Korean Numbers

There are two sets of numbers in Korea, the native Korean and the Sino-Korean Numbers.  Sino-Korean numbers are borrowed from Chinese.  Generally speaking, for expression involving dates, money, foreign loanwords, minutes, seconds and counting beyond 99 Sino-Korean numbers are used otherwise its the native Korean numbers. 

You might be wondering why some numbers are skipped in both numeral systems, this is because there are certain patterns to achieve the numbers in between. 

In Native Korean, to express let say 11 it’s 열하나 (yolhana) so the formula is 10(열)+1(하나).  This is the reason why after the number 10 only numbers in multiples of 10 are provided up to 90.  So you have to memorize at least 18 numbers in Native Korean.

While in Sino-Korean, to express let say 32 it’s 삼십이 (sam-ship-i) so the formula is 3(삼) X 10 (십) + 2 (이).  There are few numbers to memorize in Sino-Korean, with just 13 numbers to you can go up to a million already. 

See related posts on how to deal with numbers.  Check the archive.

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139 thoughts on “Korean Numbers

  1. How come for the Sino numbers, number 6’s romanization is “yok ~ ryok” but in Korean it says “yuk ~ ryuk” ?

  2. Hi Janey. In fact, I started last week studying
    Korean and numbers were the first topic besides
    the alphabet. This blog is really helpful. I will come
    back often

    Thank you for your explanation

    Enno

  3. 안녕하세요, 제인!
    나는 한국어를 공부하는 인도네시아 학샌인데 마야이에요.
    만나서 뵙게 반가워요.

    I was googling about birthday message in Korean besides “생일 축하합니다” until I found out your blog. 이 blog-은 너무 좋아요!

    Well, I just wanted to help you out about Enno’s question above. As I know, there’s actually ‘zero’ in Sino-Korea. It is called as 궁 (gung /goong/). So, when you have to say your phone number which has ‘zero’ in it, you can use it with the ‘zero’ in Sino-Korea (궁).

    And about the romanization of 20 and 50 from Native Korean.. isn’t it “seumul” for 20 and “swin” for 50?

    Well, sorry if you think I am the one who made mistakes. But honestly, I admire you so much for making this kind of blog (I was actually going to make the similar one but only it is using Indonesian to explain everything).

    Good luck in learning Korean. And by the way, now you’re in my subscription list of GoogleReader.

    • 마야씨 웹사이트을 방문해서 고마워요.
      그래요, There is zero in Sino Korean Its 공 (Kong) =)
      궁 (Kung or Goong) is Palace in Korean.
      You are right the romanization is semeul and swin i just couldn’t change it
      as I don’t have the image file (lazy to re-type).
      다시 고마워요.

  4. 아, 네. ‘공’인데요, was my mistake. LOL.
    It’s because I am still learning too.
    And about the romanization, 그래요.. 그래요.
    하지만, it’s better to make a correction outside the image file so people won’t miss-understand. :D Well, it’s just my suggestion…

    자, thanks for the warm welcome.
    너무 고마워요.
    I gotta visit here regularly!

    • Sino Korean is lifted from Chinese number while the native korean are well as the name goes their own word for number which is limited up to 99. Each type of number has corresponding use in Korean like money is counted using Sino Korean while for hours in time its normally the Native Korean

      • hi..im a korean lover and i want 2 learn how to speak read andwrite korean…pls teach me janey even basics only pls…:)

        im knch from philippines… 10 y.o

  5. I know of the good luck numbers in Chinese for wealth, health, fortune etc, but does Korea have similar numbers? Please let me know asap

    • not sure about the lucky number in Korea. That is something like cultural thing, there maybe but i have not read or learned about it yet.

  6. Omi, now thinking it thru, sino-kor numbers do sound like Chinese! Yi – il, Er – ee, San – Sam, Si – Sa, Wu – o… Blablabla. (im not gona give a chinese lesson) X]

  7. i really love how informative your blog. thanks a bunch! i cannot write in hangul thru my laptop, but im practicing writing it.. :)

  8. when i watch korean variety shows..I always hear “hana.. deul.. set…!” Then isn’t “set” rather than “net”? hehe correct me if i’m wrong..i’m just a beginner too. :))

  9. oops i’m really sorry i misread. :)
    it was right. :)
    Thanks so much for your lessons!! It really really helps me!!

    • there are a lot of phrasebooks which are written in Korean (Hangul) that are translated in English and are also romanized. I only get to buy a wordbook written in Hangul and explained in English in Seoul. Locally in our country there is none. You may also try to search the web, i saw a lot of blogs and sites that talks about Korean language.

  10. wow. :) thanks for this. kamsahamnida. :) this site is very helpful, especially for me who is currently studying korean. :)

    • well if you have to follow the romanization standards endorsed by Korean government it should be baek the sound is gearing towards ‘b’ than ‘p’.

