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Advanced Korean Words to Help You Become a Fluent Speaker

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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! 

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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.

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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. 

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Essential Korean Phone Conversation Phrases

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Knowing how to communicate over the phone is an essential skill. 

Whether you want to make a reservation at a restaurant or discuss business plans with your long-distance colleague, you’ll need to pick up the phone! 

Holding a phone conversation is difficult enough in one’s native language, let alone in a foreign language like Korean! But don’t worry. 

In this article, you’ll learn some essential Korean phone conversation phrases and see dialogue examples showing how they might be used. By the time you’ve finished reading, you’ll be able to confidently make a phone call in Korean for any situation!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Korean Table of Contents
  1. Picking up the Phone
  2. Saying Who You Are
  3. Stating the Reason for Your Call
  4. Asking to Speak to Someone
  5. Asking Someone to Wait
  6. Leaving a Message
  7. Asking for Clarification
  8. Sample Phone Conversations
  9. How KoreanClass101 Can Help You Master the Korean Language

1. Picking up the Phone

There are a number of different ways to answer the phone in Korean. The standard phrase is 여보세요 (yeoboseyo), though if you’re in a business setting or calling customer service, they’ll answer the phone differently. 

Below, you’ll find a few different phrases that are used to answer a phone call in Korean. 

1) 여보세요 (yeoboseyo

You’ve likely heard this phrase many times already if you watch Korean dramas! 

여보세요 (yeoboseyo), meaning “hello” in English, is the standard Korean phone greeting and is only used over the phone. Keep in mind that there are no “polite” or “casual” ways to answer the phone in Korean; we use this set phrase by default, unless we’re answering the phone in a business context (more on this later). 

The phrase 여보세요 (yeoboseyo) is a combination of several words: 

  • 여기 (yeogi) – “here”
  • 보다 (boda) – “to see”
  • 세요 (seyo) – “~do”

Additional Notes: Another common way to answer the phone is with the elongated sound 네 (ne), meaning “yes.” This greeting is commonly used by elders in Korea. 

Example:

A:
여보세요.
(Yeoboseyo.)
“Hello.”

B:
여보세요, 누구세요?
(Yeoboseyo, nuguseyo?)
“Hello, who is this?”

2) 무엇을 도와드릴까요? (Mueoseul dowadeurilkkayo?

This phrase means “How may I help you?” in English. It’s commonly used by customer service representatives to start a conversation with the caller. They usually state the name of the company, followed by their name, before saying this phrase. 

Example:

A 회사의 김미영입니다. 무엇을 도와드릴까요?
(A hoesaui gimmiyeongimnida. Mueoseul dowadeurilkkayo?)
“This is A company’s Kim Mi-yeong speaking. How may I help you?”

3) 뭐 해? (Mwo hae?

This is a more casual greeting used both on the phone and in 카카오톡 (kakaotok), or “Kakaotalk.” Kakaotalk, commonly referred to as 카톡 (katok) or “KaTalk” in South Korea, is a free mobile instant messaging application (similar to Line, WeChat, etc.). The majority of Koreans use Kakaotalk to send messages and call each other.

There is a casual form and a more polite form of this phrase, both meaning “What are you up to?”

  • Casual: 뭐 해? (Mwo hae?)
  • Polite: 지금 뭐 하세요? (Jigeum mwo haseyo?)

Both versions are commonly used to initiate conversation, but you need to make sure that you and the other person have established rapport before using either one. If you say this to a stranger or someone you don’t know well, you may sound rude or the receiver may misinterpret your intentions.

    → Check out our lesson Calling on Skype to learn more about saying hello over the phone.

A Lady Laying Down on the Carpet while Talking on the Phone with a Friend

2. Saying Who You Are

It’s important to say who you are before jumping into the topic you want to talk about. There are different Korean phone phrases you can use to introduce yourself, so let’s have a look at each one. 

