In this article, we will be learning about Korean time expressions. Whether we realize it right away or not, time expressions are a huge part of our daily life. Thus, whether it’s with a new language or not, it is crucial that we learn the different expressions with which we can express time.
Learning these expressions also makes it easier to talk about when something will happen. These can be for anything like meeting with a person for breakfast, going to eat out in the afternoon, or when should you wait for the bus in the morning.
By the time we reach the end of this article, you should be able to use multiple different time expressions through words and phrases. These will be helpful when talking with your friends in Korea and with other Korean people. Knowing this makes a whole lot of difference in your daily life in South Korea. Let’s read on!
- 1 How do you ask “what time is it” in Korean?
- 2 Time Expressions in Hours
- 3 Time Expressions in Minutes
- 4 Time expressions on Days
- 5 Time expressions on Weeks
- 6 Time Expression in Months
- 7 Other Time Expressions
- 8 Conclusion
How do you ask “what time is it” in Korean?
One of the simplest time expression-related phrases you’ll want to know is how you can ask what time it is in Korean:
지금 몇 시예요? (jigeum myeot siyeyo?)
What time is it (now)?
In fact, we have already covered this in our lessons about telling time in Korean, which we have linked below. It may be a good moment to check out that article once again to refresh your memory on how to tell the time in Korean. You’ll also know how to answer time-related questions such as this and vocabulary on time such as “ten o’clock,” “seven o’clock,” and more.
If you have yet to learn Korean in terms of telling time in Korean, we highly recommend that you learn that article’s contents first before coming back here to continue with today’s lesson!
Time Expressions in Hours
Time to get to the meat of this lesson and start going through different time-related expressions used in South Korea. Firstly we will go over expressions dedicated to hours.
With the examples below, you can indicate a specific time when something happened in the past. Make sure to practice to surely get the hang of it!
“1 hour ago” in Korean
To express “1 hour ago” in Korean, you’ll need the Native Korean number system to express the number 1. You’ll also use the terms 시간 (sigan) for “hour” and 전 (jeon) for “ago.”
The expression for “1 hour ago” in the Korean language is:
1 시간 전 (han sigan jeon)
그 버스는 한 시간 전에 떠났어요. (geu beoseuneun han sigan jeone tteonasseoyo.)
The bus left an hour ago.
“2 hours ago” in Korean
Similar to “1 hour ago,” the time expression “2 hours ago” uses the native Korean number system and the Korean words 시간 (sigan) and 전 (jeon).
시간 (sigan) means “hour,” and 전 (jeon) means “ago.”
The expression for “2 hours ago” in Korean is:
2 시간 전 (du sigan jeon)
2 시간 전에 저는 헬스장에 갔어요. (du sigan jeone helseujange gasseoyo.)
I went to the gym 2 hours ago.
Expressing the same thought using different hours from the examples given above is simple. You just need to replace them with other Korean numbers such as by 3 or by 10 and retain “간 전 (sigan jeon).”
“Every hour” in Korean
There are a number of ways to say “every hour” in Korean.
This can be expressed using the terms 매 (mae) and 마다 (mada). Both terms mean “every.”
One way to express “every hour” in Korean is:
You can also write and say it as follows:
Alternatively, you may also like to express it this way:
1 시간마다 (han siganmada)
“Every hour or two” in Korean
With the help of the previous phrase, 1 시간마다 (han siganmada), which means “every hour” in Korean, we already have an idea of how to say “every hour or two.” The expression that you can use is:
한두 시간마다 (handu siganmada)
한 means “one,” and 두 means “two” in the Native Korean number system.
Alternatively, you may also want to know how to say “in an hour or two.” In that case, you’ll say this:
Time Expressions in Minutes
For this section, we will be learning about time expressions in minutes. Keep in mind that minutes use the Sino-Korean number system.
“5 minutes ago” in Korean
With this expression, you can say how many minutes have passed since something has happened. You’ll first write the number, followed by the term for “minutes” in Korean, which is 분 (bun), and 전 (jeon) which translates to “ago.”
Let’s start with “5 minutes ago.” You can express this phrase as:
5 분 전 (obun jeon)
“40 minutes ago” in Korean
Using the same terms 분 (bun) and 전 (jeon), the time expression for “40 minutes ago” in the Korean language is:
40분 전 (sasipbun jeon)
Just as with hours, the format remains the same. You just need to change the numbers. You may notice and remember that hours and minutes use different number systems.
Do you need a refreshment on the two numeral systems in Korean? Read our article on Korean numbers that we linked below, and you’ll remember all the numbers by heart in no time!
