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Archive for the 'Korean Phrases' Category

The Top 10 Most Common Korean Filler Words

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Filler words are small words or sounds that are used for a variety of purposes in spoken language. Common uses include indicating a pause in speech, keeping the speaker’s thoughts structured, and adding emphasis to something being said. While these words have no real meaning of their own, they’re an important part of any language—including Korean!

Learning the most common Korean filler words will help you sound more like a native speaker and give you the ability to end a conversation without an awkward silence. 

In this article, you’ll learn 10 essential Korean filler words and their variations as well as examples of how to use each one.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Korean Table of Contents
  1. 음 (eum) / 어 (eo)
  2. 있잖아 (itjana)
  3. 세상에 (sesange)
  4. 말하자면 (malhajamyeon)
  5. 아무튼 (amuteun)
  6. 우와 (uwa)
  7. 에이 (ei)
  8. 뭐? (Mwo?) / 뭐라고? (Mworago?) / 네? (Ne?)
  9. 진짜 (jinjja) / 정말 (jeongmal)
  10. 아이고! (Aigo!) / 어머나! (Eomeona!) / 어머! (Eomeo!) / 어우씨 (Eoussi)
  11. Pros and Cons of Using Korean Filler Words
  12. How KoreanClass101 Can Help You with Your Korean Studies

1. 음 (eum) / 어 (eo)

KoreanRomanizationEnglish Meaning
음…eum…“um…” 

This filler sound is one of the most common Korean words you’ll hear when talking with locals, particularly in informal settings. Just like its English equivalent, you can use it to mark a pause while you think of what to say next.
  • 음… 무슨 말을 해야할 지 모르겠어. 
    Eum… museun mareul haeyahal ji moreugesseo.
    “Um… I don’t know what to say.” 

  • 바나나케이크랑, 음…치즈케이크 하나 씩 주세요. Bananakeikeulang, eum…chijeukeikeu hana ssik juseyo.
    “One banana cake, umm…and a Chinese cake please.”

  • 음.. 글쎄요, 잘 모르겠어요. 
    Eum.. geulsseyo, jal moreugesseoyo.
    “Um… Well, I don’t really know.”

KoreanRomanizationEnglish Meaning
어…eo…“uh…”

This is another common filler sound, used in both informal and formal settings. This Korean filler word has the exact same meaning as the previous one and is used in the same way. 
  • 어… 글쎄요, 무슨 뜻인지 잘 모르겠는데요. 
    Eo… geulsseyo, museun tteusinji jal moreugetneundeyo.
    “Uh… Well, I don’t understand the meaning.”

  • 그래요? 그럼, 어… 이쪽으로 갈까요?
    Geuraeyo? Geureom, eo… ijjogeuro galkkayo?
    “Really? Then, uh…let’s go this way?”

  • 블랙 커피랑 카페 모카랑 뭐 마시지? 어… 커피 마셔야겠다. 
    Beullaek keopilang kape mokarang mwo masiji? eo… keopi masyeoyagetda.
    “Should I drink black coffee or a cafe mocha? Uh… I will drink coffee.”

2. 있잖아 (itjana) 

KoreanRomanizationEnglish Meaning
있잖아itjana“you know what”

You can use 있잖아 (itjana) when you want to attract someone’s attention and start a conversation, especially if you want to talk with them about something personal or discuss something in secret. 
  • 있잖아, 그 소문 들었어? 
    Itjana, geu somun deureosseo?
    “You know what, did you hear about the rumor?”

  • 있잖아, 나랑 같이 어디갈래?
    Itjana, narang gachi eodigallae?
    “You know what, do you want to go somewhere with me?”

#2-1 [Alternative] – 참 (cham) 

KoreanRomanizationEnglish Meaning
참!Cham!“Oh, I just remembered!” 

This is another way to gain someone’s attention. You can use this filler word anytime you remember something important and want to say something about it.  
  • 참! 너 우유 사왔어? 
    Cham! Neo uyu sawasseo?
    Oh, I just remembered! Did you buy milk?”

  • 참! 나 집에 노트북 깜빡하고 안 가져왔어. 
    Cham! Na jibe noteubuk kkamppakago an gajyeowasseo.
    “Oh, I just remembered! I left my laptop at home and forgot to bring it with me.”

