Everything about Korean numbers 

 May 9, 2022

By  Smriti

Learning numbers in Korean doesn't require hard fast skills or experience. You can learn them in a span of 30 minutes.

Knowing how to read and pronounce Korean alphabets is only required for you to master the Korean numbers. 

Unlike the English language there are two sets of numbers called Sino-Korean or Native Korean. They're not used interchangeably in fact they have separate cases or conditions when they are used.

  1. Sino Korean numbers are used with things like dates, money, minutes, addresses, phone numbers, and numbers above 100.
  2. Native Korean numbers are used for general counting, like when you're counting out loud, up to 99. It's also used to count people, hours, things, ages, and more.

Sino-Korean Numbers

Numbers

SINO KOREAN NUMBERS

Romanisation

1

Il

2

I

3

Sam

4

Sa

5

O

6

Yuk

7

Chil

8

Pal

9

Gu

10

Sib

For numbers 11-19 could be interpreted as 10+1, 10+2 so on and so forth.

Numbers

SINO KOREAN NUMBERS

Romanisation

11

십일

Sib-il

12

십이

Sib-i

13

십삼

Sib-sam

14

십사

Sib-sa

15

십오

Sib-o

16

십육

Sib-yuk

17

십칠

Sib-chil

18

십팔

Sib-pal

19

십구

Sib-gu

20

이십

I-sib

For 20 it could be interpreted as 2 times 10.

20 - 이십 (I-sib)

Rest 21-29 could be interpreted as 2x10+1

21 - 이십일 (I-sib il)

22 - 이십이 (I-sib i)

And so on….

For numbers from 30-39 Which could be interpreted as 3x10+1

31 - 삼십일 (Sam-sib il)

32 - 삼십이 (Sam-sib i)

33 - 삼십삼 (Sam-sib sam)

And so on...

40 - 사십 (Sa-sib)

50 - 오십 (O-sib)

60 - 육십 (Yuk-sib)

70 - 칠십 (Chil-sib)

80 - 팔십 (Pal-sib)

90 - 구십 (Gu-sib)

Here we see the difference where 100 is called 백 (Baek)

Native Korean Numbers

Unlike Sino Korean words there's no pattern to easily remember the native Korean numbers. 

Numbers

NATIVE Korean NUMBERS

Romanisation

1

하나

Hana

2

Dul

3

Set

4

Net

5

다섯

Da-seot

6

여섯

Yeo-seot

7

일곱

Il-gop

8

여덟

Yeo-dol

9

아홉

A-hop

10

Yeo-l

For numbers from 11-19 the numbers would be interpreted as 열 + 하나, 열둘, 열셋

Numbers

NATIVE Korean NUMBERS

Romanisation

11

열 하나

Yeol-hana

12

열둘

Yeol-dul

13

열셋

Yeol-set

14

열넷

Yeol-net

15

열다섯

Yeol-da-seot

16

열여섯

Yeol-yeo-seot

17

열일곱

Yeol-il-gop

18

열여덟

Yeol-yeo-dol

19

열아홉

Yeol-a-hop

20

스물

Seu-mul

For 20 in Native Korean we say 스물 (Seu-mul)

For numbers from 21-29 it could be interpreted as 스물 + 하나

Numbers

NATIVE Korean NUMBERS

Romanisation

21

스물 하나

Seu-mul-hana

22

스물 둘

Seu-mul-dul

23

스물 셋

Seu-mul-set

24

스물 넷

Seu-mul-net

25

스물다섯

Seu-mul-da-seot

26

스물여섯

Seu-mul-yeo-seot

27

스물일곱

Seu-mul-il-gop

28

스물여덟

Seu-mul-yeo-dol

29

스물아홉

Seu-mul-a-hop

30

서른

Seo-reun

40

마흔

Ma-heun

50

Swin

60

예순하나

Yae-sun-hana

70

일흔

Il-heun

80

여든

Yeo-deun

90

아흔

A-heun

100

Baek

1,000

Cheon

10,000

Ma-n

100,000

십만

Sib-ma-n

1,000,000

백만

Baek-ma-n

10,000,000

천만

Cheon-ma-n

100,000,000

일억

Il-eok

1,000,000,000

십억

Sib-eok

1,000,000,000,000

일조

Il-jo

Usage of Korean numbers with ordinal numbers

The counter for ordinal numbers is 번째 (beonjjae)

We use Native Korean numbers when using ordinal numbers like “first,” “second,” and “third.”

