"What's her telephone number?"


November 21, 2017

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"她的电话号码是多少" is incredibly awkward phrasing, it translates to "how much is her phone number." "她的电话号码是什么" would be the way I'd phrase it.


她的电话号码是多少 sounds quite natural in Chinese if you ask me. I guess 多少 is not exactly the same as “how much”. “how much” can only ask for an amount, but 多少 asks for a number, no matter if that number refers to an amount or if it is used for identifying something.


My friend from China said "她的电话号码是多少?" sounds fine.


That sounds fine to me, but I think 什么 is also fine.


Yeah ive noticed that while learni g Chinese that a lot of things are based on context. So iff someone asks about your phone in the same sentence, something that use to ask for an amount turns into asking for a number.



This is what I've learned:

  1. 你的电话号码是多少
  2. 你的电话(号码)(是)几号? (This version is common without "是", but it also occurs with it.)
  3. 你的电话号码是什么?

Native Mandarin Chinese speakers have their individual opinions about these, because China is a big place, not to mention the outlying Chinese-speaking countries and regions, and this is a colloquial sentence influenced by local dialects and by quirks of history.

1 is somewhat more northern, but common in a lot of China, and perhaps most common overall. 2 is perhaps half as common as 1, but it's more southern, and common in Singapore, Taiwan, and Malaysia (and perhaps other places, e.g. the southern mainland or some of it), where people will often swear they've never heard 1 (and likewise, proponents of 1 will often swear they've never heard 2). In each of these two cases, proponents of one version will say why the other isn't logical, and none of their reasons is really very convincing. It seems the usage of one or the other is really about history, habit, and experience.

3 is fairly common, but not as common as 1. It feels unnatural to some speakers (particularly to many who like 1) but not to others (those who like 2 are usually fine with it, as are some who like 1). Those who don't like it will even go so far as to say it sounds like you don't really know what a telephone number is, or even what a telephone is.

Where English has a greater influence, 3 seems like the more correct or formal structure to some speakers. That's not to say that 3 doesn't have inherent support by the rules of Chinese itself, but it's not necessarily the go-to phrasing historically in broad swathes of the Mandarin-speaking world, and some native speakers say they never hear anyone use it. But many native Mandarin speakers will swear that it's the only truly correct option.

There are still other ways to ask this question, including shortening the above sentences, but I would stick with those three choices to begin with.

Here are some Youtube videos teaching the "多少" version (which is the most common version on Youtube):


Yeah I talked to my Chinese friend and he also said that saying "什么" is a more natural way of phrasing it.


I agree. I would phrase it that way too. 她的电话号码是什么? However, i remember a chinese guy asking me 他的电话是什么? which is also acceptable.


I think that's personal, a few other people I asked would use 他的电话号码是多少


I've studied Mandarin for years, and this is the main way to ask for a phone number from what I'm aware of. Chinese grammar can be quite simple and easy, but that simplicity can lead to some unusual literal translations!


Its a number so you use duo shao instead if shen me


I second this. Although 什么 is already marked as the correct answer in similar question like this. In fact, almost exactly the same, but yhe subject was " 他的 his phone number" rather than "她 的 / her phone number". I can say this because I just got that in previous question.


All of these sentences need clarification - English and Mandarin have completely different grammatical structure, i did the literal translation of "what is her phone number?" And am wrong, with no clarity as to WHY


Hopefully as the beta develops it'll add more detail. For now we have to go to other websites to teach us more specific grammar and sentence rules, and just get exposed to Chinese more so we get used to things.

Chinese is quite difficult to teach/learn though; I learned in school as a child and never really learned grammar or sentence structure b/c it would be too hard to compare with the English we were learning at the same time. If you really have the heart to learn just try to immerse yourself as best you can :)

Chinese dramas are fun ><


Unrelated to the lesson, but can you recommend me Chinese dramas or movies, please? ^_^


When you ask a question, the position of the words do not change as they do in English. So you still use the Subject + Verb + (Predicate Adjective or Direct Object). Subject= Her phone number 他的电话号码。 Verb= is 是。PA= What 多少. In this respect, I think that Chinese grammar is very similar to English because it follows the basic Subject/Verb pattern. You can put other parts of speech in different places, but I think it is fundamentally comparative when considering with some other languages like Spanish (conjugations needed) or Korean (sentence structure is very convoluted). Just my opinion though!


