How To Tell Time In Korean? 6 Easy Steps To Follow

Time In Korean

Can you imagine a world without time? Time –“시간” (Sigan) is significant in our everyday life. You will even need it on your trip to Korea! So we have created an easy 6-step guide for you to learn how to tell the time in Korean.

Just like what The Mad Hatter in Alice in Wonderland said, “If you know Time as well as I do, you wouldn’t want to waste it.” This just shows how important time is. Once it has passed, you can never go back. You can never change what has been done. You just have to continue and make each second better and worth it.

Time has a lot of importance in our life. If you’re running late or have lots of time on your hands, only time will tell. Also, when you’re off to work, school, or just meeting your friends, it can assist you in catching a train, bus, or aircraft on time. It can tell you whether you’ll be late or early for an important gathering. 

We can also recall that telling time is one of the first lessons that are taught at home and in school. Knowing how to determine the time by gazing at a typical clock is also necessary for comprehending time zones and foreign times. It can also help children improve their physical, cognitive, and arithmetic skills.

So, in this blog, let’s discover how to tell the time in Korean. This will be very helpful, especially if you’re having a trip to South Korea. But, don’t worry because it will just take you a few steps to learn.

Time In Korean Time Zone

What Is The Time Zone In South Korea?

Let’s begin with some background history about South Korea’s time zone. Back in 1954, the South Korean government, led by President Syngman Rhee, changed the time zone to UTC+08:30. Then, in 1961, under President Park Chung hee’s regime, the standard time was restored to UTC+09:00. Currently, Korea Standard Time (abbreviated KST) is the only time zone being used in South Korea. Although the country does not observe daylight saving time, it did so during the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul.

How To Tell The Time In the Korean Language

Ride on a time machine and go back to your early days when you are being taught how to tell time. But now, you’ll be learning how to say it in Korean, along with other related Korean words. Remember, just like what Alice in Wonderland says, “It is no use going back to yesterday because I was a different person then.” So, use this precious time to learn something new!

Here are six simple steps to follow if you want to tell the time in Korean:

  1. Master Korean Number Systems (Native Numbers And Sino-Korean Numbers)
  2. Know The Korean Word For “Hours.”
  3. Discover How To Say “Minutes” In Korean
  4. Master Telling Time In Korean
  5. Learn How to Differentiate AM And PM In Korean
  6. Learn When To Use 12hr Clock Or 24hr Clock

Ready to start? Scroll down for more details on how to learn the time in Korean!

Master Telling Time In Korean

1. Master Korean Number Systems (Native Numbers And Sino-Korean Numbers)

The first step is to learn the native Korean numbers and Sino-Korean numbers. In this language, just a quick lesson: there are two numerical systems: the native Korean system and the Sino-Korean system. The native numbers are utilized for items (1-99) and age, but the Sino-Korean system uses Chinese digits for dates, money, addresses, phone numbers, and numbers over 100.

When you are telling time in Korean, a combination of two numbers is needed. You will use the Native Korean numbers for telling hours and the Sino-Korean for the minutes and seconds.

To make bigger numbers, you have to “stack” them on top of each other. You begin with the “tens” number and work your way down to the “ones.” This applies to both counting methods. Here are the examples:

  • Native Korean: 열 (yeol) “10” + 하나 (hana) “one” = 열하나 (yeolhana) “eleven”
  • Sino-Korean 십 (sip) “10” + 일 (il) “one” = 십일 (sibil) “eleven”

Now that you have that clear, let’s learn all the Korean numbers that you will be using. Check the table below:

NumeralNative Korean (Korea System)Sino-Korean (China System)
1하나 (hana)일 (il)
2둘 (dul)이 (i)
3셋 (set)삼 (sam)
4넷 (net)사 (sa)
5다섯 (daseot)오 (o)
6여섯 (yeoseot)육 (yuk)
7일곱 (ilgop)칠 (chil)
8여덟 (yeodeol)팔 (pal)
9아홉 (ahop)구 (gu)
10열 (yeol)십 (sip)
11열하나 (yeolhana)십일 (sibil)
12열둘 (yeoldul)십이 (sibi)
13열셋 (yeolset)십삼 (sipsam)
14열넷 (yeolnet)십사 (sipsa)
15열다섯 (yeoldaseot)십오 (sipo)
16열여섯 (yeolyeoseot)십육 (sipyuk)
17열일곱 (yeolilgop)십칠 (sipchil)
18열여덟 (yeolyeodeol)십팔 (sippal)
19열아홉 (yeolahop)십구 (sipgu)
20스물  (smul)이십 (isip)
21스물하나 (smulhana)이십일 (isipil)
22스물둘 (smuldul)이십이 (isipi)
23스물셋 (smulset)이십삼 (isipsam)
24스물넷 (smulnet)이십사 (isipsa)
25스물다섯 (smuldaseot)이십오 (isipo)
26스물여섯 (smulyeoseot)이십육 (isipyuk)
27스물일곱 (smulilgop)이십칠 (isipchil)
28스물여덟 (smulyeodeol)이십팔 (isippal)
29스물아홉 (smulahop)이십구 (isipgu)
30서른 (Seolun)삼십 (samsip)
31서른하나 (Seolunhana)삼십일 (samsipil)
32서른둘 (Seolundul)삼십이 (samsipi)
33서른셋 (Seolunset)삼십삼 (samsipsam)
34서른넷 (Seolunet)삼십사 (samsipsa)
35서른다섯 (Seolundaseot)삼십오 (samsipo)
36서른여섯 (Seolunyeoseot)삼십육 (samsipyuk)
37서른일곱 (Seolunilgop)삼십칠 (samsipchil)
38서른여덟 (Seolunyeodeol)삼십팔 (samsippal)
39 서른아홉 (Seolunahop)삼십구 (samsipgu)
40마흔 (mahun)사십 (sasip)
41마흔하나 (mahunhana)사십일 (sasipil)
42마흔둘 (mahundul)사십이 (sasipi)
43마흔셋 (mahunset)사십삼 (sasipsam)
44마흔넷 (mahunet)사십사 (sasipsa)
45마흔다섯 (mahundaseot)사십오 (sasipo)
46마흔여섯 (mahunyeoseot)사십육 (sasipyuk)
47마흔일곱 (mahunilgop)사십칠 (sasipchil)
48마흔여덟 (mahunyeodeol)사십팔 (sasippal)
49마흔아홉 (mahunahop)사십구 (sasipgu)
50 쉰 (shwin)오십 (osip)

2. Know The Korean Word For “Hours.”

시 (Si) or 시간 (Sigan)- Hour

The next thing you need to learn in telling time in Korean is the word “hours.” To say “hours”, use 시 (Si) or 시간 Sigan. 시 (si) is for telling time (4 o’clock = | nesi), whereas 시간 (sigan) is for expressing a quantity of time (4 hours = | ne sigan).

Remember, when telling hours, use the Native Korean numbers 하나, 둘, 셋 (hana, dul, set). Check the examples below:

Time in EnglishHangul (Korean)Romanization
one o’clock한 시han si
two o’clock두 시du si
three o’clock세 시se si
four o’clock네 시ne si
five o’clock다섯 시da-seot si
six o’clock여섯 시yeo-seot si
seven o’clock일곱 시il-gob si
eight o’clock여덟 시yeo-deol si
nine o’clock아홉 시a-hop si
ten o’clock열 시yeol si
eleven o’clock열한 시yeol-han si
twelve o’clock열두 시yeol-du si

3. Discover How To Say “Minutes” In Korean

분 (Bun) – Minutes

Of course, we cannot learn about time if we do not learn how to say minutes. Korean use the word 분 (Bun) to indicate minutes. Telling minutes is different from telling hours. You must use the Sino-Korean number system to tell the minutes. It can also be used to tell the exact time as well as the duration. It may sound a little confusing at first, but you will get used to it with practice!

Minutes in EnglishHangul (Korean)Romanization
Five minutes오분obun
Six Minutes육분yukbun
Ten minutes십분sipbun
Twenty minutes이십분isipbun
Thirty-five minutes삼십오분samsibobun
Forty-two minutes사십이분sasibibun
Fifty-one minutes오십일분osibilbun
Fifty-nine minutes오십구분osipgubun

4. Master Telling Time In Korean

Try to get your Korean friends to help you with your learning journey. There is nothing better than practicing with native speakers who can advise you. Start practicing on your own as well. Instead of telling the time in your language, say it in Korean until you feel familiar with the number systems.