  11. Actually i don’t have any comment because i am not familliar with korean numbers or any but i am highly interested to learn. So would you please get me a korean friend who can teach me

    • aegyeo means do something cute or act cute it comes from the word aegi or aei which means baby. as you know babies are cute =)

  12. So how would you write:
    200,381,003

    can you tell me please, thanks, because i tried on google it said it was:
    이억삼십팔만천
    but wouldn’t it be:
    이억삼백팔십일천삼?

    • there are two types of counting in Korea one is sino-korean (borrowed from chinese) the other one is native korean numbers which is limited to 99 so anything more than that there is no native counterpart they use sino korean that is why seconds are in sino-korean and counting of money too.

  13. mm, is this right?
    ~the difference of Sino and Native is that, Sino is used when it regards with the time and date except hours.

    • i think the Sino Korean number have other uses since Korean number is limited. Like money is counted using Sino Korean number.

  14. Hi Janey,
    I am a fundraiser in New Brunswick, Canada and there are many new families here from Korea. I would like to ask these families for donations for the hospital and would like some advice. Would there be certain times of year or certain amounts that would be respectful?
    Thanks for your help,
    Victoria

  15. thanks for this! i’m teaching myself korean. i have a question though. how do you say 21 in native korean? seumul-hana?? does it apply to 30,40,50,60 ~ 99?

    • hello just wanna share some knowledge and to answer your question 21 will be seumul hana if you use 21 itself. but if you have to put a counter it should be pronounced as (e.g) 21 pcs of apple then it will be 사과 스물 한 개 (seumel han gae).and yes it also applies from 30-99.
      TAKE NOTE OF THIS:
      RULES for NATIVE KOREAN:
      하나 + counter = example: 한 개 (걔)-is use to count things,fruits,veggies or it is commonly use in korean custom
      둘+ counter= 두 개
      셋+ counter= 세 개
      넷+ counter= 네 개
      스물 + counter= 스무 개
      only those 5 numbers has their own rule ^^

  16. thanks for the tutor . I’m very lucky to visit your’s.
    hwaiting for this blog.
    sorry if my words bad…
    can you write my name qila in koraen ? please..

  17. hello :) i was just searching for some korean words then i found your blog, its very useful for me as a beginner..this is really interesting.. kamsahamnida!:)

  18. Annyeonghasseyo. Je illeum-eum Syallom ibnida. Na nomu saranghaeyo Hangug. I’ve been learning Korean by myself and I find it very easy. Im really happy to have recently found out what the “o” can stand for. It can be written before a vowel or it can also stand for “ng” like in sarang. I’m so proud of my efforts. But it’s so hard for me since I do not have Korean friends to speak it with. I like this blog. It helped me learn a lot about the two types of Korean numbers. Kamsamnida. Annyeong!!!!

  19. annyeong haseyo…chonun yoon ji hye imnida…
    i really like korean bec. of the food,language,and the people of korea…

    my favorite food in korea is black bean noodles,bulgogi,dukbokki and many more…

    janey,pls teach me korean even basics only… kamsahamnida !!!!!

    jalga…

  20. namja-boy
    chuwahe-i like u
    nanoh sheelo-i hate u
    noh meewo-ur ugly
    jalga-bye
    annyeong-hello or bye
    biane-sorry
    konaso-finish
    donjoseo-give me money
    sarangahae-i love u (informal)
    saranghamnida-i love u (formal)
    eul chi ma-dont cry
    napuda-not kind

    am i right? pls correct me if i hav a wrong korean meanings…
    kamsahanmida…
    jalga…

    • most of what you wrote is right, just that some romanization is not.
      나쁘다 (mappeuda) or 나쁜 (nappeun) means bad, literally
      its mianhae but you can hear them say bianhae, the spelling is actually 미안해 (mianhae)

      • thank u for the corrections :) ..
        pls write my name in Korean.. Park sung hye and knch lhnn

        can u translate this in Korean ?
        Hi ! park su min i will really miss u when u go back to korea ..

        pls.. kamsahamnida !
        annyeong!
        fake korean writing :
        븍증 슨 옫 훃 hahah ! peace !

      • 박성혜 (Park Sung Hye) I don’t know how to write knch lhnn in korean it doesn’t have vowel.

        박수민 한국에 돌아 가서 정말 그리울거에요. I will truly miss you Park Sumin when you go back to Korea.

  21. annyenghaseyo..janeybei
    i love this blog, it is really helpful!
    Could you please translate my name and write it in Korean please…
    My name’s origins are ‘Jonar (Norwegian word ‘hariar’) = meaning Warrior’ and ‘Nardo (spanish-italian shortened ‘leonardo’) = meaning Strong or Hardy’, while my surname means ‘hill’.. please translate it into a korean name.. not just the literal translation please.. i badly want to know the equivalent of my name in korean name! kamsahamnida!

    by the way I love City Hunter!! i got a crush on Park Min Young!
    Li Min Ho is one of my Korean my Idol!

