Counters are suffixes that combine with numbers when different things are counted. Unlike in English, where the thing you are counting directly follows the number (e.g. 25 pencils), in Japanese there are dozens of different counter words for this purpose. In this lesson we introduce the counter 人 used for counting numbers of people.
Counter words directly follow the number of the thing you are counting. For example, 200 people is written 200人. Counters tend to contain irregularities in the way they are pronounced for certain numbers. For 人 there are four irregularities. They are for the numbers 1, 2, 4, and 7, as shown in the table below.
Below are some example sentences to show you how counters are used in context.
|There are nine of us.||私たち は 九人 です。watashitachi wa kyuunin desu.|
|How many people were there?||何人 が いました か？nannin ga imashita ka?|
|The two of us watched TV together.||私たち は 二人 で テレビ を 見ました。watashitachi wa futari de terebi o mimashita.|
Note how in this last sentence the particle で is used to indicate the way something is done. The way we were watching television was by the two of us, namely together.