Now that you have learned how to tell hours and minutes in Korean, simply put them together as the example below:

  • 8:15 – 여덟시십오분 | yeodeolsi sibobun
  • 4:30 = 네시 반 | naesi ban

Tell Time In Korean Using These Words

English TranslationRomanizationHangul (Korean)
It’s quarter past onehan si sib-obun한 시 십오분
It’s half past onehan si samsibbun
han si ban
한 시 삼십분
한 시 반
It’s quarter to twohan si sasib-obun한 시 사십오분
It’s quarter past twodu si sib-obun두 시 십오분
It’s half past twodu si samsibbun
du si ban
두 시 삼십분
두 시 반
It’s quarter to threedu si sasib-obun두 시 사십오분
It’s quarter past threese si sib-obun세 시 십오분
It’s half past threese si samsibbun
se si ban
세 시 삼십분
세 시 반
It’s quarter to fourse si sasib-obun세 시 사십오분
It’s quarter past fourne si sib-obun네 시 십오분
It’s half past fourne si samsibbun
ne si ban
네 시 삼십분
네 시 반
It’s quarter to fivene si sasib-obun네 시 사십오분
It’s quarter past fivedaseos si sib-obun다섯 시 십오분
It’s half past fivedaseos si samsibbun
daseos si ban
다섯 시 삼십분
다섯 시 반
It’s quarter to sixdaseos si sasib-obun다섯 시 사십오분
It’s quarter past sixyeoseos si si sib-obun여섯 시 십오분
It’s half past sixyeoseos si si samsibbun
yeoseos si ban
여섯 시 삼십분
여섯 시 반
It’s quarter to sevenyeoseos si si sasib-obun여섯 시 사십오분

5. How Can I Differentiate AM And PM In Korean?

It’s simpler than you may think! You might also be wondering about how to specify AM or PM. In Korean, it’s simple. For AM, use 오전 (ojeon) which means “morning” and for PM, use 오후 (ohu) which means “afternoon.”

However, you might also hear the word 아침 (achim) when referring to morning. The only difference between the two is that 오전 (ojeon) is used from early morning until noon, while on the other hand, 아침 (achim) includes only early morning (breakfast time, going to school, or going to work.). This rule also applies to 오후 (ohu) used for the afternoon, and 저녁 (jeonyeok) to represent the end of the day and beginning of the night.

Remember that in Korean, you should insert the necessary words before denoting AM or PM.

6. Learn When To Use 12hr Clock Or 24hr Clock

Just like the clocks in different parts of the world, there’s also a 12hr and 24hr clock in Korea. So if you’re wondering when to use the 24-hour clock, it’s mostly used in airplane terminals, and bus and TV schedules. What’s interesting about this is that only the Chinese (Sino-Korean) number system is used in the 24-hour clock (even for hours).

How To Say “What Time Is It?” In Korean?

Now that you have learned how to tell the time. Let’s learn how to say “what time is it?” in Korean, as well as other important and related words that will come in handy. You might also want to check Ling app to make this lesson more fun and engaging!

English TranslationHangul (Korean)RomanizationAudio
What time is it?지금 몇 시지?jigeum myeoch siji?
What time should we meet?우리 몇시에 만날까요?uri myeot sie mannalkkayo?
The museum opens at 9 am박물관은 오전 아홉(9)시에 문을 열어요bangmulgwaneun ojeon ahop(9)sie muneul yeoreoyo
I work from 10 am until 8 pm나는 오전 열(10)시부터 오후 여덟(8)시까지 일해요naneun ojeon yeol(10)sibuteo ohu yeodeol(8)sikkaji ilhaeyo
I go to school before 8 am나는 오전 여덞(8)시 전에 학교에 가요naneun ojeon yeodeom(8)-si jeone hakgyoe gayo
I wake up at 6.30 am나는 오전 6(여섯)시 30(삼십)분이 지나 일어나요naneun ojeon 6(yeoseot)-si 30(samsip)buni jina ireonayo
I take a break for 15 minutes십오(15)분 동안 휴식을 취해요sibo(15)bun dongan hyusigeul chwihaeyo
learn korean with Ling

It’s Time To Learn Korean Now!

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As the days go by, lots of people realize the perks of knowing how to speak many languages. Waste no more time and download the Ling app on the Play Store or App Store start learning Korean now!

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