Counting days, weeks, months and years in Korean

Counting days in Korean is somewhat awkward since there are two options, at least when counting up to twenty: pure Korean expressions or Sino-Korean Expressions. After twenty, only Sino-Korean expressions are used. Furthermore, the pure Korean words do not allow any immediately obvious pattern and have to be learned separately. Unfortunately there is no substitute for this.

Pure Korean:

The following expressions are widely used by Koreans of all generations.

며칠 = How many days?

하루 = one day

이틀 = two days

사흘 = three days

나흘 = four days

닷새 = five days

The following expressions are used rather less by Koreans of younger generations.

엿새 = six days

이레 = seven days

여드레 = eight days

아흐레 = nine days

열흘 = ten days

The following expressions are used primarily by Koreans of older generations.

열하루 = eleven days

열이틀 = twelve days

열사흘 = thirteen days

열나흘 = fourteen days

열닷새 = fifteen days

열엿새 = sixteen days

열이레 = seventeen days

열여드레 = eighteen days

열아흐레 = nineteen days

스무날 = twenty days



Besides the pure Korean expressions above, one can also use Sino-Korean expressions for counting days up to twenty.

일일 = one day

이일 = two days

삼일 = three days

사일 = four days

오일= five days

육일 = six days   etc.

Above twenty, the Sino-Korean numerals are used.

이십 일 = twenty days

이십일 일 = twenty-one days etc.


Weeks are counted with either pure Korean or Sino-Korean numerals, but note in the following list that the Sino-Korean expressions are more common.

한 주일         or       일 주일 – one week

두 주일         or       이 주일 – two weeks

세 주일         or       삼 주일 – three weeks

한 주간         or       일 주간 – one week’s time

두 주간         or       이 주간 – two weeks’s time

세 주간         or       삼 주간 – three weeks’s time


With the sino-Korean numerals, 주일 week can be shortened to 주.

일주 = one week

이주 = two weeks

삼주 = three weeks


Months are counted with either pure Korean numbers + 달 or Sino-Korean number + 개월.

한 달             or       일 개월 – one month

두 달             or       이 개월 – two months

석 / 세 달     or       삼 개월 – three months

넉 / 네 달     or       사 개월 – four months etc.


For counting years Korean has two options. To count years in native Korean up to 99, one uses a native Korean numeral + 해, and above 100, one uses Sino-Korean numerals + 년, however, it is most common to count and name all years (including 1-99) using the Sino-Korean ones.

한 해            or       일 년 – one year

두 해            or       이 년 – two years

세 해            or       삼 년 – three years

네 해            or       사 년 – four years etc.


TIP: You will rarely hear Koreans using pure Korean, so it’s for the best to count all the years using Sino-Korean + 년.


Other useful expressions in counting the time:

그끄저께 =  three days ago, two days before yesterday

엊그제 = a couple of days ago, a day or two ago

그제,  그저께 = day before yesterday

어제 = yesterday

오늘 = today

내일 = tomorrow

모레 = day after tomorrow

그러께, 그끄러께 = two years ago

작년, 거년, 구년 = last year

금년 = this year

내년, 이듬해, 명년 = next year, the following year

후년 = two years from now

내후년 = three years from now

연말 = end of year

연초 = beginning of the year


For more time expressions please visit:

Written by: 이사벨

Source:  Elementary Korean by Ross King, Ph.D Jae-Hoon Yeon

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