When To use Sino and native Korean Numbers

As you may be aware, Korean has two number systems. Sino-Korean numbers and native Korean numbers. These different number systems are used in different situations when speaking in Korean. It can be a little confusing for Korean learners to know when to use Sino and native Korean numbers. In this post, you will learn when to use Sino-Korean numbers and when to use native Korean numbers. Below you’ll also find some example sentences with both Sino-Korean and native Korean numbers.

If you’ve not yet learned the Korean words for numbers, head over to our complete guide to Korean numbers and you’ll be counting in Korean in no time.

When To Use Sino Korean Numbers

Sino means ‘Chinese’ or ‘related to China’ and so Sino Korean numbers are Korean numbers which are derived from Chinese characters. Sino Korean numbers are used most often and are the easiest to learn. Before we look at when to use Sino Korean numbers, let’s quickly recap which numbers are Sino Korean. Here are numbers 1-10 in Sino-Korean numbers:

What Are Sino Korean Numbers Used For?

When to use Sino-Korean numbers is a question Korean learners often ask. So, what are Sino Korean numbers used for?

Sino Korean numbers are used to express telephone numbers, numbers in an address, years, months, minutes, seconds, prices, bus route numbers, height, weight, floor numbers, room numbers, building numbers, school grade, percentage, temperature, and all numbers higher than 99.

Example Sentences With Sino Korean Numbers

Here are some useful example sentences with Sino Korean Numbers:

It’s on the third floor.삼층에 있어요.
I’m in the 5th grade.저는 오학년이에요.
The number 8 bus has arrived.팔번 버스가 도착했어요.
It’s 500 won.오백원이에요.
I’m 80 Kilograms.저는 팔십킬로예요.

When To Use Native Korean Numbers

Native Korean numbers only go up to 99. For any number above 99, Sino Korean numbers are used. Although Sino Korean numbers are used more often, it is important to learn when to use native Korean numbers. Before we look at what native Korean numbers are used for, let’s recap which numbers are native Korean numbers. Here are numbers 1 to 10 in native Korean numbers.

  1. 하나
  2. 다섯
  3. 여섯
  4. 일곱
  5. 여덟
  6. 아홉

What Are Native Korean Numbers Used For?

Native Korean numbers are generally used for expressing time and units when counting. Native Korean numbers are used for age, counting people, counting animals, and counting things. Native Korean numbers are often used along with a Korean counting unit which is a noun that expresses the appropriate unit of the thing being counted.

Example Sentences With Native Korean Numbers

Here are some useful example sentences with native Korean numbers. As you will see, each sentence includes a Korean counting unit. If you want to learn more about Korean counting units, check our Korean counting units lesson.

I’m 20 years old.저는 스무 살이에요.
There are 4 people in my family.우리 가족은 네 명이에요.
2 bottles of beer, please.맥주 두 병 주세요.
I bought 3 books.책 세 권 샀어요.
Please give me 2 apples.사과 두 개 주세요.

Learn More About Sino And Native Korean Numbers

Check out this great video from Korean Arah for more example sentences with Sino-Korean numbers. And, to learn more about Korean numbers and how to count in Korean, check out our free and complete guide to numbers in Korean.


Thanks for reading. I hope it’s a bit clearer now as to when to use Sino Korean numbers and when to use native Korean numbers. Before you go, check out our free Korean lessons, Korean vocabulary lists, and Korean flashcards, to learn more useful Korean words and expressions.