1) [회사이름] 의 [이름]입니다. ([Hoesaileum] ui [ireum]imnida.)

This phrase translates to: “This is [name] of the [company’s name].”

It’s a formal way to introduce yourself over the phone and it’s commonly used in business settings. 

While 여보세요 (yeoboseyo) is the standard phone call greeting in Korea, you should avoid using it in business settings or other formal contexts as it sounds less professional. 

When a receptionist answers the phone, for example, they usually say [회사이름] 의 [이름]입니다. You can reply using the same phrase pattern in order to let them know who you are. 

Example:

A: 
코리안클래스101의 폴입니다.
(Koreankeullaseu101ui porimnida.)
“This is Paul from KoreanClass101.”

B: 
안녕하세요, A사의 앨리스입니다.
(Annyeonghaseyo, A-saui aelliseuimnida.)
“Hello, this is Alice from A company.”

2) 안녕하세요, [이름]입니다. (Annyeonghaseyo, [ireum]imnida.

Another common way to introduce yourself in business settings is: 

  • 안녕하세요, [이름]입니다. (Annyeonghaseyo, [ireum]imnida.) – “Hello, this is [name].”

You may also hear this phrase preceded by the sound 네 (ne):

  • 네, 안녕하세요, [이름] 입니다. (Ne, annyeonghaseyo, [ireum]imnida.)

Which phrase is more polite? There’s no right or wrong answer, so choose the version that feels right to you. 

Example:

A: 
네, B사의 진입니다.
(Ne, B-saui jinimnida.)
“Hello, this is Jin from B company.”

B: 
안녕하세요 진씨. 저는 C사의 연아라고합니다.
(Annyeonghaseyo jinssi. Jeoneun C-saui yeonaragohamnida.)
“Hello Jin. This is Yeona from C company.”

3) 안녕하세요, [회사이름] 의 [이름] 입니다. (Annyeonghaseyo, [hoesaileum]ui [ireum] imnida.)

This phone introduction phrase translates to: “Hello. This is [name] of the [company’s name].” It is the most polite and common way to introduce oneself over the phone in business settings. 

Do you see the pattern?

In business settings, you need to greet, state your company, and give your name. 

Once you know this pattern and get some practice using it, you’ll have no problem introducing yourself in formal contexts! 

Example:

A사의 김미영입니다.
(A-saui gimmiyeongimnida.)
“This is Kim Miyeong of A company.”


4) 나야 (naya

The Korean phrase 나야 (naya), meaning “It’s me,” is commonly used among friends. Feel free to use it when the call receiver knows you well, instead of telling him or her who you are.

There are two other versions of this phrase you could also use: 

  • 어 나야 (eo naya) – “Hey, it’s me.”
  • 나 소연 (na soyeon) – “I’m Soyeon.”

Example:

A: 여보세요? (Yeoboseyo?) – “Hello?”
B: 어 나야. (Eo naya.) – “Hey, it’s me.”
A: 어 안녕. (Eo annyeong.) – “Oh hey, hello.”
B: 뭐 해? (Mwo hae?) – “What are you up to?”
A: 아무것도 안해. (Amugeotdo anhae.) – “Nothing.”

5) 나 [이름] (na [ireum]

This phrase means “It’s [name],” and it’s frequently used among friends. 

Example:

A: 여보세요. (Yeoboseyo?) – “Hello?”
B: 나 소연. (Na soyeon.) – “It’s Soyeon.”


A Person Dialing a Number to Make a Phone Call

3. Stating the Reason for Your Call

A vital step in your Korean phone call conversation is to let the receiver know why you’re calling. Effective communication is key here! 

1) 예약하려고 전화드렸어요. (Yeyaghalyeogo jeonhwadeuryeosseoyo.)

If you plan to meet a friend for lunch or have a dinner date coming up, you’ll need to know this phrase! It means: “I am calling to make a reservation.”

In order to reserve a table for lunch or dinner specifically, you would add the appropriate word to the beginning of the phrase. 

