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Counting in Korean made easy: master all Korean counters

That’s terrific. You can finally count in Korean. But how do you plan on using it?

If you think about counting things (counting in Korean in general) like natives, you have something else coming. i.e. “counters & list of counters” 

However, Korean counters aren’t so straightforward.

The specific group of items has their personal Korean counting words. And finding the right one while talking is a scary story. (Especially to a non-native speaker).

You need the correct techniques and a strong resource. Here’s a step-by-step guide to learning about 25 common Korean counters & how to use counters in Korean sentences with examples & exercises( free printable flashcards, cheat sheet, and audio included).

So, let’s dive into the core.

counting in korean

What are Korean counters?

Koreans have different words to measure things called counters. To count things in Korean, we need to use both Korean numbers (Sino-Korean & native Korean numbers) of them.

U can’t just say five people as 

Believe it or not, we have counters in the English language too! It’s the same concept as saying “one glass of water” (not, “one water”), or “a pair of pants” (and not, “a pant”).

However, in Korean, this applies to EVERYTHING.

Here’s how to do it 

Korean counters structure: how to use counters in Korean language?

Counters in Korean are not used alone in Korean sentences. 

They always come after the noun and the number of times you want to count an object.

In Korean, Where do counters go in a sentence? 

The grammar is simple (with small exceptions, of course)

To count in Korean, all you gotta do is follow this structure.

In Korean: noun + number + counter word.

Step1: Find the right counter for nouns.

Step2:  Fuse with cardinal number/amount after the noun & number

Viola. you are done. 

For example

2 people =  Korean word for People +two+ counters for people 

                   (i.e. 사람두명[saramdumyong]=[사람] + [두] + [명])

5 horses  = Korean word for horse + five + counters for animal 

                   (i.e. 말 다섯 마리[mal dasot mari] = [말] + [다섯] + [마리] )

One book = Korean word for book + one +counters for book 

                   (i.e. 책 한 권[chaek han gwon] = [책] + [한] + [권]

But What are the dos and don’ts?

Keep in mind two things.

First, Koreans use native Korean numbers for counting a small number of items. To count a large number of objects you have to use Sino-Korean numbers instead.

Secondly, some native Korean numbers (i.e. 1,2,3,4 & 20) have different forms when you use counters.

1 = 하나 –> 한 

2 = 둘 –> 두 

3 = 셋 –> 세 

4 = 넷 –> 네 

20 = 스물–>스무 

The basic structure for using counters with native Korean numbers

Here is the basic structure for using counters with native Korean numbers. When saying how many of something there are, you say the noun, then the Native Korean number, and add the counter word at the end. 

Don't know how native Korean numbers work?

If you want to learn more about native Korean numbers and Korean counting units, here‘s an ultimate guide to learning native Korean numbers in 10 minutes. Click here.

It looks like this

noun + number + counter word

 Let me explain with examples

  • 7 rabbit = 토끼일곱마리[tokkiilgommari]
  • Nine students = 학생아홉명 [hakssaengahommyong]
  • 2 o’clock = 두 시[du si]
  • 10 bottles=열병[yolbyong]
  • 32 books=서른둘권 soreundulgwon
  • 6 apples=사과 여섯개 [sagwa yosotkkae]

The basic structure for Using Counters with Sino-Korean Numbers

Here is the basic structure for Using Counters with Sino-Korean Numbers. When saying how many of something there are, you say the noun, then the Sino-Korean number, and add the counter word at the end. 

Don't know how to count with Sino Korean numbers?

If you want to learn more about Sino Korean numbers and Korean counting units, here‘s an ultimate guide to counting in Korean with Sino Korean numbers in 10 minutes. Click here.

The structure looks like this

noun + number + counter word

For example

  • 55,000 won = 오만 오천원 oman ochonwon won
  • 7 weeks =7주chil ju
  • 13th floor =13층sipssam cheung
  • 4  servings =4인분sa inbun
  • 6 hours=6시간 yuk sigan

Let’s see in detail what they mean and how to use them in Korean sentences

The Ultimate List Of Korean Counters And How Do Koreans Use Counters In A Conversation?

