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what is the difference between '~つ年' and '~年' ?

Jackyquah

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what is the difference between '~つ年' and '~年' ?
I found '二つ年' in my dictionary but it seems have the same meaning as '二年', I don't know the difference.
 

Toritoribe

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What is the exact example(the entire sentence/phrase) you found in your dictionary?
 

Jackyquah

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彼は私より 3 つ年が上です = He is three years older than me.
in this sample, why is it not written 彼は私より 3 年が上です ?
but it's not just this sample I found other sample which I have forgotten.
 

Toritoribe

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That's 3つ / 年 / が / 上, not 3つ年 / が / 上. つ is a counter for "year(s) old", thus, 3つ[みっつ] is equivalent to 3歳[さんさい] or 3年[さんねん]. 年 is read とし in that sentence since it's a noun, not a counter, therefore 彼は私より 3 年が上です is invalid.
FYI, つ is applied only to "from 1 to 9", so you can't say 十二つ年が上, for instance.
 

nekojita

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Would 十二歳年(が)上 be acceptable instead?
 

Toritoribe

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Yes, 十二年(が)上[じゅうにとし(が)うえ], 十二歳上[じゅうにさいうえ] or 十二上[じゅうにうえ] are also possible.
(十二年年(が)上[じゅうにねんとし(が)うえ] is acceptable, but not so common, I think. 二年年(が)上[にねんとし(が)うえ] sounds natural, so 年[ねん] might be hardly used as "years old" for large numbers.)
 

Jackyquah

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if つ is a counter in this context, shouldn't we added の between counter and noun ? (彼は私より 3 つの年が上です)
In my textbook counter can be placed after noun. example:
店に客が三人あります
or
counter can be placed before noun with particle の between them. example:
店に三人の客があります

there is no の between 二つ and 年, why ? is that exception ?
 

Toritoribe

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What textbook are you using? Doesn't it say 店に客が三人います?

年が上(だ) means "older" as a set, i.e., 3つ modifies the entire clause 年が上, not just 年. You can't use の after the counter in these cases, as in 3センチ背が高い, 3キロ体重が重い or 3坪面積が広い.
FYI, 店に3人客がいます is also correct.
 

Jackyquah

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What textbook are you using? Doesn't it say 店に客が三人います?
yeah, it use います (my mistake).
年が上(だ) means "older" as a set, i.e., 3つ modifies the entire clause 年が上, not just 年. You can't use の after the counter in these cases, as in 3センチ背が高い, 3キロ体重が重い or 3坪面積が広い.
FYI, 店に3人客がいます is also correct.
can I write '二枚パンツを買います' ?
or should I add の between 二枚 and パンツ ?
 

Toritoribe

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Both are correct since 二枚 modifies パンツ as same as 三人の客がいます.

3つ年が上だ。
3センチ背が高い。
3キロ体重が重い。
3坪面積が広い。
In the sentences above, "3" refers to the difference; the difference in age, hight, weight and area, respectively. Whereas "3" is the number of the objects(customers and pants) in 3人(の)客がいます and 3枚(の)パンツを買います. That's the difference.
 
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