In my long journey of learning Chinese, one the greatest pleasures concerns the myriad measure words. Every time you use a number with an object numbered, you need a measure word. The ones to use have an internal logic that defies me.

For example, long narrow things like rivers, snakes and trousers use:

条 tiao

‘Two snakes’ is: liang tiao she

However, when you want to speak of a section of something long, you use:

段 duan

‘The northern part of the canal’ is: yunhe de bei duan

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