First, second, third and fourth use the Native Korean words but drop the bottom Hangul character.

“First” changes from 한(han) to 첫(cheot) and adds the counter 번째 (beonjjae).

  • So “first'' in Korean is 첫번째 (cheot-beonjjae)
  • 둘 becomes 두번째 (Du-beonjjae)
  • 셋 Becomes 세번째 (Se-beonjjae)
  • 넷 Becomes 네번째 (Ne-beonjjae)

After four the rest of the numbers will be as usual and added 번째 (beonjjae) to the end. So “fifth'' would be 다섯번째.

Using Korean numbers to denote time

Sino-Korean numbers are used to denote the number of days. The counter for days is 일

  • 일일 - 1 Day (Ir-il)
  • 이일 - 2 day (I-il)
  • 삼일 - 3 day (Sam-il)
  • 사일 - 4 day (Sa-il)

We use Sino-Korean numbers for weeks as well. 

The counter for week is 주

  • 일주 - 1 week (Il-ju)
  • 이주 - 2 week (I-ju)
  • 삼주 - 3 week (Sam-ju)

That’s because the months are just the Sino Korean number + the word for month, which is 월 (wol). Lets take a look:

  1. January: 일월 (irwol)
  2. February: 이월 (iwol)
  3. March: 섬월 (samwol)
  4. April: 서월 (sawol)
  5. May: 오월 (owol)
  6. June: 유월 (yuwol)
  7. July: 칠월 (chirwol)
  8. August: 팔월 (parwol)
  9. September: 구시월 (guwol)
  10. October: 시월 (siwol)
  11. November: 십일월 (sibirwol)
  12. December: 십이월 (sibiwol)

Counter for year is 년

일년 (Il-nyeon) - First year

이년 (I-nyeon) -  Second year

For saying specific years you can just use 년 after the year. 

Eg : 2021년

To say the day, August 15th, 2020 : 2020년 8월 15일.

Using Korean numbers with common counters.

In Korean, 개 (gae) is the most common and general counter to use for non living things.

Here are a few other common counters:

  1. For people-명 (myeong)
  2. For animals-마리 (mari)
  3. For books-권 (gwan)
  4. For cars, vehicles, and machinery-대 (Dae)
  5. For age-살 (Sal)
  6. For paper-장 (Jang)
  7. For slices-조각 (Jugak)
  8. For time/hours-시 (Si)

So how do you use these counters?

  • 한 마리 (Han mari) - 1 animal
  • 두개 (Du gae) - 2 things
  • 스물 살 (Seu-mul sal) - 20 years old
  • 여덟 시 (Yeo-dol si) - 8 o’clock

Here are some words to know:

  1. Math - 수학 (Suhak)
  2. Plus - 더하기 (Deohagi)
  3. Minus - 빼기 (Ppaegi)
  4. Multiply - 곱하기 (Gopagi)
  5. Divide - 나누기 (Nanugi)
  6. Point - 소수점 (Sosujeom)
  7. Half - 반 (Ban)
  8. Equals - 와 같다 (Wa gat-da)
  9. Total - 총액 (Chongaek)

To understand TOPIK Test structure, application process, Levels and Passing scores etc. check these pages:

  1. TOPIK – The Complete Guide & 2. TOPIK Levels and Passing Marks. You can also Practice Online with TOPIK GUIDE Mock Tests.

If you are going to take the TOPIK Test for the first time, or if you want to give your score a boost so that you can pass a higher level, we would strongly advise you to get the Complete Guide to TOPIK – Self-Study Package. It is a digital study package that has everything you need to get a great score in the TOPIK test – all the past TOPIK papers with answer sheets, grammar and vocabulary study material, video tutorials explaining the test structure, strategies to solve them and much more. You can check out more details about this study package HERE.

Thank you.

If you have any suggestions or questions. Comment down below.

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