In this lesson, you will learn how to use 쯤/정도 and 한/약 to say ‘about‘, ‘approximately‘, or ‘around‘ in Korean. By the end of the lesson, you will be able to say things like, “Shall we meet around 3?“, “I lived in Korea for about six months.“, etc.
Lesson 56: 쯤/정도, 한/약
쯤, 정도, 한, 약 = ‘about’, ‘approximately’, or ‘around‘
쯤/정도 = used after nouns.
한/약 = used before nouns.
In English, when you want to talk about the number or amount of something which is not 100% accurate, or is a rough guess, words like ‘about‘, ‘approximately‘ and ‘around‘ are used (“about 5 minutes“, “approximately 3 km“, “around 5 o’clock“, etc). The most common way to express this in Korean is to use 쯤/정도. These are both commonly used in spoken language and are used after nouns. 정도 is a little more formal, so it is also sometimes used in written language.
As for conjugation rules, 쯤 is attached to a noun without any space, whereas 정도 follows a noun with a space. See the table below for examples.
|Noun + 쯤||1시 (one o’clock) → 1시쯤|
2주 (2 weeks) → 2주쯤
3명 (3 people) → 3명쯤
4개 (4 pieces) → 4개쯤
|Noun + (space) + 정도||1시 (one o’clock) → 1시 정도|
2주 (2 weeks) → 2주 정도
3명 (3 people) → 3명 정도
4개 (4 pieces) → 4개 정도
Examples With 쯤/정도
3시 = 3 o’clock
3시쯤 = around 3 o’clock
3시쯤 만날까요? = Shall we meet around 3?
6개월 = 6 months
6개월쯤 = about 6 months
한국에서 6개월쯤 살았어요. = I lived in Korea for about six months.
50,000원 = 50,000 won
50,000 원 정도 = approximately 50000 won
전기세로 50,000원 정도 냈어요. = I paid approximately 50,000 won for the electric bill.
한/약 are other ways to say ‘about‘, ‘approximately‘, or ‘around‘ in Korean. Unlike 쯤/정도 which are used after nouns, 한/약 are used before nouns. 한 is often used in spoken language, and 약 is often used in written language as 약 is quite formal. As for conjugation rules, you just need to remember that both 한 and 약 come right before a noun and to leave a space between 한/약 and the noun. See the table below.
|한 + (space) + Noun||1시 (one o’clock) → 한 1시|
2주 (2 weeks) → 한 2주
3명 (3 people) → 한 3명
4개 (4 pieces) → 한 4개
|약 + (space) + Noun||1시 (one o’clock) → 약 1시|
2주 (2 weeks) → 약 2주
3명 (3 people) → 약 3명
4개 (4 pieces) → 약 4개
Things To Note
In real conversations, 쯤/정도 are often used together with 한/약 to emphasize that the thing being stated is not accurate. 한/약 comes before the noun and 쯤/정도 comes after the noun. For example, ‘about a year‘ can be expressed in the following ways:
한 1년쯤 = about a year
약 1년쯤 = about a year
한 1년 정도 = about a year
약 1년 정도 = about a year
보통 몇 시에 일어나요? = What time do you usually wake up?
6시쯤에 일어나요. = I wake up around 6.
이 집은 월세가 얼마예요? = How much is the monthly rent for this house?
백만 원 정도예요. = It’s around 1,000,000 won.
서울에서 런던까지 얼마나 걸려요? = How long does it take to get to London from Seoul?
비행기로 약 14시간 정도 걸려요. = It takes about 14 hours by plane.
기차가 언제 출발해요? = When does the train leave?
한 10분쯤 후에 출발해요. = It will leave in about 10 minutes.
파티에 몇 명 정도 왔어요? = Approximately how many people came to the party?
50명쯤 왔어요. = About 50 people came.