I can think of only two instances where I have
heard Chinese-style Measure Words used in English
The one is "head" as in "head of cattle"
The other is "off". In a factory an order for parts was being given over the phone -
"Bolts - 2 gross, Nuts - 9 dozen, Special Spanners - 2 off" Are there any other instances?
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I can think of only two instances where I have heard Chinese-style Measure Words used in English The one is ... phone - "Bolts - 2 gross, Nuts - 9 dozen, Special Spanners - 2 off" Are there any other instances?

slice of bread, piece of cake
plus all the measure-words used for such individuating of mass nouns

Though I don't know what this "off" is.

Peter T. Daniels (Email Removed)
I can think of only two instances where I have ... Special Spanners - 2 off" Are there any other instances?

slice of bread, piece of cake plus all the measure-words used for such individuating of mass nouns Though I don't know what this "off" is.

It's an alternative to "each".

john
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I can think of only two instances where I have ... Special Spanners - 2 off" Are there any other instances?

I think I've seen "100 pcs" on packs of floppy disks and the like.
slice of bread, piece of cake

That's a little different, as "42 head of cattle" is just a wordy way of saying "42 cattle". OTOH, you can talk of "23 slices of bread", but not "23 bread".
plus all the measure-words used for such individuating of mass nouns Though I don't know what this "off" is.

Probably a back-formation of "one-off".
Stewart.

My e-mail is valid but not my primary mailbox. Please keep replies on on the 'group where everyone may benefit.
Though I don't know what this "off" is.

It's an alternative to "each".

AFAIK nobody talks of "each" of only one entity while speaking standard English.
The nearest meaningful thing to "Special Spanners - 2 each" I can see is "Special Spanners - £2 each" as you might see on a market stall rather than a customer's order (maybe unless there are several varieties of Special Spanners, and the customer is specifically ordering the sort that cost £2 each).
Stewart.

My e-mail is valid but not my primary mailbox. Please keep replies on on the 'group where everyone may benefit.

It's an alternative to "each".

AFAIK nobody talks of "each" of only one entity while speaking standard English. The nearest meaningful thing to "Special Spanners ... unless there are several varieties of Special Spanners, and the customer is specifically ordering the sort that cost £2 each).

In the United States, at least, the term "ea." is commonly used as a unit of measure. It denotes a count of discreet objects as opposed to a measurement like "feet", or groupings like "pair", "pkg" or "lot". An order might look thus:
10 ea. Cotton shirts @ $25.00
36 pr. Leather gloves @ $15.00
1 lot Miscellaneous buttons @ $2.00
3 c Wood screws @ $5.00
60 ft. Manila rope @ $0.46

Don
Kansas City
Teachers: We supply a list of EFL job vacancies
Probably a back-formation of "one-off".

Possibly not!
This use of "off" was discussed a few months ago in alt.english.usage and alt.usage.english. The thread subject was " List off items".

Peter Duncanson
UK (posting from a.e.u)
AFAIK nobody talks of "each" of only one ... customer is specifically ordering the sort that cost £2 each).

In the United States, at least, the term "ea." is commonly used as a unit of measure. It denotes a ... lot Miscellaneous buttons @ $2.00 3 c Wood screws @ $5.00 60 ft. Manila rope @ $0.46 Don Kansas City

I've run into NMB (units code for 'number'), but only on customs forms, where such codes exist for 'megabecquerels' and 'dozen pairs'.

What's the purpose of Chinese measure words? I would assume they exist to disambiguate similar-sounding nouns by providing a hint as to the shape of the object being described. But IANAL. In English, similar words seem to exist to distinguish a single item from a group or mass of something (for example, a head of cattle, a grain of rice, or a slice of bread).
Best regards,
Spehro Pefhany

"it's the network..." "The Journey is the reward" (Email Removed) Info for manufacturers: http://www.trexon.com Embedded software/hardware/analog Info for designers: http://www.speff.com

It's an alternative to "each".

AFAIK nobody talks of "each" of only one entity while speaking standard English. The nearest meaningful thing to "Special Spanners ... unless there are several varieties of Special Spanners, and the customer is specifically ordering the sort that cost £2 each).

The example given doesn't look like spoken English, unless a written order is being dictated over the phone. The 'each' makes the order for Special Spanners like those for the other items by including a unit quantity, in this case equal to one, parallel to (for example) gallons, pounds, dozen, tons. It gives context to the bare number indicating quantity.

john
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