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My notes on the two Korean number systems. How to talk about time, the date, months, days, age, money, and days of the week.

View the Vocabulary and Phrases on my Quizlet Page

Native Korean Numbers

These numbers are used sequentially, for counting, age, ordering food, and much more.

Example: 사과가 셋 있어요. - "I have 3 apples."

To form numbers 11-19 take the number for ten - 열 + numbers 1-9

Example: 열 (10) + 하나(1) = 열하나 = 11

Native Korean Numbers have distinct words for numbers in the tens place. See chart above.

Forming numbers higher than 20 follows the same pattern as forming the numbers 1-19. Say the number in the tens place, then the number in the ones place.

For example to form 25 take the number for 20 then say the number for 5 immediately after it.

chart made by myself

Special Note about Numbers 1 - 4

If there is something attached at the end of numbers 1 - 4 the numbers change slightly. For example if we add the word for hour - "시" then numbers 1 - 4 change slightly. See chart below.

chart made by myself

한시, 두시, 세시, 네시

When numbers get high from 40 and up, Koreans tend to use Chinese based numbers called Sino Korean Numbers.

Sino Korean Numbers

Sino Korean Numbers are influenced by China, and are more commonly used in Korea. People use Sino Korean numbers for: Phone numbers, time, dates, years, and money. They are also used to talk about age. Typically when you get to age 40 Koreans use Sino Korean Numbers.

To form numbers 11-19 take the number for 10 십 followed by the number in the ones place. Example: 11 - 십(10)+일(1)=십일

The Same applies for numbers 21-29 and so on.

Example: 21 이(2)+십(10)+일(1)=이십일

Chart made by myself

숫자(나이) Numbers for Counting Age

- "How many"

- "age"

몇 살이에요? - "How old are you?" This is the most basic, common way to ask a person their age. It is a generally polite question.

Different politeness levels

몇 살이세요? - A bit more of a polite way to ask.

몇 살입니까? - Very polite and formal way to ask.

나이가 어떻게 되세요? - Polite. Literally age, how, be. Asking how many years one has.

연세가 어떻게 되세요? - Same as the previous question except this is an extremely polite way to ask ones age. This is reserved for those who deserve the most respect, someone in authority, or one advanced in years (age).

To say your age:

저는 (age)살입니다. - "I'm (age)."

Use the native Korean numbers to tell your age. Past age 40 Koreans tend to use the Sino-Korean numbers.

When reciting age, the counter 살 is attached to the end of the number. 살 - means "years of age." When a counter is attached to the end of numbers 1-4 or numbers that end in 1-4 (Native Korean Numbers) they change slightly in pronunciation. See chart below.

Chart made by myself

This rule also applies to numbers that end in 1 - 4 such as: 11, 12, 13, 14, 21, 22, 23, 24, 31...)


Age in Korea

Koreans have a unique age system. They also use the international age system too, but the international age is used for official purposes. Right before the international age the word 만 is added. When the age of a sports player is displayed on the T.V. it's the international age. From this, the word '방송용 나이' (bangsongyong nai) comes into play, which means 'the age for TV broadcasting.' Many Korean people say "I mean your real age, not your 방송용 나이' (bangsongyong nai)" as a joke.


Months of the year are constructed by using the number of the month (January - 1, February - 2), using the Sino Korean Numbers . After the number, it is immediately followed by the word

- "month"

Chart courtesy of Innovative Language

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The months June and October have different pronunciations.

June (6th month) should be pronounced: 육 but is pronounced 유월

October (10th month) should be pronounced 싶 but is pronounced 시월


Dates of the year are constructed in the same exact manner as Months. Use Sino Korean numbers for dates. Say the Sino Korean number for the date (day) immediately followed by the word:

- "day"

1일 - 1st

3일 - 3rd

7일 - 7th

14일 - 14th

29일 - 29th

31일 - 31st

To say the date in Korean:

(Sino Korean Numbers 1-12) 월 - month + (Sino Korean Numbers 1-31) 일 - day


January 1st - 1월 1일 (il-wol il-il)

September 23rd - 9월 23일 (gu-wol isipsam-il)

October 19th - 10월 19일 (si-wol sipgu-il)

April 30th - 4월 30일 (sa-wol samsip-il)

December 8th - 12월 8일 (sipi-wol pal-wol)

며 질이에요? - What’s today’s date?

오늘 며칠이에요? - What date is it today?