The big problem is that there are too many counters in Korean, enough to make you overwhelmed and it’s hard to figure out which one to use when in a sentence.

So, I made a list of common counters in Korean and divided them based on both the Korean number system. 

Pure Korean Counters: Learn Different Counters In Korean That Use Native Korean Numbers

counting in korean

Here is a complete list of the most common Korean counters used with Sino-Korean numbers for you to get started!

  • To count general things, items: 개 (gae)
  • To count the people : 명(myeong)
  • To count the animals : 마리 (Mari)
  • To count the age in Korean: sal
  • To count counter for buildings and houses: 채 (chae) 
  • To count pair of shoes : 레 (kyeolle) 
  • To count  clothes벌: (beol) 
  • To count pieces of  paper: 장 (jang) 
  • To count pen and pencils 자루 (jaru).
  • To count bottles : 병 (byeong)
  • To count cars and machines : 대 (dae) 
  • To count books and notebooks : 권 (gwon) 

Let’s see in detail

개 (gae) → a general counter for things, items, and units

counting in korean

If you can’t express a counter for a piece of object in a Korean sentence, there is one absolutely must-know Korean counter in your rescue.

i.e. counter Gae(개). It is a general counter for things, items, and units basically the non-living things.Gae(개) literally means “dog” in Korean.

Why only one?

In a way, it’s magical. If you are lazy, or if you don’t know the correct counter for something while talking, you can just use this and it will (probably) make sense.

Keep in mind most of the time they are used along with native Korean numbers.

Here’s how

Numbers + 개 [gae] (counter for things)

  • 1 = 하나 –> 한 개
  • 2 = 둘 –> 두 개
  • 3 = 셋 –> 세 개
  • 4 = 넷 –> 네 개
  • 5 = 다섯 –> 다섯 개
  • 6 = 여섯 –> 여섯 개
  • 7 = 일곱 –> 일곱 개
  • 8 = 여덟 –> 여덟 개
  • 9 = 아홉 –> 아홉 개
  • 10 = 열 –> 열 개
  • 11=열한 개,
  • 12=열두 개,
  • 13=열세 개
  • 19=열아홉 개
  • 20=스무 개

And so on

Notice how the numbers 1, 2,3,4 & 20 keep coming up to be a pain in the butt?

Let’s take some examples

  • one apple = 사과 [sa-gwa] + 1 + 개 [gae] = 사과 한 개 [sa-gwa han gae]
  • two stones = 돌 [dol] + 2 + 개 [gae] = 돌 두 개 [dol du gae]
  • five balls = 공 [gong] + 5 + 개 [gae] = 공 다섯 개 [gong da-seot gae]
  • 12 dolls
  • Five pieces of chicken.-치킨이 5개.
  • 2 tshirts-티셔츠  2개
  • Two pairs of sunglasses-선글라스 2개.

Although the explanation “it can count anything” is pretty right on the money. 

For the language learners, it’s better to use incorrect ones and get feedback than not at all

명(myeong) → a counter used for people

counting in korean

The counter 사람 [sa-ram] is used to count people. 사람 by itself means person/people, basically referring to a  small number of people.

Usually, for counting the number of people you can use counter 명[myeong]. That covers most of its use

but Koreans use 분 can count seven different categories of things, which we broke down in great detail 

To count people all you need to do is

Noun +no of people +명[myeong]

For example

one person = 한 명 [han myeong]

12 students=학생열둘명[hakssaengyoldulmyong]= 학생 [hak-saeng] + 12[ 열둘]+ 명 [myeong]

three friends  = 친구 세 명 [chin-gu se myeong] =친구 [chin-gu] + 3 + 명 [myeong] 

40 people= 마흔명/사십명[maheunmyongsasimmyong]= 마흔[maheun] + 명 [myeong]

So to say 50 people, you could either say 오십명, or 쉰 명 if you’d like. And to say 100 people, it’s just 백 명.

