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Sino-Korean Numbers vs Native Korean Numbers

Updated: Apr 10

What's the difference between Sino & Native/Pure Korean Numbers? Today, we'll learn all about it.

To start out, just so that you aren't confused, Korean has 2 different number systems. Each system is used in different situations depending on what your talking about - age, time, days, phone numbers, dates, addresses, etc.

Sino-Korean Numbers - 일, 이, 삼..,

Native Korean Numbers - 하나, 둘, 셋..,

If you still don't know your numbers well, I encourage you to do a quick review. I have covered numbers on my Instagram account a few times, here are the links to my posts:

I also have a story highlight called "Numbers" which you can check out for more practice & info.

When do you use one over the other? Let's get into it.

The Native Korean number system originates from Korean and only goes up to the number 99, when counting 100 and up you'll use Sino-Korean numbers. The Native system Is used to count things, hours, people, ages and more. It's also used when counting out loud. If you watch kdramas or kpop group interviews you've probably heard 하나, 둘, 셋 quite a few times.


☁️Counting People☁️

(restaurant setting)

1: 몇 분이세요

1: how many people are there?

2: 명입니다

2: there are 2 people

명 - people; counter for people

☁️Counting Hours☁️

어젯밤에 다섯 시간에 잤습니다

Last night, i slept for 5 hours

시 - hour

☁️Counting Things☁️

저는 크리스마스에 일곱개 선물을 받았습니다

I got 7 presents on Christmas

개 - Korean counter for things (#koreancounters)

☁️Talking About Ages☁️

> 저는 열여덟살입니다

I'm 18 year's old

> 우리 남동생은 열다섯살입니다

My little brother is 15 years old.

> 우리 사촌은 살입니다

My cousin is 4 years old.

> 우리 엄마는 마흔여섯살입니다

My mom is 46 years old

Random Fact: In Korean it's more natural to use 우리 when it comes to family members. Example, My Husband - 우리 남편. Wait, our husband? Yep, that's the most natural way to speak about family members.

I know what your thinking what if someone is 100 years old? How would you say that? Actually in Korean, when it comes to older people (at a certain age) they'll use sino numbers to talk about their age instead. But you don't have to worry about that in this lesson.

The Sino-Korean system however, is used for things like dates, money, minutes, addresses, phone numbers, as well as numbers above 100.




The year 2021 January 3rd

년 - Year

월- Month

일 - Day

이천 - 2000

이십일 - 21

이천이십일 - 2021


1: 그거 얼마예요?

1: How much is it?

2: 오만오백원입니다

2: It is 50,500 won.

만 - 10,000

백 - 100


삼십분 동안 공부했습니다!

I studied for 30 minutes!

분 - minute

동안 - for (an amount of time); used to speak about a duration of time

☁️Phone Numbers☁️

1: 전화/핸드폰 번호가 몇 번이에요?

1: What's your phone number?

2: 공일공, 사사삼오, 공구칠육이예요

2: It is 010-4435-0976.

공 - Zero (0)

☁️Numbers 100 and Up☁️

칠백팔십오 = 785

구천사백십이 = 9,412

육만 삼천삼백오십 = 63,350

you get the idea, it's used for the big numbers

I hope this helped you to differentiate between the two number systems. Korean numbers are definitely one of the most hard to understand concept for beginners. Trust me, I was in the same boat when I first started learning Korean.

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1 Comment

Great explanation! Understanding the difference between Sino-Korean and Native Korean numbers is crucial for mastering the language, as each set is used in different contexts. For example, Sino-Korean numbers are commonly used for dates, addresses, and phone numbers, while Native Korean numbers are often used for counting objects, age, and hours.

For those interested in brushing up on their numbers, I highly recommend checking out the Instagram posts and story highlights mentioned. They provide comprehensive practice and information.

Additionally, if you're looking to improve your financial situation and explore ways to earn more, take a look at It's a great resource with valuable insights and strategies.

Keep up the great work with learning Korean, and good luck with your…

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