Introduction: HOW TO COUNT TO TEN ON ONE HAND (in Chinese)

In this instructable I will not only teach you to count to ten in Chinese, but also how to do it using only one hand!

So as long as you have one good hand, and a good brain in your head, you are good to go. The only thing left to worry about is what your other hand will do in the meantime.

Let's begin...


As in the West, the Chinese count one to five using the first five digits on one hand.

Check out the boxes below for details on how to say the numbers in Chinese.


Whereas in the West we would probably start using our other hand right about now, here in China we simply start using different permutations of hand signals on just one hand.


In the West once we have reached TEN then that is it. With this counting system you can count as high as you like by combining numbers.

To show 100, you show ONE, TEN, TEN

To show 200, you show TWO, TEN, TEN

To show 250, you show TWO, TEN, TEN, FIVE, TEN

To show 500, you show FIVE, TEN, TEN

To show 1000, you show ONE, TEN, TEN, TEN

With each ten you shake your fist, but don't do it too violently, you don't want to start a fight!

Now that you are all familiar with the system, time for a test.

Move to the next stage and guess the number...

Step 4: TEST 1

What is the number below?

Step 5: TEST 2

What is the number below?

Step 6: TEST 3

What is the number below?

Post your answers in the comments section.

I look forward to marking your homework, and good luck with using this great technique!



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    Wow! I actually had NO IDEA you could do that, I guess I'll go to China, and when they ask my age I'm going to "say" it, only... How do you say 11 in Chinese? With a hand?

    Different places in China, North and South, sometimes the opposite order of seven and eight, to be honest, I sometimes have seven and eight, regardless of the

    The Seven and Eight is wrong, they should be reverse

    2 replies

    no this is correct. as someone explained to me, the 8 is supposed to look similar to the character 8 as written in chinese

    haha, this is very fun to see you this article and pictures. The Eight, 8, in spoken Chinese, pronounced "ba" , like the sound of gun fire, so make this hand gesture is like a gun to present Eight.
    Besides, the thumb present number Five in chinese. So, a thumb and a little finger is Six, a thumb and forefinger and middle finger present Seven.

    Or, you could learn to count to ten or any other number in ASL, which all can be done on one hand

    i will now take a moment to thank advil for suppling the drug that took away the headache i go t from tryihng to fiure out the biinary system in the first place.. I thought that i was doing well by using the knuckles and tips of my fingers to count to 16 on one hand and use both hands to count to 256.( theni remembeed that i could hold a piece of paper and pen/pencil with both hands and not get a headache while trying to remember what right ring second knuckle was). cool info though. (It's 176 BTW)


     No its a gun


    In cantonese:

    1 Yut
    2 Yee
    3 Saum
    4 Say
    5 Mm
    6 Lut
    7 Chut
    8 Baut
    9 Gauw ( Hard to do in letters)
    10 Sup (lolz)

    if this is 42,001 then this doesn't make sense at all. If it were 42,001 then wouldn't it have 4 fist fist fist fist 2 fist fist fist 1?

    Of course, for the bit twiddlers in the crowd, you can count to 31 on one hand using binary.

    8 replies

    an interesting note:
    lol in 1337 is 101

    101 in binary is 5

    so, lol = 5

    lol you can not have a '5' in binary. That wouldn't make sense. binary is based on a sequence of 1's and 0's. Thats robot talk buddy. They don't know what a 5 is. :D

    tehehe.....i must say...LOL

    ill give you a dollar if you can comfortably make 26 in binary with your hand.

    Dear nafango22, Thanks for the comment. I hope you have your dollar ready. 26 equals 11000 in binary. That means: THUMB UP / FOREFINGER UP / MIDDLE FINGER DOWN / RING FINGER DOWN / LITTLE FINGER DOWN Thanks for the challenge. It reawakened my use of binary from the old days of doing electronics at school. Hope to hear from you again with future challenges. Best regards, Brendan

    pics or it didnt happen. (the muscle on your ring finger is connected to your pinky, its impossible to lift the ring finger without lifting the pinky or middle finger aswell), unless you hold it with your thumb, which is also up)


    i can do that trick and keep my finger up though. im doing it properly and i can still do it, thus not impossible :P

    I can do it... Just need a camera to show it to you. And btw brendenconnel, it is 11010