Example sentences

  • How many people are there?
  • 몇 명 있어요? [myeot myeong i-sseo-yo?]
  • There are 7 people.
  • 일곱명 있어요. ilgommyong issoyo
  • why you draw 3 people?
  • 왜 3명이나 생겼어요?
  • Did our manager kill 4 people? 
  • 매니저가 4명을 죽였나요?-maenijoga sa myongeul jugyonnayo
  • I think about 4 people are our fans.
  • 4분 정도가 저희 팬인 것 같습니다.

마리 (Mari) : learn the Korean counter for animals?

counting in korean

The main thing that 마리 [mari] does is count animals in Korean.  

If you can pick up small or large-sized animals and fish, you can probably count it with 마리 [mari]

However, counting couples (For people & animals) change is the more common counter.

마리 (Mari) is the Korean counter for animals. To count animals in Korean, all you need to do is say the animal’s name followed by the number of animals you want to count and then add 마리 [mari] at the end.

The basic structure look like this

Noun +number of animals + 마리 [mari]

 Let’s take some examples

  • one dog = 개 한 마리(gae han mari)=개 [hak-saeng] +한[1] + 마리 [mari]
  • two frogs = 개구리 두 마리(gaeguri du mari)= 개구리 [gaeguri] + 2[두] + 마리 [mari] 
  • three rabbit = 토끼 세 마리[tokki se mari]= 토끼 [tokki] + 3[세] + 마리 [mari] 
  • 11 sheep=양열  열하나마리(yangnyol yolhanamari)=양[yang] +11[열하나]+ 마리 [mari]
  • 42 cats=고양이 사십이 마리(goyangi sasibi mari) =고양이[goyangi ]+ 42[사십이] +마리 [mari]
  • 8 birds-새여덟마리[sae yodol mari]
  • 17 wolves=늑대 열일곱 마리[neukttae yorilgop mari]


Example sentences

  • Do you raise a pet?

애완동물 키워요?-Aewandongmool kiwoyo?

  • I raise one dog and two rabbits.

개 한 마리 하고 토끼 두 마리 키워요.- gae han mari hago tokki du mari kiwoyo

  • Do you have a pet?

애완동물이 있나요? – aewandongmuri innayo 

  • No, I don’t have but I want to adopt a cat.

없어요, 하지만 고양이를 입양하고 싶어요.

opssoyo hajiman goyangireul ibyanghago sipoyo

  • I have three dogs at home.

저희 집에 강아지가 세마리 있어요.johi jibe gangajiga semari issoyo

  • I saw two wolves and one fox in the forest

숲에서 늑대 두 마리와 여우 한 마리를 봤어요.

supeso neukttae du mariwa you han marireul bwassoyo

If you want to know how to pronounce animal names in Korean. Here is a complete list of animals in Korean you can check out before you want to count them. 

How to talk about Animals in Korean?

Test yourself with this Korean vocabulary quiz 

Before we go further, practice translating these examples. The answers are at the bottom.

  1. 5 elephant
  2. 13 snakes
  3. 25 birds
  4. 11 ants

Answers: 1.코끼리 다섯 마리,(kokkiri dasot mari) 2. 뱀 열셋 마리(baem yolset mari) 3. 새 스물다섯 마리(sae seumuldasot mari), 4. 개미 열하나 마리(gaemi yolhana mari)

Korean Age: How to Calculate and Talk About It

counting in korean

Age is so important in Korea. Koreans exchange their age information at the very first meeting. 

Because Age determines whether you will talk to other parties in informal or formal language. 

You could accidentally offend people if you are not careful! So it’s crucial to know to count age in Korean before you even land in Korea.

To count age in Korean,  all you need to do is add and use the native Korean number plus 살 (sal), the word for “year(s) old”.