Four Popular Filler Words Used Worldwide

3. 세상에 (sesange

KoreanRomanizationEnglish Meaning
세상에sesange“oh my god”

This one is most often used by women, but it’s becoming less popular over time. Another way women can say this is: 어머 (eomeo).
  • 세상에! 정말?
    Sesange! Jeongmal?
    “Oh my god! Really?”

  • 세상에! 그런일이 있었구나, 몰랐어. 
    Sesange! Geureoniri isseotguna, mollasseo.
    “Oh my god! I did not know it happened.”

#3-1 [Alternative] – 오마이갓 (ohmaigat) 

KoreanRomanizationEnglish Meaning
오마이갓omaigat“oh my god”

This is the English phrase “oh my god” pronounced in Korean. If someone uses a strong Korean accent when saying this phrase, they’re emphasizing the situation in a humorous way. 
  • 오마이갓! 뭐하는거야? ㅋㅋㅋ
    Omaigat! Mwohaneungeoya? kkk
    “Oh my god! What are you doing? lol”

  • 오마이갓! 진심으로 하는 소리야? ㅋㅋㅋ
    Omaigat! Jinsimeuro haneun soriya? kkk
    “Oh my god! Are you serious? lol”

4. 말하자면 (malhajamyeon

KoreanRomanizationEnglish Meaning
말하자면malhajamyeon“in short”

You can use 말하자면 (malhajamyeon) to quickly summarize what you want to say, especially when you’re running out of time. 
  • 시간 없어. 짧게 말하자면…
    Sigan eopseo. Jjalge malhajamyeon…
    “I don’t have time. In short…”

  • 그러니까 말하자면… 
    Geureonikka malhajamyeon…
    “So in short…”

Two Korean Women in Hanbok

5. 아무튼 (amuteun

KoreanRomanizationEnglish Meaning
아무튼amuteun“anyway”

아무튼 (amuteun) is one of the most frequently used filler words in Korean, and it’s used to change the topic just like the word “anyway” does in English. 
  • 아무튼, 초대해줘서 고마워요.
    Amuteun, chodaehaejwoseo gomawoyo.
    “Thank you for inviting us anyway.”

  • 아무튼 지금은 가 봐야 해. 나중에 보자.
    Amuteun jigeumeun ga bwaya hae. Najunge boja.
    “Anyway, I have to go now. See you later.”
Check out our lesson I Do Like You But… on KoreanClass101.com to learn another way of changing the topic in Korean!

#5-1 [Alternative] – 어쨌든 (eojjetdeun) 

KoreanRomanizationEnglish Meaning
어쨌든eojjaetdeun“anyway”

어쨌든 (eojjaetdeun) has the same meaning as 아무튼 (amuteun). 
  • 어쨌든 그렇게 하겠습니다. 
    Eojjaetdeun geureoke hagetseumnida.
    “I will do that, anyway.”

  • 어쨌든 고마워요.
    Eojjaetdeun gomawoyo.
    “Thank you anyway.”
See our lesson I Was Going To Do It Anyway to learn when to use “anyway” in Korean!

6. 우와 (uwa

KoreanRomanizationEnglish Meaning
우와!Uwa!“Wow!”

우와 (uwa) means “wow” in English and is used exactly the same way. 
  • 우와! 너 벌써 구독자가 500만 명이네!
    Uwa! Neo beolsseo gudokjaga obaekman myeongine!
    “Wow! You already have 5 million subscribers.”

  • 우와! 대단한데!
    Uwa! Daedanhande!
    “Wow! That’s totally awesome!”
In our lesson Surprises in Korean: Wow! I Love Surprises, Too! you can learn more about how to express enthusiasm or excitement in Korean.

7. 에이 (ei

KoreanRomanizationEnglish Meaning
에이Ei“come on”

에이 (ei) is equivalent to the English filler “come on,” and it’s used the same way. 
  • 에이, 설마! 너 진담으로 그러는 건 아니겠지.
    Ei, seolma! Neo jindameuro geureoneun geon anigetji.
    “Come on! You cannot be serious.”

