Chinese Numbers – The Ultimate Guide

Chinese Numbers – LTL’s Comprehensive Guide to Learning Mandarin Chinese Numbers

Chinese Numbers from 0-10

Chinese Numbers from 0-10

Here’s the deal:

Chinese Numbers are an essential part of day to day life and one of the first things you’ll study when learning Chinese.

How can we help?

We’ve prepared this ultimate guide to Mandarin Chinese numbers which covers numbers in Chinese up to 100, saying your age in Chinese, your phone number, and introducing you to the two curious variations of 1 and 2…!

Chinese Numbers 0-10

Chinese Numbers 1-20

Chinese Numbers 1-100

Chinese Phone Numbers – How to Say Yours

When Is Your Birthday in Chinese

Your Age in Chinese

Chinese Finger Counting

The Curious Case of Liang

What the experts say

BONUS – Big Chinese Numbers

Chinese Numbers 0-10

The basics, the ones you need to know.

Notice how easy characters one, two and three are to remember!

From then in, it gets a bit more complex but a bit of practice and you’ll be there in no time

Number Hanzi Pinyin
0 Líng
1
2 Èr
3 Sān
4
5
6 Liù
7
8
9 Jiǔ
10 Shí

Chinese Numbers 1-20

So we already know numbers in Chinese up to 10, time to take that to the next level.

Here is 11-20 in Chinese:

Number Hanzi Pinyin
11 十一 Shí yī
12 十二 Shí èr
13 十三 Shí sān
14 十四 Shí sì
15 十五 Shí wǔ
16 十六 Shí liù
17 十七 Shí qī
18 十八 Shí bā
19 十九 Shí jiǔ
20 二十 Èr shí

Chinese Numbers 1-100

You’ve now mastered the basics, so from 21-100 it should be pretty straightforward with the same theory applying for every number.

Numbers in Chinese from 21-100 are as follows:

Number Hanzi Pinyin
21 二十一 Èr shí yī
22 二十二 Èr shí èr
23 二十三 Èr shí sān
24 二十四 Èr shí sì
25 二十五 Èr shí wǔ
26 二十六 Èr shí liù
27 二十七 Èr shí qī
28 二十八 Èr shí bā
29 二十九 Èr shí jiǔ
30 三十 Sān shí
31 三十一 Sān shí yī
32 三十二 Sān shí èr
33 三十三 Sān shí sān
34 三十四 Sān shí sì
35 三十五 Sān shí wǔ
36 三十六 Sān shí liù
37 三十七 Sān shí qī
38 三十八 Sān shí bā
39 三十九 Sān shí jiǔ
40 四十 Sì shí
41 四十一 Sì shí yī
42 四十二 Sì shí èr
43 四十三 Sì shí sān
44 四十四 Sì shí sì
45 四十五 Sì shí wǔ
46 四十六 Sì shí liù
47 四十七 Sì shí qī
48 四十八 Sì shí bā
49 四十九 Sì shí jiǔ
50 五十 Wǔ shí
51 五十一 Wǔ shí yī
52 五十二 Wǔ shí èr
53 五十三 Wǔ shí sān
54 五十四 Wǔ shí sì
55 五十五 Wǔ shí wǔ
56 五十六 Wǔ shí liù
57 五十七 Wǔ shí qī
58 五十八 Wǔ shí bā
59 五十九 Wǔ shí jiǔ
60 六十 Liù shí
61 六十一 Liù shí yī
62 六十二 Liù shí èr
63 六十三 Liù shí sān
64 六十四 Liù shí sì
65 六十五 Liù shí wǔ
66 六十六 Liù shí liù
67 六十七 Liù shí qī
68 六十八 Liù shí bā
69 六十九 Liù shí jiǔ
70 七十 Qī shí
71 七十一 Qī shí yī
72 七十二 Qī shí èr
73 七十三 Qī shí sān
74 七十四 Qī shí sì
75 七十五 Qī shí wǔ
76 七十六 Qī shí liù
77 七十七 Qī shí qī
78 七十八 Qī shí bā
79 七十九 Qī shí jiǔ
80 八十 Bā shí
81 八十一 Bā shí yī
82 八十二 Bā shí èr
83 八十三 Bā shí sān
84 八十四 Bā shí sì
85 八十五 Bā shí wǔ
86 八十六 Bā shí liù
87 八十七 Bā shí qī
88 八十八 Bā shí bā
89 八十九 Bā shí jiǔ
90 九十 Jiǔ shí
91 九十一 Jiǔ shí yī
92 九十二 Jiǔ shí èr
93 九十三 Jiǔ shí sān
94 九十四 Jiǔ shí sì
95 九十五 Jiǔ shí wǔ
96 九十六 Jiǔ shí liù
97 九十七 Jiǔ shí qī
98 九十八 Jiǔ shí bā
99 九十九 Jiǔ shí jiǔ
100 一百  Yì  bǎi

Chinese Phone Numbers – How to Say Yours

Now you know Chinese numbers from 1-100 the phone number should be easy!

One important thing to note:

When referring to phone numbers the Number One is not spoken as Yì 一 but instead Yāo 幺 is used. The general belief is that One and Seven sound similar when spoken quickly, hence the introduction of Yao.