Age in Native Korean number +  살 (sal)

Let’s take some examples

  • 31 years – 서른하나[soreunhana] +  살 (sal)=서른하나살[soreunhanasal]
  • 18 years – 열여덟 +  살 (sal)
  • 21 years – 스물하나+  살 (sal)
  • 25 years – 스물다섯+  살 (sal)
  • 30 years – 서른+  살 (sal)
  • 29 years – 스물아홉+  살 (sal)
  • 32 years – 서른둘+  살 (sal)
  • 100 years – 백+  살 (sal)
  • 50 years old-쉰 살swin sal+  살 (sal)


  • How old are you?
  • 몇 살이세요?- myot sariseyo
  • I am 28 years old.
  • 저는 스물여덟 살이세요- joneun seumulryodol sariseyo
  • I have done it since I was 18 years old.
  • 전 18살부터 했습니다.
  • I am 31 years old and live in Seoul.
  • 저는 서울 사는 31세 하나에요.
  • I’m actually not 28 years old. I m  20 years old
  • 사실 18살이 아닙니다.20살이에요! 
  • When we first met him, wasn’t he 18 years old?
  • 연준이 형 처음 봤을 때 18살 아니었어요?
  • “Hello, guys! I’m Yoon Jin. I’m 18 years old.”
  • 안녕하세요, 저는 낭랑 18세 여고생 윤진이에요.’
  • I wish I was 21 years old forever.
  • 이제 21살이 된 게 너무 신기하다.


Before we go further, practice translating these examples. The answers are at the bottom.

  1. 25 years-
  2. 33 year – 
  3. 27 years – 
  4. 11 years – 
  5. 99 years – 

Answers: 1. 스물다섯살,2. 서른셋 살, 3.스물일곱 살, 4.열하나 살,5. 아흔아홉 살

Korean counter for buildings: 채 (chae) → a counter for houses and buildings

counting in korean

To count animals all you need to do is write the numbers in native Korean numbers and add the word 채 (chae). 채 (chae) is a counter for houses and buildings

number + 채 (chae) 

Here are some example

  • 7 houses =일곱채[ilgopchae] = 일곱 [[ilgop] + 건물(konmul)
  • 17 houses = 이열일곱 채 [iyorilgop chae]=  열일곱[iyorilgop ]+ 채 (chae)


  • This building has 4 houses
  • 이 건물에는 집이 4채 있다.-i gonmureneun jibi sa chae ittta

Korean counter for shoes켤레 (kyeolle) → a counter for pairs of shoes

counting in korean

켤레 (kyeolle) is a counterword for shoes in Korean. To count shoes,  all you need to do is add the Korean word for shoes which is sinbal then add the numbers of shoes(in pairs), and then add the counter 켤레 (kyeolle) at the end.

The structure looks like this 

Noun +number of shoes pair  + 켤레 (kyeolle)

 Let’s see some examples

  • Seven pair of shoes =신발[sinbal] + 일곱[ilgop] + 켤레 (kyeolle) = 신발일곱켤레[sinbarilgopkyolre]
  • 2 pair of shoes= 신발 두 켤레[sinbal du kyolre]=신발[sinbal] +두[du]+ 켤레 (kyeolle) 
  • three pair of shoes = 신발[sinbal] + 셋[net] + 켤레 (kyeolle) =sinbalnekyolre

Example sentences

  • Did you order 3 pairs of shoes?

신발 세 켤레 주문하셨나요?-sinbal se kyolre jumunhasyonnayo

  • I have 6 pairs of shoes as well.

나는 신발도 여섯 켤레가 있어.-naneun sinbaldo yosot kyolrega isso

  • I have 2 pairs of Adidas shoes and 8 pairs of Lego shoes!

저는 아디다스 신발 2켤레와 레고 신발 8켤레가 있어요!-joneun adidaseu sinbal i kyolrewa rego sinbal pal kyolrega issoyo

Korean counter for paper: 장 (jang) → a counter used for pieces of papers

counting in korean

장 (jang) is a counter used to count pieces of paper. To count papers in Korean, all you need to do is the number of papers and add the word at the end.

