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Friday, December 8, 2023

The right way to Inform Time in Korean: The Fast Information That Will Save You Hours

Racing towards the clock to realize Korean fluency?

That’s nice, however bear in mind, it’s a must to discover ways to learn the clock, too!

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


The right way to Describe the Hour in Korean

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

Use native Korean numbers

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

Fortunately, you solely must give attention to numbers one to 12 to go across the clock!

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

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

So the most certainly state of affairs the place you’ll encounter the 24-hour system is touring round Korea and taking public transport (which can in all probability be inevitable, particularly within the busy Seoul metropolis).

Even then, the 24-hour system is often 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. Bear in mind this should you’re set on utilizing this technique, whether or not you’re an military enlistee or simply assume that army time sounds cooler.

Observe the hour quantity with 시

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

시 is definitely a counter phrase used for denoting the hour. It could actually primarily translate to “o’clock.” With out 시, you may sound as should you’re simply sounding off numbers.

So let’s spin the massive 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 after they’re used to explain the hour. Their new names roll off the tongue extra simply as nicely (strive saying 셋시 with out feeling such as you’re grinding your tooth)!

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

While you wish to speak about a sure size of hours, simply swap 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!

Do not forget that 시간 additionally means “time” itself, so a quantity earlier than it makes the distinction in which means.

The right way to Describe Minutes in Korean

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

Use Sino-Korean numbers

When you’ve received down the hour, it’s time to let go of native Korean numbers and swap 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 be taught! For those who haven’t but mastered it, then take a bit extra time to review up on the subject.

Observe the minute quantity with 분

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

The best way it really works is precisely the identical as with 시.

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

분 can also be used for describing time period 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 the whole lot 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 below are just a few examples:

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

The right way to Describe The Time of Day in Korean

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

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

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

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

Nonetheless, it’s good to know the opposite expressions as nicely. Oftentimes, Korean people might 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. Which means that in a Korean time expression, the time of day is often 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 Widespread Time-Associated Phrases in Korean

Now that we all know tips on how 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 principally 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 usually 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’ll be able to see 몇 시 right here once more.

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

시간 right here would confer with the period of time, not the phrase time itself. 얼마나 inquires “how a lot” or “how lengthy” and is used whenever 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’ll be able to 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 proper time within the clean. If the time contains minutes, then after the hour quantity + 시, you could add the minute quantity + 분.

______ 만나요 — Let’s meet at _____

Simply fill within the clean with the proper 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’s 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 neglect the 에 that comes proper after you state the time.


Seems like we beat the clock for this lesson, with loads of time to spare for practising what you’ve discovered!

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