# How many grandkids do you have?

#### yuechu

##### Senior Member

If I wanted to ask someone how many grandkids they have, would it be: 你有几个孙子女？
Does that only include the son's children or does it include both their son(s)'s and daughter(s)'s children?

Thanks!

• #### zhg

##### Senior Member

Does that only include the son's children or does it include both their son(s)'s and daughter(s)'s children?

孙子女 only includes son's children, daughters' children are called 外孙子女.

#### yuechu

##### Senior Member
Thanks, zhg!

孙子女 only includes son's children, daughters' children are called 外孙子女.
How do you ask how many grandchildren someone has if you want to include both the son's and the daughter's kids?

#### zhg

##### Senior Member
How do you ask how many grandchildren someone has if you want to include both the son's and the daughter's kids?
I suppose you could say "你有多少孙子女和外孙子女？"

#### yuechu

##### Senior Member
Oh, ok. Thanks!
Or what happens if you don't know if they have either? Would it be normal to ask "你有孙子女还是外孙子女吗?" in Chinese?

(EDIT: corrected typo)

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#### zhg

##### Senior Member
Or what happens if you don't know if they have either? Would it be normal to ask "你有孙子女孩是外孙子女吗?" in Chinese?
It is understandable but I would not say that kind of question is normal, because it sounds a bit complicated. In this case, I would suggest you ask first if the person has sons or daughters. Then you could avoid asking questions like 你有孙子女还是外孙子女还是都有？

#### paper worker

##### Member
I don't think we will say 孙子女 or 外孙子女. It's too strange. Generally, we will seperate the two words. For example, we will say 你有几个孙子或孙女啊？In real context, if we don't know whether the person has sons or daughters, we may ask, 你孙子辈有多少人。I think it is really an interesting question, for it proves that the Chinese language reflects the kinship in a very detailed way. We must make it quite clear he or she is my 哥哥，弟弟 or 姐姐，妹妹 rather than a more general brother or sister.

#### yuechu

##### Senior Member
Oh, that's interesting. Thanks for the alternative question you proposed!

#### SimonTsai

##### Senior Member
I think that you can actually simply ask, '你有幾個孫子?' Of course, semantically, the question excludes 孫女 and 外孫 (女), but pragmatically, it does not. (If the question is meant for a scientific survey, then unambiguity is the first priority. But in everyday conversation, natural language is often ambiguous and we are fine with that.)

#### yuechu

##### Senior Member
That's nice and simple then! Thanks, Simon!

#### gonecar

##### Senior Member
你有几个孙子、孙女(儿)？
你有几个外孙、外孙？

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#### Deinonychus

##### Senior Member
Agree with paper worker,I would say that "孙子女" is not a natural one and I have never heard of anyone using it.
"孙子、孙女" is a proper way of expression.

#### SuperXW

##### Senior Member
Never heard of 孙子女/外孙子女 in my life. Sounds like legal terms.
Chinese usually pay particular attention to the hierarchy in families (长幼尊卑). 子/女/嫡/外 are considered to be different. I can't think of a general word for all of them. The tradition continuous in modern society.

#### 27rabbit

##### Member
As far as I can think of, the non-wierd way to ask " How many grandkids do you have?" is:

你家孙子辈有几个人呀

Allright, this is a bit strange too. Because I have never heard someone trying to directly ask how many grandkids that another person has. Maybe this is because the topic about grandkids is a bit private and it implies that you have a close relationship between the questionee, especially in kinship（你和被提问者是亲戚）. Then the problem would no longer exists because you certainly already know it.

#### zhg

##### Senior Member
I am a little surprised to see many native speakers think 孙子女 sounds strange/unnatural/weird. I wonder what your opinions regarding 子女 are. For example, someone asks how many kids do you have? 你有几个子女？Does it sound strange or do we have to ask separately 你有几个儿子？你有几个女儿? For me the answers are simply no. And to be best of my knowledge the closest translation of “grandkids” is 孙子女(和外孙子女 to include daughters’ children).

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#### SuperXW

##### Senior Member
I am a little surprised to see many native speakers think 孙子女 sounds strange/unnatural/weird. I wonder what your opinions regarding 子女 are. For example, someone asks how many kids do you have? 你有几个子女？Does it sound strange or do we have to ask separately 你有几个儿子？你有几个女儿? For me the answers are simply no. And to be best of my knowledge the closest translation of “grandkids” is 孙子女(和外孙子女 to include daughters’ children).
“子女”没问题，但“孙子女”没有听过。而且“孙子”是个常见词，容易歧义吧？

#### zhg

##### Senior Member
1. (外)孙子女 are used as legal terms, is actually a fact. So are 父母, 子女, 夫妻, and, etc. They are all decent and natural words in Chinese, none of them should sound strange.
2. I think logically speaking 子女 and 孙子女 should be treated equally, meaning you would either accept them together or reject them all at the same time. Because 孙子女 and 子女 share the same root(子女 kids). Try think this in English might help, if someone tells you it’s correct to say”how many kids do you have” but it doesn’t work for “grandkids” that would seem to be a nonsense.

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