When to use 二 or 两?

This is another often asked question from students of Chinese. “Both 二 and 两 mean two, but when should I use which?” I made this infographic to answer this question.

You should read “2” as “二 èr” when:

  • Giving a phone number. For instance, If your number is 432-722-1272, we read as 四三二  七二二 一二七二
  • Talking about “second.” For instance,

          Second one, we read as 第二个

          Second time, we read as 第二次

          Second floor, we read as 二楼

          February (Second month of the year), we read as 二月

          May 2 (second day of May), we read as 五月二日

 

You should read “2” as “两 liǎng” when:

  • Talking about “Two of something” or “both”

          The structure will be “两” + measure word

          E.g.,

          Two cups of tea, we say 两杯茶

          Two years, we say 两年

          Two dollars, we say 两块钱

          I like both of them, we say 我两个都喜欢

 

When counting numbers, it becomes a bit tricky…but don’t worry! Check out the infographic for more details.

 

Simplified Chinese Version

 

Traditional Chinese Version

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