The basic structure looks like this 

number of papers + 장 (jang)


  • 21 sheet of paper = 스물하나 장 [seumulhana jang]= 스물하나[seumulhan] + 장 (jang)
  • 12 sheets of papers=열둘 장 [yoldul jang]= 열둘 [hak-saeng] + 장 (jang)  

Example sentences 

  • I need 5 sheet of paper 

종이 5장이 필요합니다.-jongi o jangi piryohamnida

  • There are 5 sheet of paper on the table

탁자 위에 종이가 다섯 장 있다.-takjja wie jongiga dasot jang ittta

  • There are four pieces of paper.

이렇게 4개의 쪽지가 있어요.

  • Didn’t you pick two pieces of paper?

2장 뽑지 않았어요?

Korean counter for pencil: counter for pens/pencils is 자루 (jaru).How do you count pencils in Korean?

counting in korean

자루[Jaru] is the counter to counting pencils in Korean.  To count pencils in Korean, all you have to do is followed by the number of pencils and add the word자루[Jaru] at the end.

The basic Structure looks like this

Noun +number of animals + 자루[Jaru]

  • 4 pencils = 연필 낫자루[yonpil netjjaru] = 연필[yonpil]+  넷 [net] + 자루[Jaru]
  • 6 pencil- 연필여섯자루[yonpiryosotjjaru]= 연필[ yonpil]+ 여섯+  자루 
  • 25 pencils =연필[yonpil]+스물다섯[seumuldasot][+ 자루[Jaru]= 연필스물다섯자루[yonpilseumuldasotjjaru]


  • Please give me 6 pencils

연필 여섯 자루 주세요.-yonpil yosot jaru juseyo

  • There are 45 pencils on the table

혹시 연필 같은 거 있으세요?

병 (byeong) → a counter for bottles

counting in korean

To count the number of bottles, you need to use the word 병 (byeong). Just say the numbers of bottles in the native Korean number system and add 병 (byeong) at the end.

number of bottles +병 (byeong)

For example 

one bottle= 한 병 [han byeong]=  한[han]+ 병 (byeong)

two bottles = 두병[dubyeong]= 두[du]+ 병 (byeong)

27 bottles = 스물일곱[seumurilgop]+ 병 (byeong)=스물일곱병[seumurilgopppyong]

Example sentences

  • Shall I open another bottle?

한 병 더 딸까요?

  • please give me 5 milk bottles

우유 5병 주세요- uyu o byong juseyo

  • He drank a whole bottle of wine.

그는 포도주 한 병을 다 마셨다.- geuneun podoju han byongeul da masyottta

  • There are 5 water bottles here.

물병이 5개 있습니다.

대 (dae) → a counter for cars and machines

counting in korean

To count cars in Korean, you can use the counter word대 (dae). All you need to do is add the Korean word for car followed by number of cars you want to count and then add the word 대 (dae). 

Noun +number of cars +  대 (dae)


  • 3 cars = 자동차세대[jadongcha se dae]= 자동차 [hak-saeng] + 세 + 대 (dae)
  • 23 cars = 자동차스물셋대[ jadongchaseumulsetttae] =  자동차 [hak-saeng] + 스물셋 + 대 (dae)

 Example sentences

  • I have 3 cars

저는 차가 3대 있어요.-joneun chaga sam dae issoyo

  • i bought two cars yesterday

나는 어제 차 두 대를 샀다.- naneun oje cha du daereul sattta

Learn Korean counter for books and notebooks: 권 (gwon) 

counting in korean

To count animals all you need to do is say books in Korean and add the counter 권 [gwon] after the number of books and notebooks.

The basic structure looks like this

Noun + number of books +  권 [gwon]

Let’s take some examples

Five books =책 다섯 권 [chaek dasot gwon]= 책[chaek]+ 다섯[dasot]+권[gwon]

two notebooks = 공책 두 권 [gongchaekdugwon]=공책 [gongchaek]+두[du]+ 권 [gwon]

 Example sentences

  • I brought five books.

저는 책 다섯 권을 가져왔어요.-joneun chaek dasot gwoneul gajowassoyo

  • There are two books. I’ll recommend it to you.

