I am currently attempting to research the syntax of nominal classifiers (i.e. "counter" words like 「〜台」and 「〜個」) and wanted to look for references to the irregular phenomenon of "bare" numerals: numerical literals without any classifiers.

Before looking for specific examples of the patterns in which unclassified numerals appear, several types sprung to mind:

  • Lemmas ending with numerals: e.g. 「唯一」,「統一」
  • Yojijukugo with idiomatic meaning: e.g. 「無二無三」, 「四当五落」
  • Purely idiomatic expressions consisting of bare numerals: e.g. 「七五三」, 「八百万」、「万が一」、「一か八か」

One case that stood out to me, however, was the case of the productive pattern「其の#」where # can be freely replaced with any number (up to a certain point; somewhere between 百 and 千, the construction starts to lose plausibility, at least to me).

I would ideally like to understand the linguistic interpretation of this pattern, but it is quite hard to find specific mentions of the pattern 「其の一」, as most of the results that seem to come up are actual uses of this pattern in the body of a paper, or contain 「其の一〜」where a counter word directly follows the numeral in the query.

Does anyone have an explanation for this pattern, or any advice on how to find material referencing it?

  • there are tons of exceptions in each language. this is language not math formula that you need to generalize for n numbers. Nov 12, 2019 at 0:14

1 Answer 1


There are two separate idiomatic usages where 其の(その) followed by numerals.

  • その 1 [counter]: one of them (= その中の 1 [counter]); it would hardly have a number bigger than 1.

    その一つ, その一人, その一回, そのワンフレーズ...

  • その N: part N; since it is used to mark each division of a continuation, a bare number comes after it.



    It does not really have an upper limit: I found in a quick search an extremely long-running lunch blog that boasts その2502 as of today (2019-11-12).

Of course, there will be other ordinary その "that/the" + [numbers], where the number will be bare if they are talking about the number N, or with counter if they mention a certain number of something.

  • The second use is the one I am more interested in. I am aware of this particular usage, but wanted to know why it seemed to be an exception to the otherwise consistent rule of 'numerals must have counters when used for quantification' Nov 13, 2019 at 19:16
  • @archaephyrryx Because it's not quantification of an object. "A two-part book" is, but "part two" and "number two" aren't (they're number itself). Nov 14, 2019 at 3:46

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