For example, to say “I want to make a reservation for lunch,” add the Korean word for “lunch” to the beginning of this phrase:

A: 
안녕하세요, A 레스토랑입니다.
(Annyeonghaseyo, A reseutorangimnida.)
“Hello, this is A restaurant.”

B: 
안녕하세요, 점심 예약하려고 전화드렸어요.
(Annyeonghaseyo, jeomsim yeyakaryeogo jeonhwadeuryeosseoyo.)
“Hello, I am calling to make a reservation for lunch.”

A: 
네, 몇분이시죠?
(Ne, myeotbunisijyo?)
“Okay, how many people?”

2) 문의 드릴것이 있어서 전화드렸어요. (Munui deurilgeosi isseoseo jeonhwadeuryeosseoyo.) 

Translation: “I am calling because I have an inquiry.”

You can use this phrase if the purpose of your call is to receive an answer to a question or to gain more information about something. 

If you want to make it even more polite or business-like, you could say: 

  • 문의드릴것이 있어서 전화드렸습니다. (Mun-uideulilgeos-i iss-eoseo jeonhwadeulyeossseubnida.)

If you want to say it casually (to a friend, for example), you could say: 

  • 물어볼것이 있어서 전화했어. (Mul-eobolgeos-i iss-eoseo jeonhwahaess-eo.)

Example:

A: 
콜센터 린입니다. 무엇을 도와드릴까요?
(Kolsenteo linimnida. Mueoseul dowadeurilkkayo?)
“This is Lyn from the call center. How may I help you?”

B: 
안녕하세요, 문의드릴것이 있어서 전화드렸어요.
(Annyeonghaseyo, munui deurilgeosi isseoseo jeonhwadeuryeosseoyo.)
“Hello, I am calling because I have an inquiry.”

4) 뭐하고 있는지 궁금해서 전화해봤어. (Mwohago inneunji gunggeumhaeseo jeonhwahaebwasseo.) 

This one means: “I called because I am curious what you are doing now.”

You could say this phrase to a friend or to someone you want to get to know better. 

Example:

A: 
여보세요.
(Yeoboseyo.)
“Hello.”

B: 
어, 나야.
(Eo, naya.)
“Hey, it’s me.”

A: 
어, 무슨일 있어?
(Eo, museunil isseo?)
“Uh, what’s up?”

B: 
뭐하고 있는지 궁금해서 전화해봤어.
(Mwohago inneunji gunggeumhaeseo jeonhwahaebwasseo.)
“I called because I am curious what you are doing now.”

5) 안 본지 너무 오래돼서 잘 지내는지 궁금해서 전화해봤어. (An bonji neomu oraedwaeseo jal jinaeneunji gunggeumhaeseo jeonhwahaebwasseo.

This is a casual way to say: “It’s been awhile since we saw each other, so I called to check up on you.” 

Example:

A: 
여보세요.
(Yeoboseyo.)
“Hello.”

B: 
어, 나야.
(Eo, naya.)
“Hey, it’s me.”

A: 
안본지 너무 오래돼서 잘지내는지 궁금해서 전화해봤어.
(An bonji neomu oraedwaeseo jal jinaeneunji gunggeumhaeseo jeonhwahaebwasseo.)
“It’s been awhile since we saw each other, so I called to check up on you.”

6) 전화했었어? (Jeonhwahaesseosseo?

This is another common Korean phone call phrase, often used to start a conversation. It means: “Did you call?”

Example:

A: 여보세요. (Yeoboseyo.) – “Hello.”
B: 어, 나 소연. 전화했었어? (Eo, na soyeon. Jeonhwahaesseosseo?) – “Hey, it’s Soyeon. Did you call?”
A: 아 어, 했었어. (A eo, haesseosseo.) – “Ah, yeah I did.”


