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Lesson 22: Asking Questions in Korean: How,

What, Which, How Many

Click here for a workbook to go along with this lesson.

Jump to:


How ()

What (//)

Which (/)

How many ()___ (words with counters)

How many _______ (words without counters)

Hover your mouse over any word to see examples of that word in use (you probably
wont be able to understand the grammar within the sentences at this point, but it is
good to see as you progress through your learning).

A PDF file neatly presenting all of these words and example sentences in addition to
common usages and specific notes can be found here.

= eggs
= seat/place to put something*
= importance/emphasis
= a fine (ticket)
= file
= lotion
= theory
= customs (cultural customs)
= skirt
= turn (turn to go)/order
= step/phase/stage

= to occupy a space
= collect
= attach
= to tear/rip something
= go and then come back
= expect

() = correct
= complicated
= short/brief

Adverbs and Other Words:

= how much
= how many ___ (with a counter)
= what (adverb)
= what (adjective)
= what (noun)
= which
= some*
= which for places
? = How is/was ?
= years old
= usually
= outside
= approximately*
= some sort of negative action
= reciprocally*
= must read (noun)
= the first/the most ()
= how many (days?)
= percent

Words With *

For help memorizing these words, try using our Memrise tool.

In the previous lesson, you learned about how to make questions sentences in Korean. In
this lesson, you will build on what you learned in Lesson 21 by learning more ways to ask
questions in Korean. Specifically, you will learn how to ask questions using the following
words: how, what, which and how many.

How ()

is the easiest of the words that you will learn today. The word is actually
(a word you dont know yet) turned into an adverb by adding ~ to the stem
( + ). Though and are technically the same word, dont think of
them that way. Just remember that means how. You can use to ask how
somebody does a verb, but it can not be placed before an adjective or adverb in Korean
to mean how (adjective/adverb). For example:

Learn is a verb, so you can use in the following sentence:

How did you learn?

Beautiful is an adjective. Often is an adverb. Which means you can not use in
the following sentences:
How beautiful is your girlfriend?
How often do you go to school?

You will learn another word () later in this lesson to use in those sentences.

Back to
is an adverb, so you can place it in sentences very freely:

? = How do you do that?

? = How did you learn Korean?
One thing that is different between English and Korean is when you ask what do you
think about If you want to say that in Korean, you have to use the equivalent of how
do you think about:

? = What do you think about that girl?

Thats pretty much all you need to know with regards to , but there is still more
that you should know about the word .

The word is rarely used as in sentences. Actually, if you asked Korean
people if they thought that and are the same word, they would probably
say that the two are completely different words.

In addition to , there is another way that you can use in sentences.

Through conjugation, can change to . Ill show you how changes to
, but you really dont need to worry about how it is changed (there are only a few
other words in Korean that can take on a similar transformation).

is an adjective
can be added to some adjectives ( + = )
+ = (the is dropped)
is the dictionary form. usually conjugates to
Say fast enough and it comes out as

is used to say how is/was the? or what do/did you think about? It is used
when you want to ask somebodys opinion/evaluation of something. It sounds more
natural in Korean for the thing you are asking about with to not have a particle.
For example:
? = How was the lunch?/What did you think about the lunch? (was it delicious?
expensive? Etc..)
? = How is your boyfriend? (is he good/bad/handsome/etc..?)

It is also very commonly used in the present tense to say what about this?/what do you
think about this?

Think of this example. You and I are searching through a bunch of pictures, trying to find
the best one for my profile picture on Facebook. I find one that I like, but I want to ask
you what do you think about this picture/how about this picture? In that case, I can say:

? = How about this picture?

In fact, is probably the most commonly miss-translated word by Korean speakers

learning English. If you ask a Korean person what means, they will all say it means
how about. Sometimes, this is true, but can only be used as how about in a
limited number of cases. In the example I just gave about choosing a good picture,
can be translated to how about. But what about in the previous two examples:

How about the lunch?

How about your boyfriend?

Sounds weird, and most English people probably couldnt even understand the meaning
of those sentences.

