Get 55% off with our best holiday deals. Hurry! Ends soon!
Get 55% off with our best holiday deals. Hurry! Ends soon!
KoreanClass101.com Blog
Learn Korean with Free Daily
Audio and Video Lessons!
Start Your Free Trial 6 FREE Features

Archive for the 'Korean Grammar' Category

Advanced Korean Words to Help You Become a Fluent Speaker

Thumbnail

As you approach an advanced level in Korean, it’s crucial that you don’t become complacent. This stage is a good time to start adding more advanced words and phrases to your vocabulary. 

In this blog post, you will learn the most common advanced Korean words that you’ll need to know in order to pass a Korean language exam, study at a Korean university, or work in Korea. 

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Korean Table of Contents
  1. Advanced Academic Words
  2. Advanced Business Words
  3. Advanced Medical Words
  4. Advanced Legal Words
  5. Alternative Words for Acing Korean Writing/Essays
  6. How KoreanClass101 Can Help You with Your Korean Studies

1. Advanced Academic Words

We’ll start our advanced Korean vocabulary list with a variety of words related to academia. Learning these words will help you understand lectures and add flair to your academic writing. 

동물학dongmulhakzoology

Example: 

  • 난 동물학자가 되고 싶어.
    Nan dongmulhakjaga doego sipeo.
    “I want to be a zoologist.”

지구과학jigugwahakearth science

Example: 

  • 저는 우주 현상 공포증이 있어서 지구 과학을 공부할 때 힘들었습니다.
    Jeoneun uju hyeonsang gongpojeungi isseoseo jigu gwahageul gongbuhal ttae himdeureotseumnida.
    “I had a phobia of space phenomena, so it was difficult when I was studying earth science.”

가설gaseolhypothesis

Examples: 

  • 그 가설은 검증이 필요해 보입니다.
    Geu gaseoreun geomjeungi piryohae boimnida.
    “That hypothesis looks like it needs validation.”
  • 꿈의 기능에 대한 가설
    kkumui gineunge daehan gaseol
    “a hypothesis about the function of dreams”

이론i-rontheory

Example:

  • 과학자들은 진화 이론을 높이 평가한다.
    Gwahakjadeureun jinhwa ironeul nopi pyeonggahanda.
    “Scientists hold the theory of evolution in high regard.”

그 결과 바탕으로geu gyeolgwareul batangeurobased on the results

Example:

  • 실험 결과를 바탕으로, 우리는 토끼가 야행성 동물이라는 결론을 내릴 수 있었다.
    Silheom gyeolgwareul batangeuro, urineun tokkiga yahaengseong dongmuliraneun gyeolloneul naelil su isseotda.
    “Based on the results of the experiment, we have concluded that rabbits are nocturnal creatures.”

그 결과geu gyeolgwaAs a result

Example:

  • 실험의 결과는 결론에 이르지 못했다. 그 결과, 실험을 반복해야 했다.
    Silheomui gyeolgwaneun gyeollone ireuji mothaetda. Geu gyeolgwa, silheomeul banbokaeya haetda.
    “The results of the experiment were inconclusive. As a result, the research had to be repeated.”

동창회dongchanghoeclass reunion

Example:

  • 우리는 교가를 부르면서 동창회를 마쳤다.
    Urineun gyogareul bureumyeonseo dongchanghoereul machyeotda.
    “We ended our class reunion by singing the alma mater.”

입학 허가 ipak heogaadmission

Example:

  • 우리 아들이 법대에 입학 허가를 받아 냈어요!
    Uri adeuri boepdaee ipak heogareul bad-a naesseoyo!
    “My son got admission to law school!”

인류학illyuhakanthropology

Example:

  • 사회 인류학은 사회 과학의 한가지이다.
    Sahoe illyuhakeun sahoe gwahakui hangajiida.
    “Social anthropology is one of the social sciences.”

심리학simnihakpsychology

Example:

  • 심리학에는 임상심리와 심리상담이 있어요.
    Simnihageneun imsangsimniwa simnisangdami isseoyo.
    “There is clinical and counseling psychology.”

성적 증명서seongjeok jeungmyeongseotranscript

Example:

  • 성적 증명서 다섯 통이 필요해요.
    Seongjeok jeungmyeongseo daseot tongi piryohaeyo.
    “I need five copies of my academic transcript.”

등록금deungrokgeumtuition

Example:

  • 난 대학 등록금을 내기 위해 돈을 좀 따로 모아 두었어.
    Nan daehak deungrokgeumeul naegi wihae doneul jom ttaro moa dueosseo.
    “I’ve put some money aside for college fees.”

장학금janghakgeumscholarship

Example:

  • 내 여동생은 장학금을 여러 번 받아서 부러워.
    Nae yeodongsaengeun deungrokgeumeul yeoreo beon badaseo bureowo.
    “My sister received several scholarships, so I feel envious.”

강의실ganguisillecture hall

Example:

  • 학생들이 강의실에 가득 찼다.
    Hagsaengdeuri ganguisire gadeuk chatda.
    “Students crowded the lecture hall.”

경영관리학 석사gyeongyeonggwallihak seoksaMBA

Example:

  • 나는 경영 관리학 석사를 2021년에 취득하였다.
    Naneun gyeongyeonggwallihak seoksareul 2021nyeone chwideukhayeotda.
    “I obtained my degree in business administration in the year 2001.”

건축학geonchukakarchitecture

Example:

  • 저는 대학에서 건축학을 공부했습니다.
    Jeoneun daehageseo geonchukakeul gongbuhaetseumnida.
    “I studied architecture in college.”

졸업증명서joreopjeungmyeongseograduation certificate / diploma

Example:

A: 
졸업 증명서는 무엇인가요?
Joreopjeungmyeongseoneun mueosingayo?
“What is the graduation certificate?”

B: 
졸업 증명서는 능력을 증명하는 보증서입니다.
Joreopjeungmyeongseoneun neungnyeogeul jeungmyeonghaneun bojeungseoimnida.
“The graduation certificate is a certificate of proficiency.”


추천서chucheonseorecommendation

Example:

  • 그는 가짜 추천서를 써서 그 직장에 들어갔다.
    Geuneun gajja chucheonseoreul sseoseo geu jikjange deureogatda.
    “He entered the job with a fake recommendation letter.”

휴학하다hyuhakadato take time off from school

Example:

  • 1년을 휴학했던데, 왜 학교를 휴학했었나요?
    Ilhaknyeoneul hyuhakaetdeonde, wae hakgyoreul hyuhakaesseonnayo?
    “You took a year off from school. Why did you take a leave of absence from school?”

퇴학당하다toehakdanghadato be expelled from school

Example:

  • 나는 고등학교 마지막 해에 퇴학당한적이 있다.
    Naneun godeunghakgyo majimak haee toehakdanghanjeogi itda.
    “I was expelled from school in the last year of high school.”

학사학위haksa hagwibachelor’s degree

Example:

  • 학사 학위로는 지리학을 공부했습니다.
    Haksa hagwironeun jirihageul gongbuhaetseumnida.
    “With a bachelor’s degree, I studied geography.”

석사학위seoksa hagwimaster’s degree

Example:

  • 그는 경영학 석사 학위 소지자이다.
    Geuneun gyeongyeonghak seoksa hagwi sojijaida.
    “He has a master’s in Business Administration.”

박사학위baksahagwidoctorate

Example:

  • 그는 한의학 박사학위를 받았다.
    Geuneun hanuihak baksahagwireul badatda.
    “He received a doctorate in Oriental medicine.”

초고chogofirst draft

Example:

  • 이것은 저의 연설문 초고예요. 읽어볼래요?
    Igeoseun jeoui yeonseolmun chogoyeyo. Ilgeobollaeyo?
    “This is the first draft of my speech. Would you like to read it?”

완성안wanseonganfinal draft

Example:

  • 잭은 논문의 최종안에 대해 선생님이 다소 까다롭게 군다고 생각했다.
    Jageun nonmunui choejongane daehae seonsaengnimi daso kkadaropge gundago saenggakhaetda.
    “Jack thought that his teacher was being rather finicky about the final draft of the paper.”

A Korean Learner Studying Advanced Korean Business Words

2. Advanced Business Words

Another essential set of words in Korean for advanced learners are those related to the business world. This is especially true if you plan to work or do business in Korea one day! 

매출총이익maechulchongiikgross profit

Example:

  • 매출총이익은 1억 4백만 달러가 증가하여 19억 달러가 되었다.
    Maechulchongiigeun ireok sabaebaengman dalleoga jeunggahayeo sipgueok dalleoga doeeotda.
    “The gross profit increased from $104 million to $1.9 billion.”

고정자산gojeongjasanfixed asset

Example:

  • 대지, 사무실, 창고, 공장, 장비와 가구 등은 고정자산에 속한다.
    Daeji, samusil, changgo, gongjang, jangbiwa gigu deungeun gojeongjasane sokanda.
    “Land, offices, warehouses, factories, equipment, and furniture are capital assets.”

채권자chaegwonjacreditor

Example:

  • 금융기관이 채권자와 채무자 사이에서 중개인 역할을 한다.
    Geumyunggigwani chaegwonjawa chaemuja saieseo junggaein yeoghareul handa.
    “Financial institutions act as intermediaries between lenders and borrowers.”

비용biyongexpense / cost

Example:

  • 그 회사는 소송 비용 때문에 거의 파산 지경이 되었다.
    Geu hoesaneun sosong biyong ttaemune geoui pasan jigyeongi doeeotda.
    “The company was almost bankrupted by legal costs.”

순이익suniiknet profit

Example:

  • 그 가게는 한 달 순이익이 500만 원이다.
    Geu gageneun han dal suniigi obaegman wonida.
    “That store earns five million won in net profit.”

수익suikrevenue

Example:

  • 그 회사는 수익성 좋은 해외 시장과 연결된 후 수익이 갑절로 늘었다.
    Geu hoesaneun suikseong joeun haeoe sijanggwa yeongyeoldoen hu suigi gabjeollo neureotda.
    “The company has doubled its profits since plugging into lucrative overseas markets.”

부채buchaeliability

Example:

  • 그 회사는 600만 달러가 넘는 부채가 누적되어 있었다.
    Geu hoesaneun yukbaegman dalleoga neomneun buchaega nujeokdoeeo isseotda.
    “The firm had accrued debts of over $6 million.”

유동 자산yudong jasancurrent asset

Example:

  • 유동 자산이 유동 부채보다 적다.
    Yudong jasani yudong buchaeboda jeokda.
    “The current assets are less than the current liabilities.”

노무비nomubilabor expense

Example:

  • 노무비를 삭감하다.
    Nomubireul sakgamhada.
    “Cut down the labor expense.”

승인seunginapproval

Example:

  • 그 계획은 조건 없이 승인되었다.
    Geu gyehoegeun jogeon eopsi seungindoeeotda.
    “The plan was approved without qualification.”

광고gwanggoadvertisement / commercial

Example:

  • 그녀는 TV 광고 방송을 위한 보이스오버 일로 많은 돈을 번다.
    Geunyeoneun TV gwanggo bangsongeul wihan boiseuobeo illo maneun doneul beonda.
    “She earns a lot of money doing voice-overs for TV commercials.”

논제nonjetopic of discussion

Example:

  • 가장 중요한 논제 중 하나는 북한이었다.
    Gajang jungyohan nonje jung hananeun bukanieotda.
    “One of the most important topics of discussion was North Korea.”

부서buseodepartment / division

Example:

  • 그의 부서가 우리 부서와 합칠 것이다.
    Geuui buseoga uri buseowa hapchil geosida.
    “His department will merge with mine.”

불이익 buriikdisadvantage

Example:

  • 이번 프로젝트의 실패로 우리 회사는 큰 불이익을 겪었다.
    Ibeon peurojegteuui silpaero uri hoesaneun keun buriigeul gyeokkeotda.
    “Our company suffered a huge disadvantage due to the failure of this project.”

분배bunbaedistribution / division

Example:

  • 그 재산의 잔여 유산은 그의 자녀들에게 공평하게 분배되었다.
    Geu jaesanui janyeo yusaneun geuui janyeodeurege gongpyeonghage bunbaedoeeotda.
    “The remainder of the estate was divided equally among his children.”

영수증 yeongsujeungreceipt

Example:

  • 영수증을 명세서와 대조하여 확인해 보세요.
    Yeongsujeungeul myeongsesowa daejohayeo hwaginhae boseyo.
    “Check your receipts against the statement.”

수수료susuryocommission

Example:

  • 시간당 수수료는 현재 500원입니다.
    Sigandang yeongsujeungneun hyeonjae obaegwonimnida.
    “The hourly commission is currently 500 won.”

기업간의gieopganuiB2B

Example:

  • 이 직책은 기업간의 전화 상담 업무를 맡게 됩니다.
    I jikchageun gieopganui jeonhwa sangdam eommureul matge doemnida.
    “This position will be responsible for business-to-business calls.”

* There is a word for “B2B” in Korean, as written above, but it’s more common to just say “B2B.”

Check out Which Adjective Describes Your Personality Best? PART 2 on our website to learn more adjectives in Korean.

기업 / 소비자간의gieop / sobijaganuiB2C

Example:

  • 우리팀은 대체로 기업, 소비자간의 업무만 하게 됩니다.
    Uritimeun daechero gieop, sobijaganui eommuman hage doemnida.
    “Our team usually only does B2C business.”

