A Beginner’s Guide to Korean Numbers


A Beginner’s Guide to Korean Numbers
Foreign languages
  1. How to Count in Korean?
  2. Korean Numbers 1-10
  3. Korean Numbers 1-100

The numeral system of this language is rather complicated. After all, in addition to the actual Korean figures, it covers numerals of Chinese origin. Both types of numbers are actively used according to certain grammatical traditions. And the language itself looks like a pretty complicated and confusing puzzle.


Read to the end to learn how to count in such a difficult language.


How to Count in Korean?

This counting system contains a lot of pitfalls that prevent easy understanding.

How to Count in Korean?


The Sino-Korean numbers, also renowned as the Chinese system, are below. Let us first familiarize ourselves with them before learning the principles of Korean-language counting in detail.


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How to Count in Korean?


The fact is that the presented system of numbers is used to designate certain defined concepts, namely:

  • mathematical calculations; 
  • telephone numbers;
  • measurement quantities;
  • units of money;
  • days, weeks, months and years as time markers;
  • names of months.

Among other things, figures are used only up to 60 in the originally Korean numeral system. Numbers after 60 still exist, but they are applied so rarely that even Koreans themselves sometimes cannot recall the Korean name, for example, of the number 70. Therefore, when counting from 40 or more, it is advisable to use Chinese-Korean numbers. 


As you can see, Korean is complicated not only by its numbers, but also by its grammar and vocabulary in general. And it is not even about the phonetic component (although it is just as important) – it is difficult to understand and spread out on shelves a very large variety of hieroglyphs. Officially, there are only 24 letters in Korean, but there is still a letter combination (about 40) and more than 3,000 hieroglyphs from Chinese. It is a complex system of combinations, which an average American cannot imagine.


So do not hesitate to take language courses or find a tutor for individual classes. This will be a sensible solution that will facilitate your learning. On the UpskillsTutor platform, you can select a qualified American teacher or native speaker for training at different levels.


Korean Numbers 1-10

These figures are basic in the language. Besides, they are usually accompanied by Korean words, so-called “counters”. For example, as in English expressions “three loaves of bread”, “two bars of chocolate”, “four bars of soap” words “loaves” and “bars” are assistants of numerals. They make it easier to calculate objects and things. 

How to Count in Korean?

These native Korean numbers are usually applied for the following purposes:

  • for designation of hours;
  • for naming age;
  • for calculating people and objects, as well as actions.  


So, we have already mentioned specific words-counters. Below are given the most well-known ones:

  • – a word for counting things (it is the most universal and can replace any other word that you have forgotten); 
  • – a word for calculating people;
  • – a word for counting actions (times). 

Recounting something can be done using two grammatical constructs, and the meaning remains the same. For example, 사람 두명or 명의 사람 – 2 people. If you write the word itself, not a figure (namely, “ , not “1”), you ought to put a space between a name of figure and a word-counter. That is 한개, in place of , instead of 세명.


Korean Numbers 1-100

You are already acquainted with how to count 1 to 10 in Korean. Nevertheless, what are the rules of formation of other figures? The following words should be remembered:

스물 – 20;

서른 – 30;

마흔 – 40;

– 50.


Starting from 11, the figures “overlap” to construct larger numbers. You start with the figure 10, and then you should add smaller figures to it. This principle applies to both counting-numeral systems. For instance:

십일 – 11 (10 + 1);

이십 – 12 (2 x 10);

이십일 – 21 (2 x 10 + 1);

이십이 – 22 (2 x 10 + 2).

Such a method is used when counting up to 100. Number 100 is (peck).


Examples of counting after 100:

백일 – 101 (100 + 1);

백이  – 102 (100 + 2);

백구십 – 190 (100 + 90);

구백 – 900 (9 x 100);

– 1000.

Native Korean numerals (that is, when counting objects or actions) should be written-out as words. 


Of course, you can only remember some main rules by yourself. But if you really want to know this language at a high level, then only numerals, as well as a common lexicon of 500 words, will not be enough for you. The most effective method of studying is a Korean tutor. A private teacher always takes into account your abilities and wishes in the development of a curriculum and tasks for you.

Read more: The Most Common English Slang Words & Phrases

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A Beginner Guide to Korean Numbers

How to Count in Korean?

The Sino-Korean numbers, also renowned as the Chinese system, are below. Let us first familiarize ourselves with them before learning the principles of Korean-language counting in detail… Read more on UpskillsTutor