  • 에이, 두 개를 사자. 비용은 어떻게 되겠지, 뭐!
    Ei, du gaereul saja. Biyongeun eotteoke doegetji, mwo!
    “Come on, let’s get two and hang the expense!”

Two Wooden Blocks with Illustrations of a Human’s Head with Question Marks, and One with a Lightbulb

8. 뭐? (Mwo?) / 뭐라고? (Mworago?) / 네? (Ne?) 

KoreanRomanizationEnglish Meaning
뭐? Mwo?“What? What did you say?”
뭐라고?Mworago?“What? What did you say?”
네?Ne?“Pardon? What did you say?”

These common Korean fillers are used to ask someone to repeat what they said. 네? (Ne?) is the most common, while 뭐라고? (Mweorago?) can convey different meanings depending on how you say it. 
  • 뭐라고? 다시 한번 말해봐. 
    Mworago? Dasi hanbeon malhaebwa.
    “What? Say that again.”

  • 뭐? 설마!
    Mwo? seolma!
    “What? No way!”

  • 네? 
    Ne?
    “What did you say?” (Or: “Could you repeat that again?”)

9. 진짜 (jinjja) / 정말 (jeongmal

KoreanRomanizationEnglish Meaning
진짜jinjja“really”
정말jeongmal“really”

This filler word means “really,” and it’s often used to tell someone about something you strongly believe in.
  • 진짜 몰랐어. 
    Jinjja mollasseo.
    “I really didn’t know.”

  • 정말? 내일이 수미 생일이야? 몰랐네. 
    Jeongmal? Naeiri sumi saengiriya? Mollatne.
    “Really? Is it Sumi’s birthday tomorrow? I didn’t know.”
See our lesson Gyeongsangdo Korean: Saying “Really?” to learn how to say this word in another dialect! 

10. 아이고! (Aigo!) / 어머나! (Eomeona!) / 어머! (Eomeo!) / 어우씨 (Eoussi

KoreanRomanizationEnglish Meaning
아이고!Aigo!“Oops!”
어머나! Eomeona!“Oops!”
어머!Eomeo!“Oops!”
어우씨Eoussi“Ooh”

These filler words are used in many situations. You can use one of these words when you’ve been startled or when you’re beginning to remember something, for example. 

어머! (Eomeo!) and 어머나! (Eomeona!) are commonly used by women, and 아이고! (Aigo!) is commonly used by elders. 어우씨 (Eoussi) is used by both women and men, but do be careful about saying this as it will make you sound aggressive and unfriendly. 
  • 어우씨, 깜짝이야. 
    Eoussi, kkamjjagiya.
    “Oh, you startled me.” 

  • 아이고! 깜빡했네, 미안. 
    Aigo! Kkamppaghaetne, mian.
    “Oops! I forgot, sorry.” 

  • 어머나! 괜찮으세요? 
    Eomeona! Gwaenchanneuseyo?
    “Oops! Are you okay?”

  • 어머! 진짜요? 
    Eomeo! Jinjjayo?
    “Oops! Oh really?”

A Lady with a Korean Flag Smiling

11. Pros and Cons of Using Korean Filler Words

Filler words exist in every spoken language, making them a key component of communication. As a student of the language, you’ll greatly benefit from learning Korean filler words because doing so will help you sound more like a native speaker in everyday conversations. 

However, you should use them with caution. If you use filler words too often, you’ll sound less confident and less professional. It’s strongly recommended by Korean language professionals to avoid using filler words as much as possible—especially words like “oh” and “err.” 

The best thing would be to avoid saying them at all. It’s better to be silent than to overuse filler words! 

12. How KoreanClass101 Can Help You with Your Korean Studies

In summary, you’ve learned 10 essential Korean filler words that will help you sound more like a native speaker. You’ve also learned some of the pros and cons of using them in your conversations with locals. 

If you want to further advance your Korean skills, make sure to create your free lifetime account on KoreanClass101.com! We offer a number of entertaining and practical learning resources, including vocabulary lists and YouTube videos. 

We look forward to helping you reach your language learning goals!