* There is a word for “B2C” in Korean, as written above, but it’s rarely used. 

사업가saeopgaentrepreneur

Example:

  • 두 명의 사업가가 테러범들에게 납치되었다.
    Du myeongui saeopgaga tereobeomdeurege napchidoeeotda.
    “Two businessmen have been kidnapped by terrorists.”

투자 수익률tuja suingnyulReturn on Investment (ROI)

Example:

  • 보내주신 자료로 보아서는 투자 수익률 수치는 현실적이라고 생각됩니다.
    Bonaejusin jaryoro boaseoneun tuja suingnyul suchineun hyeonsiljeogirago saenggakdoemnida.
    “Based on the information you sent me, I think that the ROI numbers appear to be realistic.”

* It is more common to say “ROI” than 투자수익률 in Korea.

글로벌 시장geullobeol sijangglobal market

Example:

  • 본사는 한국 정부가 승인한 글로벌 시장개척 전문기업입니다.
    Bonsaneun hanguk jeongbuga seunginhan geullobeol sijanggaecheok jeonmungieobimnida.
    “Our company is a global market developer authorized by the Korean government.”

유통시장yutongsijangsecondary market

Example:

  • 정부는 왜곡된 유통시장을 바로잡기 위해 노력하고 있다.
    Jeongbuneun waegokdoen yutongsijangeul barojapgi wihae noryeokago itda.
    “The government is striving to rectify the distorted [misrepresented] distribution market.”

경쟁gyeongjaengcompetition

Example:

  • 경쟁이 날이 갈수록 치열해지고 있다.
    Gyeongjaengi nari galsurok chiyeolhaejigo itda.
    “Competition is getting hotter day by day.”

비교bigyocomparison

Example:

  • 그에 비교해, 교육비는 작년에 증가했다.
    Geue bigyohae, gyoyukbineun jagnyeone jeunggahaetda.
    “By comparison, expenditure on education increased last year.”

A Male Student Learning Advanced Korean Medical Words

3. Advanced Medical Words

Whether you want to study medicine in South Korea or you happen to find yourself in the hospital, you’ll greatly benefit from knowing these advanced Korean vocabulary words related to the medical world. 

일반 진료의사 ilban jillyouisaGP (general practitioner)

Example:

  • 가장 수가 많은 일반 진료 분야 의사의 연령대와 성별은 무엇입니까?
    Gajang suga maneun ilban jillyo bunya uisaui yeollyeongdaewa seongbyeoreun mueosimnikka?
    “What age range and sex has the highest number of doctors in general practice?”

마취과 의사machwigwa uisaanesthesiologist

Example:

  • 저의 아버지께서는 마취과 의사였습니다.
    Jeoui abeojikkeseoneun yeollyeongdaewa seongbyeoreun mueosimnikkayeossseumnida.
    “My father was an anesthesiologist.”

외과 의사oegwa uisasurgeon

Example:

  • 외과의사가 소년의 뇌종양을 제거했다.
    Oegwa uisaga sonyeonui noejongyangeul jegohaetda.
    “The surgeon removed the boy’s brain tumor.”

간호사ganhosanurse

Example:

  • 간호사가 나의 친구를 휠체어에 태우고 복도를 따라 갔다.
    Ganhosaga naui chingureul hwilcheeoe taeugo bokdoreul ttara gatda.
    “The nurse wheeled my friend along the corridor.”

산부인과 의사sanbuingwa uisagynecologist

Example:

  • 수미는 어른이 되어서 산부인과 의사가 되어야겠다고 결심했습니다.
    Sumineun eoreuni doeeoseo sanbuingwa uisaga doeeoyagetdago gyeolsimhaetseumnida.
    “Sumi decided to become a gynecologist when she becomes an adult.”

출혈chulhyeolbleeding

Example:

  • 의사들은 그 출혈을 멎게 할 수가 없었다.
    Uisadereun geu chulhyeoreul meotge hal suga eopseotda.
    “Doctors couldn’t stop the bleeding.”

뇌진탕noejintangconcussion

Example:

  • 그는 뇌진탕으로 병원에 실려 갔다.
    Geuneun noejintangeuro byeongwone sillyeo gatda.
    “He was taken to the hospital with a concussion.”

흉통hyungtongchest pain

Example:

  • 심한 흉통이 심장마비의 징조이다.
    Simhan hyungtongi simjangmabiui jingjoida.
    “Severe chest pain is a sign of a heart attack.”

변비byeonbiconstipation

Example:

  • 변비에 걸렸으면, 하제를 복용하는것이 좋다.
    Byeonbie geollyeosseumyeon, hajereul bogyonghaneungeosi jota.
    “If you’re constipated, it is better to take a laxative.”

맥박maekbakpulse

Example:

  • 그의 맥박율이 갑자기 떨어졌다.
    geuui maekbagyuri gapjagi tteoreojyeotda.
    “His pulse rate dropped suddenly.”

혈액 샘플hyeoraek saempeulblood sample

Example: 

  • 의사들이 그 남자의 혈액 샘플에 대해 몇 가지 검사를 더 해 보기로 했다.
    Uisadeuri geu namjaui hyeoraek saempeure daehae myeot gaji geomsareul deo hae bogiro haetda.
    “The doctors decided to run some more tests on the blood samples.”

찰과상chalgwasanggraze

Example:

  • 놀랍게도 그 남자는 그 사고에서 찰과상 하나 입지 않고 살아남았다.
    Nollapgedo geu namjaneun geu sagoeseo chalgwasang hana ipji anko saranamatda.
    “Amazingly, he survived the accident without a scratch.”

꽃가루 알레르기kkotgaru allereugihay fever

Example:

  • 저는 꽃가루 알레르기가 있어요.
    Jeoneun kkotgaru allereugiga isseoyo.
    “I have an allergy to pollen.”

치질chijilhemorrhoids

Example: 

  • 저는 치질 때문에 의자에 앉을 수 없었어요.
    Jeoneun chijil ttaemune uijae anjeul su eopseosseoyo.
    “I couldn’t sit in a chair because of my hemorrhoids.”

살 속으로 파고드는 발톱sal sogeuro pagodeuneun baltopingrown toenail

Example:

  • 살 속으로 파고드는 발톱이 있는데 정말 아파.
    Sal sogeuro pagodeuneun baltobi inneunde jeongmal apa.
    “I have an ingrown toenail, and it is really painful.”

저체온증 jeocheonjeunghypothermia

Example: 

  • 그 남자는 야간 산행 중에 저체온증을 보였다.
    Geu namjaneun yagan sanhaeng junge jeocheonjeungeul boyeotda.
    “He showed signs of hypothermia while night hiking.”

백혈병baekyeolbyeongleukemia

Example:

  • 대부분의 백혈병 환자들은 어떤 종류의 약물 치료를 받는다. 
    Daebubunui baekyeolbyeong hwanjadeureun eotteon jongnyuui yangmul chiryoreul banneunda.
    “Most leukemia patients undergo some sort of drug therapy.”

백혈병baekyeolbyeongleukemia

Example: 

  • 정신분열증은 극도로 복잡한 정신 질환이다.
    Jeongsinbunyeoljeungeun geukdoro bokjapan jeongsin jilhwanida.
    “Schizophrenia is an extremely complex mental illness.”

디스크diseukeuslipped disc

Example:

  • 우리 할머니는 디스크로 고생을 많이 하셨다.
    Uri halmeonineun diseukeuro gosaengeul mani hasyeotda.
    “My grandmother struggled a lot with discs.”

뇌졸중noejoljungstroke

Example: 

  • 과체중인 사람들은 심장마비나 뇌졸중의 위험이 있다.
    Gwachejungin saramdeureun simjangmabina noejoljungui wiheomi itda.
    “People who are overweight run a risk of a heart attack or stroke.”

광견병gwanggyeonbyeongrabies

Example: 

  • 내 친구는 광견병 예방 접종을 했다.
    Nae chinguneun gwanggyeonbyeong yebang jeopjongeul haetda.
    “My friend got a preventive shot for rabies.”

바이러스baireoseuvirus

Example: 

  • 이 약은 바이러스가 자기 복제를 하지 못하게 한다.
    I yageun baireoseuga jagi bokjereul haji mothage handa.
    “This drug prevents the virus from replicating itself.”

휠체어hwilcheeowheelchair

Example: 

  • 폴이 힘겹게 휠체어에서 빠져나왔다.
    Pori himgyeopge hwilcheeoeseo ppajyeonawatda.
    “Paul struggled out of his wheelchair.”

메스꺼움을 느끼다meseukkeoumeul neukkidato feel sick 

Example: 

  • 왜 그러는지 모르겠는데, 비행기를 탈 때마다 나는 메스꺼움을 느껴.
    Wae geureoneunji moreugetneunde, bihaenggireul tal ttaemada naneun meseukkeoumeul neukkyeo.
    “I don’t know why, but I get nauseous whenever I fly.”

절뚝거리다jeolttukgeoridato limp

Example: 

  • 우리 집 강아지가 갑자기 절뚝거리기 시작하더니 잘 걷지를 못하더라고.
    Uri jip gangajiga gapjagi jeolttukgeorigi sijakadeoni jal geotjireul motadeorago.
    “My dog ​​suddenly started limping and couldn’t walk well.”

A Woman with Glasses on Is Holding Advanced Korean Legal Books

4. Advanced Legal Words

Now, let’s look at a few advanced Korean words related to the legal system. These words will help you have more complex conversations with native speakers, follow the news, and maybe even get through law school!

재판jaepantrial

Example: 

  • 형사 재판은 2월 14일에 열립니다.
    Hyeungsa jaepaneun iwol sipsaire yeollimnida.
    “The criminal trial takes place on February 14.”

탄핵tanhaekimpeachment

Example: 

  • 총리는 뇌물을 받아서 탄핵되었다.
    Chonrineun noemureul badaseo tanhaekdoeeotda.
    “The prime minister was impeached for taking a bribe.”

법정 연령beopjeongyeonryeonglegal age

Example: 

  • 술을 사려면 법정연령이 되어야 한다.
    Sureul saryeonyeon beopjeongyeonryeongi doeeoya handa.
    “You must be of legal age to buy liquor.”

법정 공휴일beopjeong gonghyuil legal holiday

Example: 

  • 3월 1일은 한국에서 법정 공휴일이예요.
    Samwol ilireun hangugeseo beopjeong gonghyuiriyeyo.
    “March 1 is a legal holiday in Korea.”

절도죄jeoldojoelarceny

Example: 

  • 그 청소년은 네 건의 절도죄로 기소되었다
    Geu cheongsonyeoneun ne geonui jeoldojoero gisodoeeotda.
    “The youth was charged with four counts of larceny.”

몸값momgapransom

Example:

  • 유괴된 아이들은 모두 몸값이 지불되어 무사히 집으로 돌아왔다.
    Yugoedoen aideureun modu momgapsi jibuldoeeo musahi jibeuro dorawatda.
    “The kidnapper demanded a ransom for the children and returned them home unharmed.”

검사geomsaprosecution 

Example:  

  • 검사는 피고에게 무기징역을 구형했다.
    Geomsaneun pigoege mugijingyeogeul guhyeonghaetda.
    “The prosecution demanded life imprisonment for the accused.”

무기징역mugijingyeoklife imprisonment

Example: 

  • 그는 무기징역을 선고 받았다.
    Geuneun mugijingyeogeul seongo badatda.
    “He was sentenced to life imprisonment.”

영장yeongjangwarrant

Example: 

  • 그에 대한 구속 영장이 발부되었다.
    Geue daehan yeongjangi balbudoeeotda.
    “A warrant has been issued for his arrest.”

증인jeunginwitness

Example: 

  • 그 서명에 대해서는 두 명의 증인이 증언했다.
    Geu seomyeonge daehaeseoneun du myeongui jeungini jeungeonhaetda.
    “The signature was attested by two witnesses.”

유언장yueonjangwill

Example: 

  • 당신의 유언장은 변호사에게 맡겨 두어야 합니다.
    Dangsinui yueonjangeun byeonhosaege matgyeo dueoya hamnida.
    “Your will should be lodged with your lawyer.”

조직적인 범죄 jojikjeogin beomjoeorganized crime

Example:  

  • 마약과 조직적 범죄와의 관련성이 있을 수도 있어요. 
    Mayakgwa jojikjeok beomjoewaui gwanryeonseongi isseul sudo isseoyo.
    “There might be a connection between drugs and organized crime.”

보증인bojeunginguarantor

Example: 

  • 보증인이 되어주시겠습니까?
    Bojeungini doeeojusigetsseumnikka?
    “Could you act as a guarantor?”

주민등록등본 jumindeungrokdeungboncertified copy of one’s residence registration

Example: 

  • 주민등록등본 한 통을 제출해 주세요.
    Jumindeungrokdeungbon han tongeul jechulhae juseyo.
    “Please submit a certified copy of your residence registration.”

유죄의yujoeuiguilty

Example:

  • 유죄의 평결이 내렸다.
    Yujoeui pangyeori naeryeotda.
    “A verdict of ‘guilty’ was returned.”

탄원서tanwonseopetition

Example: 

  • 동물 대상 실험 반대 탄원서에 서명해주시겠습니까?
    Dongmul daesang silheom bandae tanwonseoe semyeonghaejusigetseumnikka?
    “Could you sign a petition against animal testing?”

