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I'm trying to learn how to use the word 枚数. However, I'm having some trouble to find example sentences that teach me how to use it, since in most websites I know such as Jisho, Tangorin and so on, there are not sentences available with 枚数.

Only in Goo dictionary I could find this collocation:

はがきの枚数を数える; count the (number of) postcards

But sincerely, I can't figure out a close situation or an imaginary but possible situation in which I have to count postcards, so this kind of artificial (from my point of view) collocations do not help me to interiorize the usage of 枚数.

And in Weblio, the vast majority of sentences are not understood without context and are very unfriendly for learners. Just as an example:

自動走行しながら無線タグを読み取り、一定距離ごとに読取予定枚数と読取完了枚数とを比較し、読取予定枚数を読取完了枚数が下回った場合、自動走行を停止する。例文帳に追加

This radio tag reader/writer reads a radio tag while automatically traveling, and compares the scheduled number of sheets of reading with the completed number of sheets of reading for every fixed distance, and when the scheduled number of sheets of reading becomes less than the completed number of sheets of reading, the radio tag reader/writer stops automatic traveling. - 特許庁

Then, could you please give me complete and friendly-for-learners example sentences with 枚数?

I'd appreciate a lot if you could give me complete example sentences, not just collocations, since complete sentences help me better to understand and remember words.

The more examples you can give, the better.

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    I'm not sure what you mean by you can't imagine having to count postcards. You mean if I gave you a stack of postcards and told you "please count these" you wouldn't be able to grasp what that means (which seems kind of strange)? Or you just can't foresee a situation when a person would count a stack of postcards (to me there are plenty of reasons why someone might).
    – Leebo
    Dec 11, 2021 at 0:24
  • I can't foresee a situation when a person would say naturally "count the number of postcards". Maybe if you are working in a shop that sells postcards and somebody asks you so, but that would be a bit stilted situation, not close to a common person from my point of view. If you could please tell me common situations where 枚数 could be used naturally, I'd appreciate it a lot.
    – kanachan
    Dec 11, 2021 at 14:30

2 Answers 2

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In Japanese, there are particular "counting words" that are used. They are used depending on the shape of the thing being counted. Some of the ones I learned when I learned Japanese are:

〜枚(まい): Flat things, such as postcards, letters, pages of a book
〜冊(さつ): Things composed of pages, usually books
〜台(だい): Mechanized objects, usually things like cars or factory machinery
〜本(ほん): Narrow things, like straws or pencils
〜匹(ひき): Small, usually tailed animals, like dogs or cats (there is a different counter for large animals like elephants and gorillas, but I forgot what it is)
〜人(にん): People

Using these words followed by 数(すう), meaning "number", is a way of saying "the number of X" or "the count of X". For example, when talking about postcards, you would use 枚数 to talk about how many postcards you have. The most common of these constructions is almost certainly 人数, although I have also heard 枚数 from time to time, as my hobby is playing trading card games where the topic of flat things comes up in conversation on a regular basis. To be honest, I have never heard the other ones, although I'm sure they exist in particular contexts.

While this might be difficult to explain with the examples of postcards, any flat object can have a 枚数, so I'll change the subject a little. If you are playing poker and you want to make sure the dealer isn't cheating, you could say:

枚数を数えていいですか? = May I count the number of cards (in the deck)?
(Of course, if you actually said this in a casino, you might get punched in the face, so don't do that)

It's difficult to come up with non-contrived sentences using 枚数, because it's simply not a particularly common word; in questions you would more commonly use 何枚 (how many 枚) and in statements you would just state the number. The example sentence 「ポストカードの枚数は6枚です」 is technically correct but extremely unnatural; it's the type of thing you would learn to say in a classroom but if you said to a native speaker they'd look at you like you were from outer space (even accounting for the case in which saying "there are 6 postcards" was a reasonable statement in-context, which is another whole can of worms).

For reference, if you're not sure of the particular counting word to use, 個数(こすう) or simply 数(かず) will suffice in most situations; for questions you can use 何個 or いくつ (how many?). The exception being that 個 would more often be used for non-living things (個 has a meaning close to "object"), so if you used it for people or animals it might sound weird. I've never had a problem in Japan using 数/いくつ for everything, so it's best to stick to those when you're unsure.

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  • Thanks for your answer and trying to help. I know how to use basic counters like the ones you mentioned. However, although I know that 枚数 means "number of flat things", however hard I try, I can't imagine a natural situation when to use 枚数, and therefore, I can't create natural, non-contrived example sentences with this word. As you say, 「ポストカードの枚数は6枚です」would be the kind of sentence that nobody would say outside a classroom, and 「枚数を数えていいですか?」 is not commonly used as well...
    – kanachan
    Dec 11, 2021 at 14:42
  • For that reason I ask for help here in this forum, to discover example sentences with natural uses of 枚数 that help me to interiorize and remember it.
    – kanachan
    Dec 11, 2021 at 14:44
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TL;DR: 枚数 is mostly redundant outside of compound nouns.


At first, this question seemed very strange to me. I thought that if one knows how to use 個数, and if they already know certain things are counted with 枚, then there should be no difficulty figuring out how to use 枚数.

However, I realized it was not that simple when I thought about other counter words. I myself couldn’t think of a sentence in which 冊数 or 匹数 would sound natural. I have probably never used such words in my life. I would simply say [数]{かず} if I need to refer to the number of books or pets.

頭数, for larger animals, is much more common than 匹数, but it sounds a bit formal and technical. 台数 and 本数, though pretty commonly used as in 自動車の輸出台数 and 電車の運行本数, also have a slightly technical sound to them.

If your example with 枚数 sounds artificial, it probably has more to do with the general technicality and/or redundancy of this composition with a counter word and 数 than with the rarity of opportunity to count postcards. In fact, the sentence would sound more natural, at least in everyday conversation, if 枚数 were replaced with 数.

はがきの[数]{かず}を数える。

I made up the following example in an attempt to come up with one in which 枚数 was given a more important role than the direct object of 数える, which is redundant after all.

一度に使えるクーポンの枚数には制限があります。
There is a limit on the number of coupons you can use at a time.

However, 枚数 can be still safely replaced with 数.

一度に使えるクーポンの[数]{かず}には制限があります。

Cutting off the direct association by の between 枚数 and what is counted (i.e. クーポン) seems to somewhat increase the necessity of the counter word, but not by much. The following two sentences sound almost equally natural.

このクーポンは、一度に使える枚数に制限があります。

このクーポンは、一度に使える[数]{かず}に制限があります。

The counter word 枚 is most necessary in compound nouns, such as 使用枚数 and 枚数制限.

このクーポンは、一度の使用枚数に制限があります。

このクーポンには、買い物ごとの枚数制限があります。

Like 輸出台数 and 運行本数 above, these sound formal.

Come to think of it, even 個数 is mostly redundant outside of compound nouns, or such usages as column titles in data sheets (for “quantity”), as it can be safely replaced with 数 when it is used by itself in a sentence.

Curiously, most of the examples in goo use 枚数 alone referring to the number of sheets of a manuscript. This could be seen as a domain-specific usage where what is counted is understood with no explicit mention of it.

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