"How many children do they have?"


November 19, 2017

This discussion is locked.


Why don't you have to use 'ma' at the end of this question?


吗 Ma is used for questions expecting either a positive/negative response; It is not used in other types of questions such as the "how many" here.


In this sentence the "?" symbol is the only thing we need to convert it in an interrogative sentence?


I guess you are asking whether the question 他们有几个孩子?is just made from the affirmative sentence 他们有几个孩子。by adding a question mark.

This way of making questions is also possible in Chinese, especially when we question with disbelief.

However incidentally this question is not. 几个 means How many, as well as Several. The affirmative sentence 他们有几个孩子。would usually mean he has several children. But 他们有几个孩子?would usually mean How many. It is not impossible that in some rare context it is questioning if they do have several children, just it is not very likely.


If 几 is a question word, musn't it be at the end of the sentence ?


No. It's like how/what/when/where/why in English, except in this case it's "how many".


You only need one question word in a sentence. Here it is 几. 吗 is more generic like "by the way this was a question". 几 is more specific : you put it where a number would be to ask what number should be there


¿can one use duo1shao3 instead?


Por supuesto que puede.


Which of 几 and 多少(duo shao) is used more? Or are they used in different situations?


Although there is no concept of countable and uncountable nouns in Chinese, words like these show a difference. 几 only works on something countable, whilst 多少 work on both. As Chinese has classifier, this difference vanishes as long as you can find the right classifier to go with 几.
How many hours is it by train?
坐火车要几小时? XX 坐火车要几个小时? √√.
坐火车要多少小时? √√ 坐火车要多少个小时? √√.
How much time is it by train?
坐火车要多少时间? √√ 坐火车要几时间 XX?


I used 她 and it marked it wrong saying I was supposed to put 他 Is there a reason for this or is this just the course doesn't have all the right answers still?


Maybe it's because you use 他 when there's even one male in the group, and I suppose this refers to one family/couple that has got children.


I was counted wrong for this same reason and marked that my answer should be accepted. Realistically 她们 could refer to a specific group of women, or sisters, or two women who are married.


Whaen you are talking about two people who are male and female, you still say 他. But it's different when it's two women.


It should be emphasized about the fact that Chinese language do not have a clear distinction to distinguish between 她 and 他. Since they cannot distinguish it, the answer refers into the more male-specific only and completely reject the fact that there are no differences except genders between 他们 and 她们.


Hmm... nowadays we DO distinguish genders in personal pronouns. Gender is an imported concept, but it is no more appropriate to use 他/他们 for both genders.
Here it is possible to use 她们 though as the subject can be a same sex couple or a group of female.


The same happened to me. "她們有幾個孩子?" should be accepted as well.


I agree with you because you write it in the traditional Chinese a certain of whose speaking areas permits same sex marriage (in Taiwan, since 2019). But this question is another matter. The course is of simplified Chinese which is used only in PRC where same sexual orientation have still been considered as mental disease, sometimes officially punished. I don't blame them not to take a risk, if the course is overseen by native PRC nationals.


They have how many children?



[deactivated user]

    What is the difference between using 个几 and 多少 ? Tāmen yǒu jǐ ge háizi? 他们有几个孩子 Tāmen yǒu duō shǎo háizi? 他们有多少孩子


    "他们有几个孩子吗" would this still make sense instead of a question mark at the end?


    Nope. 几 already indicates that it's a question, since you are asking for an amount. 吗 is only used for a yes/no type of question, like "Do you have any children?".


    Is Dualingo being picky with this one or is this actually not saying the same thing?

    I put - 他们有几点孩子? "How many kids do they have?"

    How is that different then - 他们有几个孩子? "How many children do they have?"

    Can anybidy clarify??


    Im just starting out, so this is just beginners intuition, but if 点 means 'hour/o'clock', then i don't think it's an appropriate counter for humans/people. So I don't think that sentence translates to what you wrote in english.


    "他们有几个孩子们?" was rejected. I think that children is 孩子们 in Chinese, not 孩子, which means "child" .


    Chinese grammar has no number concept. 孩子 could refer both a single child and plural children, so the 孩子wouldn't be wrong as the translation of children in general. And in this question, you wouldn't know how many children they have, it looks me odd you states as if it is sure they have plural children ...... Regard 我 and 我们, with those two words, does the verb conjugate differently? No. -们 is princially an opition, an omittable part in regard to syntax.


    What's the difference between 孩子 (háizi) and 小孩儿 (xiǎoháir) for child/children? Pimsleur uses the latter.


    They are pretty much the same and interchangeable. 孩子 would be used even on teenagers, young men and young women when talking about children in the sense of son or daughter, especially someone's own one.


    I put 他们有几个孩子们?Why is this incorrect, I thought 孩子 was child and 们 turned it to children have i got this wrong?


    It is not an acceptable usage. 们 is not a plural indicator and in Chinese we don't need a plural indicator. We add 们 only to refer to a group as a collective. We don't ask "how many 'collectives'". Compare this syntax with 他们有几个苹果? then you will see it is not possible to add 们 to the noun here.
    A sentence like this would make sense:
    孩子们里面有几个男孩?/How many boys are there among the children?


    Thank you, that really helps.


    「他們有幾個兒子」not accepted


    I don't see what could ever be gross about asking how many children somebody has, but that might just be me.

    Anyways, did you know that we're almost halfway through February (现在二〇二一年二月十号), which means there's maybe 一月 of 冬 left (at least here in Sweden), and that's both 好和错 I guess, because 我爱都冬和夏! :)


    I'm assuming you're asking a question here, so this is my answer:

    This (where we're typing) here, is the comment section of a language course (specifically the simplified Chinese Mandarin course), which is on a website, which is on the internet.

    I hope that solves the confusion!

    Learn Chinese in just 5 minutes a day. For free.