효력hyoryeokeffective (power)

Example: 

  • 이거는 법적 효력이 있는 거야 알지?
    Igeo beopjyeok hyoryeogi itneun geoya, alji?
    “You know that this has legal power, right?”

위증wijeungperjury

Example: 

  • 판사는 증인에게 위증하지 말라고 경고했다.
    Pansaneun jeunginege wijeunghaji mallago gyeonggohaetda.
    “The judge warned the witness not to commit perjury.”

기소되다gisodoedato be charged with

Example: 

  • 그는 갈취 혐의로 체포되어 기소되었다.
    Geuneun galchwi hyeomuiro chepodoeeo gisodoeeotda.
    “He was arrested and charged with extortion.”

위임사항wiimsahangterms of reference

Example: 

  • 그것의 위임사항이 뭐니?
    Geugesui wiimsahangi mwoni?
    “What are its terms of reference?”

투표tupyovote

Example:

  • 그는 투표를 거부함으로써 불만을 표했다. 
    Geuneun tupyoreul geobuhameuroseo bulmaneul pyohaetda.
    “He signaled his discontent by refusing to vote.”

증언jeungeontestimony

Example: 

  • 증언하는 것을 제가 거부해도 됩니까?
    Jega jeungeonhaneun geoseul geobuhal su issseumnikka?
    “Can I refuse to give testimony?”

대법원daebeobwonsupreme court

Example: 

  • 대법원은 서울에 위치해 있다.
    Daebeobwoneun seoure wichihae itda.
    “The Supreme Court is located in Seoul.”

기록 관리girok gwallirecordkeeping

Example: 

  • 기록 관리가 제대로 되고 있지 않아 그 문제의 전체 규모를 파악하기가 어렵다.
    Girok gwalliga jedero doego itji ana geu munjeui jeonche gyumoreul paakagiga eoryeopda.
    “Poor recordkeeping makes it difficult to determine the full extent of the problem.”

Two University Students Are Studying Advanced Korean Words to Pass an Exam

5. Alternative Words for Acing Korean Writing/Essays

Finally, here are some simpler Korean words and phrases (top row) followed by their more advanced counterparts (bottom row). Learning how to use these advanced Korean words and phrases correctly will help you score higher on exams and essays. 

말리다 (mallida) – “to stop someone from doing something”
만류하다 (manryuhada) – “to stop someone from doing something”

Examples:

  • 직원들의 만류에도 불구하고 사장님은 회사를 그만뒀다.
    Jigwondeurui mallyuedo bulguhago sajangnimeun hoesareul geumandwotda.
    “Despite the pressure from the employees, the boss quit the company.”
  • 가족들의 만류에도 불구하고 아버지는 전 재산을 기부했다. 
    Gajokdeurui mallyuedo bulguhago abeojineun jeon jaesaneul gibuhaetda.
    “In spite of family reluctance, his father donated all his fortune.”

서로 함께 행동을 주고 받다 (seoro hamkke haengdongeul jugo batda) – “to give and take action together”
상호작용 하다 (sanghojagyong hada) – “to interact with each other”

Examples: 

  • 수업시간에는 교사와 학생들은 서로 함께 행동을 주고 받는것이 중요합니다.
    Sueopsiganeneun gyosawa haksaengdeureun seoro hamkke haengdongeul jugo batneungeosi jungyohamnida.
    “It is important that a teacher and students give and take action together.”
  • 수업시간에는 교사와 학생들의 상호작용이 중요합니다. 
    Sueopsiganeneun gyosawa haksaengdeurui sanghojagyongi jungyojahmida.
    “Teacher-student interaction is important in class.”

사람을 보는 능력 (sarameul boneun neungnyeok) – “the ability to see people”
안목 (anmok) – “discerning eye”

Examples:

  • 다양한 경험을 하여 사람을 보는 능력을 길러야 합니다. 
    Dayanghan gyeongheomeul hayeo sarameul boneun neungnyeogeul gilleoya hamnida.
    “You need to develop your ability to see people through various experiences.”
  • 다양한 경험을 하여 안목을 길러야 합니다. 
    Dayanghan gyeongheomeul hayeo anmogeul gilleoya hamnida.
    “You need to develop your eyes through various experiences.”

끝나다 (kkeunnada) – “to finish”
종료하다 (jongryohada) – “to quit”

Examples:

  • 그것보다는, 그는 끝내기로 결정했다.
    Geugeotbodaneun, geuneun kkeunnaegiro gyeoljeonghaetda.
    “Rather, he has decided to finish.”
  • 그것보다는, 그는 종료하기로 결정했다.
    Geugeotbodaneun, geuneun jongryohagiro gyeoljeonghaetda.
    “Rather, he has decided to quit.”

주다 (juda) – “to give”
제공하다 (jegonghada) – “to provide”

Examples:

  • 당신의 신분을 증명할 뭔가를 줄 수 있습니까?
    Dangsinui sinbuneul jeungmyeonghal mwongareul jul su itseumnikka?
    “Can you give any proof of identity?”
  • 당신의 신분을 증명할 뭔가를 제시할 수 있습니까?
    Dangsinui sinbuneul jeungmyeonghal mwongareul jegong hal su itseumnikka?
    “Can you provide any proof of identity?”

배우다 (baeuda) – “to learn”
학습하다 (hakseupada) – “to learn”

Examples:

  • 네가 영어를 배우는 이유가 뭐니?
    Nega yeongeoreul baeuneun iyuga mwoni?
    “What is your reason for learning English?”
  • 네가 영어를 학습하는 이유가 뭐니?
    Nega yeongeoreul hakseupaneun iyuga mwoni?
    “What is your reason for learning English?”

더하다 (deohada) – “to add”
추가하다 (chugahada) – “to add”

Examples:

  • 로즈마리, 레몬즙, 뚱딴지, 생크림, 소금, 후추를 더하다.
    Rojeumari, lemonjeup, ttungttanji, saengkeurim, sogeum, huchureul deohada.
    “Add rosemary, lemon juice, Jerusalem artichokes, heavy cream, salt, and pepper.”
  • 로즈마리, 레몬즙, 뚱딴지, 생크림, 소금, 후추를 추가하다.
    Rojeumari, lemonjeup, ttungttanji, saengkeurim, sogeum, huchureul chugahada.
    “Add rosemary, lemon juice, Jerusalem artichokes, heavy cream, salt, and pepper.”

가지다 (gajida) – “to have”
소유하다 (soyuhada) – “to own”

Examples:

  • 그 국민투표에 참가할 권리를 가지다
    Geu gugmintupyoe chamgahal gwonlireul gajida
    “have the right to vote in the plebiscite”
  • 그 국민투표에 참가할 권리를 소유하다
    Geu gugmintupyoe chamgahal gwonlireul soyuhada
    “have the right to vote in the plebiscite”

들어오다 (deureooda) – “to come into” / “to enter”
유입되다 (yuipdoeda) – “to come” / “to enter” / “to come into”

Examples:

  • 이 바이러스는 외국에서 들어온 것 같습니다.
    I baireoseuneun oegugeseo dereoon geot gatseumnida.
    “This virus seems to have come from abroad.”
  • 이 바이러스는 외국에서 유입된 것 같습니다. 
    I baireoseuneun oegugeseo yuipdoen geot gatseumnida.
    “This virus seems to have come from abroad.”

주고 받다 (jugo batda) – “to exchange”
교류하다 (gyoryuhada) – “to exchange”

Examples:

  • 정보를 주고 받다 
    jeongboreul jugo batda
    “to exchange information”
  • 정보를 교류하다 
    jeongboreul gyoryuhada
    “to exchange information”

좋게 바꾸다 (joke bakkuda) – “to make something better”
개선하다 (gaeseonhada) – “to improve”

Examples:

  • 정책을 좋게 바꿔서 더 편리하게 생활 할 수 있도록 돕겠습니다.
    Jeongchaegeul joke bakkwoseo deo pyeollihage saenghwal hal su itdorok dopgetseumnida.
    “We will make our policies better to help you live more conveniently.”
  • 정책을 개선해서 더 편리하게 생활 할 수 있도록 돕겠습니다.
    Jeongchaegeul gaeseonhaeseo deo pyeollihage saenghwal hal su itdorok dopgetseumnida.
    “We will improve our policies to help you live more conveniently.”

많은 사람들 (maneun saramdeul) – “many people”
인파가 몰리다 (inpaga mollida) – “crowded”

Examples:

  • 1월 1일 해돋이를 보려고 동해 바다에 많은 사람들이 모였다.
    Iwol iril haedojireul boryeogo donghae badae maneun saramdeuri moyeotda.
    “Many people gathered at the East Sea to see the sunrise on January 1.”
  • 1월 1일 해돋이를 보려고 동해 바다에 많은 인파가 몰렸다. 
    Iwol iril haedojireul boryeogo donghae badae maneun inpaga mollyeotda.
    “A large crowd of people gathered at the East Sea to see the sunrise on January 1.”

선택하다 (seontaekada) – “to choose” / “to select”
발탁하다 (baltakada) – “to select”

Examples:

  • A회사는 광고모델로 김씨를 선택했다.
    Ahoesaneun gwanggomodello gimssireul seontaekaetda.
    “Company A chose Kim as its advertising model.”
  • A회사는 광고모델로 김씨를 발탁했다.
    Ahoesaneun gwanggomodello gimssireul baltakaetda.
    “Company A selected Mr. Kim as an advertising model.”

아주 원하다 (aju wonhada) – “to want something badly”
염원하다 (yeomwonhada) – “to wish”

Examples:

  • 국민들의 아주 원하는 것을 꼭 이뤄드리겠습니다. 
    Gukmindeurui aju wonhaneun geoseul kkok irwodeurigetsseumnida.
    “We will surely achieve what the people want.”
  • 국민들의 염원을 꼭 이뤄드리겠습니다. 
    Gukmindeurui yeomwoneul kkok irwodeurigetsseumnida.
    “We will surely fulfill what the people wish.”

길 (gil) – “street”
경로 (gyeongro) – “route” / “direction”

Examples:

  • 졸업식에 참가하시는 분들을 위해 오시는 길를 홈페이지에 안내하도록 하겠습니다.
    Joreopsige chamgahasineun bundeureul wihae osineun gilleul hompeijie annaehadorok hagetseumnida.
    “For those who are participating in the graduation ceremony, we will provide the directions on the website.”
  • 졸업식에 참가하시는 분들을 위해 오시는 경로를 홈페이지에 안내하도록 하겠습니다. 
    Joreopsige chamgahasineun bundeureul wihae osineun gyeongroreul hompeijie annaehadorok hagetseumnida.
    “For those who are participating in the graduation ceremony, we will provide the directions on the website.”

시작한 장소 (sijakan jangso) – “place from which something started”
발원지 (barwonji) – “origin”

Examples:

  • 그 바이러스가 시작한 장소는 부산이라고 합니다 .
    Geu baileoseuga sijakan jangsoneun busanirago hamnida.
    “The place where the virus started is called Busan.”
  • 그 바이러스의 발원지는 부산이라고 합니다.
    Geu baileoseuga barwonjineun jangsoneun busanirago hamnida.
    “The place where the virus originated is called Busan.”

일이 없어지다 (iri eopseojida) – “to lose one’s job”
밥줄이 끊기다 (bapjuri kkeunkida) – Direct translation: “The rice line is cut off”

Examples:

  • 갑자기 일이 없어졌다. 앞으로 생계가 막막해졌다.
    Gapjagi iri eopseojyeotda. Apeuro saenggyega mangmakaejyeotda.
    “Suddenly, there was no work. I’m at a loss over how to make ends meet.”
  • 당장 밥줄이 끊겼다. 앞으로 생계가 막막하다.
    Dangjang bapjuri kkeunkyeotda. Apeuro saenggyega mangmakaejyeotda.
    “There is no more work. I’m at a loss over how to make ends meet.”

사람이 없다 (sarami eopda) – “no one is here” 
발길이 끊기다 (balgiri kkeunkida) – Direct translation: “Be cut off”

Examples:

  • 레스토랑에 바퀴벌레가 나온 후 사람들이 오지 않아 가게에 사람이 한명도 없었다. 
    Reseutorange bakwibeollega naon hu saramdeuri oji ana gagee sarami hanmyeongdo eopseotda.
    “After cockroaches appeared in the restaurant, no people came, so there were no people in the store.”
  • 레스토랑에 바퀴벌레가 나온 후 사람들의 발길이 끊겼다. 
    Reseutorange bakwibeollega naon hu saramdeuri balgiri kkeunkyeotda.
    “After cockroaches appeared in the restaurant, people stopped coming.”

의미하다 (uimihada) – “to mean”
시사하다 (sisahada) – “to suggest”

Examples:

  • 그 뉴스는 한국 교육의 현실을 의미하고 있다. 
    Geu nyuseuneun hanguk gyoyugui hyeonsireul uimihago itda.
    “The news indicates the reality of Korean education.”
  • 그 뉴스는 한국 교육의 현실을 시사하고 있다.
    Geu nyuseuneun hanguk gyoyugui hyeonsireul sisahago itda.
    “The news suggests the reality of Korean education.”

