How to Say ‘Time’ in Korean

A picture of an alarm clock

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Today, we’re going to show you how to say ‘time’ in Korean.

The Korean word for ‘time’ is simple to learn, but it’s used in many different ways. Spending a few minutes on it now will make your life much easier later!

We’ll also give you some example sentences so you can put this concept to use right away. These will be especially useful if you are living in Korea or plan to travel here.

Here we go!

A picture of an alarm clock

‘Time’ in Korean

The word for ‘time’ in Korean is 시간 (sigan). Use this word along with Korean numbers and you’ll be able to express a lot of ideas. This will be useful when telling time in Korean.

If you don’t know the numbers yet, we’ve got a great free resource here

Time in Korean

The word 시간 (sigan) can generally be used in the same way as it is used in English. However, you must be careful when listening for this word.

In some situations, 시간 (sigan) can mean ‘hour’ instead of ‘time’. It is important to listen for the context of the sentence in order to work out if 시간 (sigan) means ‘hour’ or ‘time’.

Occasionally, the word 시간 (sigan) can be shortened to 시 (si). Usually, 시 (si) means ‘hour’ or ‘o’clock’, but it can sometimes mean ‘time’.

If you want to say 2 hours, then you can say 2시간 (du sigan).

If you want to say2 o’clock,’ then you can say 2시 (dusi).

Can't read Korean yet? Click here to learn for free in about 60 minutes!

A Word of Caution About Romanization

Often in Korean, similar words contain similar parts. For example, lots of words that are about time use the word part ‘시 (si)’, such as 시계 (sigye) which means ‘clock’. If you can read the Korean alphabet, called Hangeul, then it should be easy for you to identify these parts. However, if you are reading the words in the English alphabet then it is harder to notice these common parts of words.

Learning Hangeul is easy and just takes a couple of hours. Once you can read Hangeul, you can easily identify word parts and also improve your pronunciation. It will supercharge the speed at which you can utilize Korean grammar, as well as your reading ability.

Other Common Ways to Use 시간 (sigan)

시간 (sigan) only means ‘time’ in Korean, but 시 (si) has several meanings.

It can mean ‘time’, ‘hour, or ‘o’clock; but it can also mean ‘city’ or ‘poem’.

It should be easy to guess which of these meanings is correct by looking at the context of the sentence.

Telling the Time in Korean

Sample Sentences

The examples below are great models for building Korean sentences, or for trying out different grammar such as Korean particles. You can use these along with common Korean phrases to improve your conversation skills.

Example (Formal):

30년은 긴 시간 입니다. (samsip nyeoneun gin sigan imnida)

30 years is a long time.

시간 좀 내주실수 있나요? (sigan jom naejusilsu innayo)

Could I borrow a minute of your time?

Example (Informal):

잠깐 시간 좀 내 줘 (jamkkan sigan jom nae jwo)

I need a moment of your time.

좋은 시간 될 거야 (joeun sigan doel geoya)

I think it would be a nice time.

Now that you know how to say ‘time’ in Korean, start arranging a time to meet your Korean friends so that you can practice Korean with them. Just make sure that you aren’t late!

Want more Korean phrases? Go to our Korean Phrases Page for a complete list!

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