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

“I Love You” in Korean – Essential Korean Love Phrases

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Has an attractive Korean caught your eye, stolen your heart, and won your affections? Are you hoping to enhance your communication and love life with your Korean spouse? Or maybe you’re hoping to expand your dating options by picking up another language? 

Learning how to flirt and express your love in Korean is a surefire way to stand out and show your love interest how dedicated you are. 

In this article, we’ll teach you romantic Korean phrases you’ll need for every stage of your future relationship: 

  • Asking someone out
  • Advancing your relationship
  • Making a marriage proposal 

In addition, you’ll learn the most common terms of endearment in Korean and become acquainted with Korean love quotes that are sure to warm your heart. 

By the time you’re done reading, you’ll know how to say “I love you,” in Korean several different ways, and for any romantic occasion!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Korean Table of Contents
  1. Confess Your Affection: Pick-Up Lines and More
  2. After the First Date
  3. Asking Someone to be Your Girlfriend or Boyfriend
  4. Fall in Deeper: “I Love You,” and More
  5. Take it One Step Further: “Will You Marry Me?” and More
  6. Endearment Terms
  7. Must-Know Love Quotes
  8. How KoreanClass101 Can Help You with Korean

1. Confess Your Affection: Pick-Up Lines and More

The first step in winning your crush over is asking them out for a date. This can be intimidating in your native language, let alone in a foreign language like Korean! Below, you’ll find the most commonly used Korean phrases for showing your interest in someone and asking them out. 


1) 주말에 시간 있어요? 

Romanization: Jumaree sigan isseoyo?
Meaning: Are you free this weekend?

Vocabulary

  • 주말 (jumal) – “weekend”
  • 시간 (sigan) – “time”
  • 있어요? (isseoyo?) – “Do you have ___?”

Example

A: 
주말에 시간 있어요?
Jumare sigan isseoyo?
“Are you free this weekend?”

B: 
네, 토요일에 시간 돼요.
Ne, toyoire sigan dwaeyo.
“Yes, I have time on Saturday.”

A: 
그럼 같이 저녁 먹으러 갈래요?
Geureom gachi jeonyeok meogeureo gallaeyo?
“Then would you like to have dinner together?”

2) 카톡해요? [Casual]

Romanization: Katokaeyo? 
Meaning: Do you use Kakaotalk?

Vocabulary

  • 카톡 (katok) – abbreviation of 카카오톡 (kakaotok) or “Kakaotalk,” a messaging application
  • 해요? (haeyo?) “Do you ___?”

Example

A: 
카톡해요?
Katokaeyo?
“Do you use Kakaotalk?”

B: 
네.
Ne.
“Yes.”

A: 
카톡 아이디 알려줄래요?
Katok aidi allyeojullaeyo?
“Can you tell me your Kakaotalk ID?”

3) 카카오톡 하세요? [Formal]

Romanization: Kakaotok haseyo?
Meaning: Do you use Kakaotalk?

The meaning of this sentence is exactly the same as that of the one above. This sentence is a more formal way to ask for someone’s Kakaotalk ID. 

Vocabulary

  • 카카오톡 (kakaotok) – “Kakaotalk”
  • 하세요? (haseyo?) – “Do you ___?”

Example

A: 
카카오톡 하세요?
Kakaotok haseyo?
“Do you use Kakaotalk?”

B:
있지만 자주 안써요.
Itjiman jaju ansseoyo.
“I do, but I don’t use it often.”

A: 
아..네.
A..Ne.
“Ah…I see.”

4) 카톡할게.

Romanization: Katokalge.
Meaning: I will talk to you on Kakaotalk.

This is a casual way to tell someone that you’ll send them a message on Kakaotalk. If you want to sound more polite, you can use one of these variations:

    ❖ 메시지 보낼께요. (mesiji bonaelkkeyo) – “I will send you a message.” 
    ❖ 카카오톡으로 연락할게요. (kakaotog-eulo yeonlaghalgeyo) – “I will contact you via Kakaotalk.”

Vocabulary

  • 할게 (halge) – “I will ___” 
  • 메시지 (mesiji) – “message”
  • 보낼게요 (bonaelgeyo) – “I will send ___ to you”

Example

A: 
저녁 아홉시쯤에 카톡할게!
Jeonyeok ahopsijjeume katokalge!
“I will send you a message at around nine!”

