L2-G: Telling time

In this article, we will learn how to tell time.

Let’s start of with telling specific time.

For a time format of HH:MM

To say the hour of the time (ie 3 o’clock, 5 o’clock…etc) we add ~시 to the korean numbering system

However, for the first 4 numbers in korean:

                  1 하나  –> 한 시                and     11 열 하나  —–> 열 한 시

                  2 둘     –> 두 시                and       12 열 둘   ——> 열 두 시

                  3 셋    –> 세 시

                  4 넷    –> 네 시

To add on the minutes part, use Chinese numbering system (sino-korean) with ~분

ie 50 minutes = 오십분

Thus combining these two to form a HH:MM format,

            (korean no) 시 (chinese number) 분

Eg. 5.25pm


      5.25 pm: 오후 다섯 시 이십오 분

Remember to differentiate between ~시 and ~시간.

When korean number is used with ~시간 (ie 한 시간, 두 시간) , it means hour as in the duration. (ie, one hour, two hours) whereas when used with ~시 it denotes the hour of time (ie 한 시 is 1 o’clock)

HH:30 = HH 시 삼십 분 or equivalently HH 시

(반 means half)


There are many other ways to refer to time non-specifically.

Take for instance “tomorrow morning”.

In korean, this word is a composite of the word “tomorrow” [내일] and morning [아침]

Thus “tomorrow morning” = 내일 아침

How about this:  어제 한 시

          Composite words of “yesterday” [어제] and “1 o’clock” [한 시]

          Thus means “yesterday 1 o’clock”


Generally 오후 not only means p.m. it also means “in the evening”

Try it yourself:

1) Tell this time in korean

  • 11.30am
  • 12.53pm
  • 4.30pm
  • 8.11am
  • today morning
  • today at 7.45am



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