Home Korean Language Korean Counters: 28 On a regular basis Phrases Wanted for Measuring and Quantifying

Korean Counters: 28 On a regular basis Phrases Wanted for Measuring and Quantifying

Korean Counters: 28 On a regular basis Phrases Wanted for Measuring and Quantifying


Korean counters are the precise phrases used for… you guessed it… counting stuff! Counters are measuring phrases which might be particular to sure gadgets.

There are over 100 Korean counters in existence, however you received’t must be taught all of them (whew) since some aren’t used for many on a regular basis conversations.

On this submit, I’ll go over a few of the most typical Korean counters which might be used continually in every day goings-on.


The way to Use Korean Counters

In English, counters comply with a quantity and precede “of (an merchandise)” like “two cups of tea” or “4 heads of lettuce” or “5 platoons of troopers.”

In Korean, the standard format for describing gadgets with their counters is:

Merchandise + Quantity + Counter.

If the quantity is in numeric type (as a substitute of written in Korean), it’s typically positioned proper subsequent to the counter phrase and not using a house in between.

Word: Generally, the counter identify can also be the identify of the merchandise being counted, by which case you don’t must additionally specify the merchandise beforehand.

When utilizing counters, it’s best to first be acquainted with the 2 Korean quantity methods: the native Korean numbers or the Sino-Korean numbers. Sure sorts of counters will usually use one system or one other.

Counters That Use Native Korean Numbers

The native Korean numbers are primarily used for counting functions. So naturally, most Korean counters make the most of native Korean numbers.

Keep in mind: the native Korean system maxes out at quantity 99, however a counter can swap from utilizing native Korean numbers to Sino-Korean numbers when a quantity goes past 99.

1. Counting Folks

Counters Used: 명/사람/분

Instance: 세 명/세 사람/세 분 (three folks)

Sure, there are certainly a number of counters you should utilize on your fellow human beings. All of them actually translate to “individual” or “folks” however each is used slightly bit otherwise.

명 is a relatively casual counter and one used amongst informal firm. 사람 is generic and impartial, fairly actually translating to “individual.”

분, nonetheless, can truly be thought of a sort of honorific, and the counter it’s best to use if you’re speaking about individuals who deserve a bit extra respect.

It does make a distinction, since etiquette is imbedded in most facets of Korean tradition.

2. Counting Animals

Counter used: 마리

Instance: 곰 일곱 마리 (seven bears)

Whether or not it’s your pack of temperamental cats or a swarm of clownfish, this counter is used for our furry or scaly buddies.

3. Inanimate Objects

Counter Used: 개

Instance: 딸기 열 개 (10 strawberries), 의자 네 개 (4 chairs)

It is a fairly ubiquitous counter. As a result of it may be used for thus many gadgets, I’d additionally recommend this because the “protected” reply if you happen to don’t know the proper counter for a sure object.

The one time you in all probability ought to keep away from utilizing it’s if you’re counting folks, as a result of it comes off unusual.

4. Variety of Years in Age

Counter Used: 살

Instance: 스물다섯 살 (25 years previous)

You might need gleaned using this counter if you happen to’ve already discovered the query 몇 살이에요, which suggests “How previous are you?”

It’s possible you’ll be questioning: What about child ages, which we usually calculate in months?

You received’t have to fret about that if you happen to’re utilizing the Korean age system, as a result of as quickly as a child is born, it’s already thought of one yr previous!

5. Variety of Occasions One thing Occurred

Counter Used: 번

Instance: 일곱 번 (seven occasions)

From what number of occasions somebody walked right into a glass door to the variety of visits you’ve made to the lavatory, this counter is used everytime you need to tally up the variety of occasions an motion befell.

6. Textual content-based Supplies

Counter Used: 권

Instance: 책 서른 권 (thirty books)

That is for books, notebooks and volumes. For those who’re speaking about copies of the identical ebook, nonetheless, chances are you’ll need to particularly use the counter 부 as a substitute.