Do you necessarily have to use 是 here? Genuine question.


I don't know whether Duolingo will mark it as correct or not, but 是 isn't necessary in this case.


I asked a native speaker and they said yes. It can only be ommited between a noun and a adjective.


What's the purpose of using 是 here? I'm trying to grasp it but I feel like I don't fully understand it, why is it linked to 多少? Didn't 是 meant "to be" something?


Everyone should be reminded that Chinese doesn't translate into English grammar-wise word by word (or character by character in this case).


I put "她的电话号码多少" and it didn't accept it. I asked my Chinese friend and said you can use both with 是 and without it.



Ok, I'm very confused. I'm not getting any of this, I don't get the meanings of the symbols, nor the pronunciation. Can someone help me? Also, why does each speaker pronounce each symbol different from each other?


If you're using Chrome or Firefox you can install the Zhongwen Chinese-English popup dictionary, which allows you to hover your mouse over Chinese words and get translations.

On Android I recommend Hanping Pro, along with Hanping Popup. The former is a good dictionary that you can set to automatically look up any Chinese text you highlight, and the latter will give a popup translation of words on your screen even when you can't highlight them.

Alternatively or additionally you can use Google Translate. Hanping and Google Translate will both pronounce things for you.

For grammar, a good site is https://resources.allsetlearning.com/chinese/grammar/A1_grammar_points, but you can look online for beginner courses as well.


itsss so difficult


It would be helpful if when you have written the answer incorrectly and the correct answer is shown if also it was read out so that you could hear and read correct answer


Well idk why i cant understand how wrong is it?


Chiness is very hard to learn


Is '她的电话号是什么?' be correct?


Why is 什么? not used in this sentence


Isn't my answer right?


My answer was exactly what the answer said when i got marked incorrect??


The correct answer should be "她的电话号码是什么?" "多少" refers to quantity.


the answer is 她的电话号码是多少 , however, I answered 她的电话是多少 and it is also correct. so what is exactly the 好吗 stands for?? thank you


号码 literally means "number", good for licences, phone numbers, document numbers, apartment numbers, etc. While 电话 can mean "phone number" in context, it refers primarily to the telephone machine (电 = electric, 话 = speech). To remove ambiguity, it's better to add 号码 at the end to specify telephone number.


I'm pretty sure it means number or numbers

[deactivated user]

    I feel like giving up. So frustrating!


    I put in the pinyin exactly correct but without tone indications and it was marked wrong.


    This is also not the only answer, 他的手机号码是什么 works perfectly fine too. Am I wrong?


    Well, a 手机 is specifically a cell phone, so it's not quite accurate, but otherwise your answer is okay.


    Since 'duo shao' is somewhat adjectival, would 'hen' instead of 'shi' be possible?


    No, as "很" never actually means "is".

    Even though so-called copular "很" doesn't really provide any emphasis, "很" still only ever means "very" in front of an adjective (or "very much" in front of a verb).

    It sometimes gets equated with "to be" because of its position, but the notion of "to be" should really still be thought of as residing in the adjectival complement (a.k.a. the adjective or the stative verb) itself, as you can virtually always drop "很", even if it sounds better to use it.

    That said, some speakers do drop "是" from Duo's sentence, though that may be regional.


    The last two marked incorrect were the exactly as shown for the Correct example, what gives??


    What dialect is 打电话 from and how do I use it when phrasing a sentence. Also nali instead of nar. What dialect does duolingo support.


    This is the kind of question you should post on the general discussion page for Chinese, since it's not about the Duolingo sentence at hand.

    That said, all of those are standard Mandarin, which is what you're learning on Duolingo, but there are regional preferences for "哪里" (southern) and "哪儿" (northern). (Duolingo accepts both.)

    As for "打电话", which is "make a phone call", here are some example sentences:

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