Vietnamese Measure Words // What Are They & How To Use Them

Learn Vietnamese Measure Words // The Most Common

Today we plan to teach you the most commonly used Vietnamese measure words.

Even an advanced learner can find learning measure words confusing since there is a wide variety of them! However, that shouldn’t scare us because they are something you learn as you go.

We want to provide you with a complete guide to the most common and frequently used Vietnamese measure words.

Before starting with the Vietnamese measure words, we also wanted to share some other fascinating topics we’ve already written about which are proving really popular with our students!

Anyway, back to the topic on our minds today!

To make things easier, the measure words are divided into different categories, starting with some of the most common ones. Similarly to the Chinese measure words, some of them may appear in more than one category as they can be used for a variety of objects.

Vietnamese Measure Words | What is Measure Word?

Vietnamese Measure Words | Animals

Vietnamese Measure Words | Food

Vietnamese Measure Words | At The Office

Vietnamese Measure Words | Clothing and Accessories

Vietnamese Measure Words | Pairs, Collections & Groups

Vietnamese Measure Words | Mass and Weight

Vietnamese Measure Words | Date and Time

BONUS | The Most Common Vietnamese Measure Words

Vietnamese Measure Words | FAQ’s

Here are the most common measure words in Mandarin

What is a Measure Word?

In Vietnamese, measure words or classifiers are usually put in front of countable or uncountable nouns.

Think in English when you say:

  • Two bowls of cereal
  • Four cups of coffee
  • A box of matches

This is exactly what measure words are! Simple, right?

In general with Vietnamese, they are categorised as measured nouns and are divided into two main groups:

  • Classifiers
    • Classifiers are used to measure an approximate number/amount of things, such as con, cái, miếng, etc.
    • For instance, một con mèo (a cat); một cái chén (a bowl), hai miếng thịt (two slices of meat).
  • Numerically measured nouns
    • Numerically measured nouns are used to measure an appropriate number/amount of things, such as tấn, mét, tá, etc.
    • For example, hai tấn gạo (two tons of rice); một mét vải (a mile of silk); một tá trứng (a dozen eggs).

Vietnamese Measure Words | Animals

First up we talk about animals.

You may notice that some of these measure words have been already covered in the most common measure words section.

Remember, you don’t have to remember the measure word for every section. Just think in English, what are a group of elephants or dolphins called?

Many actually struggle to answer this! (the answers are herd and pod by the way!)

Vietnamese Measure WordsMeaningExample
ĐànA big group of animalsMột đàn lợn = a group (drove) of pigs
ConAn animalHai con gà = two chickens
ChúAn animal, but that only appears in the children’s books, TV programs,…Ba chú gấu = three bears

Vietnamese Measure Words | Food

This is an essential category for anyone who wants to improve their restaurant ordering skills from a Vietnamese menu.

Note that there are differences between regions in Vietnam, but it’s not that hard thanks to our guide!

Measure Words for Dishes

  • Bát/chén/tô = a bowl. Bát is used in the north of Vietnam whilst chén is used in the south. is a big bowl
    • Một chén cơm = a bowl of rice
    • Một bát phở = a bowl of Pho
    • Hai tô canh = two bowls of soup
  • Đĩa/dĩa = plate. Đĩa is used in the north of Vietnam, whilst dĩa is used in the south.
    • Một đĩa rau = a plate of vegetable
    • Hai dĩa cơm tấm = two plates of broken rice

Here as there are more Vietnamese measure words related to food.

Vietnamese Measure WordsMeaningExample
Cốc is used in the north
Ly is used in the south
Một cốc nước = a cup of water
Hai ly nước ép = two cups of juice
Chén is used in the north
Tách is used in the south
Một chén trà = a teacup
Hai tách cà phê = two cup of coffee

Measure Words for Meat

The official measurement for meat, fruits, and vegetable are units such as kilograms and tonnes, just like in English.

Additionally, there are also measure words for approximate amount of foods such as:

Vietnamese Measure WordsMeaningExample
TảngA large amount of meatMột tảng thịt heo = a large piece of pork
MiếngA small amount of meatMột miếng thịt bò = a slice of beef
Mẩu/cụcA smaller amount of meat, a piece of meatNhững mẩu thịt = small pieces of meat

Measure Words for Vegetables and Fruits

Similarly, vegetables are also measured using approximate units:

Vietnamese Measure WordsMeaningExample
MớA bunch (only used for vegetables)Một mớ rau = a bunch of vegetables
Quả/tráiUsed to measure fruitHai trái táo = two apples
Ba quả cam = three oranges

Quả/trái are also used for circular/globe shaped objects like balls.

Một trái bóng = a ball

6 Must-Try Vietnamese Street Food & Snacks // North vs South Thumbnail

6 Must-Try Vietnamese Street Food & Snacks // North vs South

Vietnamese Street Food has a lot of surprises we think you’ve never seen before! Today we introduce you 3 from the north and 3 from the south of Vietnam.

