Counting Words 5 – Korean Numbers #12

The counting words we've learned are the words used to count items by each piece. Today, we'll cover words to count sets of items.

벌 is used to count a suit or a set of clothes. 양복 한 벌 includes a jacket, a dress shirt, a pair of pants. Usually, it means a set of a shirt and a pair of pants.

양복 한 벌에 얼마나 할려나?
How much will it cost to buy a suit?

아동복 열 벌을 고아원에 기증했다.
I've donated ten sets of children's clothes to an orphanage.

벌 is also used to count a single piece of clothes, too.

셔츠를 한 벌 더 가져가는 것이 나을 것 같다.
It seems that it is better to bring one more shirt.

바지가 다섯 벌 있다.
I have 5 pairs of pants.


켤레 is used to count socks, shoes, gloves. When I said shoes, it includes sneakers(운동화), sandals(샌달, 샌들), slippers(슬리퍼).

작아서 못 신게 된 양말을 찾아 보니 세 켤레 정도 있었다.
I looked for some socks I cannot wear because they became too small and there were 3 pairs.

집에 장갑이 두 켤레 있는데 안 껴 본지 꽤 됐다.
I have 2 pairs of gloves, but I haven't worn it for a long time.

쌍 is usually used to count a couple of people. It is also used to count something that are usually pairs like 젓가락(chopsticks).

정말 멋진 한 쌍이야.
They are really a great couple.

그녀는 남편의 친한 친구 몇 쌍을 초대해 대접할 생각이다.
She is planning to invite a few couples who are close to her husband.

When you first learn Korean, you've learned 쌍시옷, 쌍지읒, 쌍기역, 쌍비읍. 쌍 here is the same 쌍 you've just learned.


We've learned 켤레 and 쌍 to count a pair of some items. In English, you can use pair to count pants, glasses, scissors, and headphones. Although they are connected, they have similar things in pair. So, you should use pair to count them in English. Sadly, Koreans don't think so. Those items are not separate. They are connected. So, you shouldn't use 켤레 or 쌍 for them. You should use 개 for glasses(안경), scissors(가위), headphones(헤드폰). And you should use 벌 for pants(바지).