Let’s get into a quick & easy Sino-Korean lesson! 年 (년) is the Chinese and Sino-Korean character used to say year in Korean. It is used for year vocab and also vocab related to age and generations.



Words that Feature 년

: year
금년: this year
내년: next year
내후년: the year after next year
재작년: the year before last
매년: every year
수년: several years
윤년: leap year
작년: last year

학년: a school year/grade
주년: anniversary
년생: birth year

유년: infancy/childhood
소년: boy
청년: youth
청소년: teenage
중년: middle age
정년: retirement age

more about age-related terms & appearance here


2 Ways to Say Year

There is actually 2 words in Korean for year; 년 which is Sino-Korean and 2 해 which is the native Korean. 년 is just used in the words based on the Hanja  and we’ve already covered words using it.

For 해 it’s found in native Korean words such as:

새해: new year
그해: that year
올해: this year


When Do You Use 년 or 해???

All I can find for use cases is the words themselves. Sadly there’s not really an easy way to know which words are native Korean vs Sino-Korean. So knowing which to use is mostly a case of memorization. Though 년 is much more commonplace for saying year as you can see, so I think it’s a safe bet to use 년 when you are unsure.

Also when counting or writing out years 년 is used. So 2023 is 2023년


Is Hanja Important to Learn?

It’s not necessary but it can be useful! I put the original Chinese Hanja character in for anyone who would like it but you can basically ignore the Hanja character and focus on the fact 년 in certain words has to do with years, generations, and age. Look more into Sino-Korean in my dedicated post about it over here!


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