Nouns in Vietnamese Language

1. This Lesson we will learn NOUN IN VIETNAMESE LANGUAGE 

Vietnamese words has a group of world call classifiers, which indicate the semantic class to which a class of words belongs. Classifiers NOUNS IN VIETNAMESE LANGUAGE express a wide range of categories, such as size, shape, tree, fruits, animals, ect. Cái, con, chiếc, cây, quả, quyển, cuốn, tờ, toà, ngôi are the most common classifiers in Vietnamese.

In English, we know that there are countable nouns, which can be counted such as pens and books, and uncountable nouns, which are uncountable such as water, air. For countable nouns, we simply use them directly, and with numbers when needed, as in I have 2 books. On the other hand, as uncountable nouns such as water can’t be counted, we need to use “containers” such as “glass” or “bottle” for water.

In Vietnamese, we’ll use “containers” for uncountable nouns as in English. However, for countable nouns, we also need to put in front of them a type of words known as measure words or classifiers. To illustrate this, let’s take the simple sentence: I have a book. Its direct word-by-word Vietnamese translation is Tôi(“I”) (“have”) một(“a”) sách(“book”)”.

If you use the above direct translation Tôi có một sách, native speakers would still completely understand what you mean. In addition, they’d also know that you are…still learning the Vietnamese Grammar! Here, even though book is a countable noun, we still need to use its measure word, which is quyển. The correct translation is thus: Tôi có một quyển sách.

The reason why every (countable) noun in Vietnamese needs a measure word is that nouns alone without their measure words carry an abstract meaning. For example, sách, without its measure word quyển, arouses a general abstract notion, similar to what the plural form books does to English speakers. Its measure word has the effect of “concretize” that abstract meaning into a specific book instance, which is countable.

This explains why in Reading books is a very effective way of learning, the Vietnamese translation of books is just sách, without its measure word since we are not talking about any particular book but just books in general. In English, to refer to such a general notion, we normally use plural nouns. In Vietnamese, this is expressed by using nouns without their measure words: givent that read translates into đọc, the phrase reading books in our example is therefore translated to đọc sách, not đọc quyển sách.

About counting using numbers, how do you translate I have two books given that hai is the translation of two? Yes, it’s Tôi có hai quyển sách. From this example, we see that measure words should be put closer to their nouns than numbers. Indeed, there is no type of word that can separate a noun and its measure word!

We have seen one measure word: quyển for sách(“book”). You can find the most common measure words and their brief usage in the following list.



  • cái/chiếc: for most inanimate objects. When both are interchangeable, “chiếc” is more formal.
  • con: for animals and children.
  • bài: for songs, drawings, poems, essays and the likes.
  • câu: for sentential units of verses, lyrics, quotes.
  • cây: for stick-like objects such as umbrella, sticks.
  • quả/trái: for round-shape objects such as fruits.
  • quyển/cuốn: for book-type objects: book, magazine.
  • tờ: for sheets of paper or newspaper.
  • lá: for smaller sheets of paper such as letters, cards.
  • Sinh tố: for smoothies
  • Thịt: for meat

3. List of nouns in Vietnamese Language

List of Vegetable in Vietnamese Language: here

Nouns in Vietnamese Language

4. Exercise: 


    1. Em ấy ăn (quả/ con/cây) táo.
    2. Đây là (bông/con/cái) hoa.
    3. Đó là (củ/ quả/ hạt) khoai lang.
    4. Đó là (quả/ củ/ hạt) gừng.


  1. Đây là (cái/ củ/ hạt) gì?. Đây là củ gừng.
  2. cái này Tiếng Việt gọi là(cái/con/quả/ củ) gì?. Cái này là cái bàn.
  3. Bác ấy không thích ăn (củ/quả/hạt) dưa hấu.
  4. Đây là (cái/con/quả/ củ) gì?. Đây là cái điện thoại.
  5. Kia là (củ/nước/hạt) gì? Kia là nước cam.
  6. Kia là (củ/nước/hạt) gì? Kia là nước cam.