B: 
응 알았어!
Eung arasseo!
“Okay!”

5) 같이 저녁 먹으러 갈래요?

Romanization: Gachi jeonyeok meogeureo gallaeyo? 
Meaning: Would you like to have dinner together?

This phrase is a polite way to ask someone out. If you want to specify the time, add a word such as 오늘 (oneul), meaning “today,” or 내일 (naeil), meaning “tomorrow.”

Vocabulary

  • 같이 (gachi) – “together”
  • 저녁 (jeonyeok) – “dinner”
  • 먹다 (meokda) – “to eat”
  • 가다 (gada) – “to go”

Example

A: 
같이 저녁 먹으러 갈래요?
Gachi jeonyeok meogeureo gallaeyo?
“Would you like to have dinner together?”

B: 
좋아요. 언제 갈까요?
Joayo. Eonje galkkayo?
“Sure, when shall we go?”

6) 저녁 먹으러 갈래? 

Romanization: Jeonyeok meogeureo gallae? 
Meaning: Do you wanna have dinner?

This is a more casual way to ask someone out. 

Example

A: 
내일 저녁 먹으러 갈래?
Naeil jeonyeok meogeureo gallae?
“Do you wanna have dinner tomorrow?”

B: 
미안, 내일 약속이 있어.
Mian, naeil yaksogi isseo.
“Sorry, I have some plans for tomorrow.”

7) 영화 보러 갈래? 

Romanization: Yeonghwa boreo gallae? 
Meaning: Do you want to watch a film?

Vocabulary

  • 영화 (yeonghwa) – “movie”
  • 보다 (boda) – “to watch”
  • 가다 (gada) – “to go”

Example

A: 
영화 보러 갈래?
Yeonghwa boreo gallae?
“Do you want to watch a film?”

B: 
좋아. 언제 갈까?
Joa. Eonje galkka?
“Sure, when should we go?”

A Couple Drinking a Glass of Wine at a Fancy Restaurant

2. After the First Date

Okay, so your first date went amazingly. You think you really like this person and want to meet them again soon. Here are some Korean phrases you can use to let them know you enjoyed yourself and to ask them out for a second date. 


8) 오늘 저녁 즐거웠어요. 

Romanization: Oneul jeonyeok jeulgeowosseoyo. 
Meaning: I enjoyed tonight.

Vocabulary

  • 오늘 (oneul) – “today”
  • 저녁 (jeonyeok) – “evening”
  • 즐겁다 (jeulgeopda) – “to enjoy”

Example

A: 
오늘 저녁 즐거웠어요.
Oneul jeonyeok jeulgeowosseoyo.
“I enjoyed tonight.”

B: 
저도요.
Jeodoyo.
“Me too.”

9) 전화 할게요. 

Romanization: Jeonhwa halgeyo.
Meaning: I will call you.

This is a polite way to let someone know that you’ll give him or her a call. 

Vocabulary

  • 전화 (jeonhwa) – “call”
  • 하다 (hada) – “to do”

Example

A: 
아홉시에 시간 괜찮아요? 전화 할게요.
Ahopsie sigan gwaenchannayo? Jeonhwa halgeyo.
“Are you free at nine? I will call you.”

B:  
좋아요
Joayo.
“Sure.”

10) 집까지 태워다 줄게요

Romanization: Jipkkaji taewoda julgeyo. 
Meaning: I will take you to your house.

If you have a car and want to drive your date back to their home, you can say this phrase. 

Vocabulary

  • 집 (jip) – “house”
  • 까지 (kkaji) – “to ___”
  • 태우다 (taeuda) – “to take” 
  • 주다 (juda) – “to give” 

Example

A:
집까지 태워다 줄게요.
Jibkkaji taewoda julgeyo.
“I will take you to your house.”

B:
고마워요.
Gomaweoyo.
“Thank you.”

11) 집까지 데려다 줄게요.

Romanization: Jipkkaji deryeoda julkeyo. 
Meaning: I will walk with you to your house.

You could use this phrase if you wanted to talk with your date and walk them safely back to his or her house.

