Counters (How to Count things)
How many Japanese counters are there? Surprisingly, they amount to about 500 counter words! But no worries, we don’t really use as many as 500 counters in daily conversation. We often use very common 10 counters like “個”,“本”, “枚” and so on.
When you remember such counters, you need to memorize applicable things each. Some counters are chosen by shapes of things. Generally speaking, “個” is used for small and round things (lumps), “本” is for long and cylindrical things, and “枚” is for thin and flat things. For example, when you count different types of chocolate, you can use different counters - “個” for tiny bite-sized chocolate pieces, “本” for chocolate fingers and “枚”for chocolate bars! (You can’t use one counter for various chocolate)
You might find such counters difficult to use...but there is good news! There is a general counter “つ”. That means you can use the counter for almost all things! But you need to be careful about two things: 1 - You need to use traditional Japanese numbers (ひー, ふー, みー, よー, いつ, むー, なな, やー, こー, とー) and 2 - You can only use it when counting less than 10 things!
( LEVEL - Beginner - N5 N4 N3 N2 N1 - Advanced )
*For ages (0-10), you can use a general counter “つ”. Also, there are some more exceptions: for example, you can say “はたち” for “20”, “みそじ” for “30” instead.
Fun Activity: Let’s memorize Kanji with illustrations!
Now let’s try to remember adjective Kanji linked to each illustration.
*Please take note that the following illustrations are based on my inspiration from Kanji shapes. (Often people find it easier to remember Kanji by using mnemonics).