“Every 15 minutes” in Korean
Next up is the expression for “every 15 minutes” in the Korean language. By now, you have already encountered the vocabulary used for this phrase from the examples above. These are 마다 (mada) which means “every,” and 분 (bun), which means “minutes,”
Here, we will use the number 15, which translates to 십오 (sibo) in Korean. “Every 15 minutes” would then be written like this:
If you want to say “once every 15 minutes” specifically, you’ll say this:
15분에 한 번씩 (sibobune han beonssik)
And here is how you say something along the lines of “every 15 to 20 minutes”:
15분에서 20분 (sibobuneso isipbun)
And, as usual, you can switch the number 15 to any number, and the structure will stay the same.
Time expressions on Days
Now that we have a better understanding of some time expressions for hours and minutes let’s move on to some handy time expressions on days.
“One Day Ago” in Korean
The expression for “one day ago” can be expressed using the terms 하루 (haru) and 전 (jeon). The term 하루 (haru) means “one day” while 전 (jeon) means “ago.”
You can express “one day ago” in Korean as:
하루 전에 (haru jeone)
This Korean expression can also be used to say “a day before.”
하루 전에 계획이 변동되었어요. (haru jeone gyehoegi byeondongdoeeosseoyo)
The plan changed a day ago.
“Two Days Ago” in Korean
The expression for “two days ago” in Korean is:
이틀 전에 (iteul jeone)
This expression also uses the term 전 (jeon), and 이틀 means “two days” or “a couple of days.”
“Three Days Ago” in Korean
Lastly, let’s have the expression “three days ago” in Korean. This expression doesn’t use the term 전 (jeon). It doesn’t follow the two previous expressions.
Instead, the expression for “three days ago” in Korean is as follows:
This expression means “three days ago” or “two days before yesterday.”
Sadly, as you may notice, there is no one clear pattern to follow with these. You simply have to memorize them by heart. Thankfully, when it comes to numbers surpassing these ones, like four days ago, five days ago, and so on, the clear pattern emerges, and you can use it for the other “days ago” expressions. For example, six days ago is expressed like this:
6일 전에 (yugil jeone)
“A Few Days Ago” in Korean
There are two main ways in which you can express “a few days ago” in the Korean language.
The first way to say it is:
수일 전에 (suil jeone)
The term 수일 (suil) means “a few days” or “several days.”
그는 수일 전에 서울로 올라왔어요. (geuneun suil jeone seoullo ollawasseoyo)
He came to Seoul a few days ago.
The second way to say “a few days ago” is:
며칠 전에 (myeochil jeone)
The term 며칠 (myeochil) means the same as 수일 (suil), which is “a few days” or “several days. However, 며칠 (myeochil) can also mean “how many days.”
그녀는 며칠 전에 한 말을 부인했어요. (geunyeoneun myeochil jeone han mareul buinhaesseoyo)
She denied what she said a few days ago.
“Every Other Day” in Korean
You can say “every other day” in Korean is as:
하루 걸러 (haru geolleo)
“Everyday” in Korean
There are different expressions that you can use to say “everyday” in Korean, aka “daily.” Here’s the first one:
Another way of saying “everyday” is through this adjective:
Sometimes, even this word can be used:
However, please note that the above term means “everyday life” more accurately than simply “everyday.”
“Today” in Korean
The expression for “today” in the Korean language is as follows:
오늘 날씨는 흐리다. (oneul nalssineun heurida)
The weather is cloudy today.
We also have a separate article that focuses on how to say “today” in Korean. Also, for more similar expressions of time, you may also want to take a look at our article on Korean adverbs, specifically its section for time-related adverbs.
Time expressions on Weeks
Next, let’s take a look at some time expressions that you can use to describe weeks in Korean. The term for “week” in Korean is 주 (ju) which you will find in the expressions below.
“Every Week” in Korean
The Korean word to use if you want to say “every week” is.
이 잡지는 매주 발행되었어요. ( i japjineun maeju balhaengdoeeosseoyo.)
This magazine is published every week.
“Every other week” in Korean
The expression for “every other week” in the Korean language is as follows:
If you’d like to specifically say “once every two weeks,” you may also use this below expression:
두 주에 한 번씩 (du jue han beonssik)
“Last week” in Korean
If you’d like to refer to something that happened last week, the expression you can use is:
This expression is made up of two words, which are 지난 (jinan) and 주 (ju). 지난 (jinan) means “last” while 주 (ju) means “week.”
지난주에 친구랑 만났어요. (jinanjue chingurang mannasseoyo.)
I met a friend last week.
“This week” in Korean
The expression for “this week” in the Korean language is as follows:
이번 주 (ibeon ju)
In this expression, it consists of the words 이번 (ibeon) which literally translates as “this time” and 주 (ju) which means “week.”
이번 주는 스케줄이 꽉 찼어요. (ibeon juneun seukejuri kkwak chasseoyo.)
My schedule is full this week.
“Next week” in Korean
The expression for “next week” in Korean is as follows:
The expression 다음주 (daeumju) is made up of the words 다음 (daeum), which means “next,” and 주 (ju), which means “week.”
