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Korean Numbers


Learn about the different types and uses of Korean numbers. In Korean, Sino-Korean (Chinese) numbers are used for most things requiring numbers, but pure Korean numbers are used for counting things.

Detailed Explanation


Korean numbers have two different pronunciations and usages:

  1. Sino-Korean (originally from Chinese and using Hanja)
  2. Pure Korean (always Hangul)

Sino-Korean numbers are used for:

  1. Prices
  2. Telephone numbers
  3. Bus/subway numbers
  4. Dates
  5. Height & weight
  6. Time in minutes & seconds

Sino-Korean numbers can be used basically as stand-alone numbers.

Pure Korean numbers are used primarily for:

  1. Counting units

This includes:

  1. Numerical counting (1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc)
  2. Counting things (5 people)
  3. Counting age (I'm 25)
  4. Counting time in hours (2 o'clock; 2 hours)

Pure Korean numbers typically include a unit noun to indicate the appropriate measure.


[table id=34 /]


  1. The base for counting large numbers is 10,000 (만). In English, it is 1,000. (This can make large numbers confusing.)
  2. When a large number starts with 1, you don't say the 1. Example: 1,110 = 천백십 not 일천백십.
  3. 영 is the word for "zero" but always use 공 in a telephone number. (Also, sometimes use 하나 in place of 일 because it sounds so close to 칠.)
  4. Anything with something in the tens place and a 6 is pronounced as 뉵 rather than 육. Example: 16 = 십뉵, 26 = 이십뉵, ... 96 = 구십뉵, but 106 = 백육. (Spelling isn't different, only pronunciation.)

More information on Counting Units.

More information on Hanja.

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