https://korean.stackexchange.com/a/159 doesn't answer my question also mooted on HiNative. This distinction feels illogical and senseless to me. What's the reason or rationale?

Here's one example from Girls' Generation. When they introduce themselves, they always count forward — 하나 , 둘, 셋, we are Girls' Generation. But Yu Ri Kwon counts backwards at 13:57 — 삼, 이 , 일.


2 Answers 2


They don’t know, too.

As to why no one answers this question asked a week ago, it’s because it’s something native speakers would find natural but don’t know the exact rules for that.

Don’t sweat it though.

It’s just a tendency, if not preference, however; you can use both native and Sino–numbers to count forwards or backwards if that doesn’t involve units (“if you don’t say units when counting”). Both sound good.

This doesn’t quite answer your question, please accept another one that’s more complete.


I don't think you'll ever find a logical or rational answer to this. Why use native numbers for somethings and Sino-Korean numbers for others? Why read the hour natively, but the minutes in Sino-Korean? Language is not always rational or logical and many times the rule is

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