저는 다음 주에 휴가를 갈 거예요. (jeoneun daeum jue hyugareul gal geoyeyo.)
I’m going on vacation next week.
Time Expression in Months
Now that you’ve learned and memorized the above time expressions, it’s time to take a look at time expressions specifically related to months. There are two terms that translate to “month” in Korean. These are 월 (wol) and 달 (dal).
“Every Month” in Korean
There are a few different expressions for this below, using both terms for “month.”
Perhaps the most common expression for “every month” in the Korean language is this:
This expression is from the terms 매 (mae), meaning “every,” and 달(dal) which is “month.”
However, you may also use the ones below. You’ll notice that the term 월 (wol) is also used.
“Monthly” in Korean
Another term that you can use to express every month or monthly, especially when speaking of reports and schedules, is this:
Finally, another great expression to use for “monthly” is this. It is especially used when speaking of financial matters, such as monthly allowances or bills.
“Every Other Month” in Korean
There are two ways in which you can express “every other month” or “bimonthly” in the Korean language. They are as follows:
두 달에 한 번 (du dare han beon)
The latter one more specifically translates as “once every two months” if you want to express yourself perfectly nuanced.
“Last Month” in Korean
The expression for “last month” in Korean is as follows.
It is formed with the terms “지난 (jinan) which means last, and 달 (month).
“This Month” in Korean
Similar to the sequence above, the expression for “this month” in Korean is:
This time, we used the term 이번 (ibeon) which means “this.”
“Next Month” in Korean
Lastly, here’s how to express “next month” in the Korean language:
As you can notice, when you memorize these three terms, memorizing how to express weeks and months suddenly become a lot easier:
지난 (jinan) – last
이번 (ibeon) – this
다음 (daeum) – next
Other Time Expressions
Finally, how about we go over some other time expressions that may prove useful to you?
“These Days” in Korean
There are several ways with which you can express “nowadays” or “these days” in Korean.
You can use the word 요즘 (yojeum) to say “nowadays” or “these days.”
요즘 날씨가 더워요. (yojeum nalssiga deowoyo.)
It’s hot these days.
Another way to express this is with 오늘날에 (oneulnare).
오늘날에 스마트폰은 필수예요. (oneullare seumateuponeun pilsuyeyo.)
Smartphones are a necessity today.
The third way to say this expression is 이즈음에 (ijeueume).
부산에서 이즈음에 도서관은 만들어지고 있어요. (busaneseo ijeueume doseogwaneun mandeureojigo isseoyo.)
A library is being built in Busan around this time.
“Recently” in Korean
There are two words you can use to express “recently” or “lately” in Korean.
They are 근간에 (geungane) and 최근에 (choegeune).
근간에 잘 지내고 있는지 궁금해요. (geungane jal jinaego inneunji gunggeumhaeyo.)
I wonder if you’re doing well these days.
최근에 엄청 추웠어요. (choegeune eomcheong chuwosseoyo.)
It’s really cold these days.
“Right Now” in Korean
There are two words with which you can express “right now” in Korean.
You can use the words 지금 (jigeum) and 이제 (ije) to say “now” or “right now” in Korean.
지금 (jigeum) is used to say “now” when you’re referring to an action or something that’s currently taking place. You can use it for talking about a moment in time right now.
저는 지금 무척 피곤해요. (jeoneun jigeum mucheok pigonhaeyo.)
저는 지금 영화를 보고 있어요. (jeoneun jigeum yeonghwareul bogo isseoyo.)
I’m watching a movie now.
이제 (ije), on the other hand, is used when you want to show the contrast between the past and the present. You can also use this for talking about something that’s happening now and continuing into the future.
저는 이제 졸업했으니까 취직하겠습니다. (jeoneun ije joreopaesseunikka chwijikagetseumnida.)
Now that I’ve graduated, I’m going to look for a job.
이제 어두워졌어요. (ije eoduwojyeosseoyo.)
It’s dark now.
“Soon” in Korean
There are a couple of ways with which you can express “soon” or “shortly” in Korean.
They can be expressed with the words 금방 (geumbang), 금세 (geumse), and 곧 (got).
The term 곧 (got) can also be used to say “at once,” or “right away.”
“Later” in Korean
This is the word with which you can express “later” in the Korean language:
If you want to say later, as in after doing something else you’re specifically mentioning, you may also use this expression:
Didn’t time just fly by while we were learning all of this? Hopefully, you found this lesson useful! Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, and feel free to use this article for practice in writing and pronunciation.
To help you further with mastering these expressions, we have several more articles that can help you out. Here are some of them:
- Telling Time in Korean
- Korean Numbers
- How to Say “Time” in Korean
- Days of the Week in Korean
- Months in Korean
In fact, how about showing us in the comments some sample sentences you’ve been able to make with these newly learned time expressions?