Asking someone how old they are may seem like a potentially loaded question in English, but it is perfectly acceptable in Korean. Chances are, the person you’re talking to simply wants to refer to you in the politest way possible! The most formal way of asking someone for their age is 나이가 어떻게 되세요?

If you can’t read the sentence, check out our Hangeul alphabet guide for vowels and consonants, or our “reading and writing Hangeul guide“.

Let’s break the sentence down:

  • 나이: age
  • 어떻게 되세요: How is it done.

Very simply, the question is asking us how our age is done. But, how do you answer? By responding with the correct number and 살이에요.

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The numbers are as follows:

  1. 하나
  2. 다섯
  3. 여섯
  4. 일곱
  5. 여덟
  6. 아홉
  7. 열하나
  8. 열둘
  • 20. 스물
  • 30. 서른
  • 40. 마흔
  • 50. 쉰
  • 60. 예순
  • 70. 일흔
  • 80. 여든
  • 90. 아흔
  • 100. 백

Note that when counting numbers such as 11, 12, 33, 48, you simply add the second digit to the 10s. So 18 = 10+8 (열+여덟) = 열여덟. 

열여덟살이에요I am 18 years old.

Another interesting thing is that Korean age works slightly differently to that in England. You can find out what your Korean age is by watching the video below:

So, 나이가 어떻게 되세요?


 

 

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