Try it sometimes. If you have a Korean friend (one that cant speak 100% perfect English),
ask him how to say ? in English. I guarantee he will say How about Korea?
But really, this should be translated to what do you think about Korea?/How is Korea?

can be added to to make it more formal. Also, can be put into the past-
tense to ask about something in the past. But note that even if you are asking about the
past, it is not 100% necessary to use in the past tense:
? How was the exam?/What did you think about the exam? (was it

What (//)

Now that youve learned all the easy ways to ask questions, lets work on the hard ways.
Figuring out how to ask what in Korean is probably the hardest thing you will come
across (grammatically) for a while. Essentially, there are three ways to say what:

which is an adverb
which is a noun
which is an adjective

It is important that you recognize that each word is a different part of speech (i.e. that
one is an adverb, one is an adjective, and one is a noun). Why is this important? It is
important because you will need to know how to treat those words in sentences.

Adverbs are always easy, so lets start with that first:

can be used similar to /// (other question words that are adverbs).
Just plug it into a sentence:

? = Did you eat?

? = When did you eat?
? = Where did you eat?
? = Why did you eat?
? = How did you eat?
? = What did you eat?
More examples:
? = What did you do last weekend?
? = What do you want to do tomorrow?

is a noun, and must be treated as one in a sentence (which means, you can add
/ to it). It is very difficult to explain the difference between and because
essentially, they are the same except for the fact that is a noun and is an adverb.
When you use , it simply replaces the noun in a sentence:

? = Did you eat lunch?

? = What did you eat?

However, when you want to ask what is ___, is rarely used at the end of the
sentence before . For example, instead of saying:
It is more common to say:

? = What is this?

If you ever want to ask what is ______ you can use this form. For example:

? = What is your name?

also means what but it is an adjective. What does this mean? This means that you
can put it before other nouns to mean what _____ For example:
? = What work do you want to do? (what job do you want to
? = What movie do you want to see?

Which (/)

In English, we also use the word which to mean essentially the same thing as what:

What movie do you want to see?

Which movie do you want to see?

If you can explain the difference between those two sentences (Im guessing you cant)
then you can explain the difference between and . translates to which,
but (like in English) there is very little difference between and . There is a
small difference, but most Korean people would tell you there isnt just be aware that
there is a very very slight difference between the two.

? = which movie do you want to see?

? = what movie do you want to see?

It is important to know that cannot be used before a word that is a place/location.

For example, you could not say ? You would think that this means
which house do you live in, but like I said, cannot be used before a place/location
(a house is a location). In cases when you want to say which (location) you must use
instead of :

? = Which house do you live in?

? Which university do you go to?
How many ()___ (words with counters)

Before I explain how to ask somebody how many ____? as in how many cars do you
have? lets review how to say I have # cars. Remember that you need to use counters
in these types of sentences:

2 = I have 2 cars

If you want to ask how many ___? you must replace the counter with the word :

? = How many cars do you have?

? = How many times did you go to school yesterday?

Make sure not to confuse these types of sentences with these similar sentences you
learned in a previous lesson:
() = I have some cars
() = I went to school some times (a few times) yesterday

The only difference between the first two sentences and the last two sentences is that
one is a question and one is a statement. Remember when you are asking a question
that the intonation needs to rise at the end of the sentence.

By using ___ you can also ask how old are you? and what time is it?:

? = What time is it?

? = How old are you?
? = How old is your younger brother?

How many _______ (words without counters)

There are a few nouns that do not have counters. One of the most common of these is
money (). In these cases, when you want to ask how much you need to use the
combination of and .

is a very common adverb that means how but is very different from .
is a word that is placed before adjectives and adverbs to mean how
(adjective/adverb). For example:

= how much/many
= how pretty
= how often
= how fast

Note that cannot be used this way. can only be used to ask how you do a
verb (how did you go home?) but is used before adjectives/adverbs.

As indicated before, combining and makes how much/many and can be

used to ask how much money?

? = How much money will you bring?

Remember that is the adverb form of . Which means you could also say this:

? = How much money will you bring?

More examples. Note that is always placed behind an adjective or adverb.

? = How often do you study Korean?

? = How pretty is your girlfriend?
? = How well do you play soccer?

You can also put before to ask how much does this cost?

? = How much is this?

Thats it for asking questions in Korean! There was a lot of content in this lesson and the
one before it (Lesson 21). Make sure you review those concepts a lot, because they are
very important!

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