A Lady Studying with a Smartphone

4. Asking to Speak to Someone

If you’re calling a home phone or business line (or if someone else answers your friend’s smartphone!), you might need to ask to speak to another individual. Here are some Korean phrases you can use to do this. 

1) [이름] 집에 있습니까? ([Ileum] jibe issseumnikka?

If you’re trying to reach a friend and someone else picks up the phone, you can use this phrase to ask if they can put your friend on the line. This phrase means: “Is [name] home?”

Example:

A: 여보세요. (Yeoboseyo.) – “Hello.”
B: 어, 나 소연. (Eo, na soyeon.) – “Hey, it’s Soyeon.”
A: 에이미 집에 있습니까? (Eimi jibe issseumnikka?) – “Is Amy home?”

2) ___씨와 통화할 수 있을까요? (___ssiwa tonghwahal su isseulkkayo?) 

This phrase translates to: “Could I speak to ___, please?”

In business settings, it’s good etiquette to use either 씨 (ssi) or 님 (nim) when asking to speak to someone. Both mean “Mr. / Mrs. / Ms.” but 님 (nim) is considered more polite than 씨 (ssi). If you’re not sure which word to use, pay close attention to your colleagues. Which one do they use? If you notice that they use one instead of the other, then follow their lead. 

Example:

A:
코리안클래스101의 폴입니다.
(Koreankeullaeseu101ui porimnida.)
“This is Paul from KoreanClass101.”

B:
안녕하세요, A사의 김미영입니다. 앨리스 씨와 통화할 수 있을까요?
(Annyeonghaseyo, A-saui gimmiyeongimnida. Aelliseu ssiwa tonghwahal su isseulkkayo?)
“Hello, this is Kim Miyeong of A company. Could I speak to Alice, please?”

A:
연결해드리겠습니다.
(Yeongyeolhaedeurigetseumnida.)
“I will put you through.”

3) [Family name] [Job title]님 + 자리에 계신가요? ([Family name] [Job title]nim + jarie gyesingayo?

This phrase means: “Is Mr./Ms. [Name] there?”

It’s a common way to ask if someone is available to speak. 

Example:

A: 
코리안클래스101의 폴입니다.
(Koreankeullaeseu101ui porimnida.)
“This is Paul from KoreanClass101.”

B: 
안녕하세요, A회사의 김미영입니다. 앨리스님 자리에 계신가요?
(Annyeonghaseyo, A-saui gimmiyeongimnida. Alliseunim jarie gyesingayo?)
“Hello, this is Kim Miyeong of A company. Is Alice there?”

A: 
네, 자리에 계십니다. 지금 바로 연결해드리겠습니다.
(Ne, jarie gyesimndal. Jigeum baro yeongyeolhaedeurigetseumnida.)
“Yes, she is here. I will put you through.”

4) [이름] 지금 집에 있어? ([Ireum] jigeum jibe isseo?

This is a casual way to ask “Is [name] at home?”

Example:

A:
여보세요.
(Yeoboseyo.)
“Hello.”

B: 
나 연아인데, 가연이 지금 집에 있어?
(Na yeonainde, gayeoni jigeum jibe isseo?)
“I’m Yeona, is Gayeon at home?”

5) [이름] 바꿔줄래? ([Ireum] bakkwojullae?) 

This is a casual way to ask “Can you put me through to [name?]” If you want to say it politely, use: 

  • [이름] 바꿔주시겠습니까? (Iireum] bakkwojusigetseumnikka?) – “Can you please put me through to [name]?”

Example:

A: 여보세요. (Yeoboseyo.) – “Hello.”
B: 가연이 바꿔줄래? (Gayeoni bakkwojullae?) – “Can you put me through to Gayeon?”

6) [이름] 이랑 통화할 수 있을까? ([Ireum] irang tonghwahal su isseulkka?) 

This is a casual way to ask “Can I speak to [name]?” in Korean. A more polite version is:

  • [이름]씨와 통화할 수 있을까요? ([Ireum] ssiwa tonghwahal su isseulkkayo?) – “Can I please speak to [name]?”

