In an earlier post, I finished showing how to count in Mandarin, including large numbers and some of the odd features of the counting, like the way that Chinese say two ten-thousands rather than twenty-thousand.

But another thing that I constantly messed up when first learning Mandarin was the word for two. And that's because there are two words for two. I suppose that's not surprising if you think about how many words we use for zero.

**二** (èr) is two and

**两** (liǎng) is also two

**二 **(èr) is most commonly used for counting like one, two, three, and so on.

It's also used for positions:

**第 二 个** (dì èr gè) means "the second one"

**第 二 次** (dì èr cì) means "the second time"

But when you are describing a number of things (and using measure words), you typically use **两** (liǎng) instead.

**两 天** (liǎng tiān) is two days

**两 个 月** (liǎng gè yuè) is two months

**两 块** (liǎng kuài) is two pieces (of something – and can be money)

### But there are always exceptions

I would have expected two o'clock to be the counting version but it's not. It's:

**两 点** (liǎng diǎn) is two o'clock (I can only imagine that it somehow relates to two positions on the clock)

And even in numbers, **两 (liǎng) **can be used, to count the number of hundreds and so on:

**二百** (èr bǎi) is two hundred but **两百** (liǎngbǎi) is also commonly used.

Sometimes, mixtures will be used:

**一千两百零二本书** (yī qiān liǎng bǎi líng èr běn shū) is one thousand, two hundred and two books

So you can be forgiven if it's not all immediately obvious.