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wèi
m./n. measure word for person; (Math.) digit, figure
Discussion of 位
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The measure word 位 indicates respect and politeness. Therefore, we usually use 位 in formal situations, or when we speak to people to whom we are not yet close.
位 is often compared to another measure word of noun: 名. Sometime they can both be used to the same nouns with different emphasis, or expressing different tones. Let's compare:

- 一名老师 (pointing out the profession of the person)
- 一位老师 (simply referring to "a teacher" with politeness, used in formal situation or written Chinese)
- 一个老师 (just generally referring to "a teacher", used mostly in spoken Chinese, with a casual tone)

Sometimes it's difficult to explain the slight differences among these three measure words. As a second language learner, you need to learn how to use them correctly in practice. And this can be a gradual process.
lisaC
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