내일 매질이에요? - What date is it tomorrow? 결혼식이치 며칠이에요? - What date is the wedding? 생일이 언제예요? - When is your birthday? If one wanted to be more specific they could include the name of the person in the question. 알렉스 생일이 언제예요? - When is Alex’s birthday? or When is your birthday Alex?

Days of the Week

All the days of the week end in -요일 which translates to day.

It is attached to the names of the days of the week. Just like in English you have Mon, Tues, Wednes, Thurs, Fri, Satur, Sun, and these are all attached to the word day.

  • Monday 월요일 (wollyoil)

  • Tuesday 화요일 (hwayoil)

  • Wednesday 수요일 (suyoil)

  • Thursday 목요일 (mongnyoil)

  • Friday 금요일 (geumyoil)

  • Saturday 토요일 (toyoil)

  • Sunday 일요일 (illyoil)

The days of the week have a special meaning in Korean.

Monday - 월 - Moon

Tuesday - 화 - Fire

Wednesday - 수 - Water

Thursday - 목 - Wood

Friday - 금 - Gold

Saturday - 토 - Soil

Sunday - 일 - day

These words are all based on the Hanja character writing system.

Monday: 월 in Monday means “moon”. 월 is also used as the nominator for each month in Korean.

Tuesday: The syllable 화 means “fire”. It is shortened from the word meaning “fire” and “blaze” in Korean, which is 화재.

Wednesday: 수 means “water.” You can see it in words such as 수영 which means “swimming” and 생수 - “drinking water”.

Thursday: 목 means “wood”. The word 목재 means “lumber” or “timber”

Friday: 금 means “gold” and it is also popular to refer to Friday nights as 불금 which translates to “Fire Friday” as 불 means “flame”. 불금 is a Korean slang term, similar to TGIF in English.

Saturday: 토 (means “soil”. You can apply the same “Fire Friday” slang to Saturday as well. To say “Fire Saturday”, you can say 불토.

Sunday: 일 means “day” but can also mean “sun”.

- In everyday conversation, if two or more days are being talked about at the same time, you can drop the 요일, and only the first syllable is said.


월수금(wolsugeum)= Monday, Wednesday, Friday

월목금(wolmokgeum)= Monday, Thursday, andFriday

월-금(wol-geum)= Monday through Friday

평일 (pyeongil) = weekday

주중 (jujung) = weekdays

주말 (jumal) = weekend

Politeness Particle - 요

- 요 is sometimes used as a politeness particle. If 요 is left out, then it becomes the intimate politeness level.

- 요 is used to show respect to your listeners.

- You can add 요 to many things such as nouns, verbs that are currently conjugated into the intimate politeness level, and many other parts of speech. It attaches to words that end in vowels.

- 이요(-iyo) is used in the same manner but used to attach to words that end in consonants.

Example: 일요일이요 - Sunday. In this sentence 이요 is attached at the end of the word,

일요일 (Sunday) a noun that ends in a consonant.

More examples:

밥먹어 - I'm eating. 밥먹어요. - I'm eating (standard politeness level).

졸려. - I'm sleepy. 졸려요. - I'm sleepy (standard politeness level).

In Korean you can turn the above statements into a question by raising the intonation of your voice towards the end of the sentence. If you elevate your voice at the end of the sentence, it becomes a question.

딸기먹어요. - I eat strawberries. 딸기먹어요? (raise voice at the end) Do you eat strawberries?

What day is it?

무슨 요일이에요? - "What day is it?

what - day - is - ?

오늘 - Today

오늘...니 생일이야 - Today is your birthday. Can add persons name at the beginning of the sentence.

니 - you (intimate politeness level)

알아 - Know (intimate politeness level) You can add at the end to change to the standard politeness level - 알아요.

몰라 - Not know (intimate politeness level) You can add at the end to change to the standard politeness level - 몰라요

오늘 무슨 날인지 알아? - Do you know what day it is?

무슨 - what

날인지 - whether it is the day

목요일이야 - It's Thursday.

이야 - Is (intimate politeness level) add at the end of the day of the week to say (day) is.

이에요 - Is (standard politeness level) add at the end of the day of the week to say (day) is.

내일은 수요일이에요 - Tomorrow is Wednesday.

목요일에 뭐 해요? - What are you doing this Thursday?

- what

해요 - do

Time 시각

To state an hour, simply state the hour with a Native-Korean number and add the counter .

