Back to Blog

List of counter words in Korean (e.g. 명, 개, 마리.. etc)

learning korean Feb 02, 2023
counter, 개, 명, 마리, counter words in Korean

 - Author: Niya (Trinidad and Tobago)
- Editor: Good Job Korean team 

 A counter word is something that you put with a number so that you can indicate the category of the object. There is also a similar concept in English.


 A piece of cake

 A cup of water

 A loaf of beard.


 However, the Korean language has a lot more counter words than English. Plus, the word order is also completely different.



 In English, you may use this order.

 Number + Counter + Name of an object

 One cup of water


 But in Korean, you need to say the name of an object first.

 Name of an object + Number + Counter


 *: water   *(하나): one    *: cup (counter)



 Counter words using each Sino-Korean and Native Korean number system


 -Counter words that uses Native Numbers:

 개[gae]: Items, Units

 책상 한 개를 샀어요.

 I bought a table.

 *책상: table   *사다: to buy


 마리[mari]: Animals

 고양이 두 마리를 키워요.

 I have two cats.

 *고양이: cat   *키우다: to raise, to have


 명[myeong]: People / 사람[saram]: People

 교실에 다섯 명이 있어요.

 There are five people in the classroom.

 *교실: classroom   *있다: to exist


 식당에 다섯 사람 정도 있어요.

 There are about five people in the restaurant.

 *식다: restaurant   *정도: about, around


 분[bun]: Formal speech of people

 선생님 두 분이 같이 수업을 할 거예요.

 Two teachers will teach a class together.

 *선생님: teacher   *같이: together   *수업을 하다: to teach a class


 살[sal]: Age

 저는 서른 살이에요.

 I am thirty years old.


 켤레[kyeolle]: Pair of Shoes/Socks

 현관에 신발이 세 켤레 있었어요.

 There are three pairs of shoes at the entrance.

 *현관: entrance   *신발: shoes


 벌[beol]: Clothes

 어제 친구하고 옷 한 벌 샀어요.

 Yesterday I bought a set of clothes with my friend.

 *어제: yesterday   *친구: friend  


 채[chae]: Buildings

 요즘 집 한 채가 너무 비싸요.

 A house is too expensive these days.

 *요즘: these days   *: house   *너무: too   *비싸다: to be expensive


 대[dae]: Machines

 친구가 차 한 대를 샀어요.

 My friend bought a car.

 *: car


 상자[sangja]: Boxes

 이 도넛 네 상자 주세요.

 Please give me four boxes of this donut.

 *: this   *도넛: donut   *주세요: please give


 쌍[ssang]: Couples people and animals

 참새 한 쌍이 노래를 하고 있어요.

 A pair of sparrows are singing.

 *참새: sparrow   *노래() 하다: to sing


 송이[song i]: Flowers

 여자친구한테 꽃 한 송이를 선물했어요.

 I gave a flower to my girlfriend.

 *여자친구: girlfriend   *: flower   *선물하다: to give as a present


 그루[geuru]: Trees

 저 산에는 나무가 천 그루 있어요.

 There are a thousand trees in that mountain.

 *: that   *: mountain   *나무: tree


 조각[jogak]: Slices

 왜 피자 한 조각이 없어요?

 Why isn’t there a slice of pizza?

 *: why   *피자: pizza   *없다: to not exist


 시간[sigan]: Hours [duration]

 다섯 시간 후에 전화해 주세요.

 Please call me five hours later.

 *시간: hour   *: later   *-해 주세요: please do something


 달[dal]: Month [duration]

 열 달 전에 대학교에서 졸업했어요.

 I graduated from university 10 months ago.

 *: before   *대학교: university   *졸업하다: to graduate


 잔[jan]: Cup

 오늘 친구하고 소주 한 잔 마실 거예요.

 I’m going to drink soju with my friend today.

 *오늘: today   *소주: soju(Korean alcohol


 -Counter words that uses Sino Numbers:


 세[se]: Formal speech of Age

 저희 할아버지는 올해에 팔십 세가 되셨어요.

 My grandfather turned eighty this year.

 *저희: our(polite speech)   *할아버지: grandfather   *올해: this year  
되시다: to become(‘’suffix)


 Weight [kilograms, pounds, etc.]

 킬로그램: Kilogram

 저는 다이어트로 십 킬로그램을 뺐어요.

 I lost ten kilograms on a diet.

 *: I(polite speech)   *다이어트: diet   *빼다: to subtract, to loose


 파운드: Pound

 고기 일 파운드에 얼마예요?

 How much is a pound of meat?

 *고기: meat   *얼마: how much


 Distance [kilometers, meters, etc.]

 킬로미터: Kilometers

 저는 매일 삼 킬로미터를 달려요.

 I run three kilometers every day.

 *매일: every day   *달리다: to run


 미터: Meters

 저희 오빠는 키가 이 미터예요.

 My older brother is two meters tall.

 *오빠: older brother(for female)   *: height


 Time [year, month, day, etc.]

 일[il]: Days

 월[woal]: Month[e.g January -1]

 십이 월 이십 일은 제 생일이에요.

 My birthday is December 20th.

 *: my(polite speech)   *생일: birthday


 개 월[gae woal]: Month [duration]

 이 프로젝트는 5 개월 정도 걸릴 거예요.

 This project will take about five months.

 *프로젝트: project   *정도: about   *걸리다: to take(time)


 분[bun]: Minutes

 내일 세 시 삼십 분에 만나요.

 Let’s meet at 3:30 tomorrow.

 *내일: tomorrow   *만나다: to meet


 십오 분 후에 버스가 올 거예요.

 The bus will come in 15 minutes.

 *버스: bus   *오다: to come


 초[cho]: Seconds

 김밥을 삼십 초만 데워주세요.

 Please heat the kimbap for 30 seconds.

 *김밥: kimbap   *데우다: to heat


 Currency[won, dollar, etc.]

 원: won (Korean currency)

 이 가방은 만오천 원입니다.

 This bag is 15,000 won.

 가방: bag


 달러: dollar (U.S. currency)

 일 달러는 약 천이백 원이에요.

 1 dollar is about 1,200 won.

 *약: about



 층[Cheung]: Floors of building

 저는 아파트 칠 층에서 살아요.

 I live on the seventh floor of the apartment.

 *아파트: apartment   *살다: to live


 년[nyeon]: Year

 2023년에는 미국에 놀러 가고 싶어요.

 I want to go on a trip to America in 2023.

 *미국: America, U.S.A.   *놀러 가다: go on a trip


 학년[haknyeon]: Grade [1st grade, etc.]

 저는 이 학년 학생이에요.

 I am second grade student.

 *학생: student

- Author: Niya (Trinidad and Tobago)
- Editor: Good Job Korean team