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What Are Korean Counters?

Updated: Jul 14, 2023

In this post you'll learn how to count things in Korean, korean counters, and how to use korean counters properly.

Native Korean numbers are primarily used to count things. In Korean, when you count things, you have to use a specific word to count different nouns. These counting words are called counters.

The most common counter word is 개, which we use to count most inanimate objects. However, there are many different counters in Korean.

The Most Common Counters

  • People (general) – 명

    • 명,

  • People (respectful) – 분

    • 분,

  • Animals – 마리

    • 마리, 마리

  • Books – 권

    • 권,

  • Bottles – 병

    • 다섯 병, 여섯

  • Glasses – 잔

    • 다섯 잔, 여섯

  • Age – 살

    • 일곱 살, 여덟

  • Shoes & socks – 켤레

    • 일곱 켤레, 여덟 켤레

To count specific nouns, we just put the noun before the counters :

  • One student – 학생 한

  • Three dogs – 개 세 마리

  • Seven pairs of socks – 양말 일곱 켤레

When we count things using native Korean numbers, when numbers 1-4 & 20 have a counter after them, they change forms and become:



It's not 하나 개, but 한 개, and it’s not 스물 권, but 스무 권

More Examples:

한 병 - a (1) bottle of alcohol

직원 다섯 명 - 5 employees

두 잔 - 2 cups of tea

신발 열 켤레 - 10 pairs of shoes

That's The End Of The Post! I hope you learned something new.

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