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Learn how to Inform Time in Korean: The Fast Information That Will Save You Hours

Racing in opposition to the clock to attain Korean fluency?

That’s nice, however keep in mind, you must discover ways to learn the clock, too!

There’s not a minute to waste! Let’s get began.


Learn how to Describe the Hour in Korean

Lets begin with the large hand of the clock first: the hour.

Use native Korean numbers

When speaking in regards to the hour of the day, you employ native Korean numbers (the 하나, 둘, 셋 system).

Fortunately, you solely have to concentrate on numbers one to 12 to go across the clock!

However you could be questioning—what in regards to the 24-hour clock?

The 24-hour system, also referred to as navy time, isn’t as generally used because the 12-hour system. It’s used inside the navy (naturally) and typically for transit schedules like bus or aircraft timetable.

So the more than likely state of affairs the place you’ll encounter the 24-hour system is touring round Korea and taking public transport (which is able to most likely be inevitable, particularly within the busy Seoul metropolis).

Even then, the 24-hour system is usually written in textual content and never spoken in on a regular basis dialog.

The one main distinction is that the 24-hour clock solely makes use of Sino-Korean numbers. Keep in mind this in case you’re set on utilizing this technique, whether or not you’re an military enlistee or simply assume that navy time sounds cooler.

Comply with the hour quantity with 시

When you’ve received down the hour quantity, there’s yet one more step: including the phrase 시 after it.

시 is definitely a counter phrase used for denoting the hour. It might probably primarily translate to “o’clock.” With out 시, you would possibly sound as in case you’re simply sounding off numbers.

So let’s spin the large hand of the clock, Korean-style.

  • 1:00 — 한 시, not 하나 시
  • 2:00 — 두 시, not 둘 시
  • 3:00 — 세 시, not 셋 시
  • 4:00 — 네 시, not 넷 시
  • 5:00 — 다섯 시
  • 6:00 — 여섯 시
  • 7:00 — 일곱 시
  • 8:00 — 여덟 시
  • 9:00 — 아홉 시
  • 10:00 — 열 시
  • 11:00 — 열한 시
  • 12:00 — 열두 시

Discover that numbers 1, 2, 3 and 4 get “shortened” names once they’re used to explain the hour. Their new names roll off the tongue extra simply as effectively (strive saying 셋시 with out feeling such as you’re grinding your enamel)!

Use 시간 as a substitute of 시 to explain a length of hours

If you need to speak about a sure size of hours, simply change out the 시 counter with 시간.

So, for instance:

  • 1 hour lengthy — 한 시간
  • 5 hours lengthy — 다섯 시간
  • 9 hours lengthy — 아홉 시간
  • 12 hours lengthy — 열두 시간

And so forth!

Keep in mind that 시간 additionally means “time” itself, so a quantity earlier than it makes the distinction in which means.

Learn how to Describe Minutes in Korean

Now on to the little hand: let’s discuss minutes!

Use Sino-Korean numbers

When you’ve received down the hour, it’s time to let go of native Korean numbers and change over to Sino-Korean ones for the minutes.

So sure, telling time in Korean means you’ll be juggling each of the Korean quantity programs. It would sound like a little bit of a chore, however there’s a sensible purpose for it.

General, Sino-Korean numbers are less complicated to make use of—particularly for bigger numbers. They comply with a predictable system that makes it straightforward to leap between massive increments.

So whereas native Korean numbers can work simply high quality for the 12 hours, Sino-Korean numbers make it a tad simpler for counting as much as 59 minutes.

And thankfully, the Sino-Korean quantity system is fairly straightforward to study! In case you haven’t but mastered it, then take a bit extra time to review up on the subject.

Comply with the minute quantity with 분

Simply because the phrase 시 goes with hours, minutes even have a particular counter phrase: 분.

The way in which it really works is strictly the identical as with 시.

  • 44 minutes — 사십사 분
  • 10 minutes — 십 분
  • half-hour — 삼십 분 or
  • 18 minutes — 십팔 분

분 can be used for describing time length in minutes. There’s no particular counter like 시간 for it.

Inform the time by combining the hour and minute expressions

Now you’re all able to put every part collectively. It’s time…to inform the time!

All you do is say the hour after which the minute, in that exact order. Ta-da!

Fairly straightforward, proper? Listed here are just a few examples:

  • 1:45 — 한 시 사십오 분
  • 8:13 — 여덟 시 십삼 분
  • 6:59 — 여섯 시 오십구 분

Learn how to Describe The Time of Day in Korean

No telling of time feels full with out yet one more clarification—are we speaking AM or PM?

Listed here are widespread Korean expressions for the totally different instances of day:

  • 오후 — afternoon (PM)
  • 오전 — morning, usually earlier than midday (AM)
  • 아침 — morning, usually in earlier hours (AM)
  • 저녁 — night, usually round dinnertime (PM)
  • — night time, usually near bedtime (PM, use additionally for midnight)

오전 and 오후 can be used as the final AM and PM denotations, respectively.

Nonetheless, it’s good to know the opposite expressions as effectively. Oftentimes, Korean of us could get extra particular in describing the time of day.

Describe the time of day earlier than the hour and minute

In English, we tack on AM or PM on the finish of the sentence. Nonetheless, this isn’t the case in Korean.

In Korean, the time of day is clarified earlier than the hour and minute. Because of this in a Korean time expression, the time of day is normally the very first thing to be stated.


  • 10 AM — 오전 열 시
  • 1:45 PM — 오후 한 시 사십오 분
  • 7:15 AM — 아침 일곱 시 십오 분  
  • 9:30 PM — (or 오후) 아홉 시 반

How To Say Frequent Time-Associated Phrases in Korean

Now that we all know easy methods to inform the time, let’s speak about just a few widespread expressions for speaking about it.


지금 몇 시예요? — What time is it now?

몇 is a phrase that mainly inquires “what number of” there’s of one thing. However within the context of time, it primarily interprets to the “what” a part of “what time is it?”. It’s typically positioned alongside counter phrases, like 시 for time.

우리 몇 시에 만나요? — What time ought to we meet?

As with the earlier query instance, you possibly can see 몇 시 right here once more.

시간 얼마나 남았어요? — How a lot time is left?

시간 right here would consult with the length of time, not the phrase time itself. 얼마나 inquires “how a lot” or “how lengthy” and is used while you’re discussing one thing that may be measured.

몇 시에 가요? — What time will (you or we) go?

If you wish to ask somebody what time they’ll be departing to a selected place, you possibly can add the vacation spot (plus 에) after 몇 시에. For instance: 몇 시에 집에 가요? (What time will you go dwelling?)


지금 _____예요 — It’s _____ proper now

Enter the right time within the clean. If the time consists of minutes, then after the hour quantity + 시, you should add the minute quantity + 분.

______ 만나요 — Let’s meet at _____

Simply fill within the clean with the right time. Easy!

_____시간 더 남았어요 — There are _____  extra hours left

Fill within the clean with the variety of hours. The adverb 더 means “extra.” If minutes are included, add that proper after the hours have been acknowledged. For instance: 한 시간 십 분 더 남았어요 (There may be one hour and ten minutes extra left).

_____에 출발하자 — Let’s go away at _____

Nothing fancy right here. Plop within the time you’re planning to depart. Don’t overlook the 에 that comes proper after you state the time.


Appears to be like like we beat the clock for this lesson, with loads of time to spare for working towards what you’ve discovered!



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