Example

A: 
집까지 데려다 줄게요.
Jipkkaji deryeoda julgeyo.
“I will walk with you to your house.”

B:
고마워요.
Gomawoyo.
“Thank you.”

12) 이번 주말에 시간 어때요? [Polite]

Romanization: Ibeon jumare sigan eottaeyo? 
Meaning: Do you have time this weekend?

Vocabulary

  • 이번 (ibeon) – “this”
  • 주말 (jumal) – “weekend”
  • 시간 (sigan) – “time”

Example

A: 
이번 주말에 시간 어때요?
Ibeon jumare sigan eottaeyo?
“Do you have time this weekend?”

B: 
미안해요, 주말에 약속이 있어요.
Mianhaeyo, jumare yaksogi isseoyo.
“Sorry, I have some plans this weekend.”

13) 이번 주말에 시간 어때? [Casual]

Romanization: Ibeon jumare sigan eottae? 
Meaning: Are you free this weekend?

Example

A: 
이번 주말에 시간 어때?
Ibeon jumare sigan eottae?
“Are you free this weekend?”

B: 
미안. 주말에 약속이 있어.
Mian, jumare yaksogi isseo.
“Sorry, I have some plans this weekend.”

14) 언제 시간 되세요? [Polite]

Romanization: Eonje sigan doeseyo? 
Meaning: When are you free?

Vocabulary

  • 언제 (eonje) – “when”
  • 시간 (sigan) – “time”

Example

A: 
언제 시간 되세요?
Eonje sigan doeseyo?
“When are you free?”

B: 
내일 저녁은 어때요?
Naeil jeonyeogeun eottaeyo?
“How about tomorrow evening?”

15) 언제 시간 돼? [Casual]

Romanization: Eonje sigan dwae? 
Meaning: When are you free?

Example

A: 
언제 시간 돼?
Eonje sigan dwae?
“When are you free?”

B: 
내일 저녁?
Naeil jeoneok?
“Tomorrow night?”

16) 내일 몇 시에 만날까요? [Polite]

Romanization: Naeil myeot sie mannalkkayo? 
Meaning: What time do you want to meet?

Vocabulary

  • 내일 (naeil) – “tomorrow”
  • 몇 시 (myeot si) – “what time”
  • 만나다 (mannada) – “to meet”

Example

A: 
내일 몇 시에 만날까요?
Naeil myeot sie mannalkkayo?
“What time do you want to meet?”

B: 
아홉 시 어때요?
Ahop si eottaeyo?
“How about nine o’clock?”

17) 내일 몇 시에 만날래? [Casual]

Romanization: Naeil myeot sie mannallae? 
Meaning: What time do you want to meet?

Example

A: 
내일 몇 시에 만날래?
Naeil myeot sie mannallae?
“What time do you want to meet?”

B: 
아홉 시 어때?
Ahop si eottae?
“How about nine o’clock?”

18) 우리 지금 만날래요? 

Romanization: Uri jigeum mannallaeyo? 
Meaning: Do you want to meet now?

Vocabulary

  • 우리 (uri) – “us” 
  • 지금 (jigeum) – “now” 
  • 만나다 (mannada) – “to meet”

Example

A: 
우리 지금 만날래요?
Uri jigeum mannallaeyo?
“Do you want to meet now?”

B: 
아홉 시 어때요?
Ahop si eottaeyo?
“How about nine o’clock?”

A Man Whispers to a Woman

3. Asking Someone to be Your Girlfriend or Boyfriend

Are you ready to take your relationship up a notch? Here are a couple of cute love phrases in Korean you can use to let the other person know you’d like to make things more serious. 

19) 저랑 사귈래요? [Polite]

Romanization: Jeorang sagwillaeyo? 
Meaning: Would you want to be my girlfriend / boyfriend?

Vocabulary

  • 나랑 (narang) – “with me”
  • 사귀다 (sagwida) – “make friends with”

Example

A:
저랑 사귈래요?
Jeorang sagwillaeyo?
“Would you want to be my girlfriend / boyfriend?”

B: 
좋아요.
Joayo.
“I would love to.”

