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Beginner 1 > Lesson 18

Lesson 18. Time Duration (Particle 동안, 간)

1. Time Duration + 동안

If you want to say for how long you did something in Korean, you can simply add the corresponding number with the corresponding counter, and then add the duration particle “동안.”

In this case, you can also replace 동안 with 간(間), a sino Korean word that means duration. But when you are using hour-unit duration (시간), it’s better to use 동안 than 간.


*seconds: Sino Number +

*minutes : Sino Number +

*hours : Pure Number + 시간

*days : Sino Number +


10초 동안
(=10초 간) : for ten seconds 

20분 동안 (=20분 간) 기다렸어. I waited you for 20 minutes.

네 시간 동안 뭐 했어요? What did you do for four hours?

한국에 5일 동안 (=5일 간) 있었어요. I stayed in Korea for five days. 


Additionally, there are pure Korean versions that are commonly used in place of “one, two, three, four and ten days” 

하루: one day (=일일)

이틀: two days (=이일)

사흘: three days (=삼일)

나흘: four days (=사일)

열흘: ten days (=십일)

They are interchangeable with its sino-Korean equivalent, but oftentimes using the pure Korean word sounds more natural.


*weeks : Sino Number + (=주일)

*months : (pure) , (sino) 개월 [from 1~4 months, we usually use 달, and from above 5 months, we usually use 개월]

*years : Sino Number +


More example sentences:

십 초 동안 for ten seconds > 알람 시계가 십 초 동안 울렸어요. The alarm clock rang for 10 seconds.

한 시간 동안 for an hour > 밥을 한 시간 동안 먹었어요. I had a meal for an hour.

열 시간 동안 for ten hours > 열 시간 동안 잤어요. I slept for ten hours.

이틀 간 for two days > 그 호텔에 이틀 간 있었어요. I stayed in that hotel for three days.

오일 동안 for five days > 미국에서 오일 동안 여행할 거예요. I will travel in the US for five days.

삼 주/삼 주일 간 for three weeks > 제프랑 삼 주일/삼 주 간 사귀고 헤어졌어요. I dated Jeff for three weeks and then we broke up.

한 달 동안 for a month > 한국어를 한 달 간(=한 달 동안) 공부했어요. I studied Korean for a month.

육 개월 동안 for six months > 너의 답장을 육 개월 동안 기다렸어. I waited for your reply for six months.

이 년 간 for two years > 저는 서울에 2년 간 살고 있어요. I’ve been living in Seoul for two years.

십 년 동안 for ten years > 반려견을 10년 동안 키웠어요. I raised my pet dog for 10 years.


2. Noun + 동안(에)

동안 can also be attached after a noun that refers to a specific time frame, like 방학(vacation), 시험 기간(exam prep period), 점심/저녁 시간(lunch/dinner time), 수업 시간(class hours), 쉬는 시간(break time/recess), 선거 기간(election period) etc. You can also say “동안에” in this case.

In addition, 동안 is not interchangeable with 간(間) in this case. 간 is used only with time duration. 


방학 동안 아르바이트를 했어요. I worked part-time during vacation.

쉬는 시간 동안에 뭐 했어요? What did you during the recess? 

대통령 후보들은 선거 기간 동안 많이 바쁠 거예요. Presidential candidates will be busy during the election period.

점심 시간 동안 지수랑 많은 얘기를 했어요. I talked with Jisoo about many things during lunch time. 

3월 동안 열심히 일했어요. I worked hard in the month March.


동안 can also be combined with a verb with this construction : Verb-는 동안 (while verb-ing)
We will learn more about this grammar in Lesson 29 of Beginner 2 course.