1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Korean
  4. >
  5. "Three days are not four days…

"Three days are not four days."

Translation:사흘은 사일이 아니에요.

October 28, 2017



Why does one use 흘 and one use 일?

  • 2590

There are two equivalent systems for counting days in Korean, a Sino-Korean system and a Native Korean system.


일 일 (1 day), 이 일 (2 days), 삼 일 (3 days), 사 일 (4 days), 오 일 (5 days), etc.

Native Korean

하루 (1 day), 이틀 (2 days), 사흘 (3 days), 나흘 (4 days), 닷새 (5 days), etc.

People commonly use the Native Korean system for 하루 (1 day) and 이틀 (2 days), but after that, you'll probably see the Sino-Korean system being used more often, because it's more practical and easier to scale up, since it follows a neat pattern (Sino-Korean number + 일) and can also be written with Arabic numbers (1일, 2일, 3일).

Just a complement: Neither 흘 nor 일 means "day" by itself, they are just suffixes. If you are not counting days or referring to their timespan, you use the word 날, as in "오늘은 좋은 날 이었어 (아이스 큐브)".


That Ice Cube song is a classic


@duolingo: since there is no specification in the english sentence on which of the two numbers should have the sino-korean or the korean system... how comes the reverse is considered as wrong? should not 삼일은 나흘이 아니에요 also be accepted as an option?


but why in the same sentence the first one is in Native Korean and the second in Sino-Korean?


They are trying to teach you there are two types of numbers in a terrible way.

Learn Korean in just 5 minutes a day. For free.