20) 나랑 사귈래? [Casual]

Romanization: Narang sagwillae? 
Meaning: Do you want to be my girlfriend / boyfriend?

Example

A:
나랑 사귈래?
Narang sagwillae?
“Do you want to be my girlfriend / boyfriend?”

B:
응, 좋아.
Eung, joa.
“Yes, sure.”

4. Fall in Deeper: “I Love You,” and More

Once your relationship is more established, it’s time to really start expressing your feelings for the other person. Below are several affectionate Korean love phrases you can use to do so. 


21) 보고 싶어 

Romanization: Bogo sipeo.
Meaning: I miss you.

Vocabulary

  • 보다 (boda) – “to see”
  • 싶다 (sipda) – “to want (to have something)”

Example

A:
보고 싶어.
Bogo sipeo.
“I miss you.”

B:
나도 많이 보고 싶어.
Nado mani bogo sipeo.
“I also miss you too.”

22) 많이 좋아해

Romanization: Mani joahae.
Meaning: I like you a lot.

Vocabulary

  • 많이 (mani) – “a lot”
  • 좋아하다 (joahada) – “to like” 

Example

A:
많이 좋아해.
Mani joahae.
“I like you a lot.”

B:
나도 많이 좋아해.
Nado mani joahae.
“I also like you a lot.”

23) 만나고 싶어 

Romanization: Mannago sipeo.
Meaning: I want to meet you.

Vocabulary

  • 만나다 (mannada) – “to meet”
  • 싶다 (sipda) – “to want” 

Example

A:
만나고 싶어.
Mannago sipeo.
“I want to meet you.”

B:
나도 만나고 싶어.
Nado mannago sipeo.
“I want to meet you too.”

24) 사랑해 

Romanization: Saranghae.
Meaning: I love you.

Vocabulary

  • 사랑 (sarang) – “love”
  • 하다 (hada) – “to do”

Example

A:
사랑해.
Saranghae.
“I love you.”

B:
나도 사랑해.
Nado saranghae.
“I love you, too.”

25) 많이 사랑해

Romanization: Mani saranghae. 
Meaning: I love you a lot.

Vocabulary

  • 많이 (mani) – “a lot” 
  • 사랑하다 (saranghada) – “to love someone”

Example

A:
많이 사랑해.
Mani saranghae.
“I love you a lot.”

B:
나도 많이 사랑해.
Nado mani saranghae.
“I love you a lot, too.”

26) 나도 사랑해.

Romanization: Nado saranghae. 
Meaning: I love you, too.

Vocabulary

  • 나도 (nado) – “me too”
  • 사랑하다 (saranghada) – “to love someone”

Example

A:
많이 사랑해.
Mani saranghae.
“I love you a lot.”

B:
나도 사랑해.
Nado saranghae.
“I love you, too.”

27) 안아주고 싶어.

Romanization: Anajugo sipeo.
Meaning: I want to hug you.

Vocabulary

  • 안다 (anda) – “to hug”

Example

A:
안아주고 싶어.
Anajuga sipeo.
“I want to hug you.”

B:
빨리 안아줘.
Ppalli anajwo.
“Quick, hug me.”

A Young Couple Getting Married by the Beach

5. Take it One Step Further: “Will You Marry Me?” and More

Ready to commit? Then you’ll want to memorize these Korean love phrases for proposing marriage by heart! 


28) 나랑 결혼해 줘.

Romanization: Narang gyeolhonhae jwo. 
Meaning: Marry me.

Vocabulary

  • 나랑 (narang) – “with me”
  • 결혼 (gyeolhon) – “marriage”

Example

A:
나랑 결혼해 줘.
Narang gyeolhonhae jwo.
“Marry me.”

B:
응!
Eung!
“Yes!”

29) 나랑 결혼해 줄래?

Romanization: Narang gyeolhonhae jullae?
Meaning: Will you marry me?

Example

A:
나랑 결혼해 줄래?
Narang gyeolhonhae jullae?
“Will you marry me?”

B:
응, 좋아!
Eung, joa!
“Yes, sure!”

30) 당신이 없는 삶은 상상할 수 없어요.

Romanization: Dangsini eopneun sameun sangsanghal su eopseoyo. 
Meaning: I cannot imagine my life without you.

