Grammar‎ > ‎

Counters

Numbers

Korean has two sets of numbers, its own native numbers and numbers borrowed from Chinese. Both sets are in use up to 99. Above that, usually only the Sino-Korean set is in use.

Numbers can’t normally modify nouns as in English. Counters have to be used, as in forty head of cattle.

Korean counters take Korean numerals; Chinese origin counters take Sino-Korean numerals. There are some exceptions, which we shall note.

To some extent the native numerals may be used in general situations without a counter, for example when counting out loud, and they are also frequently used to mean “years old”.

 

Number

Native

Sino-Korean

1

하나

2

3

4

5

다섯

6

여섯

7

일곱

8

여덟

9

아홉

10

11

열하나

십일

20

스물

이십

30

서른

삼십

40

마흔

사십

50

오십

60

예순

육십

70

일흔

칠십

80

여든

팔십

90

아흔

구십

100

 

101

 

백일

111

 

백십일

200

 

이백

1,000

 

10,000

 

100,000

 

십만

1,000,000

 

백만

10,000,000

 

천만

100,000,000

 

Notes

In both sets eleven would be “ten + one” and twenty would be ‘two + ten”.

Note how dates are handled, using the Sino-Korean counter, 년 'year': 천 구백 팔십사 년 1984

여덟 is pronounced /여덜/.

Some of the native Korean numerals have abbreviated forms when they occur before counters: 하나 -> 한, 둘 -> 두, 셋 -> 세, 넷 -> 네, 스물 -> 스무

열 makes a following consonant tense, if possible for example: 열둘 /열뚤/

열여섯 etc. are pronounced /열려섣/.

백만 is pronounced /뱅만/.

Examples

제 친구 중 한 사람이 채식주의자예요. One of my friends is a vegetarian.

Note that in this sentence, 사람 is a counter, not a normal noun. As 사람 is a native Korean word, native Korean numerals are used before it.

 

만 원이예요. It’s W10,000.

Again 원 is a counter. As it is a Sino-Korean word, it has Sino-Korean numerals before it.

 

술 한잔 one/a glass of rice wine. 잔 takes the Sino-Korean numerals.

 

Names of days and months

Exceptions

Occasionally, you will find exceptions to the rule, for example 권, a Sino-Korean counter is used to count books, but is preceded by the native Korean numerals. For example 책  권 ‘two books’.


Subpages (1): Names of days and months