7. Counting Bottles

Counter used: 병

Instance: 소주 스무 병 (20 soju bottles)

That is for the sodas, juices, water and 99 bottles (and no extra) of beer or soju on the wall.

You’ll in all probability discover good use for this counter if you happen to ever probability upon a bar whereas having fun with Korean nightlife.

8. Articles of Clothes

Counter Used: 벌

Instance: 재킷 아홉 벌 (9 jackets)

Use this counter for shirts, pairs of pants, jackets and so forth.

Nevertheless, footwear and handwear make the most of the subsequent counter on this record.

9. Pairs of Socks, Footwear or Gloves

Counter Used: 켤레

Instance: 구두 네 켤레 (4 pairs of sneakers)

Do not forget that this counter is used for pairs of these things! For those who do need to depend only a single sock, shoe or glove, then it’s best to use the 개 counter.

10. Cars and Machines

Counter Used: 대

Instance: 자동차 다섯 대 (5 vehicles)

This counter applies for autos and different mechanical tools, similar to computer systems.

Nevertheless, it can be used to depend punches (sure, the fist-type punches). So yow will discover a function for 대 in each an electronics retailer and a boxing ring!

11. Plates of Meals

Counter Used: 접시

Instance: 반찬 열세 접시 (13 facet dish plates)

Right here’s one to know if you’re consuming at a Korean restaurant. 접시 actually means plate, so it’s straightforward to make the connection.

And belief me, this counter will be fairly helpful if you happen to resolve to soak up a conventional Korean unfold of facet dishes–they arrive in bulk, and also you’re sure to order seconds or thirds of any of them.

12. Bowls of Meals

Counter used: 그릇

Instance: 밥 세 그릇 (three bowls of rice)

This one is suitable for meals that comes out in bowls, similar to good steamy rice or filling Korean stew.

Nevertheless, since 그릇 does simply translate to bowl, you can even discover it helpful if you’re wandering round a kitchen provide retailer trying to purchase bowl units.

13. Counting Drinks

Counter Used: 잔

Instance: 주스 일곱 잔 (seven cups of juice)

잔 is used to measure cups and glasses of any drink (alcoholic or in any other case).

Remember the fact that this isn’t actually the counter to make use of for measuring cups of an ingredient (like two cups of flour) for cooking functions!

You could possibly additionally say 컵, the Korean transliteration of the phrase “cup.”

14. Slices or Items of Meals

Counter Used: 조각

Instance: 빵 세 조각 (three slices of bread)

That is mostly used for meals gadgets that may be chopped up, similar to pizza, cake, bread, fruits and so forth.

It’s important to know if you happen to’re given the duty of divvying up meals for a bunch of individuals.

15. Place or Areas

Counter Used: 군데

Instance: 열 군데 (10 locations)

“Locations and areas” can confer with geographic places and locations you’ll be able to go to. It may possibly additionally refer particular spots on one thing, similar to upon your physique.

16. Packages and Packets

Counter Used: 봉지

Instance: 라면 열 봉지 (10 packets of ramen)

You’ll discover this generally used for luggage and packets of meals, similar to immediate ramen or crackers.

봉지 itself simply means a disposable bag. So you should utilize it for gadgets like rubbish, paper or plastic luggage as effectively.

Counters That Use Sino-Korean Numbers

Counters that use Sino-Korean numbers are inclined to contain gadgets that are available in massive portions that the native Korean numbers aren’t in a position to cowl.

17. Calendar Days

Counter Used: 일

Instance: 육십 일 (60 days)

Whether or not it’s three days or 12 months, use this counter when you need to be aware of the calendar.

18. Counting Weeks

Counter Used: 주

Used: for counting weeks

Instance: 이 주 (two weeks)

You may also use the same counter 주간 when speaking about week-based durations.

19. Counting Years

Counter Used: 년

Instance: 오십 년 (50 years)

Apparently, there’s additionally one other counter for years that makes use of native Korean numbers: 해.