Chinese Phone Numbers

Chinese Phone Numbers

Therefore if the start of your phone number reads 136 you will say:

Yao San Liu, not Yi San Liu.

In English we have a habit of sometimes grouping numbers together, such as “0 Eight Hundred” for 0800 or “Twenty Two, Treble One, Nine” for 221119.

In Mandarin Chinese this is not the case. All individual numbers are spoken making it easy to remember. Once you know the numbers 0-10 you are good to go. Just remember, Yao, not Yi!

Let’s practice, take a look at these:

Chinese Numbers - Learn them and it opens many doors

Chinese Numbers – Learn them and it opens many doors

13439191994

To say this number we simply say: Yao, San, Si, San, Jiu, Yao, Jiu, Yao, Jiu, Jiu, Si

13866889988

If this is your phone number, you are blessed. Why?

Take a look at our Chinese Lucky Numbers blog for the answer

Anyway, the number: Yao, San, Ba, Liu, Liu, Ba, Ba, Jiu, Jiu, Ba, Ba

When Is Your Birthday in Chinese

Saying when your birthday is in Chinese is also quite comfortable once you know these key characters/words:

Year

Pinyin:nián

Meaning: year

Month

Pinyin: yuè

Meaning: month

Date

日( formal Chinese)

Pinyin: rì

meaning: date

Date (Oral)

号(oral Chinese)

Pinyin: hào

meaning: date

Chinese birthday numbers

How to Say Your Birthday in Chinese

So here’s the deal:

My Birthday is November 24th. In Chinese the order of speech is Year, Month, Date so on that basis…

11月24号 (Shi Yi Yue, Er Shi Si Hao) is how I’d say my birthday in Chinese!

If I want to add in the year you can just use the final two numbers of the year. So for example if you were born in 1986 you can refer to your year of birth as:

86年 (Ba Liu Nian)

Easy!

Your Age in Chinese

Once you know the numbers, age is pretty elementary stuff. Before learning about Age, let’s learn some key vocab here:

Hanzi Pinyin English
suì year; age
what number; which number
duō how much
big; old

Before telling someone your age you’ll want to wait for them to ask you first!

Expect to hear one of these two questions:

nǐ duō dà – 你多大? 

nǐ jǐ suì – 你几岁?

The second question is most likely said to a younger person such as a teenager but expect to hear one of those two questions to which you can reply.

我二十九岁 – Wǒ Èr Shí Jiǔ Suì
I am 29 years old

Nice and simple.

You already know the number 29 so you simply add the word for “I” before and the word for “Age” after.

Chinese Finger Counting

You might be wondering what this chapter is about but hear us out:

In many cultures we gesture numbers with our fingers but we normally just hold up the number of fingers to communicate the number. For 1-5 this is OK but for 6-10 this is a bit more troublesome if one of our hands is holding our phone or a bag of shopping.

Well, the Chinese are one step ahead of us.

Every number in Chinese can be communicated by using just one hand!

Want to know the best part?

When you’ve learned them, you will see them everywhere and they are incredibly useful in day to day life! Let’s reveal them:

Chinese hand counting

Counting with One Hand in Chinese

Learn these, and rather than have to shout over the busy crowds, you’ll be able to communicate from afar with these useful hand gestures in Mandarin Chinese!

The Curious Case of Liang 两

Number 2 in Chinese

Number 2 in Chinese

We touched on how One can be spoken in two ways earlier. Well the same applies for Two!

It’s not so complex though, remember in English we use Nought and Zero for 0.

Two is Er 二 in Chinese but in certain situations this switches to Liang 两

Here are a couple of those reasons:

  • (liǎng) is used when counting people or things
    • 两个人(liǎng gè rén) is two people
  • is also used as the first digit in two hundred (两百), two thousand (两千)
    • Note for 221, only the first digit is changed to liang meaning 221 reads Liang Bai Er Shi Yi

To find out more about the differences between 两 and 二 please visit our blog dedicated to Er and Liang.

What The Experts Say

Lindsay from Lindsay Does Languages

Lindsay from Lindsay Does Languages

When starting out, or maybe at a brick wall, it’s always good to take the advice of someone who made it!

Step forward Lindsay from Lindsay Does Languages.

Lindsay is a fluent Mandarin speaker and has her own website to showcase her knack for languages.

Here is what she has to say about learning Chinese numbers…

Numbers are surprisingly easy in Chinese – and logical! Within a matter of just a couple of hours, you’ll be able to count really high because it all connects together so well. One thing that is worth learning in addition, especially if you’ll be visiting China any time soon, is how people indicate numbers with their fingers because this is different from the expected…!

Further Reading

Does the Chinese Alphabet even exist?

Does the Chinese Alphabet even exist?

Oh we’ve always got more. No one does content regarding China quite like we do so here’s some others we think you’ll like:

Oh there’s so much more than that!

Enjoy and drop us a comment below if you have any feedback on learning Chinese numbers whether you are a beginner, intermediate or an advanced learner of Chinese

BONUS – Big Chinese Numbers

There’s more… what about billions and trillions! Check out our simple How To video series to find out how to say the biggest numbers in Chinese!

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