Counting Things in Japanese using 本 hon

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How to Count in Japanese – Part Five – Review Notes

There are many ways to count things in Japanese depending on the type of object being counted! In these review notes, we will look at how to count long, cylindrical objects using the Japanese counter 本 (hon).

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Today’s Counter is:

 You can use the Japanese counter 本 (ほん – hon) to count long, cylindrical objects. For example, pens, bottles, umbrellas, neckties and trees are all counted using 本 (ほん – hon).

 You might already know that the word 本 (ほん – hon) can mean “book.” However, when used as a counter, it does not mean “book.”

 In fact, books are not counted using the counter 本 (ほん – hon); they are counted using the counter 冊 (satsu) which is used for counting bound objects.

★ When counting long, cylindrical obejects, all of the numbers end in -hon except the number 3 (which ends in -bon) and the numbers 1, 6, 8, and 10 (which end in -pon)

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Number 1:

 The Japanese word for one (long, cylindrical object) is 一本 (いっぽん – ippon).

★ Be careful! The ending sound changes to a p-sound in the number one; 一本 is not spoken as (いちほん – ichihon)!

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Number 2:

 The Japanese word for two (long, cylindrical objects) is 二本 (にほん – nihon).

★ Some of you might have noticed that this word looks similar to the word for Japan which is also nihon. However, the kanji is different! Japan is written 日本 (nihon) and two (long cylindrical objects) is written 二本 (nihon).

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Number 3:

 The Japanese word for three (long, cylindrical objects) is 三本 (さんぼん – sanbon).

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Number 4:

 The Japanese word for four (long, cylindrical objects) is 四本 (よんほん – yonhon).

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Number 5:

 The Japanese word for five (long, cylindrical objects) is 五本 (ごほん – gohon).

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Number 6:

 The Japanese word for six (long, cylindrical objects) is 六本 (ろっぽん – roppon).

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Number 7:

 The Japanese word for seven (long, cylindrical objects) is 七本 (ななほん – nanahon).

 Another way to say it is: 七本 (しちほん – shichihon).

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Number 8:

 The Japanese word for eight (long, cylindrical objects) is 八本 (はっぽん – happon).

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Number 9:

 The Japanese word for nine (long, cylindrical objects) is 九本 (きゅうほん – kyuuhon).

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Number 10:

 The Japanese word for ten (long, cylindrical objects) is 十本 (じゅっぽん – juppon).

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Counting Past 10:

 To count more than 10 long, cylindrical objects, refer to the numbers below. Try to notice the pattern! (11 is 10 and 1, 12 is 10 and 2, etc.)

   十一    11    jūippon

   十二    12    jūnihon

   十三    13    jūsanbon

   十四    14    jūyonhon

   十五    15    jūgohon

   十六    16    jūroppon

   十七    17    jūnanahon

   十八    18   jūhappon

   十九    19    jūkyūhon

   二    20    nijuppon

   二十一   21     nijūippon

   二十二   22    nijūnihon

   二十三   23    nijūsanbon

   二十四   24      nijūyonhon

   二十五   25    nijūgohon

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Example Sentence 1:

ネクタイ二本買いました。

Nekutai o nihon kaimashita.

I bought two neckties.

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Example Sentence 2:

机にペン三本あります。

Tsukue ni pen ga sanbon arimasu.

There are three pens on the desk.

ポケモンの鉛筆☆

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ハローキティの鉛筆☆

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Example Sentence 3:

ビール六本飲みました。

Bīru o roppon nomimashita.

I drank six beers (in bottles).

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お箸は”本”と数えません!”膳”(ぜん-zen)と数えます \(◕ω◕)/☆

Pink and Yellow Rilakkuma Chopsticks Rilakkuma Chopsticks

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Conclusion:

Today we learned how to count long, cylindrical objects in Japanese! Check out more lessons on counting in Japanese below!

How to count flat, thin objects

How to count people

How to count small animals

How to count cars and other machines

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