끝에서 끝까지 한번에 보다 (kkeuteseo kkeutkkaji hanbeone boda) – “look at everything at once from end to end”
머리부터 발끝까지 훑어보다 (meoributeo balkkeutkkaji hulteoboda) – “scan from head to toe”

Examples:

  • 그 사람은 나를 만나자마자 끝에서 끝까지 한번에 보곤 인사도 하지 않고 그냥 걸어갔다.
    Geu sarameun nareul mannajamaja kkeuteseo kkeutkkaji hanbeone bogon insado haji anko geunyang georeogatda.
    As soon as he met me, he looked at me from end to end and walked away without saying hello.
  • 그 사람은 나를 만나자마자 머리부터 발끝까지 훑어보고는 인사도 하지 않고 그냥 걸어갔다.
    Geu sarameun nareul mannajamaja meoributeo balkkeutkkaji hulteobogoneun insado haji anko geunyang georeogatda.
    As soon as he met me, he looked from head to toe and walked away without saying hello.

모든 것 (modeun geot) – “everything”
일거수 일투족 (ilgeosu iltujok) – “everything” 

Examples: 

  • 교도소의 씨씨티비는 범죄자의 모든것을 항상 기록하고 있다.
    Gyodosoui ssissitibineun beomjoejaui modeungeoseul hangsang gilokago itda.
    “The prison’s CCTV keeps track of all the criminals.”
  • 교도소의 씨씨티비는 범죄자의 일거수일투족을 항상 기록하고 있다.
    Gyodosoui ssissitibineun beomjoejaui ilgeosu iltujogeul hangsang gilokago itda.
    “The prison’s CCTV always records every move of the criminal.”

사실과 다르게 거짓을 전달하다 (sasilgwa dareuge geojiseul jeondalhada) – “to convey a lie differently from the facts”
왜곡하다 (waegokada) – “to distort” / “to twist”

Examples:

  • 역사를 사실과 다르게하여 거짓을 전달하는 것은 용서할 수 없는 일이다.
    Yeoksareul sasilgwa dareugehayeo geojiseul jeondalhaneun geoseun yongseohal su eomneun irida.
    “It is unforgivable to make history different from facts to convey lies.”
  • 역사를 왜곡하여 가르치는 일은 용서할 수 없는 일이다.
    Yeoksareul waegokayeo gareuchineun ireun yongseohal su eomneun irida.
    “Teaching history by twisting it is unforgivable.”

결과의 원인이 되다 (gyeolgwaui wonini doeda) – “to cause consequences”
초래하다 (choraehada) – “to redound”

Examples: 

  • 한번의 실수가 위험한 결과의 원인이 될 수도 있으니까 조심하세요. 
    Hanbeonui silsuga wiheomhan gyeolgwaui wonini doel sudo isseunikka josimhaseyo.
    “Be careful, as a single mistake can cause dangerous consequences.”
  • 한번의 실수가 위험한 결과를 초래할 수도 있으니까 조심하세요. 
    Hanbeonui silsuga wiheomhan gyeolgwareul choraehal sudo isseunikka josimhaseyo.
    “Be careful, as a single mistake can have dangerous consequences.”

먼저하다 (meonjeohada) – “to do first”
선행되다 (seonhaengdoeda) “to precede”

Examples: 

  • 대학교 기숙사에 들어오기 위해서는 건강검진을 먼저 해야 합니다. 
    Daehakgyo gisugsae deureoogi wihaeseoneun geonganggeomjineul meonjeo haeya hamnida.
    “In order to enter the university dormitory, you must first undergo a medical examination.”
  • 대학교 기숙사에 들어오기 위해서는 건강검진이 선행돼야 합니다. 
    Daehakgyo gisugsae deureoogi wihaeseoneun geonganggeomjini seonhaengdwaeya hamnida.
    “A medical examination must precede your entrance to the university dormitory.”

가방끈이 길다 (gabangkkeuni gilda) – “learn a lot and have a high education”
Advanced word: 많이 배워 학력이 높다 (mani baewo hagnyeogi nopda) – “learn a lot and have a high education”

Examples:

  • 가방끈이 긴 사람이 오히려 이해관계에 더 철저하다.
    Gabangkkeuni gin sarami ohiryeo ihaegwangyei deo cheoljeohada.
    “Those with a high degree of education who have learned a lot are rather thorough in their interest.”
  • 많이 배워 학력이 높은 사람이 오히려 이해관계에 더 철저하다.
    Mani baewo hagnyeogi nopeun sarami ohiryeo ihaegwangyei deo cheoljeohada.
    “Those with a high degree of education who have learned a lot are rather thorough in their interest.”

가방끈이 짧다 (gabangkkeuni jjalda) – “have a low academic background”
많이 배우지 못해 학력이 낮다 (mani baeuji motae hagnyeogi natda) – “have a low academic background”

Examples:

  • 어려운 집안 사정으로 가방끈이 짧았던 아버지는 자식만큼은 대학에 보내려고 무진장 애를 쓰셨다.
    Eeoryeoun jiban sajeongeuro gabangkkeuni jjalbatdeon abeojineun jasikmankeumeun daehage bonaeryeogo mujinjang aereul sseusyeotda.
    “My father, who had a low academic background, struggled to send his children to college.”
  • 어려운 집안 사정으로 많이 배우지 못해 학력이 낮았던 아버지는 자식만큼은 대학에 보내려고 무진장 애를 쓰셨다.
    Eeoryeoun jiban sajeongeuro mani baeuji motae hagnyeogi najatdeon abeojineun jasikmankeumeun daehage bonaeryeogo mujinjang aereul sseusyeotd.
    “My father, whose education was low because he couldn’t learn much due to difficult family circumstances, struggled to send his children to college.”

마음속 깊이 원통한 생각이 맺히게 하다 (maeumsok gipi wontonghan saenggagi maechige hada) – “make deep thoughts of sadness in the heart”
가슴에 못을 박다 (gaseume moseul bakda) – “nail in the chest”

Examples:

  • 그는 부모님 마음속 깊이 원통한 생각이 맺히게 했다.
    Geuneun bumonim maeumsok gipi wontonghan saenggagi maechige haetda.
    “He made a sad new angle deep in his parents’ hearts.”
  • 그는 부모님 가슴에 못을 박는 불효를 저질렀다.
    Geuneun bumonim gaseume moseul bagneun bulhyoreul jeojilleotda.
    “He nailed his parents’ chests by being unfaithful to his spouse.”

상대편에게 모진 마음을 먹거나 흉악한 생각을 하다 (sangdaepyeonege mojin maeumeul meokgeona hyungakan saenggageul hada) – “feeling hard on the other side” or “thinking wickedly”
가슴에 칼을 품다 (gaseume kareul pumda) – “hold a sword in one’s chest”

Examples:

  • 당신이 그 말을 한 이후로 저 사람은 당신에게 모진 마음을 먹거나 흉악한 생각을 하고 있으니 조심하시오.
    Dangsini geu mareul han ihuro jeo sarameun dangsinege mojin maeumeul meokgeona hyungakan saenggageul hago isseuni josimhasio.
    “Be careful; since you said that, he’s been hard on you or has nasty thoughts.”
  • 당신이 그 말을 한 이후로 저 사람은 가슴에 칼을 품고 있으니 조심하시오.
    Dangsini geu mareul han ihuro jeo sarameun gaseume kareul pumgo isseuni josimhasio.
    “Be careful; he has a sword in his chest since you said that.”

불안하고 초조하여 마음을 펴지 못하고 있다 (buranhago chojohayeo maeumeul pyeoji motago itda) – “feeling anxious”
가슴이 콩알만 해지다 (gaseumi kongalman haejida) – “one’s heart grows like a bean”

Examples:

  • 무서운 폭음을 듣고 가슴이 불안하고 초조하여 마음을 펴지 못해졌다.
    Museoun pogeumeul deutgo gaseumi buranhago chojohayeo maeumeul pyeoji motaejyeotda.
    “When I heard the terrible binge drinking, my heart was anxious and nervous, and I couldn’t open my heart.”
  • 무서운 폭음을 듣고 가슴이 콩알만 해졌다.
    Museoun pogeumeul deutgo gaseumi kongalman haejeotda.
    “When I heard the terrible binge drinking, my heart became a bean.”

공격의 의도나 불평불만이 있다 (gonggyeogui uidona bulpyeongbulmani itda) – “intent to attack or complain about”
가시가 돋다 (gasiga dotda) – “intent to attack or complain about”

Examples:

  • 그는 공격의 의도나 불평불만으로 그녀에게 상처를 주었다.
    Geuneun gonggyeogui uidona bulpyeongbulmaneuro geunyeoege sangcheoreul judeotda.
    “He hurt her with the intention of attacking or complaining.”
  • 그는 가시가 돋은 말을 하여 그녀에게 상처를 주었다.
    Geuneun gasiga dodeun mareul hayeo geunyeoege sangcheoreul judeotda.
    “He hurt her with the intention of attacking or complaining.”

앙칼지고 고집이 세다 (angkaljigo gojibi seda) – “be stubborn”
가시가 세다 (gasiga seda) – “be stubborn”

Examples:

  • 그 아이는 앙칼지고 고집이 세기 때문에 만만치가 않다.
    Geu aineun angkaljigo gojibi segi ttaemune manmanchiga anta.
    “The child is anxious and stubborn, so it is not easy.”
  • 그 아이는 가시가 세어 만만치가 않다.
    Geu aineun gasiga seeo manmanchiga anta.
    “The child has so many thorns that it is not easy.”

주목을 받다 (jumogeul batda) – “attract attention”
각광을 받다 (gakgwangeul batda) – “be in the limelight” or “to gain attention”

Examples:

  • 우리 회사의 제품이 해외 시장에서 주목을 받기 시작했다.
    Uri hoesaui jepumi haeoe sijangeseo jumogeul batgi sijakaetda.
    “Our company’s products have begun to attract attention in overseas markets.”
  • 우리 회사의 제품이 해외 시장에서 각광을 받기 시작했다.
    Uri hoesaui jepumi haeoe sijangeseo gakgwangeul batgi sijakaetda.
    “Our company’s products have begun to gain attention in overseas markets.”

용기나 줏대 없이 남에게 굽히다 (yonggina jutdae eopsi namege gupida) – “bend to others without courage”
간도 쓸개도 없다 (gando sseulgaedo eopda) – “bend to others without courage”

Example:

  • 넌 간도 쓸개도 없니? 
    Neon gando sseulgaedo eopni?
    “Do you have neither a liver nor a gallbladder?” / “Are you being a coward?”

몹시 놀라다 (mopsi nollada) – “to be terribly surprised”
간이 떨어지다 (gani tteoreojida) – “to run out of liver” = “to be terribly surprised”

Examples:

  • 갑작스러운 폭발음에 몹시 놀랐다.
    Gapjakseureoun pokbareume mopsi nollatda.
    “I was terribly surprised by the sudden explosion.”
  • 갑작스러운 폭발음에 간이 떨어질 뻔했다.
    Gapjakseureoun pokbareume gani tteoreojil ppeonhaetda.
    “I was terribly surprised by the sudden explosion.”

겁이 없다 (geobi eopda) – “to have no fear”
간이 크다 (gani keuda) – “liver is large” = “to have no fear”

Examples:

  • 그는 보기보다 겁이 없다.
    Geuneun bogiboda geobi eopda.
    “He is less fearful than he looks.”
  • 그는 보기보다 간이 크다.
    Geuneun bogiboda gani keuda.
    “He is less fearful than he looks.”

서로 엇비슷할 정도의 아주 작은 차이 (seoro eotbiseutal jeongdoui aju jageun chai) – “very small differences that are similar to each other”
간발의 차이 (ganbarui chai) – “a small difference”

Examples:

  • 이번 달리기에서 나는 서로 엇비슷할 정도의 아주 작은 차이로 그를 이겼다.
    Ibeon dalligieseo naneun seoro eotbiseutal jeongdoui aju jageun chairo geureul igyeotda.
    “In this run, I beat him with very small differences that are similar to each other.”
  • 이번 달리기에서 나는 간발의 차이로 그를 이겼다.
    Ibeon dalligieseo naneun ganbarui chairo geureul igyeotda.
    “In this run, I beat him by a small margin.”

함부로 치고 때리다 (hamburo chigo ttaerida) – “to beat someone aggressively”
개 패듯하다 (gae paedeutada) – “to beat a dog aggressively”

Example:

  • 그렇게 사람을 개 패듯 하니 모든 사람들이 너를 싫어하잖아.
    Geureoke saremeul gae paedeusi hani modeun salamdeuri neoreul silreohajana.
    “Everyone hates you because you beat people like a dog.”

거짓말을 자주하다 (geojinmareul jajuhada) – “to lie often”
거짓말을 밥 먹듯 하다 (geojinmareul bap meokdeut hada) – “to lie often”

Examples:

  • 그 사람은 평소에 거짓말을 자주 하니  믿을수가 없어.
    Geu sarameun pyeongsoe geojinmareul jajuhani mideulsuga eopseo.
    “I can’t believe that person because he usually lies a lot.”
  • 그 사람은 평소에 거짓말을 밥 먹듯 하니 믿을수가 없어.
    Geu sarameun pyeongsoe geojinmareul bap meokdeut hani mideulsuga eopseo.
    “I can’t believe that person because he usually lies a lot.”