두 권 있어요 제가 추천해드릴게요.

  • I will bring two notebooks tomorrow.

내일 공책 두 권을 가지고 올게요.- naeil gongchaek du gwoneul gajigo olkkeyo

  • They only gave me three books.

3권밖에 안 주는 거예요.


Before we go further, practice translating these examples. The answers are at the bottom.

45 books

99 notebooks

53 cars

14 bottles

Answers: 1. 책 마흔다섯 권,2.공책 아흔아홉 권, 3.자동차쉰셋대, 4.열넷 병

Sino-Korean counters (hanja counters): learn all Korean counters that use Sino-Korean numbers.

Here is a complete list of the most common Korean counters used with Sino-Korean numbers for you to get started!

  • To count the months:
  • To talk about money:
  • To talk about phone numbers:
  • Fahrenheit/Celsius in the Korean
  • To count floors of a building
  •  To telling time in Korean (hours)
  • flight /Bus/subway numbers in Korean

Let’s see in detail 

How To talk about money in Korean: count Korean currency

The currency of South Korea is 원 (won), and this is represented by the symbol  ₩ 

To count money, you need to remember three words, i.e. 천 means a thousand, and 만 means ten thousand.

For example, if you want to say  5 thousand won, you can say something like 오천 원 (three thousand won) in words or ₩5,000 with the symbol.

Here is the basic structure for counting money in Korean. All you have to do is to use enter the amount of money in Sino-Korean numbers, then say the word 천(for thousand)/ 만(for 10,000) and add won(원) at the end.

Sino Korean Number + 천 + 원

 For example

  • ₩ 1,000 close to $1= 천 원, 
  • ₩ 2,000 close to $2= 이천 원, 
  • ₩ 3,000 = 삼천 원
  • ₩8500=팔천오백원
  • ₩4700=사천칠백원
  • ₩1230=천이백삼십원
  • ₩2650=이천육백오십원
  • ₩1100=천백원
  • ₩9999=구천구백구십구원

Note that While talking about ₩ 1,000, you can just say “천 원” directly instead of 일천 원.

Sino Korea Number + 만 + 원

  • ₩ 10,000 close to $10 = *만 원, 
  • ₩ 20,000, close to $20 = 이만 원, 
  • ₩ 30,000 = 삼만 원
  • ₩40,500=사만 오백원
  • ₩100000=십만원
  • ₩100700=십만 칠백원
  • ₩123000=십이만 삼천원
  • ₩250000=이십오만원
  • ₩255200=이십오만 오천이백원

When you count an amount like ₩ 10,000, just say “만 원” directly instead of 일만 원.

Example sentences 

  • Is that 25,000 won?

이만 오천원 인가?- iman ochonwon inga

  • How much is it? – 20,500 won.
  • 얼마에요? – 이만 오백 원이요.-olmaeyo iman obaek woniyo
  • How much is this concealer? 6,000 won.

이 컨실러 얼마냐면요. 육천원.- i konsilro olmanyamyonnyo yukchonwon .

  • I bought this for 50000 Won at Daiso.

저는 이거 Daiso에서 오만원에 구입했어요.-joneun igo daisso eso omanwone guipaessoyo

  • You want 6,000 won worth of walnut cookies?

호두과자 육천원어치 달라고요?-hodugwaja yukchonwonochi dalragoyo

  • I earned 9,00000 won this year

저는 올해 900,000 원을 벌었습니다.-joneun olhae gubaek gonggonggong woneul borotsseumnida

월 [wol]: How To count the months in Korean?

In Korean, 한 월 [han wol] is the word for “month”, so you can simply add it after any Sino-Korean number to make a word.

[ month number] + 월 [wol]

Check out the above image for reference, because I’ve listed all the months for you.(in case you forgot what month it was!)

월 (일월) = January

2월 (이월) = February

3월 (삼월) = March

4월 (사월) = April

5월 (오월) = May

6월 (유월) = June*

7월 (칠월) = July

8월 (팔월) = August

9월 (구월) = September

10월 (시월) = October*

11월 (십일월) = November

12월 (십이월) = December

Wow! Did you know that June and October are not following the pattern?

