How In Korean

When learning Korean, most beginners learn that ‘how’ in Korean is 어떻게. While this is correct, there are in fact many different ways to say ‘how’ in Korean. Knowing which word for ‘how’ to use can be confusing and it is easy to make mistakes.

In English, when saying sentences like ‘How much is it?’ and ‘How did you do that?’, the word for ‘how’ is the same. However, in Korean, the word for ‘how’ changes depending on the situation.

To help you out, we have put together this list of 6 ways to say ‘how’ in Korean. So, how do you say ‘how’ in Korean? Here are the 6 different ways:

  • 어떻게
  • 어때
  • 얼마
  • 얼마나
  • 며칠

Below you’ll find a list of the different ways to say how in Korean with an English explanation and some sample sentences to help you learn. To check out how to say ‘how’ like a native Korean speaker, check out the video at the bottom of the page.

Ways To Say ‘How’ In Korean

1. 어떻게 (eo-tteo-ke)

How In Korean - 어떻게

The most common way to say ‘how’ in Korean is 어떻게. 어떻게 is always followed by a verb. Let’s look at some example sentences with 어떻게.

  • 어떻게 지내요? – (How are you doing?)
  • 이거 어떻게 만들었어요? – (How did you make this?)
  • 커피를 어떻게 마셔요? – (How do you like your coffee?)
  • 그 사람을 어떻게 알아요? – (How do you know him/her?)

As you can see in these example sentences, 어떻게 is followed by a verb every time.

2. 어때 (eo-ttae)

How In Korean - 어때

The next word for ‘how’ in Korean is 어때. 어때 can be used in casual sentences (e.g. with close friends or people younger than you). The polite form of 어때 is 어때요. 어때 / 어때요 always comes after a noun. Let’s look at some example sentences with 어때.

  • 몸은 좀 어때요? – (How are you feeling?)
  • 휴가는 어땠어요? – (How was your holiday?)
  • 제 머리 어때요? – (How do you like my hair?)
  • 그거 맛이 어때요? – (How does it taste?)
  • 오늘 밤에 외식 어때요? – (How about eating out tonight?)

As you can see, in each sentence 어때 is preceded by a noun. In these examples, if you were to use ‘어떻게’ it would sound strange to a native Korean speaker and would imply a different meaning.

3. 얼마 (eol-ma)

How In Korean - 얼마

This way to say ‘how’ in Korean is used when you are talking about a number, amount, price, or degree that you don’t know exactly. 얼마 is similar to ‘how much’ in English and is most commonly used when talking about money/price. Let’s look at some example

  • 이거 얼마예요? – (How much is this?)
  • 집세가 한 달에 얼마예요? – (How much is the monthly rent?)
  • 그 사람은 일년에 얼마를 벌어요? – (How much does he/she earn?)
  • 얼마가 필요해요? – (How much do you need?)

4. 얼마나 (eol-ma-na)

How In Korean - 얼마나

얼마나 literally means ‘how much’. 얼마나 is often followed by an adverb or an adjective. You may also see the expressions 얼마나 많이 (how much) and 얼마나 오래 (how long), but 많이 and 오래 can usually be dropped as much / long is already implied by the context. Let’s look at some example sentences with 얼마나.

  • 키가 얼마나 돼요? – (How tall are you?)
  • 공항까지 거리가 얼마나 돼요? – (How far is it to the airport?)
  • 얼마나 자주 운동해요? – (How often do you work out?)
  • 숙제가 얼마나 (많이) 있어요? – (How much homework do you have?)
  • 결혼한 지 얼마나 (오래) 되었어요? – (How long have you been married?)

5. 몇 (myeot)

How In Korean - 몇

몇 literally means ‘how many’. 몇 is always followed by a noun which is a counting unit. For example, the counting unit for people is 명, so to ask ‘How many people?’ you would say ‘몇 명이에요?’. Let’s look at some example sentences with 몇.

  • 명이에요? – (How many people?)
  • 칼로리예요? – (How many calories?)
  • 살이에요? – (How old are you?)
  • 개 샀어요? – (How many did you buy?)
  • 보통 시간 자요? – (How many hours do you usually sleep?)

6. 며칠 (myeo-chil)

How In Korean - 며칠

We use 며칠 to ask ‘how many days’ in Korean. You can also say 몇날 which also means ‘how many days’. Many Korean learners assume that 며칠 is 몇 (how many) + 일 (day) but this is incorrect.

Let’s look at some example sentences with 며칠.

  • 주문하면 며칠 후에 받을 수 있어요? – (If I order it, after how many days would I receive it?)
  • 생일이 며칠 남았어요? – (How many days left until your birthday?)
  • 며칠 동안 쉬었어요? – (How many days did you take off?)

How In Korean – Pronunciation

To check out the different ways to say ‘how’ in Korean and to check how to pronounce them like a native Korean speaker, check out this great video from Korean Arah.

Thanks for reading. I hope you found this article on the different ways to say ‘how’ in Korean useful. Before you go, don’t forget to check out our free Korean lessons, and our Korean vocabulary pages.