감정이 몹시 격해진 상태로 말하다 (gamjeongi mopsi gyeokaejin sangtaero malhada) – “to speak in a state of intense emotion”
거품을 물다 (geopumeul mulda) – “to speak in a state of intense emotion”

Examples:

  • 경찰서에 잡혀 온 교통사고 가해자는 자신이 오히려 피해자라며 감정이 몹시 격해진 상태로 말했다.
    Gyeongchalseoe japyeo on gyotongsago gahaejaneun jasini ohiryeo pihaejaramyeo ggamjeongi mopsi gyeokaejin sangtaero malhaetda.
    “The perpetrator of a traffic accident who was caught by the police said that he was rather a victim, and in a state of intense emotion.”
  • 경찰서에 잡혀 온 교통사고 가해자는 자신이 오히려 피해자라며 거품을 물고 대들었다.
    Gyeongchalseoe japyeo on gyotongsago gahaejaneun jasini ohiryeo pihaejaramyeo geopumeul mulgo daedeureotda.
    “The perpetrator of a traffic accident who was caught by the police said that he was rather a victim, and in a state of intense emotion.”

마음이 복잡하다 (maeumi bokjapada) – “feeling worried”
걱정이 태산이다 (geokjeongi taesanida) – “feeling worried”

Examples:

  • 앞으로 어떻게 살지 생각을 하니 마음이 복잡하다.
    Apeuro eotteoke salji saenggageul hani maeumi bokjapada.
    “I’m worried about how I’ll live in the future.”
  • 앞으로 어떻게 살지 생각을 하니 걱정이 태산이야.
    Apeuro eotteoke salji saenggageul hani geokjeongi taesanida.
    “I’m worried about how I’ll live in the future.”

매우 빨리 도망치다 (maeu ppalli domangchida) – “to run away very quickly”
걸음아 나 살려라 (georeuma na sallyeora) – “to run away very quickly”

Examples:

  • 호랑이를 보자마자 매우 빨리 도망쳤다.
    Horangireul bojamaja maeu ppalli domangchyeotda.
    “When I saw the tiger, I stepped up to save myself and ran away.”
  • 호랑이를 보자 걸음아 날 살려라 하고 달아났다.
    Horangireul bojamaja georeuma na sallyeora hago daranatda.
    “When I saw the tiger, I stepped up to save myself and ran away.”

물에 빠져 죽다 (mure ppajyeo jukda) – “to die from drowning”
고기밥이 되다 (gogibabi doeda) – “to die from drowning”

Examples:

  • 그 배에 타고 있던 사람들은 모두 물에 빠져 죽었다.
    Geu baee tago itdeon saramdeureun modu mure ppajyeo jugeotda.
    “All the people on the boat drowned.”
  • 그 배에 타고 있던 사람들은 모두 물에 빠져 고기밥이 되었다.
    Geu baee tago itdeon saramdeureun modu mure gogibabi doeeotda.
    “All the people on the boat drowned.”

긴장을 누그러뜨리다 (ginjangeul nugeureotteurida) – “to relieve tension”
고삐를 늦추다 (goppireul neutchuda) – “to relieve tension”

Examples:

  • 적군은 추격의 긴장을 누그러뜨리지 않았다.
    Jeokguneun chugyeogui ginjangeul nugeureotteuriji anatda.
    “The enemy forces did not ease the tension in the pursuit.”
  • 적군은 추격의 고삐를 늦추지 않았다.
    Jeokguneun chugyeogui goppireul neutchuji anatda.
    “The enemy forces did not ease the tension in the pursuit.”

앞으로 고생을 겪을 게 뻔하다. (Apeuro gosaengeul gyeokkeul ge ppeonhada.) – “It is almost certain that you will suffer in the future.”
고생문이 훤하다. (Gosaengmuni hwonhada.) – “It is almost certain that you will suffer in the future.”

Examples:

  • 너 이렇게 지내면 앞으로 고생을 겪을 게 뻔해.
    Neo ireoke jinaemyeon apeuro gosaengeul gyeokkeul ge ppeonhae.
    “If you stay like this, it’s obvious that you will suffer in the future.”
  • 너 이렇게 지내면 고생문이 훤해.
    Neo ireoke jinaemyeon gosaengmuni hwonhae.
    “If you stay like this, it’s obvious that you will suffer in the future.”

서로 앙숙 관계이다 (seoro angsuk gwangyeida) – “don’t get along together”
고양이와 개이다 (goyangiwa gaeida) – “don’t get along together”

Examples:

  • 두 사람은 서로 앙숙 관계이다.
    Du sarameun seoro angsuk gwangyeida.
    “The two have a hard relationship with each other.”
  • 두 사람은 고양이와 개의 관계이다.
    Du sarameun goyangiwa gaeui gwangyeida.
    “The two have a hard relationship with each other.”

사이가 틀어지다 (saiga teureojida) – “separated from one another”
금이 가다 (geumi gada) – “separated from one another”

Examples:

  • 서로 사이가 틀어졌다.
    Seuro saiga teureojyeotda.
    “We’ve gotten a bit different from each other.”
  • 우정에 금이 가다.
    Ujeonge geumi gada.
    “We’ve gotten a bit different from each other.”

슬그머니 피하다 (seulgeumeoni pihada) – “to sneak away”
꽁무니를 빼다 (kkongmunireul ppaeda) – “to sneak away”

Examples:

  • 내가 쳐다보니까 그 남자 슬그머니 피하더라고.
    Naega chyeodabonikka geu namja seulgeumeoni pihadeorago.
    “When I looked at him, he sneakily avoided me.”
  • 내가 쳐다보니까 그 남자 꽁무니를 빼더라고.
    Naega chyeodabonikka geu namja kkongmunireul ppaedeorago.
    “When I looked at him, he sneakily avoided me.”

나쁜 평가가 내려지다 (nappeun pyeonggaga naeryeojida) – “to have a bad reputation”
꼬리표가 붙다 (kkoripyoga butda) – “to have a bad reputation”

Examples:

  • 전과자라는 나쁜 평가가 내려지자 그 후로는 모두들 그와 어울리는 것을 꺼려했다.
    Jeongwajaraneun nappeun pyeonggaga naeryeojija geu huroneun modudeul geuwa eoullineun geoseul kkeoryeohaetda.
    “Everyone was reluctant to hang out with him because he had a bad reputation.”
  • 전과자라는 꼬리표가 붙자 그 후로는 모두들 그와 어울리는 것을 꺼려했다.
    Jeongwajaraneun kkoripyoga butja geu huroneun modudeul geuwa eoullineun geoseul kkeoryeohaetda.
    “Everyone was reluctant to hang out with him after he developed a bad reputation.”

We’ve covered several synonyms! Want to learn antonyms now? Then check out Antonyms: 15 Ways to Describe Opposites on KoreanClass101.com! 

A Woman Smiling with a Book on Her Head

KoreanClass101 can help you advance your Korean level!

6. How KoreanClass101 Can Help You with Your Korean Studies

You learned a lot of advanced Korean words in this article. I hope you’re not too overwhelmed! If you are, make sure to take a break! Learning a language takes time, so don’t pressure yourself by trying to learn everything in one go. Take your time to understand and practice each word by writing a diary in Korean or talking with a native Korean speaker.

Looking for a fun but thorough Korean learning resource? You’ve found it! 

At KoreanClass101.com, we provide our learners with a huge variety of free lessons for every proficiency level. We highly recommend you check out our advanced Korean course to get started, but feel free to explore all of our other great tools and resources (like these free vocabulary lists or this dictionary!). Create your free lifetime account and start learning Korean like never before. 

Good luck!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Korean

Negative Sentences in Korean

Thumbnail

How many times a day do you answer a question with “no,” politely reject an invitation, or ask someone not to do something? Pretty often, right? 

Depending on your personality, saying no might come as naturally as breathing to you. But what about in a foreign language?

As you study Korean, one of the most important things you’ll learn is how to form negative sentences. This is a skill that will make you a more effective communicator and add depth to your day-to-day interactions with native speakers. 

In this article, you’ll learn how to construct negative sentences in Korean and become familiar with the most common words of negation. Let’s dive in.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Korean Table of Contents
  1. Negate a Statement
  2. Giving a Negative Response to a Question
  3. Other Negating Words and Phrases
  4. KoreanClass101 Can Help with Your Korean Studies!

1. Negate a Statement

To begin, let’s examine how to make negative Korean sentences. There are a few different structures you can use: 

1.  안 (an) + Predicate // 못 (mot) + Predicate 

The negative 안 (an) is an abbreviation of 아니 (ani), meaning “no.” The negative 못 (mot) means “cannot.” You can easily make a negative sentence or phrase by placing either 안 (an) or 못 (mot) in front of the predicate. 

For example: 

1. 안 (an) + Verb

  • 안 (an) + 가요 (gayo) ➞ 안 가요 (an gayo) – “not going”
  • 안 (an) + 마셔요 (masyeoyo) ➞ 안 마셔요 (an masyeoyo) – “not drinking”
  • 안 (an) + 자요 (jayo) ➞ 안 자요 (an jayo) – “not sleeping”

2. 안 (an) + Adjective 

  • 안 (an) + 아파요 (apayo) ➞ 안 아파요 (an apayo) – “not painful”
  • 안 (an) + 예뻐요 (yeppoyo) ➞ 안 예뻐요 (an yeppoyo) – “not pretty”
  • 안 (an) + 바빠요 (bappayo) ➞ 안 바빠요 (an bappayo) – “not busy”

3. 못 (mot) + Verb 

  • 못 (mot) + 가요 (gayo) ➞ 못 가요 (mot gayo) – “cannot go”
  • 못 (mot) + 마셔요 (masyeoyo) ➞ 못 마셔요 (mot masyeoyo) – “cannot drink”
  • 못 (mot) + 자요 (jayo) ➞ 못 자요 (mot jayo) – “cannot sleep”

Remember that 못 (mot) is related to one’s inability to do something. You should not confuse it with the negative particle 안 (an).

For example:

  • 아파요 (apayo) ➞ 못 아파요 (mot apayo) – “cannot be painful” (X)
  • 아파요 (apayo) ➞ 안 아파요 (an apayo) – “not painful” (O)

2. Stem + ~지 않아요 (~ji anayo) // Stem + ~지 못해요 (~ji mothaeyo)

To make this Korean negative form, add 지 (ji) to the stem of the verb or adjective, followed by the negative auxiliary 않다 (anta) or 못 하다 (mot hada). 

For example: 

1. Verb stem + 지 않다 (ji anta)

  • 가다 (gada) ➞ 가지 않아요 (gaji anayo) – “(I) don’t go.” 
  • 먹다 (meokda) ➞ 먹지 않아요 (meokji anayo) – “(I) don’t eat.” 
  • 마시다 (masida) ➞ 마시지 않아요 (masiji anayo) – “(I) don’t drink.” 

2. Adjective stem + 지 않다 (ji anta)

  • 넓다 (neolbda) ➞ 넓지 않아요 (neolbji anayo) – “(It) isn’t spacious.” 
  • 싸다 (ssada) ➞ 싸지 않아요 (ssaji anayo) – “(It) isn’t cheap.” 
  • 크다 (keuda) ➞ 크지 않아요 (keuji anayo) – “(It) isn’t big.” 
  • 비싸다 (bissada) ➞ 비싸지 않아요 (bissaji anayo) – “(It) isn’t expensive.” 

3. Verb stem + 지 못 하다 (ji mot hada)

  • 팔다 (palda) ➞ 팔지 못 해요 (paji mothaeyo) – “(I) cannot sell.” 
  • 뛰다 (ttwida) ➞ 뛰지 못 해요 (ttwiji mothaeyo) – “(I) cannot run.” 
  • 읽다 (ikda) ➞ 읽지 못 해요 (ikji mothaeyo) – “(I) cannot read.” 

3. The Auxiliary Verb 말다 (malda

To make an imperative sentence negative in Korean, use the auxiliary verb 말다 (malda). This word has a polite form and a casual form:

Polite: 하지 말아요 (haji marayo) – “Please don’t do…”
Casual: 하지마 (hajima) – “Don’t do…”

For example: 

1. Polite Form of 말다

  • 게임을 하지 말아요. (Geimeul haji marayo.) – “Please don’t play the game.” 
  • 뛰어 놀지 말아요. (Ttwieo nolji marayo.) – “Please don’t run around.” 
  • 소주를 많이 마시지 말아요. (Sojuleul mani masiji marayo.) – “Please don’t drink too much soju.” 
  • 집에 가지 말아요. (Jibe gaji marayo.) – “Please don’t go home.”

2. Casual Form of 말다 

  • 게임(을) 하지 마. (Geim[eul] haji ma.) “Don’t play the game.” 
  • 뛰어 놀지 마. (Ttwieo nolji ma.) – “Don’t run around.” 
  • 소주 많이 마시지 마. (Soju manh-i masiji ma.) – “Don’t drink too much soju.” 
  • 집에 가지 마. (Jibe gaji ma.) – “Don’t go home.”

Four Colleagues Having a Discussion

4. ~없다 (eopda) – “to not have”

~없다 (eopda) indicates that you don’t have something, and it’s the opposite of ~있다 (itda), which means “to have.”

For example:

  • 시간이 없어요. (Sigani eopseoyo.) – “I don’t have time.”
  • 돈이 없어요. (Doi eopseoyo.) – “I don’t have money.”
  • 애완동물이 없어요. (Aewandongmuri eopseoyo.) – “I don’t have a pet.”

