yon hai
5ごはい go hai
6ろっぱい roppai
7ななはい nana hai
8はっぱい happai
9きゅうはい kyuu hai
10じゅっぱい juppai
なんはい何杯なんはい nan hai?

■counting long and thin objects like poles :ほん                                                

When counting long and thin objects like poles using “(ほん)”. “Number + (ほん)”.

わたしは、ペンを3ほん(ぼん)もっています。

Watashiwa, pen wo sanbon motteimasu. 

I have 3 pens.

Number+ thin and long thingsすうじ(数字)+ほん
1いっぽん ippon
2にほん ni hon
3さんぼん san bon
4よんほん yon hon
5ごほん go hon
6ろっぽん roppon 
7ななほん nana hon
8はっぽん happon
9きゅうほん kyuu hon
10じゅっぽん jupon 
なんほん何本なんほん nan hon?

■books:さつ

When counting books, use the counter “さつ”. “Number + さつ”.

ここに、じゅっさつのほんがあります。

Kokoni, jussatsu no honga arimasu.

There are 10 notebooks.

わたしは、ノートを1さつ(冊)もっています。

Watashiwa, note wo issatsu motteimasu.

I have 1 notebook.

Number+ booksすうじ(数字)+さつ(冊)
1いっさつ issatsu
2にさつ ni satsu
3さんさつ san satsu
4よんさつ yon satsu
5ごさつ go satsu
6ろくさつ roku satsu
7ななさつ nana satsu
8はっさつ hassatsu
9きゅうさつ kyuu satsu
10じゅっさつ jussatsu
なんさつ何冊なんさつ nan satsu?

■cars and machines :だい                                                

When counting cars and machines, use the counter “だい”. “Number + だい”.

そこには、くるまが 2だい あります。

Sokoniwa, kurumaga nidai arimasu. 

There are 2 cars.

わたしは、パソコンを2だいもっています。

Watashiwa, pasokon wo nidai motteimasu.

I have 2 PCs.

Number+ machines and vehiclesすうじ(数字)+だい(台)
1いちだい ichi dai
2にだい ni dai
3さんだい san dai
4よんだい yon dai
5ごだい go dai
6ろくだい roku dai
7ななだいnana dai
8はちだい hachi dai
9きゅうだい kyuu dai
10じゅうだい juu dai
なんだい何台 なんだい nan dai?

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