Vocabulary

  • 당신 (dangsin) – “you” 
  • 없다 (eopda) – “none”
  • (salm) – “life”
  • 상상하다 (sangsanghada) – “to imagine”

Example

A:
당신이 없는 삶은 상상할 수 없어요.
Dangsini eopneun salmeun sangsanghal su eopseoyo.
“I cannot imagine my life without you.”

B:
저도요.
Jeodoyo.
“Me too.”

31) 영원히 당신과 함께하고 싶어요. 

Romanization: Yeongwonhi dangsingwa hamkkehago sipeoyo.
Meaning: I want to be with you forever.

Vocabulary

  • 영원히 (yeongwonhi) – “forever”
  • 당신과 (dangsingwa) – “with you”
  • 함께 (hamkke) – “together”
  • 하다 (hada) – “to do” 

Example

A:
영원히 당신과 함께하고 싶어요.
Yeongwonhi dangsingwa hamkkehago sipeoyo.
“I want to be with you forever.”

B:
저도요.
Jeodoyo.
“Me too.”

32) 너랑 평생 같이 있고 싶어. 

Romanization: Neorang pyeongsaeng gachi itgo sipeo. 
Meaning: I want to be with you all my life.

Vocabulary

  • 너랑 (neorang) – “with you” 
  • 평생 (pyeongsaeng) – “forever”
  • 같이 (gati) – “together”
  • 있다 (itda) – “to be”

Example

A:
너랑 평생 같이 있고 싶어.
Neorang pyeongsaeng gachi itgo sipeo.
“I want to be with you all my life.”

B:
나도.
Nado.
“Me too.”

A Man Gives a Small Present to a Woman

6. Endearment Terms

Here’s a list of cute Korean endearment terms you can call your loved one! 

자기야 (jagiya) – “darling”

This word is a common nickname given to one’s boyfriend/girlfriend or husband/wife. 

여보 (yeobo) – “honey”

This one is more commonly used between husbands and wives.  

~엄마 (umma) / ~아빠 (appa) – “~mom” / “~dad”

In Korea, if you’re married and have children, it’s very common to be called: [ your child’s name + “mother” or “father” ]. For example, if you’re a wife and you have a child named Soyeon, people (especially your husband) would call you “Soyeon’s mother.”

남자친구 (namjachingu) – “boyfriend”

There’s also a shortened version of this word used by the younger generations (especially online): 남친 (namchin) – “boyfriend.”

여자친구 (yeojachingu) – “girlfriend”

A shortened version is: 여친 (yeochin) – “girlfriend.”

애인 (aein) – “lover”

약혼자 (yakhonja) – “fiance”

7. Must-Know Love Quotes

내가 사랑이 뭔지 안다면 당신 덕분입니다.
Naega sarangi mwonji andamyeon dangsin deokbunimda.
“If I know what love is, it is because of you.”

당신 덕분에 난 더 좋은 사람이 되고 싶어졌어요.
Dangsin deokbune nan deo joeun sarami doego sipeojyeosseoyo.
“You make me want to be a better man.”

우리는 천생연분이야.
Urineun cheonsaengyeonbuniya.
“We were meant to be together.”

Two Hearts Drawn on Sand

8. How KoreanClass101 Can Help You with Korean

In summary, you’ve learned various Korean love phrases to express your love to someone. Which of these phrases did you like the most, and why? What are some common love phrases in your language? We look forward to hearing from you!

To learn more about Korean love phrases, check out these pages on KoreanClass101.com.

  1. Korean Quotes About Love
  2. 15 Love Phrases for Valentine’s Day
  3. Blind Date
  4. My Beautiful Girlfriend
  5. So…Do You Have a Girlfriend in Korea?

We hope you enjoyed studying the Korean language today, and we wish you luck with your Korean studies! 

Remember that KoreanClass101.com will be here with you on every step of your journey with some of the best learning resources on the internet!

Now, get out there and start winning some hearts. 😉

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Negative Sentences in Korean

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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.

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How Long Does it Take to Learn Korean?

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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.

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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. 😉

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The 11 Most Well-Known Korean Proverbs

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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!

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