 ~없다 (eopda) can also be used to mean that something was not at a particular location. 

For example:

  • 사람이 한명도 없었어요. (Sarami hanmyeongdo eopseoyo.) – “There was not even one person.” 
  • 수미는 지금 한국에 없어요. (Sumineun jigeum hanguge eopseoyo.) – “Sumi is not in Korea now.”

5. 싫어하다 (sireohada) – “to not like”

싫어하다 (sireohada) is a verb that’s used to say that one does not like something. The opposite of 싫어하다 (sireohada) is 좋아하다 (joahada), which means “to like something.”

For example:

  • 저는 동물을 좋아해요. (Jeoneun dongmureul joahaeyo.) – “I like animals.”
  • 저는 동물을 싫어해요. (Jeoneun dongmul-eul sireohaeyo.) – “I dislike animals.”
  • 저는 여름을 좋아해요. (Jeoneun yeoreumeul joahaeyo.) – “I like summer.”
  • 저는 여름을 싫어해요. (Jeoneun yeoreumeul sireohaeyo.) – “I dislike summer.”

6. ~ 기 싫다 (~gi silta) – “don’t want to”

~ 기 싫다 (~gi silta) is used to express that one doesn’t want to (or like to) do something, with that something being an action verb. To construct this type of sentence, the rule is as follows: 

Verb 기 (gi) + 싫다 (silta

Let’s practice with the verbs 걷다 (geotda) and 쓰다 (sseuda)!

We must transform these action verbs into nouns to use them in this structure:

걷다 (geotda) – “to walk” ➞ 걷기 (geotgi)
쓰다 (sseuda) – “to write” ➞ 쓰기 (sseugi)

For example: 

  • 걷기 싫어. (geodgi sireo.) – “I dislike walking.” 
  • 일기 쓰기 싫어. (ilgi sseugi sireo.) – “I dislike writing a diary.”

A Figure Standing through a Red Cancellation Symbol and Indicating No

How do you say “no” in Korean?

2. Giving a Negative Response to a Question 

A common situation in which you might need to use negation in Korean is when giving a negative answer to a question. There are a few ways you can do this:

1. 아니다 (anida) – “not to be”

아니다 (anida) means “not to be.” Like most Korean verbs, this one is conjugated by removing ~다 (~da) to get the verb stem 아니 (ani).

For example:

  • 그릇 누가 깼어? 너야? (Geureut nuga kkaesseo? Neoya?) – “Who broke the bowl? Is it you?”
  • 아니, 나 아니야. (Ani, na aniya.) – “No, it’s not me.”
  • 혹시 수미 씨? (Hoksi sumi ssi?) – “Are you Sumi?”
  • 아니요, 수미 아니예요. (Aniyo, sumi aniyeyo.) – “No, I’m not Sumi.”

2. 아니 (ani) + ㅂ니다 (mnida) = 아닙니다 (animnida)

This negative form is also used to say “not to be,” as explained above. The only difference is that 아니야 (aniya) is casual and 아닙니다 (animnida) is more polite.

For example: 

  • 아까 도와주셔서 감사해요. (Akka dowajusyeoseo gamsahaeyo.) – “Thank you for helping me earlier.”
  • 아닙니다. (Animnida.) – “No problem.” 
    • * The direct translation is “not to be,” but in context it means “no problem” or “don’t mention it.”

3. Noun1 는 (neun) or 은 (eun) +  Noun2 가 (ga) +이 (i) + 아닙니다 (animnida)

This structure forms a complete negative sentence. We highly recommend you memorize it because it’s commonly used and you can use this sentence structure in any situation. For example, you could say that [Noun1] is not [Noun2]:

  • 저는 학생이 아닙니다. (Jeoneun haksengi animnida.) – “I am not a student.”
  • 요한은 의사가 아닙니다. (Yohaneun uisaga animnida.) – “Yohan is not a doctor.”
  • 요한은 영국사람이 아닙니다. (Yohaneun yeongguksarami animnida.) – “Yohan is not British.”

If you’re not sure whether to use 는 (neun) or 은 (eun), here’s the rule: 

  • (neun) is used after words ending in a vowel.
  • (eun) is used after words ending in a consonant.

Six Coworkers at a Round Table Doing Work

Learning negating words will help you effectively communicate with others.

3. Other Negating Words and Phrases

To conclude, let’s look at just a few more Korean negators and how to use them. 

1. 절대로 (jeoldaero) – “Never” 

절대로 그 사람들과 싸워서는 안돼.
Jeoldaelo geu saramdeulgwa ssawoseoneun andwae.
“You should never fight them.”

2. 아무도 (amudo) – “No one”

아무도 내 이름을 몰라.
Amudo nae ireumeul molla.
“Nobody knows my name.”

3. 어디에도 (eodiedo) – “Nowhere”

휴, 내가 앉을 데가 어디에도 없어.
Hyu, naega anj-eul dega eodiedo eopseo.
“Sigh, there was nowhere for me to sit.”

4. 거의…할 수가 없다 (geoui…hal suga eobsda) – “Hardly”

(너무 졸려서) 눈을 제대로 뜨고 있을 수가 없어.
(Neomu jollyeoseo) nuneul jedaero tteugo isseul suga eopseo.
“I can hardly keep my eyes open.”

5. 별로 (byeolo) – “Not particularly,” “Not especially”

별로 크지 않아. 
Byeollo keuji ana.
“It’s not particularly big.”

Here are a couple more pages on KoreanClass101.com where you can study more negative vocabulary: 


A Lady in a Blue Shirt Giving a Speech to Her Colleagues

4. KoreanClass101 Can Help with Your Korean Studies!

In this article, you’ve learned everything about negation in Korean, from basic negative expressions to more advanced rules. If you would like to continue learning with us, KoreanClass101 also has tons of vocabulary lists with audio recordings as well as free resources to keep your Korean learning entertaining! Also, you can upgrade to Premium PLUS in order to access all of our study materials and get personal 1-on-1 coaching!

To explore today’s topic further, here are study pages from KoreanClass101 and across the web where you can learn more about negation!

Before you go, let us know in the comments how confident you feel about forming Korean negative sentences now! We look forward to hearing from you, and will do our best to help if you have any questions or concerns.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Korean

Learn Korean Tenses

Thumbnail

There’s no denying that K-Pop has taken over the world and played a huge role in popularizing the Korean language. According to The Korea Herald, the King Sejong Institute is busy at work opening new Korean-language learning centers around the globe. This institute currently operates 172 branches and teaches Korean to 57,000 students in 56 different countries. 

Whether you’re learning the Korean language to understand the lyrics of your favorite K-Pop songs or to follow along with the subtitles for Korean films, you’ve come to the right place! 

Korean tenses are an essential part of the Korean language you should become familiar with early on. In today’s article, we’ll teach you about the present, past, and future tenses in Korean and show you how they’re formed. The information provided here is intended for beginners, but intermediate and advanced students can also read it to brush up on their skills. 

Let’s go!

The Word Goals and a Blank Numbered List

Having a goal is very important in learning the Korean language.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Korean Table of Contents
  1. Present Tense
  2. Past Tense
  3. Future Tense
  4. Revise Your Knowledge with KoreanClass101!
  5. Why Learn with Us?

1. Present Tense

The Korean present tense is used to describe something that is happening in the present. Take the English phrases “I eat” and “I drink,” for example. There are three different ways to form the present tense in Korean. 

RULE #1

When the last syllable of the stem ends in a consonant, -는다 (-neunda) is added to the stem of the word. 

For example:

  • 먹다 (meokda) – “to eat” 
    • 먹 (meok) + 는다 (neunda) = 먹는다 (meokneunda) or “I eat”
  • 닫다 (datda) – “to close” 
    • 닫 (dat) + 는다 (neunda) = 닫는다 (datneunda) or “I close”

Example sentences:

  • 라면을 먹는다. (Ramyeoneul meokneunda.) – “I eat ramen.”
  • 문을 닫는다. (Muneul datneunda.) – “I close the door.”

RULE #2

When the last syllable of the stem ends in a vowel, -ㄴ (-n) is added to the last syllable followed by 다 (da). 

For example:

  • 배우다 (baewuda) – “to learn” 
    • 배우 (baewu) + ㄴ다 (nda) = 배운다 (baewunda) or “I learn”
  • 공부하다 (gongbuhada) – “to study” 
    • 공부하 (gongbuha) + ㄴ다 (nda) = 공부한다 (gongbuhanda) or “I study” 
  • 가다 (gada) – “to go” 
    • 가 (ga) + ㄴ다 (nda) = 간다 (ganda) or “I go” 
  • 오다 (oda) – “to come” 
    • 오 (o) + ㄴ다 (nda) = 온다 (onda) or “I come”

Example sentences:

  • 영어를 배운다. (Yeongeoreul baewunda.) – “I learn English.”
  • 한국어를 공부한다. (Hangukeoreul gongbuhanda.) – “I study Korean.”
  • 집으로 간다. (Jibeuro ganda.) – “I go home.”
  • 친구가 온다. (Chinguga onda.) – “My friend comes.”

RULE #3

This grammar rule is used to describe something happening right now, such as “I am eating” and “I am drinking” in English. 

Remove the stem and simply add -고 있어요 (-go itseoyo) to complete the sentence. 

For example:

  • 먹다 (meokda) – “to eat”
    • 먹 (meok) + 고 있어요 (go isseoyo) = 먹고 있어요 (meokgo isseoyo) or “I’m eating”
  • 마시다 (masida) – “to drink”
    • 마시 (masi) + 고 있어요 (go isseoyo) = 마시고 있어요 (masigo isseoyo) or “I’m drinking”
  • 입다 (ibda) – “to put on” or “to wear”
    • 입 (ib) + 고 있어요 (go isseoyo) = 입고 있어요 (ipgo isseoyo) or “I’m wearing”

Example sentences: 

  • 밥을 먹고 있어요. (Babeul meokgo isseoyo.) – “I am eating some rice.” 
  • 물을 마시고 있어요.  (Mureul masigo isseoyo.) – “I am drinking some water.”
  • 드레스를 입고 있어요. (Deureseureul ipgo isseoyo.) – “I am wearing a dress.”
A Swirly Clock Picture

The conversation will be a lot smoother if you can construct tenses correctly.

2. Past Tense

The past tense is used to describe actions that took place at some point in the past, which is especially important in storytelling or conveying certain types of information. There are three ways to form the Korean past tense. 

RULE #1 

When the final vowel of a verb is ㅗ (o) orㅏ(a), add -았다 (-atda).

For example:

  • 만나다 (mannada) – “to meet” 
    • 만나 (manna) + 았다 (atda) = 만났다 (manatda) or “I met”
  • 가다 (gada) – “to go” 
    • 가 (ga) + 았다 (atda) = 갔다 (gatda) or “I went”

Example sentences:

  • 친구를 만났다. (Chingureul mannatda.) – “I met a friend.”
  • 집으로 갔다. (Jibeuro gatda.) – “I went home.”

RULE #2

When the final vowel of a verb is anything but ㅗ (o) orㅏ(a), add -었다 (-eotda).

For example:

  • 먹다 (meokda) – “to eat” 
    • 먹 (meok) + ~았다 (-atda) = 먹었다 (meokatda) or “I ate”
  • 배우다 (baewuda) – “to learn” 
    • 배우 (baewu) + ~았다 (-atda) = 배웠다 (baeweotda) or “I learned”

Example sentences: 

  • 수박을 먹었다. (Subageul meogeotda.) – “I ate a watermelon.”
  • 한국어를 배웠다. (Hangugeoreul baeweotda.) – “I studied Korean.”

RULE #3

If a verb ends with the syllable 하 (ha), add -였다 (-yeotda).

For example:

  • 요리하다 (yorihada) – “to cook” 
    • 요리하 (yoriha) + 였다 (yeotda) = 요리했다 (yorigatda) or “I cooked”
  • 공부하다 (gongbuhada) – “to study” 
    • 공부하 (gongbuha) + 였다 (yeotda) = 공부했다 (gongbuhaetda) or “I studied”

Example sentences:

  • 한식을 요리하다. (Hansigeul yorihada.) – “I cooked Korean dishes.”
  • 요리를 공부했다. (Yorireul gongbuhaetda.) – “I studied cooking.”
Someone Celebrating at the Top of a Big Flight of Stairs

Learning the Korean language takes time, but it’s absolutely worth it!

3. Future Tense

The future tense is used to talk about future events. There are two Korean future tenses: one that describes something that will happen in the future and one that describes what might happen

Simple Future Tense

The simple future tense is very easy to learn because all you need to do is add -겠다 (-getta) to the stem of a verb. Simple, right? 

For example:

  • 배우다 (baewuda) – “to learn” 
    • 배우 (baewu) + 겠다 (getda) = 배우겠다 (baewugetda) or “I will learn”
  • 먹다 (meokda) – “to eat” 
    • 먹 (meok) + 겠다 (getda) = 먹겠다 (meokgetda) or “I will eat” 
  • 가다 (gada) – “to go” 
    • 가 (ga) + 겠다 (getda) = 가겠다 (gagetda) or “I will go” 
  • 키우다 (kiuda) – “to raise” 
    • 키우 (kiu) + 겠다 (getda) = 키우겠다 (kiugetda) or “I will raise” 

Example sentences: 

  • 포토샵을 배우겠다. (Potosyapeul baewugetda.) – “I will learn Photoshop.”
  • 나중에 먹겠다. (Najunge meokgetda.) – “I will eat later.”
  • 저녁에 가겠다. (Jeonyuge gagetda.) – “I will go in the evening.”
  • 토끼를 키우겠다. (Tokkireul kiwugetda.) – “I will raise a rabbit.” 