한 시 han si 1 o’clock

두 시 du si 2 o’clock

세 시 se si 3 o’clock

네 시 ne si 4 o’clock

다섯 시 daseot si 5 o’clock

여섯 시 yeoseot si 6 o’clock

일곱 시 ilgob si 7 o’clock

여덟 시 yeodeol si 8 o’clock

아홉 시 ahob si 9 o’clock

열 시 yeol si 10 o’clock

열한 시 yeolhan si 11 o’clock

열두 시 yeoldu si 12 o’clock

Numbers one through four change slightly in pronunciation when a counter, such as (si - hour)

To express minutes, state the minute using a Sino-Korean number and add the counter (bun), which means minute.

오 분 o bun 5 minutes

십 분 sip bun 10 minutes

십오 분 sibo bun 15 minutes

이십 분 isip bun 20 minutes

이십오 분 isibo bun 25 minutes

삼십 분 samsip bun 30 minutes

삼십오 분 samsibo bun 35 minutes

사십 분 sasip bun 40 minutes

사십오 분 sasibo bun 45 minutes

오십 분 osip bun 50 minutes

오십오 분 osibo bun 55 minutes

Hour (Native Korean Numbers) Minutes (Sino-Korean Numbers)

Example: For 1:15 it is 한 시 십오 분 (han si sibo bun), literally 1 o'clock, 15 minutes.


3:10 - 세 시 십 분 (se si sip bun) - note the pronunciation change for 3

7:15 - 일곱 시 십오 분 (ilgop si sipo bun)

5:30 - 다섯 시 삼십 분 (daseot si samsip bun)

12:57 - 열두 시 오십칠 분 (yeoldu si osipchil bun)

몇 시예요? - What time is it? (standard politeness level)

몇 - How many

시 - Hour

예요 - Is (standard politeness level)

몇 시입니까? - Formal Politeness Level 몇 시예요? - Standard Politeness Level 몇 시야? - Intimate Politeness Level

지금은요? - How about now?

지금 - Now

-는요? - How about...? Is applied to nouns that end in vowels.

-은요? - How about..? Is applied to nouns that end in consonants. Note: When asking questions, one can bring about a new topic of conversation by using [noun] + [-은/는요?]. The question asked prior is applied to this new -은/는요 question, and is translated as "How about...?" When using this as a question, this implies that the speaker expects the listener to know what the question is.

-은/는 is the topic marking particle. And -요 (-yo) is used as a politeness particle.

[noun] + -은/는요?


버스는요? - "How about the bus?"

사장님은요? - "How about the boss?"

님 - Honorific suffix. Added to the end of titles such as boss, and teacher.

지금 몇 시예요? - What time is it?/What time is it now?

지금은… 열두 시 오 분 - 지금 (now) 은(topic marking particle) 열두 시(12 O'clock) 오 분 (5 minutes) - It's 12:05


Korean Bills and Coins

Sino-Korean numbers are used for reciting money.

Key Vocabulary

10 - 십

100 - 백

1000 - 천

10,000 - 만

100,000,000 - 억

원- Korean Currency

Korean Bills

1000 Won - 천원

5000 Won - 5천원

10,000 Won - 만원

50,000 Won - 5만원

Korean Coins

10 - 십원

50 - 오십원

100 - 백원

500 - 오백원


1000 Won = $1 American

100,000원 (십만이란) - are checks issued by the banks. Although they are checks, they are accepted as cash almost everywhere.

How to form the numbers

200원 is formed by saying 2 then 100

2 이 x 100 백 (2x100 = 200) -lbaek

349 is formed by saying 3, 100 , 4 , 10, 9

3 삼 x 100 백 (3x100=300)

4 사 + 10 십 + 9 구 = 49


3257 is formed by saying 3, 1000, 2, 100, 5, 10, 7

3 삼 + 1000 천 = 3000

2 이 + 100 백 = 200

5 오 + 10 십 + 7 칠 = 57


43,120 is formed by saying 4, then 10,000, then 3, 1000, 100, then 2, and 10

4 사 + 10,000 만 = 40,000

3 삼 + 1000 천 = 3000

100 백 = 100

2 이 + 10 십 = 20



너 돈 있어? - Do you have money?

2천원 있어요. - I have 2000 won. 만워 없어? - You don’t have 10,000 won? 오백원 주세요. - Please give me 500 Won.


살이에요 - how old are you

저는 (age)살입니다 - I’m -age years old

열한 살 - 11 years old

질이에요? - what’s today’s date ?

무슨 요일이에요? - what day is it?

시예요? - what time is it?

1 Comment

Alexandrea <3
Alexandrea <3
May 11, 2021

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