You should utilize both, though I discover 년 to be extra incessantly used.

20. Month Quantity

Counter Used: 월


이월 (February), 오월 (Might)

Sure, there’s a counter that specifies the precise months! The numbers correspond to the month quantity itself, so February would get quantity two, Might quantity 5, and so forth.

There’s a distinct counter for measuring out a variety of months.

21. Length in Months

Counter used: 개월

Instance: 칠 개월 (seven months)

That is the counter to make use of for counting out a passing of months. You merely add 개 earlier than 월 to specify that you just’re speaking a few timespan.

22. Ranges or Ranks

Counter Used: 등

Instance: 구 등 (9 ranges)

An excellent counter to know if you need to contemplate ranks and grades, similar to in a contest, throughout assessments and even whereas enjoying video video games.

23. Counting Rooms

Counter Used: 실

Instance: 화장실 일 실 (one lavatory)

Perhaps you’re shifting into a brand new Korean house. Or possibly you’re simply bored and gazing at an inside design plan. Depend rooms in a constructing with 실.

24. Counting Seconds

Counter Used: 초

Instance: 삼십 초 (30 seconds)

An awesome counter to make use of everytime you’re timing your self for short-lived actions.

25. Counting Minutes

Counter Used: 분

Instance: 이십 분 (20 minutes)

Once you’re telling the time in Korean, the counter 분 is used for minutes.

Do not forget that Sino-Korean numbers are used for telling minutes, whereas native Korean numbers are used for telling the hour.

26. Variety of Seats

Counter Used: 석

Instance: 팔십 석 (80 seats)

Use 석 with Sino-Korean numbers to measure out what number of sitting spots are round. It doesn’t matter if it’s 10 seats in a classroom or 1000’s in a stadium!

27. Korean Forex (Received)

Counter Used: 원

Instance: 백 원 (100 received)

원 is the precise identify of the Korean foreign money, so chances are you’ll not have considered this as a counter.

In the meantime, 돈 is definitely the generic time period for cash.

28. Counting {Dollars}

Counter Used: 불

Instance: 오십 불 (50 {dollars})

You should utilize the counter 불 strictly for American dollar {dollars}. It may possibly come in useful if you happen to’re ever at a Korean-run restaurant within the states.

You may also say 달러 for “greenback” – it’s simply the Korean pronunciation of the English phrase!

Abstract: All Korean Counters

Counter Used to depend Quantity system used
Meals Native
모금 Sips, gulps or puffs Native
사발 Bowls, usually of stew, soup or noodles Native
숟갈, 술 Spoons of (meals), bites Native
Mouthfuls Native
Items of meat Sino-Korean
젓가락 Chopstick-fuls Native
Medication tablets Native
Packets of natural medication Native
Nuts and grains Native
Watermelons, or different spherical meals Native
Set of 30 eggs Native
포기 Crops with roots Native
Length in months Native
Age by way of a long time, additionally era succession Sino-Korean
Nights spent (in a location) Sino-Korean
보름 15 days (or half month) Native
Age in years (formal in tone) Sino-Korean
주기 Intervals
학년 Years spent in class, or present faculty grade Sino-Korean
그램 Metric grams Sino-Korean
Levels Sino-Korean
미터 Metric meters Sino-Korean
Hand-span Native


Attempt to be taught as many Korean counters as you’ll be able to and see the right way to use them in actual contexts. Hold a watch and ear out for them everytime you’re uncovered to Korean speech.

If there aren’t any Korean audio system round, you’ll be able to take a look at genuine Korean media both on-line or on sources such because the FluentU program.

On FluentU, Korean movies are outfitted with interactive subtitles, so you’ll be able to simply select any counters and research their utilization in context, alongside different vocabulary.

Counters will come in useful for all types of conditions, so don’t dismiss them as a less-important side-topic! As an alternative, it’s best to in all probability begin studying them when you’re comfy with each native and Sino-Korean numbers.