Probable Future 

The probable future tense is used when you want to say, “I will probably ___.” The rule is to attach 으 (eu) or ㄹ  거에요 (r geoyeyo) to the verb stem. 

Here are the rules:

1) If the stem ends in a consonant, attach 을 거예요 (eul geoyeyo).

2) If it ends in a vowel, attach ㄹ 거예요 (r geoyeyo).

  • 먹다 (meokda) – “to eat” 
    • 먹 (meok) + 을 거예요 (eul geoyeyo) = 먹을 거예요 (meogeul geoyeyo) or “I will probably eat”
  • 가다 (gada) – “to go” 
    • 가 (ga) + ㄹ 거예요 (r geoyeyo) = 갈 거예요 (gal geoyeyo) or “I will probably go”
Students Taking an Exam in a Classroom

Revise, revise, and revise! It is the fastest way to learn Korean well.

4. Revise Your Knowledge with KoreanClass101! 

How about a quick exercise to revise everything you’ve learned today? 

Below is a table featuring words from our free list “Vocabulary for the 25 Most Commonly Used Verbs of Any Language.” You can either print out this page or get a notebook ready, and fill in the answers for the blank cells. Don’t be discouraged if you struggle to remember the correct answers! When you’re done with the exercise, simply drag each column to see the answer. 

Dictionary FormPresent TensePast TenseFuture Tense
먹다 (meokda)먹는다 (meokneunda)먹었다 (meokeotda)먹겠다 (meokgetda)
가다 (gada)간다 (ganda)갔다 (gatda)가겠다 (gagetda)
사용하다 (sayonghada)사용한다 (sayonghanda)사용했다 (sayonghaetda)사용하겠다 (sayonghageta)
보다 (boda)본다 (bonda)봤다 (bwatda)보겠다 (bogetda)
일하다 (ilhada)일한다 (ilhanda)일했다 (ilhaeta)일하겠다 (ilhageta)
말하다 (malhada)말한다 (malhanda)말했다 (malhaetda)말하겠다 (malhagetda)
오다 (oda)온다 (onda)왔다 (watda)오겠다 (ogetda)
마시다 (masida)마신다 (masinda)마셨다 (masyeotda)마시겠다 (masigetda)
자다 (jada)잔다 (janda)잤다 (jatda)자겠다 (jageta)
생각하다 (saengakhada)생각한다 (saengakhanda)생각했다 (saengakhaetda)생각하겠다(saengakhageta)
알아듣다 (aladeutda)알아듣는다 (aladeutneunda)알아들었다 (aladeuleotda)알아들겠다 (aladeulgetda)
물어보다 (mureoboda)물어본다 (mureobonda)물어봤다 (mureobwatda)물어보겠다 (mureobogetda)
주다 (juda)준다(junda)줬다 (jweotda)주겠다 (jugetda)
시작하다 (sijakhada)시작한다(sijakhanda)시작했다 (sijakhaetda)시작하겠다 (sijakhagetda)

How many did you get right? If you’re still struggling to understand Korean tenses, go back to the corresponding section from the article and try it again. Practice makes perfect! 

Here’s another list of Korean verbs from our website that you can use to practice the past, present, and future tenses:

And here are lessons that we made just for you (that is, if you’re an absolute beginner):

Did you find those too easy? Here are some pages for intermediate and advanced learners:

Check out these other pages from the web to learn more about Korean-language verbs in general: 


5. Why Learn with Us? 

KoreanClass101 offers free vocabulary lists and a free dictionary where you can learn new words and practice their pronunciation. We also have a Korean word of the day feature, which allows you to receive a free daily Korean lesson from us. We know that some Korean learners love challenging themselves by memorizing a word everyday, so we’ve also compiled the Korean Core 100 Word List so that you can challenge yourself and learn Korean words that are used every day in Korea. We also have 200-, 300-, and 2000-word lists! So do check them out if you’re up to the challenge!

Have a question? Feel free to leave a comment below or simply visit our forum page where you can learn all about Korea and practice your language skills. A lot of Korean learners share their Korean travel experiences and provide learning tips here. In addition, native Korean speakers also visit this page to help Korean learners like yourself.

We hope you enjoyed reading this article, and good luck with your Korean studies!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Korean

How Long Does it Take to Learn Korean?

Thumbnail

Many aspiring Korean learners are plagued by a common question: How long does it take to learn Korean? 

Unfortunately, there’s no definite answer. It really depends on a number of factors, such as your native language, education, experience with languages, exposure, and motivation.

Your intended proficiency level also plays a role in determining how long it takes to learn the Korean language. Do you want to be able to… 

  • …read simple Korean words? 
  • …hold a conversation with locals? 
  • …work in South Korea? 

Each of these goals requires a different skillset and time commitment, so keep this in mind before taking the leap and beginning your studies. 

In this article, you’ll learn how to estimate how long it will take you to learn the Korean language based on your background and the proficiency level you have in mind. As a reference point, we’ll be using standards from the TOPIK proficiency test.

A Ticking Timer against a White Background

Mastering the Korean language takes time and effort.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Korean Table of Contents
  1. The Many Factors That May Impact Your Studies
  2. TOPIK Beginner’s Level
  3. TOPIK’s Intermediate Level
  4. TOPIK’s Advanced Level
  5. How KoreanClass101 Can Help You Reach Your Goals

The Many Factors That May Impact Your Studies

Before we jump right into how long it takes to reach each level, there are a few factors you need to keep in mind. 

Your Native Language vs. Korean 

Thanks to King Sejong, you don’t need to learn all the complicated Chinese characters to learn Korean! But you do need to understand that Koreans use Sino-Korean vocabulary, which refers to Korean words of Chinese origin and words directly borrowed from the Chinese language. For this reason, if your first language is Chinese or Japanese (Kanji), you’ll get the hang of Sino-Korean vocabulary a lot faster than speakers of other languages will. 

Your Language Learning Experience 

If you already speak a foreign language or have been raised in a bilingual (or even a trilingual) environment, you’ll save so much time! It’s usually faster to pick up a third or fourth language than it is to learn a second language. A new study from the University of Haifa revealed that bilinguals can pick up a third language more effectively than monolinguals can a second language. This is because bilinguals have already developed an aptitude for language learning. 

Your Motivation and Attitude

Whether you want to learn the Korean language to understand the lyrics of your favorite K-pop songs or because you want to work in South Korea, your motivation and attitude toward learning Korean will significantly affect how quickly you pick up the language. 

Learning Methods

Are you planning to study Korean casually on your own? Or are you already in a Korean-speaking country and fully immersed in the language? Maybe you want to go to a language school or learn online? There are many different learning methods out there, so make sure you choose the one that suits you best.

Businessmen Climbing Ladders and Charting Their Success

Little by little, you’ll reach the level you want.

TOPIK Beginner’s Level

Reaching the beginner level of Korean is a huge milestone and a victory that will propel you forward in your studies. But how long does this usually take? 

The TOPIK test ranks beginners as either Level 1 or Level 2, depending on how well they score. Here’s what each level means: 

Level 1
  • You can use basic survival phrases and sentences, such as those used for greeting or placing orders.
  • You can express yourself in everyday conversations on familiar topics.
  • Your vocabulary consists of about 800 basic words.

Level 2 
  • You can hold short discussions on familiar topics.
  • You can correctly distinguish between formal and informal situations.
  • Your vocabulary consists of about 1500-2000 words. 

At this level, you’ll have a very limited vocabulary but can participate in greetings or short talks about your day. It will take about three to six months to reach the beginner level, depending on your study schedule. At this point, it’s important to master Korean spelling and to build a strong fundamental grammar foundation. Without this foundation in place, it will be challenging for you to move forward.

The perfect way to study at this stage is to write each Korean character down on a piece of paper several times until you have each one memorized. To start, you can download free PDF materials from KoreanClass101.com on the page Learn the Korean Alphabet, Hangul, from A to Z!

Once you’ve familiarized yourself with the Korean characters, move on to learning the basic Korean grammar rules. After that, I recommend you learn basic phrases for introducing yourself, greeting people, and even ordering food at a restaurant! KoreanClass101.com has you covered with the following lesson series: 

Learning basic Korean grammar principles will help you build your vocabulary skills, too. Check out the pages below if you want to speed up your studies and learn the most important and commonly used words.

At this level, flashcards will be your best friends! We recommend you check out a few different apps that provide a flashcard function.

If you’re struggling to understand the rules of grammar or anything related to the Korean language, ask around. Our Korean forum is a great place to ask questions to other Korean students as well as native Korean speakers.

A Man Trying to Pronounce Letters that Are Foreign to Him

The more you practice the Korean language, the faster you will reach the level you want!

TOPIK’s Intermediate Level

Your next milestone will be to reach the intermediate level of Korean. But what exactly does this look like, and how long will it take to get there? The TOPIK test has two intermediate level rankings: Level 3 and Level 4. 

Level 3
  • You can maintain social relationships and carry out basic conversations while in public.
  • You understand how to speak correct Korean and use words appropriately.
  • You have a good understanding of and command over the fundamentals of the language.

Level 4
  • You can accurately comprehend news articles, social issues, and abstract topics in Korean.
  • You have good comprehension of Korean social and cultural content, and can understand essential idioms and other defining features of Korean culture.

It can take anywhere from one to two years to reach Level 3, which equates to about 600 hours of studying

At this level, you have familiarized yourself with Korean spelling and basic Korean grammar concepts. You also have the ability to hold short conversations and exchanges, such as greeting someone or buying items. Here are some KoreanClass101 lesson series you can study in conjunction with your textbooks: 

In order to achieve Level 4, you should be willing to dedicate 2 to 4 years (or about 1,000 hours) of studying. The great news is that once you reach this level, you can start learning more complex grammar rules and a variety of verb conjugations used in advanced contexts.

If you’re studying on your own, this would be a good time to get at least a few hours of private lessons or online coaching to solidify your knowledge and make sure you’re on the right track. Also, watching Korean dramas, films, or even news stations is a great way to level up your Korean language skills. Here are a few more Korean resources you can check out on KoreanClass101.com:  

This is only a snapshot of what we have to offer our learners. When you have time, explore our site to get an even better idea of how we can help you reach the intermediate level and beyond!

Two Ladies Working in an Office

TOPIK’s Advanced Level

Are you shooting for the stars and hoping to attain an advanced level of Korean? Good for you—we know you can do it. But how long does it take to learn Korean fluently? 

Level 5
  • You are fluent enough in Korean to perform professional research or work-related tasks in the language.
  • You can understand and discuss less familiar topics in politics, economics, and similar fields.
  • You can appropriately use expressions, distinguishing between formal and informal as well as written and spoken Korean.

Level 6
  • You are completely fluent in Korean for professional research or work.
  • You are able to understand and express yourself with no issues (though you’re still not quite as fluent as a native speaker).

At this stage, you can use Korean fluently and accurately in academic or professional contexts.

If you want to achieve this level, be prepared. It will take at least a few years, though just how quickly you learn depends on you and your methods for studying. Nevertheless, expect to spend about 1,500 hours or more to get to this level.

Start watching Korean movies without subtitles, reading books, listening to Korean music, and most importantly, find native speakers you can interact with regularly. At this point, living in South Korea is the best option because you’ll get a massive dose of real-life Korean every day. You’ll constantly be introduced to new accents, slang terms, and idiomatic expressions you wouldn’t find in grammar books. 

Here are some additional study materials for you as you progress from intermediate to advanced:

A Young Lady Holding a Korean Flag

How KoreanClass101 Can Help You Reach Your Goals

In this article, you learned how long it takes to learn Korean for each proficiency level, reviewed the many factors involved in calculating those numbers, and received some advice on how to learn Korean effectively at each stage. Feel free to let us know in the comments if you have any questions on what we covered today! 

For many students, the ability to study Korean anywhere and anytime is a major factor in how motivated they are and how quickly they learn. Online classes are the best option in this regard, because they’re usually suitable for any level and are more affordable than attending school or paying for private lessons. There are plenty of free language learning websites that allow you to study from home at your own pace—so why choose KoreanClass101.com

We make learning both fun and effective through proven teaching methods, and we cater our lessons to learners at each level. Even without a paid subscription, you can access tons of free Korean study materials: 

We also provide the option to upgrade to a Premium or Premium PLUS account for even more learning materials, exclusive content, and additional benefits. For example, Premium PLUS members can get one-on-one coaching with their own private tutor through MyTeacher

Happy Korean learning! You can do this. 😉

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Korean

The 11 Most Well-Known Korean Proverbs

Thumbnail

Learning Korean proverbs is not only a great way to study the language, but also a window to the unique Korean culture. To help you get the most out of your language studies, we’ve put together this useful Korean proverbs list for you to study. Who knows—you may find that you can start applying these words of wisdom to your own life!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Korean Table of Contents
  1. 꿩 먹고 알 먹는다 (kkwong meokgo al meongneunda)
  2. 보기 좋은 떡이 먹기도 좋다 (bogi joeun tteogi meokgido jota)
  3. 로마는 하루아침에 이루어진 것이 아니다 (romaneun haruachime irueojin geosi anida)
  4. 낮말은 새가 듣고 밤말은 쥐가 듣는다 (nanmareun saega deutgo bammareun jwiga deunneunda)
  5. 세 살 버릇 여든까지 간다 (se sal beoleus yeodeunkkaji ganda)
  6. 말 한마디에 천냥 빚도 갚는다 (mal hanmadie cheonnyang bijdo gapneunda)
  7. 궁하면 통한다 (gunghamyeon tonghanda)
  8. 뜻이 있는 곳에 길이 있다 (tteusi inneun gose giri itda)
  9. 병 주고 약 준다 (byeong jugo yak junda)
  10. 원숭이도 나무에서 떨어질 때가 있다 (wonsungido namueseo tteoreojil ttaega itda)
  11. 옷이 날개다 (osi nalgaeda)
  12. Want to Learn More? KoreanClass101 Can Help!

