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SOS: HELP with Korean Numbers and Counters Posted by on Nov 2, 2016 in Grammar, Korean Language, Vocabulary

Are you having trouble with Korean numbering systems? At first, Korean numbering systems seem very complicated and confusing, please don’t get frustrated. They are easier than you think. Once you figure out how Korean numbering systems work, you are one step closer to becoming a fluent speaker of fascinating Korean language. Everyone, hang in there!


English speakers use cardinal numbers (one, two, three, etc.) to show quantity and ordinal numbers (first, second, third, etc.) to show level/position of something. Although it is somewhat different, Korean speakers also use two different numbering systems: One is Sino Korean numbers that derived from Chinese, and the other one is pure Korean numbers. I put the following charts together so that you can figure out the proper use of each numbering system.

1.  Sino Korean Numbers: These numbers can be used for phone numbers, dates, and prices.

Click   Here  for pronunciation.


  • 전화번호 (phone numbers)

           시우 (Siwoo)   : 전화번호가 뭐예요? (What is your phone number?)

          알렉스 (Alex)   : 017- 4989-2453 (공일칠-사구팔구-이사오삼)

  • 날짜 (dates)

           시우 (Siwoo)  : 생일이 며칠이에요? (What date is your birthday?)

           알렉스 (Alex) : 5월 4일이에요. (It’s May 4th.)

  • 가격 (prices)

           시우 (Siwoo) : 얼마예요? (How much is it?)

           알렉스 (Alex) : 100원이에요. (It is 100 won.)

2. Pure Korean Numbers: Pure Korean numbers can be used mainly to count objects (with classifiers), to count years in one’s age, and to count the hours (when telling time).

Click Here for pronunciation.

*Keep in mind: The following pure Korean numbers

change their forms when they are used with counters.

하나 –



  • 나이 (age)

Do you remember these phrases from the October 19th post?

When someone asks, “몇 살이에요? (How old are you?),”

you can answer 저는 25살이에요. (I am 25 years old.)

  • 시간 (time)

   – 몇 시예요? (What time is it?)

  – 시 삼십 분이에요. (It’s 1:30.)

3.  Counting with Pure Korean Numbers


감사합니다. (Thank you!)

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About the Author: Kyung-Hwa

안녕하세요? My name is Kyung-Hwa, and I am a native of South Korea. I am accustomed to both English and Korean languages and cultures. I greatly appreciate and love both of them. I am passionate about learning different languages, and I have studied English, Japanese, and Spanish. In my spare time, I take joy in singing, playing the piano, and reading books. I also enjoy traveling around the world, meeting people, and embracing new cultures and languages...