Korean Counters – Essential Words to Use with Numbers

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Whether it’s slices of pizza to share evenly with your group of friends or the amount of apples you want to buy at the market, knowing Korean counters are essential in everyday life!

In this lesson, we’ll show you how to use the most essential Korean counters for language learning.

Korean Counting WordMeaning
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.

Illustration of hands that are counting on their fingers

The Korean Number Systems

The Korean language has two different number systems. If you don’t know them yet, you might want to start today’s learning from the Korean numbers first, before coming back to the counters.

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 다섯와 사과 여섯 주세요 (banana daseotgaewa sagwa yeoseotgae juseyo)

Five bananas and six apples, please

 

살 (sal) → a counter for age

저는 29이에요. (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 여섯 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 몇 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 세 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 세 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 두 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 몇 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 세 연락해봤어. (beolsseo sebeon yeollakaebwasseo.)

I already tried calling three times.

 

시 (si) → a counter for time

지금 몇예요? (jigeum myeotsiyeyo?)

What time is it now?

 

주일 (juil) → a counter for weeks

 

달 (dal) → a counter for duration in months

다섯전에 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 오 십이입니다. (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 34 20에 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 6이 있어요. (uri geonmureseo 6cheungi isseoyo.)

Our building has 6 floors.

 

킬로그램 (killogeuraem) → a counter for kilograms

 

미터 (miteo) → a counter for meters

 

원 (won) → a counter for Korean won (Korean currency)

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!

The post Korean Counters – Essential Words to Use with Numbers appeared first on 90 Day Korean®.


Learn to read Korean and be having simple conversations, taking taxis and ordering in Korean within a week with our FREE Hangeul Hacks series: http://www.90DayKorean.com/learn

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