1. 꿩 먹고 알 먹는다 (kkwong meokgo al meongneunda)

Vocabulary List: 

  • (kkwong) – “pheasant”
  • 먹고 (meokgo) – “and eat”
  • (al) – “an egg”
  • 먹는다 (meongneunda) – “eat”

Literal Translation: Eat a pheasant and eat its egg.
Close English Proverb: Kill two birds with one stone.

This phrase is used to describe a situation where you do one action and receive two benefits at the same time.

For example, imagine that you finally decide to stop smoking to improve your health. You could use this phrase to emphasize that you would not only become healthier than before, but also spend less money on hospital visits and insurance. 

Another example would be if you were cleaning your house and found a stack of money that you had completely forgotten about. In that case, you might say: 

꿩 먹고 알도 먹고! 방 청소하다가 돈 찾았어.
Kkwong meokgo aldo meokgo! Bang cheongsohadaga don chajasseo.
“Kill two birds with one stone! I found some money while cleaning the house.”

A Person Holding a Golden Egg with Two Hands

2. 보기 좋은 떡이 먹기도 좋다 (bogi joeun tteogi meokgido jota)

Vocabulary List: 

  • 보기 (bogi) – “to see”
  • 좋은 (joeun) – “and to be good”
  • (tteok) – “rice cake”
  • 먹기도 (meokgido) – “and to eat”
  • 좋다 (jota) – “good”

Literal Translation: Good looking tteok (rice cake) tastes good too.
Close English Proverb: What looks good also tastes good.

When you see something that looks good, it will likely be of good quality. This is because the nice appearance shows that someone put a lot of effort into it. 

Example:

민수: 이 책, 내용이 주제별로 잘 분류되어 있고 사진의 질도 참 좋네.
Minsu: I chaek, naeyongi jujebyeollo jal bunryudoeeo itgo sajinui jildo cham jonne.
Minsu: “The contents of this book are well-organized by topic, and the quality of the photos is great.”

철수: 보기 좋은 떡이 먹기도 좋다는데, 한번 읽어봐.
Cheolsu: Bogi joeun tteogi meokgido jotaneunde, hanbeon ilgeobwa.
Cheolsu: “What looks good is usually good too, so read it.”

3. 로마는 하루아침에 이루어진 것이 아니다 (romaneun haruachime irueojin geosi anida)

Vocabulary List: 

  • 로마 (roma) – “Roma”
  • 하루아침 (haruachim) – “one morning”
  • 이루어지다 (irueojida) – “be achieved”

Literal Translation: Rome wasn’t made in one morning.
Close English Proverb: Rome wasn’t built in a day.

This Korean proverb is used to remind us that we cannot expect to do important tasks really quickly, because quality work takes time. For example, it takes time and effort to become 몸짱 (momzzang), meaning someone with muscle. 

Example: 

민수: 나 헬스클럽 등록했어. 몸짱 빨리 되고 싶다.
Minsu: Na helseukeulleop deungnokaesseo. Momjjang ppalli doego sipda.
Minsu: “I registered for a health club. I want to gain muscle quickly.”

철수: 로마는 하루아침에 이루어진 것이 아닌건 알지?
Cheolsu: Romaneun haruachime irueojin geosi aningeon alji?maneun haluachim-e ilueojin geos-i aningeon alji?
Cheolsu: “You know that Rome didn’t happen overnight, right?”

Four Blue-colored Birds Lined Up on a Bench

4. 낮말은 새가 듣고 밤말은 쥐가 듣는다 (nanmareun saega deutgo bammareun jwiga deunneunda)

Vocabulary List: 

  • 낮말  (nanmal) – “words spoken during daytime”
  • 새 (sae) – “bird”
  • 밤말 (bammal) – “words spoken during nighttime”
  • 쥐 (jwi) – “mouse”
  • 듣는다 (deutneunda) – “listens”

Literal Translation: “Birds hear the words spoken in the day, and mice hear the words spoken at night.”
Close English Proverb: The walls have ears.

This proverb means that no matter how secretly you say something, others are likely to hear. If you know someone who spreads rumors or says bad things about others, you should step in and quote this Korean proverb. 

Example: 

민수: 너 내가 없을때 나에 대해 나쁜 얘기 했다면서?
Minsu: Neo naega eopseulttae nae daehae nappeun yaegi haetdamyeonseo?
Minsu: “You said bad things about me when I wasn’t there?”

철수: 아니 그런적 없는데?
Cheolsu: Ani geureonjeok eomneunde?
Chulsoo: “No, I didn’t.”

민수: 낮말은 새가 듣고 밤말은 쥐가 듣는다고, 너 말 조심하고 다녀.
Minsu: Nanmareun saega deutgo bammareun jwiga deunneundago, neo mal josimhago danyeo.
Minsu: “Birds listen during the day, and rats listen during the night. Watch your mouth.”

5. 세 살 버릇 여든까지 간다 (se sal beoleus yeodeunkkaji ganda)

Vocabulary List: 

  • 세 살 (se sal) – “3 years old”
  • 버릇 (beoreut) – “habit” (usually bad habits)
  • 여든 (yeodeun) – “80 years old” 
  • 까지 (kkaji) – “until”
  • 간다 (ganda) – “to go”

Literal Translation: Habits (learned) at three last until one is eighty.
Close English Proverb: What’s learned in the cradle is carried to the grave.

This wise Korean proverb is used to warn that bad habits should be corrected early in life, since they’re very difficult to correct later in life. You could say this, for instance, when somebody keeps repeating the same mistakes. 

Example: 

민수: 세 살 버릇 여든까지 간다는 말 몰라? 그 버릇 때문에 힘들어질걸?
Minsu: Se sal beoreut yeodeunkkaji gandaneun mal molla? Geu beoreut ttaemune himdeureojilgeol?
Minsu: “Don’t you know the saying that 3-year-old habits last until you’re 80? You’re going to suffer from that habit!”

6. 말 한마디에 천냥 빚도 갚는다 (mal hanmadie cheonnyang bijdo gapneunda)

Vocabulary List: 

  • (mal) – “saying”
  • 한마디 (hanmadi) – “a single word”
  • (cheon) – “a thousand”
  • 냥: (nyang) – “an old unit of Korean coinage”
  • (bit) – “a debt”
  • (do) – “also”
  • 갚는다 (gamneunda) – “to pay back”

Literal Translation: One word can repay a thousand nyang (old Korean currency) debt.
Close English Proverb: A good tongue is a good weapon.

This proverb highlights the importance of how you speak to people. You could use this proverb in a situation where someone is trying to persuade another party to do something; it would emphasize the importance of choosing their words carefully. 

Example:

말 한마디에 천냥 빚도 갚는다고, 항상 말 조심해야해.
mal hanmadie cheonnyang bijdo gapneundago, hangsang mal josimhaeyahae.
“A good tongue is a good weapon, so be careful what you say.”

Two Puzzle Pieces Joining Together

7. 궁하면 통한다 (gunghamyeon tonghanda)

Vocabulary List: 

  • 궁하면 (gunghamyeon) – “if you need something”
  • 통한다 (tonghanda) – “it will open up”

Literal Translation: If you need something, it will open up.
Close English Proverb: There is always a way out.

This is a proverb often used to motivate others to find an innovative solution to a problem that otherwise seems helpless. For example, if a friend of yours wanted to become a YouTuber, you could use this proverb to encourage them. 

Example: 

민수: 유튜버가 되고 싶다.
Minsu: Yutyubeoga doego sipda.
Minsu: “I want to be a YouTuber.”

철수: 궁하면 통한다고 한번 해봐!
Cheolsu: Gunghamyeon tonghandago hanbeon haebwa!
Chulsoo: “Try it, maybe it will work!”

8. 뜻이 있는 곳에 길이 있다 (tteusi inneun gose giri itda)

Vocabulary List: 

  • (tteut) – “meaning”
  • 있다 (itda) – “there is”
  • (got) – “place”
  • (gil) – “path”

Literal Translation: In the place there is a will, there is a way.
Close English Proverb: Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

You can use this Korean proverb exactly the same way you would use its English equivalent. It means that a person can achieve anything, despite the difficulties, if they want it bad enough. 

Example: 

민수: 저 직장 너무 갖고 싶다.
Minsu: Jeo jigjang neomu gatgo sipda.
Minsu: “I really want that job.”

철수: 뜻이 있는 곳에 길이 있다고 열심히 해봐!
Cheolsu: Tteusi itneun gose giri itdago yeolsimhi haebwa!
Chulsoo: “Try hard because where there’s a will, there’s a way!”

9. 병 주고 약 준다 (byeong jugo yak junda)

Vocabulary List: 

  • (byeong) – “illness”
  • 주고 (jugo) – “and give”
  • (yak) – “medicine”
  • 준다 (junda) – “to give”

Literal Translation: Give a disease then give medicine.
Close English Proverb: To make trouble and then give help.

This proverb describes the actions of a deceptive person, who first causes harm and then offers a remedy in order to appear like the rescuer.

Example: 

철수: 콜록콜록
Cheolsu: kollogkollog
Chulsoo: coughing

수미: 야! 너 감기 걸렸어?
Sumi: Ya! neo gamgi geollyeoss-eo?
Sumi: “Hey! Do you have a cold?”

다음날 (daeumnal) – “Next day”

수미: 콜록콜록
Sumi: kollogkollog
Sumi: coughing

철수: 미안해, 이 약 먹고 빨리 나아.
Cheolsu: Mianhae, i yag meoggo ppalli naa.
Chulsoo: “Sorry, I hope you get better with this medicine.”

수미: 지금 병 주고 약 주냐?
Sumi: Jigeum byeong jugo yag junya?
Sumi: “Are you being nice or nasty?”

A Motor Biker Falling Onto the Sand

10. 원숭이도 나무에서 떨어질 때가 있다 (wonsungido namueseo tteoreojil ttaega itda)

Vocabulary List: 

  • 원숭이 (wonesungi) – “a monkey”
  • (do) – “also” / “too”
  • 나무 (namu) – “a tree”
  • 에서(eseo) – “from”
  • 떨어질 때가 (tteoreojil ttaega) – There is a time when one falls~
  • 있다 (itda) – “there is”

Literal Translation: Monkeys sometimes fall from trees.
Close English Proverb: Even Homer sometimes nods.

Use this phrase to emphasize that even an expert sometimes makes mistakes. 

Example: 

민수: 저 피겨스케이터 전세계 1위인데도 넘어질때가 있네.
Minsu: Jeo pigyeoseukeiteo jeonsegye irwiindedo neomeojilttaega itne.
Minsu: “Even though she is the number-one figure skater in the world, she sometimes falls too.”

철수: 원숭이도 나무에서 떨어질 때가 있잖아.
Cheolsu: Wonsungido namueseo tteoreojil ttaega itjana.
Chulsoo: “Even Homer sometimes nods.”

11. 옷이 날개다 (osi nalgaeda)

Vocabulary List: 

  • 옷 (ot) – “clothing”
  • 날개 (nalgae) – “wing” 

Literal Translation: Clothes are your wings.
Close English Proverb: Dress to impress.

This proverb emphasizes the importance of dressing well. 

Example: 

민수: 우와, 너 오늘따라 진짜 멋있어 보인다.
Minsu: Uwa, neo oneulttala jinjja meosisseo boinda.
Minsu: “Wow, you look really cool today.”

철수: 옷이 날개라고, 새로운 옷 좀 샀지.
Cheolsu: Osi nalgaerago, saeroun ot jom satji.
Chulsoo: “Dress to impress. I bought some new clothes.”

A Man Studying the Korean Language at a Quiet Library

12. Want to Learn More? KoreanClass101 Can Help!

In this article, you learned several unique Korean proverbs as well as a few you may recognize from English. Memorizing these proverbs is a fun way to complement your Korean studies, because you can compare them with proverbs from your country. While some of them are difficult to understand, this gives you more reason to brush up on your knowledge of Korean culture! 

If you want to learn more about Korean proverbs and other sayings, there are several pages on KoreanClass101.com (and elsewhere on the web) where you can find more proverbs. Feel free to check them out when you have time! 

KoreanClass101:

Other:

Do you have any questions about the proverbs we’ve covered? If so, leave us a comment below and we’ll be glad to help!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Korean