Korean Counters – Essential Words to Use with Numbers
In this lesson, we’ll show you how to use the most essential Korean counters for language learning.
|Korean Counting Word||Meaning|
|개 (gae)||a general counter for items and units|
|명(myeong)||a counter for people|
|사람 (saram)||a counter for people|
|분 (bun)||a counter for people|
|마리 (mari)||a counter for animals|
|조각 (jogak)||a counter for slices|
|장 (jang)||a counter for pieces of paper|
|권 (gwon)||a counter for books and notebooks|
|병 (byeong)||a counter for bottles|
|대 (dae)||a counter for cars and machines|
|채 (chae)||a counter for houses and buildings|
|그루 (geuru)||a counter for trees|
|벌 (beol)||a counter for clothes|
|켤레 (kyeolle)||a counter for pairs of shoes|
|가지 (gaji)||a counter for kinds, varieties, sorts|
|군데 (gunde)||a counter for places|
|번 (beon)||a counter for times|
|일 (il)||a counter for days|
|월 (wol)||a counter for months|
|개월 (gaewol)||a counter for duration of months|
|년 (nyeon)||a counter for years|
|분 (bun)||a counter for minutes|
|초 (cho)||a counter for seconds|
|층 (cheung)||a counter for floors in a building|
|킬로그램 (killogeuraem)||a counter for kilograms|
|미터 (miteo)||a counter for meters|
|원 (won)||a counter for Korean won (Korean currency)|
|시 (si)||a counter for time|
|시간 (sigan)||a counter for duration in hours|
|주일 (juil)||a counter for weeks|
|주간 (jugan)||a counter for weeks|
|달 (dal)||a counter for duration in months|
|해 (hae)||a counter for years|
|살 (sal)||a counter for age|
|그릇 (geureut)||a counter for a bowl of something|
Below, we’ll show you how to use these counters, as well as give you some examples.
The Korean Number Systems
If you know the Korean number systems already, then continue on!
List of item counters with native Korean numbers
Most of the item counters in Korean language are accompanied by the native Korean number system. The order is to use the object or item + number + Korean counting word.
The examples below are written in Hangeul (Korean Alphabet) and romanized English. Knowing Hangeul will help with pronunciation and with understanding the sample sentences.
If you can’t read the Korean alphabet yet, go here for a simple guide on how to read in about 1 hour: https://www.90daykorean.com/how-to-learn-the-korean-alphabet/.
개 (gae) → a general counter for items and units
바나나 다섯개와 사과 여섯개 주세요 (banana daseotgaewa sagwa yeoseotgae juseyo)
Five bananas and six apples, please
살 (sal) → a counter for age
저는 29살이에요. (jeoneun 29sarieyo.)
I am 29 years old.
명(myeong) → a counter for people
사람 (saram) → a counter for people
분 (bun) → a counter for people
내일 여섯명 예약을 만들 수 있을까요? (naeil yeoseonmyeong yeyageul mandeul su isseulkkayo?)
Can I make a reservation for six people for tomorrow?
마리 (mari) → a counter for animals
우리 가족은 고양이를 네마리 키우고 있어요 (uri gajogeun goyangireul nemari kiugo isseoyo)
Our family is raising four cats
조각 (jogak) → a counter for slices
피자를 여덟조각으로 자르자 (pijareul yeodeoljogageuro jareuja)
Let’s cut the pizza into eight slices
장 (jang) → a counter for pieces of paper
인쇄용지를 몇장 필요하세요? (inswaeyongjireul myeotjang pillyohaseyo?)
How many pieces of printing paper do you need?
권 (gwon) → a counter for books and notebooks
오늘 도서관에 가고 책을 세권 빌렸어요 (oneul doseogwane gago chaegeul segwon billyeosseoyo)
Today I went to the library and borrowed three books
잔 (jan) → a counter for drinks
오늘 커피를 세잔 마시기 때문에 못 자고 있어요 (oneul keopireul sejan masigi ttaemune mot jago isseoyo)
I can’t sleep because I had three cups of coffee today
병 (byeong) → a counter for bottles
마트에 가서 나한테 콜라를 두병 사 줘 (mateue gaseo nahante kollareul dubyeong sa juseyo)
Please buy me two bottles of coke when you go to the grocery store
대 (dae) → a counter for cars and machines
그릇 (geureut) → A counter for a bowl of something.
채 (chae) → a counter for houses and buildings
그루 (geuru) → a counter for trees
벌 (beol) → a counter for clothes
회사를 다니기 위해서 새 옷을 몇벌 샀어요. (hoesareul danigi wihaeseo sae oseul myeotbeol sasseoyo.)
I bought some new sets of clothes to wear for work.
켤레 (kyeolle) → a counter for pairs of shoes
가지 (gaji) → a counter for kinds, varieties, sorts
군데 (gunde) → a counter for places
번 (beon) → a counter for times
벌써 세번 연락해봤어. (beolsseo sebeon yeollakaebwasseo.)
I already tried calling three times.
시 (si) → a counter for time
지금 몇시예요? (jigeum myeotsiyeyo?)
What time is it now?
주일 (juil) → a counter for weeks
달 (dal) → a counter for duration in months
다섯달전에 한국에 왔어요 (daseotdaljeone hanguge wasseoyo)
I came to Korea five months ago.
해 (hae) → a counter for years
시간 (sigan) → a counter for duration in hours
이 시험이 보기에는 네시간 걸릴게요. (i siheomi bogieneun nesigan geollilgeyo.)
This exam will take four hours.
List of item counters with Sino-Korean numbers
While we already went through majority of the item counters in the previous section, there are a few specific ones that use the Sino-Korean number system instead. If you check the list below, you’ll know just what they are!
일 (il) → a counter for days
월 (wol) → a counter for months
오늘 오월 십이일입니다. (oneul owol sibiirimnida.)
Today is May 12th.
개월 (gaewol) → a counter for duration of months
아직까지 남자친구랑 칠개월동안 만나고 있어요. (ajikkkaji namjachingurang chilgaewoldongan mannago isseoyo.)
I have been dating my boyfriend for seven months until now.
년 (nyeon) → a counter for years
분 (bun) → a counter for minutes
초 (cho) → a counter for seconds
나는 34분 20초에 5킬러미트를 달릴 수 있어요. (naneun 34bun 20choe 5killeomiteureul dallil su isseoyo.)
I can run 5 kilometers in 34 minutes and 20 seconds.
층 (cheung) → a counter for floors in a building
우리 건물에서 6층이 있어요. (uri geonmureseo 6cheungi isseoyo.)
Our building has 6 floors.
킬로그램 (killogeuraem) → a counter for kilograms
미터 (miteo) → a counter for meters
Congratulations! You have now successfully gone through all of the Korean counters for different kinds of things! Which counter do you use most often? Let us know in the comments below!
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