Speakin’ Korean: Counter words

by Stripes Korea
Stripes Korea
Native Korean numbers are usually the numbers used with counter words. They are the cardinal numbers.
Here are some examples of counter words:
  • gae - “things” Gae is probably the most important counter word since it can be used when you really don’t know which counting word is the proper one to use.
  • myeong - people (informal)
  • sa ram - person (casual)
  • bun - people (polite), (If you use pure Korean you are counting people but if you use Sino-Korean you are counting minutes)
  • mari - animals
  • gwa - chapters / lessons (If you use pure Korean (tasot gwa) you are counting the chapters or lessons. But if you are using Sino-Korean (Oh gwa) you will be giving the number of the chapter/ lesson
  • dae - vehicles (cars, airplanes) and machinery
  • gweon - books
  • cheok - boats and ships
  • chae - houses

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