    • Hi jon thanks for visiting my blog. I am not capable of giving names in Korean. Judging from the descriptions you made i am not sure if this counts as a korean name:

      산 전사 (San Jeonsa)
      The way names are written in Korean is in this format first block is surname the next two block are name.
      산 -means mountain in Korean
      전사 – means warrior

      • u have worked hard, kamsahamnida!….
        so, could you recommend any korean name suitable to me?
        or could you advise me about my preference, like: “Eun Yeong Kwon”?
        i heard that there is korean character that means “hill” which sounds romanised ‘eun’, while i got Yeong as ‘brave’ in exchange of ‘warrior’ and Kwon from ‘kwan’ that means ‘strong’… would you think this counts as a male Korean name that suits to be my name, as I described in the history of my Roman name?
        hope to hear from you soon!!!.. 감사합니다 !

  22. SOrry if this sounds stupid, but I’ve been into the Korean language scene for a few weeks and I was wondering if I could put my tag on some of the gifs or macros I make? My tag in English is ‘Chechi Lolcat’ and I tried to make it into hangul by making it Chechi Lolkat, (due to the lack of ‘C’ I could find :D) and it looks okay. I was just wondering if you thought that it would be correct enough or if a native speaker would be able to read it all right.

  23. hi :) erm i was wondering, are there 2 different zeroes for the different numeral systems? if there are, what are they? thank you! really love this site by the way! it is very helpful :D 감사합니다!!

  24. Okay…so i have 3 Q’s . 1st – how come20 in Native Korean is 스물 with an r/l at the end but it’s pronounced as seumuN? And 2nd – How come 6 in Sino Korean has 2 ways to write it? 3rd – So is there no zero for Native Korean? Because I think 공 or 영 is zero in Sino right? So what is the Native Korean for zero? Is there one?

    • there is zero in native korean and what you gave is right. i think those are some of the pronunciation nuances in Korean. like the place jongno is seoul is actually spelled 정로

  25. Hey, sorry this is a stupid question, but I thought ‘t’ was a ㄷ (or a variation on that), but in numbers such as 3 (셋) it looks like another ‘s’ instead of a ‘t’. I’m new to Korean so I’m sorry if I’ve offended you^-^ Please get back to me about it? :)

    • This is one of the rules in pronunciation ㅅ as final consonant will take t sound. Like 것 or keot means thing but if subject marker is added to it like 이 it becomes 것이 keoshi. Only then that the s sound is produced but if followed by consonant the sound will again be t.

    • not offended at all… sorry i am not sure if i have answered your question. ㄷ can either be d or t it’s really hard to explain this but in the standard romanization ㄷ when used at the beginning of the sentence would be d. the way ㄷ is pronounced in Korean is like in the middle of the d and t sound. what makes it more difficult is that there are words where its obviously a t or d. ㅅ as final consonant becomes t in pronunciation same goes with ㅆ (tt)– final consonant meaning its the last sound in the word or in case it is sandwiched between character blocks if its the last character and then the next sounded character is consonant as well it also take the t sound rather than s. sample would be 것 (geot) means a thing now typically when used in a sentence this noun can be followed by a marker or post position like a subject marker 이 then geot becomes geoshi (것이).

    • 하나 is the native Korean for 1 while 일 is the sino Korean. Native Korean numbers are used to count things most of the time with exception on some items like minutes of the time, money. But if you have to take a look at it things that may exceed 99, one can no longer use native Korean number.

    • Native Korean/ Sino Korean
      11 – yeol hana / ship-il
      12 – yeol dul/ship-i
      13 – yeol set/ ship-sam
      14 – yeol net / ship-sa
      15 – yeol dasot/ ship-o
      16 – yeol yeoseot/ ship-yuk
      17 – yeol ilgop / ship-chil
      18 – yeol yeodeol / ship-pal
      19 – yeol ahop / ship-ku
      20 – seumul / i-ship
      30 – soreun / sam-ship

      maybe you can do the rest =)

    • usually when a number can reach over 100 Sino Korean is used. but definitely for saying the time specifically hours you use the native korean.

  26. Thank you a bunch for sharing this with all folks
    you actually recognise what you are speaking approximately!
    Bookmarked. Kindly also talk over with my website
    =). We may have a link exchange contract between us

  27. Not sure if I missed something important here but im fairly sure 80 is 여든 (yodeun) and not 여들(yodeul)..granted im only a beginner and i might have missed something but that’s what my book and most of the internet says ^^

    would love to know if its some slang or just a typo

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