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nián
n. year; New Year
Discussion of 年
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10
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When 年 is used as a noun meaning "year", it is a nouns of quantity. By noun of quantity, we mean that this noun itself already has a meaning similar to that of a measure word. Therefore, other measure words cannot be used before 年. Please remember this, as it is a very common mistake among beginning learners.

Other nouns like 年 include: 岁(sui4, age), 天 (tian1, day), 课 (ke4, lesson, class), etc. Please feel free to check them out if you are interested.
lisaC
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年 and some other nouns, they themselves share the quality of a measure word (or in other words we may say: a quantifier). For words like these, we cannot use 个 or other measure words. That means that it is correct to say: 一年 referring to one year.
klaus
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