The real reason is simple. “육월” and “십월” are a little difficult to say.

Now that months are done, it’s time for floors

How to count the number of floors /How to count floor in Korean

Here’s a little Korean counting lesson for you.

Here is how to count your floors in Korean. just use Sino-Korean numbers and add the counter충 at the end.

The first floor is 일 충, the second floor is 이 충, and so on. The fifth floor in Korea is 구(오) 충 because four is thought to be an unlucky number.

How to count floors in Korean:

  • First floor: 일 충 
  • Second floor: 이충 
  • Third floor: 삼충 
  • Fourth floor: No such thing!

And now you know how to say count floors in Korean, so it’s time to go have some fun with your new knowledge


  • It’s still on the 10th floor.

계속십층에 있어요.-gyesokssipcheunge issoyo

  • Should I go to the 2nd floor?

이층으로 가야 되나?

  • There’s no 4th floor here.

여기 사층은 없어요.-yogi sacheungeun opssoyo

  • The lounge. It’s on the 2nd floor.

휴게실. 계속 2층에 있어요.-hyugesil gyesok i cheunge issoyo

  • Shall we go to the 5th floor? Yesung, let’s go.

오층으로 올라갈까요? 가자-ocheungeuro olragalkkayo gaja

How to tell time in Korean(minutes and seconds ) using a counter

It’s finally time to learn How to tell the time in Korean. So you don’t have to be like me and ask your friends for help. 

but it would be helpful if you knew both Sino-Korean and Native-Korean numbers. 

I know, It’s a bit tricky but you’ll catch on quickly. 

The best way to tell time in Korean is to use Native Korean numbers and add 시 (shi), which means “hour.” And then add Sino-Korean numbers followed by (bun), which means “minute.”

The basic structure to tell time in Korean is like this

Native Korean numbers + 시 (shi)+ Sino Korean numbers +  bun

Let’s see some examples


Q: How many people are there?

A: There are 10 people.

6시 맞죠?

It’s 6 o’clock, right?

6시에 나왔죠 오늘?

I came out at 6 o’clock today, right?

6시인데 왜 안 주무세요?

It’s 6 o’clock! Why aren’t you sleeping?

여섯시에 시작했는데 다섯 시간 걸렸네요.

I started at 6 o’clock. It took five hours.

저 어제… 새벽 5시에 잤어요.

I went to bed at 5am.

저 어제 보다가 저도 7시에 잤어요.

I went to bed at 7 AM yesterday watching the drama.

9시에 잤는데도 졸려요. – 잠은 잘수록 녈요.

I went to bed at 9 but I’m sleepy. – The more you sleep, the more you feel sleepy.

저 새벽 6시에 일어나요. – 그러니까, 5시에 자잖아요. – 네?

I wake up at 6 am. – Yes, because you go to bed at 5. – What?

10시에 자서 8시에 일어…

Go to bed at 10. Get up at 8.


Before we go further, practice translating these examples. The answers are at the bottom.

1 person

3 people

6 people

10 people

Answers: 한 명, 세 명, 여섯 명, 열 명

How to Say Fahrenheit/Celsius in the Korean language?

Ever wondered what Fahrenheit and Celsius are in Korean? 

Well, now you’ll never have to. 

Koreans operate on the Celsius system (섭씨). The word Fahrenheit (화씨) is also used but not in a formal setting. 

Here’s how to say any temperature in Korean. All you need to do is to say just say the number (sino-Korean) and add the word “도”(the counter for degree) at the end.

  • 23 degree -23도-isipssam do
  • 30degree-삼십
  • 45degree celsius-사십오
  • 40 degrees Celsius-40도
  • 100 degrees Celsius -100도(baek du)
  • – 15 degrees Celsius-영하 15도
  • -3 degrees Celsius – 영하 3도
  • -37 degree celsius- 영하 37도yongha samsipchil do

Example sentences

  • Was it 15 degrees Celsius yesterday?

