A measure word for three things

Dragonseed

Senior Member
France - French
Hello!

I know there are several measure words for things that come in pairs (一鞋子,一夫婦, etc.), but are there any for things in three? Something equivalent to "a trio" in English?

More specifically, I would like to describe 3 persons involved in a triangular romantic relationship, but if something exists only for objects for example, I am not against creating a neologism in my article.

Thanks!
 
  • humvee

    Senior Member
    Cantonese and Mandarin
    Bonjour Draco, your question is too vague. I don't quite sure what you mean by "measure word". Technically, the kind of structure you need is a numerical+classifier one. For instance, 一对夫妇,literally means one couple of husband and wife, sounds redundant in English, of course. the one here is a numerical and couple a classifier.
    My point is, what context you want this trio to be used in?
    Only under this circumstance can I fill in the blank for you, if possible.
     

    windhair

    Member
    Chinese - Mandarin
    As I know, there are no such word like couple for threesome in Chinese. maybe because such threesome relationship is generally not quite rational. :)
     

    jazzphobie

    Member
    Chinese--Mandarin
    We use "三角恋"to describe the situation where 3 people are involved in a romantic relationship. A word-for-word translation: 三角 means a triangle, 恋 refers to a romantic relationship. However, I can't think of any specific measure word that is the equivalent of "a trio" in English.
     

    windhair

    Member
    Chinese - Mandarin
    Isn't there a counter word for "people" that you can use?
    to count the people, you can directly use "个", 一个人,两个人,三个人,for a couple, father and son, mother and daughter, sisters, brother, you can use "对“ as a counter, 这对父子,这对兄弟, .etc. But there are no special counter word for threesome, anyway, you can alway use '个'.
     

    Dragonseed

    Senior Member
    France - French
    Thanks for all your answers, even though the final result seems to be "there is not such a thing in modern Chinese".
    Sorry if the original question was not expressed in the precise gramatical terms: I was indeed looking for a classifier for 3 persons involved in a (however "irrational" ;-) ) 三角關係 (also known as a "三人行").

    Humvee: 如果我硬要用它的話 我可以這樣寫嗎?
     ”這一仨(人)搬來沒多久”
    (as said, for example, by a neighbour gossiping about the recent arrival of this unusual "family")
     

    humvee

    Senior Member
    Cantonese and Mandarin
    Bonjour
    Non, il n'est pas acceptable. Elle n'existe que dans certaines utilisations idiomatiques. mais 他们仨儿 est acceptable. Je pense que c'est le bon mot dont vous avez besoin
     

    Jerry Chan

    Senior Member
    Cantonese, Hokkien
    Thanks for all your answers, even though the final result seems to be "there is not such a thing in modern Chinese".
    Sorry if the original question was not expressed in the precise gramatical terms: I was indeed looking for a classifier for 3 persons involved in a (however "irrational" ;-) ) 三角關係 (also known as a "三人行").

    Humvee: 如果我硬要用它的話 我可以這樣寫嗎?
     ”這一仨(人)搬來沒多久”
    (as said, for example, by a neighbour gossiping about the recent arrival of this unusual "family")
    No, there isn't a classifier for 3 persons in Chinese.
    You'd better change your sentence to:
    這三人搬來沒多久

    仨 stands for 3 person, just like 倆 for 2.
    But it's not very widely used.
     

    Chinoise

    Senior Member
    Mandarin
    You can try "一行人", meaning, a group of people.

    Counters only exist to specify one or two.

    Think of it this way, in English, we say "three's a crowd", in Chinese language, we mean it litterally. :D

    But if you must specify it's "3" people, then it's best to use "這三人" (these 3 people).
     

    Geysere

    Senior Member
    Chinese - China
    仨 (= 三个) is from dialects of northern China, and although I live in the southern part, I do hear it now and then. It's not really rare :)
    You can say "他们仨" "我们仨" "仨徒弟" etc. but never "仨个" since that would mean "三个个". "这一仨" is not used, though we can understand. I think in your example "他们仨" is OK.

    By the way can anyone confirm whether "仨人" is correct? I used to believe that 人 is redundant, but it does exist according to google.
     

    Dragonseed

    Senior Member
    France - French
    Thanks again to all of you!

    I think I'll use "他們仨" then. I am trying to convey a slight depreciative tone in the remark, akin to a "those three..." in English when uttered pinched-lipped by a narrow-minded old lady (?!) when talking about strange new-comers in the neighbourhood! ;)
    And I note that this is more likely to be "方言", so my character will have to be from around Beijing...


    Bonjour
    Non, il n'est pas acceptable. Elle n'existe que dans certaines utilisations idiomatiques. mais 他们仨儿 est acceptable. Je pense que c'est le bon mot dont vous avez besoin
    Merci Humvee. Ton francais est excellent!
    A part peut-etre pour l'utilisation de "il" et "elle", mais c'est sans doute l'une des difficultes de la langue francaise... Dans le cas de ta phrase ci-dessus, il aurait ete preferable d'utiliser "cela" ou "ca": "ca n'est pas acceptable", "cela n'existe que..."
    :)
     
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