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  5. "We order a plate of rice."

"We order a plate of rice."

Translation:Chúng tôi gọi một đĩa cơm.

June 10, 2016



Can you use the classifier "cái" for "plate" in this context? Why or why not?


Chào AtalinaDove!
As I've explained in many sentences before, when you mention a noun with its quantity, you have to use the corresponding classifier for that noun (the formula: number + classifier + noun, for example: hai con mèo - two cats, ba quả táo - three apples, một cuốn sách - a/one book, bảy cái đĩa - seven plates).
But here is an exceptional situation. When many nouns stand together to form a noun phrase in Vietnamese, you need to know which noun is the main and which nouns are modifiers for the main noun. For example: noun phrases đĩa cơm, ly trà, kệ sách contain a container (đĩa - plate, ly - glass/cup, kệ - shelf) and a contained material (gạo - rice, trà - tea, sách - book) in each one.
Let's pick đĩa cơm for a deeper analysis.

  • When the container đĩa is the main noun (you concern about the container more than the contained material), the whole "đĩa cơm" will mean "plates for eating rice/plates that are used to eat rice" (people also call them "đĩa ăn cơm"). Then you should use đĩa's corresponding classifiers (cái/chiếc) when the quantity of the noun phrase is mentioned.
    For example:
    một cái đĩa (ăn) cơm - a rice plate/a plate that is used to eat rice.

This also works for other similar noun phrases.
ba cái ly/tách trà - three tea cups
năm cái kệ sách - five book shelves

  • When the contained material cơm is the main noun (you concern about the contained material more than the container), the whole "đĩa cơm" will mean "the rice dish that is served in a plate". If there is a quantity indicator (such as numbers, plural indicators (những, các)) standing before the noun phrase, this quantity indicator will show the quantity of the container (similar to English) and we don't use classifiers in this case.
    For example:
    một đĩa cơm - a plate of rice
    mười ly trà - ten cups/glasses of tea
    hai kệ sách - two shelves of books (NOT "shelf of two books")

You may wonder that why the second situation isn't like the first. Why don't we use classifiers for the contained materials in the second situation like we do to the containers in the first situation? The answer is that even when the contained materials are the main nouns in those phrases, their exact quantities are still unknown. So we don't use classifiers for them.


AMAZING, (even though you already done it)
BTW, here is a lingot


Wow. Fantastic explanation. This really helps!


I see, it's like the „container word“ becoming a classifier itself.


I think V.Ivanov makes a good observation here. Students should take note.


Hmmmm , I think '' Tôi đặt một đĩa cơm .'' it's also right yah ? :''7


My dictionary says "gọi" = to call or hail and "yêu cầu" is to order or request, so shouldn't we use the latter here?

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