Grammar Lesson 3:

Korean numbers vs. Sino numbers

There are two number systems in Korean, Korean numbers and Sino numbers. 

Korean numbers are 하나, 둘, 셋, 넷, 다섯, 여섯, 일곱, 여덟, 아홉, 열...
Sino numbers are 일, 이, 삼, 사, 오, 육, 칠, 팔, 구, 십...

When do we use one or the other? 

For lower number counting and hour, you use Korean numbers. 
For higher number counting (20 and above), math, dates, phone numbers, money, and minutes, you use Sino numbers. 

For example, if 4 people came to the party, you have to say "네 명"이 왔어요, but if 20 people came to the party, you can say either "이십 명" or "스무 명"이 왔어요, but Koreans are more likely to say 이십 명 when the number is 20 and above.  

Another confusing one is when you tell the time. You have to use Korean numbers for hour and Sino numbers for minutes. 

For example, 1:20 is 이십분. 3:40 is 사십분. 8:50 is 여덟오십분.


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