Vietnamese Measure Words | At the Office

If you are working in a Vietnamese office or with Vietnamese colleagues, don’t skip this part as we will provide you the most common Vietnamese measure words for the office.

Let’s go through all of them one by one.

  • Quyển/cuốn: for objects that have sets of pages such as books and notebooks
    • Một quyển sổ = a notebook
  • Cái/chiếc: a general measure word for most objects
    • Một cái máy in = a printer
  • Tấm/tờ: for objects in sheet form such as papers, newspapers,…
    • Ba tờ giấy = three pieces of paper

Vietnamese Measure Words | Clothing

What if you want to buy some clothes and accessories in the Vietnamese market?

This quick guide will make you sound more native when go to a local market.

  • Chiếc/cái: the most widely used word to measure one single object
    • Hai cái áo = two shirts
    • Ba chiếc quần dài = three trousers
  • Bộ: to measure a dress or an all in one piece, like a suit
    • Bộ váy = a dress
    • Bộ quần áo = a suit
  • Đôi: a pair
    • Đôi vớ= a pair of socks
    • Đôi giày = a pair of shoes

You can also read our guide to learning the Vietnamese colours, so now you are able to choose your favourite clothes/accessories when going shopping:

Vietnamese Measure Words | Pairs & Groups

In Vietnamese, there are quite a few different measure words for pairs, collections and groups of people or objects.

  • Cặp, đôi = a pair of
    • Một cặp nhẫn = a pair of rings
    • Ba đôi đũa = three pairs of chopsticks
  • Bộ ba = a trio (three of)
    • Bộ ba ca sĩ tài năng = A trio of talent singers
    • Bộ ba chú gấu = A trio of bears
  • = a dozen of
    • Một tá bút chì = a dozen of pencils
  • Nhóm = a group of
    • Một nhóm bạn trẻ = a group of young people
  • = a group of objects in stick form
    • Một bó đũa = a bunch of chopsticks
    • Một bó hoa = a bunch of flowers
Bộ ba chú gấu” is the translation of the famous cartoon We Bare Bears

Vietnamese Measure Words | Mass & Weight

This part will be especially helpful if you are learning to cook Vietnamese dishes, since the portion of ingredients can decide the taste of dishes.

  • Tấn = a ton
  • Tạ = a weight
  • Yến = a stone
  • Ki-lô-gam/cân = a kilogram
  • Gam/lạng = a gram

Here are some Vietnamese measure words for distance also:

  • Ki-lô-mét = kilometre
  • Mét = metre
  • Đề-xi-mét = decimetre
  • Cen-ti-mét = centimetre
  • Mi-li-mét = millimetre

Finally, some measure words for liquid:

  • Lít = litre
  • Mi-li-lít = millilitre

Vietnamese Measure Words | Date & Time

Like in English, there are separate words for measuring date and time such as…

The Date

  • Năm = year
  • Tháng = month
  • Ngày = day
  • Buổi = half a day

The Time

  • Giờ = hour
  • Phút = minute
  • Giây = second
  • Tích tắc = tick

BONUS | The Most Common Measure Words

There are hundreds of measure words in Vietnamese, however, don’t be worried, only some of them are used in daily conversation.

Here are the most common measure words you’ll hear day to day in Vietnam:

  • Bài: for songs, drawings, poems, essays etc.
    • Một bài hát = one song
    • Ba bài thơ = three poems
  • Câu: for verses, lyrics, quotes.
    • Hai câu văn = two sentences
    • Một câu trích dẫn = a quote
  • Cây: for stick-like objects such as an umbrella or sticks.
    • Một cây gậy = a stick
    • Năm cây kẹo = five candy sticks
  • Tờ: for sheets of paper or newspapers.
    • Một tờ giấy trắng = one sheet of paper
    • Một tờ báo = a newspaper
  • : for smaller sheets of paper such as letters, cards.
    • Một lá bài = a card

If you made it this far, congratulations, you’ve officially mastered the measure words in Vietnamese!

So what did you think? Did you enjoy our guide?

Drop us a comment below if you have any questions or even requests for further articles or videos – we are always here!

You can even take your language learning further with us and start discovering the measure words in Mandarin here also.

Vietnamese Measure Words // FAQ’s

How do you say “a bunch” of something in Vietnamese?

If you wanted to say a bunch of vegetables for example, you’d say “Một mớ rau“.

Bunch is mớ but is generally only used for vegetables.

How do you say “a bowl” of something in Vietnamese?

This can actually vary depending on if you are based in the north or south of Vietnam.

Bát is used in the north of Vietnam whilst chén is used in the south. is a big bowl.

Một chén cơm = a bowl of rice

Một bát phở = a bowl of Pho

Hai tô canh = two bowls of soup

What is a measure word?

In Vietnamese, measure words or classifiers are usually put in front of countable or uncountable nouns.

Think in English when you say:

Two bowls of cereal

Four cups of coffee

A box of matches

How do you say “a cup” of something in Vietnamese?

This will depend on where you are in Vietnam!

Cốc is used in the north

Ly is used in the south

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