아 어제 십오도였대요?-a oje sibodoyotttaeyo

  • I think it’s minus 10 degrees today.

오늘 영하 십일 도인 것 같은데.-oneul yongha simnil doin got gateunde

  • It went up to 32 degrees Celsius even in Jeju island.

제주도도 삼십이도까지 올라갔대요.-jejudodo samsibidokkaji olragatttaeyo

  • My fever went up to 42 Celsius degrees.

열이 사십이도까지 올랐어요.-yori sasibidokkaji olrassoyo

how to read flight /Bus/subway numbers in Korean

Here is how you can say flight/bus/ subway numbers in Korean

  • 102 number bus is 백이 번 버스
  • 4 호선 is line number 4 (Train line)
  • 714 열차 is train number 714
  • 2 호 차 is car number 2(train car number)
  • Flight numbers in Korean  -KE121 is  KE 북이십일

Example sentences

  • You can take bus number 3412 and 6411.

3412번을 타고 오시면 되고, 6411번을 타고 오시면 돼요.

  • Number 2, bus.

2번. 버스.

  • Did you bring your car? – The car number is 0801. 

차 안 가져왔어요? – 저 0801이요

  • Number 4, train!

4번. 기차!

How to Tell Your Phone Number in Korean?

South Korea’s mobile phone numbers are made up of 11 numbers beginning with 010. The number 010 is a prefix for mobile phones. If you’re going to call a mobile phone number in South Korea, you’ll need to add the country code +82.

To say your phone number in Korean, use the Sino Korean numbers after the 010 or area code. When saying phone numbers, people will usually use 공 instead of 영 for the number zero.

For example, when someone asks you “What is your phone number? You can say like 

What is your phone number?

전화번호 뭐예요?

And your phone number is 010 4256 7983 then you can answer like to say 

My number is 010 4256 7983

공일공 사이오육 칠구팔.

Another example is the telephone number +82 (2) 8765-4213.

You’ll read this as 팔이-이-팔칠육오-사이일삼 (pali-i-palchilyuko-saiilsam)

락처 좀 주시죠?

Bonus Korean counters:

  • Korean counter for drinks잔 (jan) → a counter for drinks.
  • Korean counter for food- 그릇/공기/접시 food (vessel, bowl, dish)
  • Korean counter for flowers송이 (songi)
  • Korean counter for clothes벌: (beol) → a counter for clothes

How to learn Korean counters fast and never forget it?

Now that you have the basics down, it’s time for some practice.

Here is a list of websites I used when I was learning Korean numbers 

And it might help you too. Be sure to check it out.

Use flashcards and Test

Maybe mnemonics is not your thing. What about flashcards?

I know it’s an old thing(you might be using Anki too)

But When it comes to mastering Korean vocabulary, you will never regret using these fellas. 

We got 24 free printable flashcards(printable and illustrated) for you. cut and print or learn it on pc.

Choice is yours

Here are some other great resources for flashcards I found while I was learning Korean online.

Other Online Resources

We live in the era of the 20th century. 

And I bet you  love to surf (well, who doesn’t?)

The internet is full of free stuff and language resources that you haven’t explored yet. Here is what I found when I was learning.

Here is a list (I hope it might help you)

Conclusion and Korean counters quiz

Phew! It’s not that confusing after all! 

When I first started, I was all over the place. But believe me, once you get the hang of it, you’ll be a pro in no time.

The key to fluency is practice, practice, and more practice.

 The good thing, remember, is there is no pressure to learn all these.

Level up as and when you want. Perhaps study 5 new ones per day and start filtering them into a conversation!

 The easiest trick to remember most common is to count  things around you like things in your room, kitchen, garden, street, etc

Korean vocabulary quiz

See this picture and tell us in the comment how many counters u can use here. Write to write them in Korean in the comments below.

counting in korean

Thank you, guys for reading this. Good luck with your studies and I’ll see you in the next Korean lesson.

1 thought on “Counting in Korean made easy: master all Korean counters”

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