Example:

A: 여보세요. (Yeoboseyo.) – “Hello.”
B: 가연이랑 통화할 수 있을까? (Gayeonirang tonghwahal su isseulkka?) – “Can I speak to Gayeon?”

    → Do you want to boost your confidence in speaking business Korean? Then check out our lesson series Business Korean for Beginners to really learn the ropes!

A Lady Working Overtime at the Office, Talking on the Phone

5. Asking Someone to Wait

Especially in business settings, it’s common practice to ask the other person to wait while you connect them or retrieve requested information. Here are a few ways you can do this in Korean: 

1) 잠시만요. (Jamsimanyo.)

This Korean phone call phrase translates to: “Hold on, please.”

Example:

A: 앨리스님 자리에 계신가요? (Aelliseunim jarie gyesingayo?) – “Could I speak to Alice, please?”
B: 그럼요. 잠시만요. (Geureomyo. Jamsimanyo.) – “Of course. Hold on, please.”

2) 잠시만 기다려주세요. (Jamsiman gidaryeojuseyo.

This phrase has the same meaning as the one above, but it’s considered more polite. 

Example:

A: 앨리스님 자리에 계신가요? (Aelliseunim jarie gyesingayo?) – “Could I speak to Alice, please?”
B: 잠시만 기다려주세요. (Jamsiman gidaryeojuseyo.) – “Hold on, please.”

3) [이름] 씨 연결해 드리겠습니다. ([Ileum] ssi yeongyeolhae deurigetseumnida.)

This phrase means: “I’ll put you through to [name].”

If you ask to speak to someone, the person on the other end of the call may say this phrase to let you know you’re being transferred. You might also hear this phrase used without the name: 

  • 연결해 드리겠습니다. (Yeongyeolhae deurigetseumnida.

Example:

A: 연아 씨 지금 자리에 계신가요? (Yeona ssii jigeum jarie gyesingayo?) – “Could I speak to Yeona, please?”
B: 네, 연결해 드리겠습니다. (Ne, yeongyeolhae deurigetseumnida.) – “Yes, I will put you through.”

4) 죄송하지만 ___씨가 잠시 자리를 비웠습니다. (Joesonghajiman ___ssiga jamsi jalireul biwotseumnida.)

This phrase means: “I’m afraid ___ isn’t in at the moment.”

 죄송 (jeosong) means “sorry” and 하지만 (hajiman) means “but.” Together, it means: “I am sorry, but…” 

Example:

A: 
연아씨 지금 자리에 계신가요?
(Yeona ssii jigeum jarie gyesingayo?)
“Could I speak to Yeona, please?”

B: 
죄송하지만 연아씨가 잠시 자리를 비웠습니다.
(Joesonghajiman yeona ssiga jamsi jalireul biwotseumnida.)
“I am afraid Yeona isn’t in at the moment.”

5) 메시지를 남기시겠어요? (Mesijireul namgisigesseoyo?

If the person you wish to speak to is not available, you may be able to leave a message. The receptionist may ask you: 메시지를 남기시겠어요? (Mesijireul namgisigesseoyo?) – “Would you like to leave a message?”

Broken down, 메시지 (meseji) means “message” and 남기다 (namgida) means “to leave.”

You might also be asked: 

  • 성함이랑 전화번호 알려주시겠어요? (Seonghamirang jeonhwabeonho allyeojusigesseoyo?) – “Could you tell me your name and phone number?”

Example:

A: 
연아씨 지금 자리에 계신가요?
(Yeona ssii jigeum jarie gyesingayo?)
“Could I speak to Yeona, please?”

B:
죄송하지만 연아 씨가 잠시 자리를 비웠습니다. 메시지를 남기시겠어요?
(Joesonghajiman yeona ssiga jamsi jarireul biweotseumnida. Mesijireul namgisigesseoyo?)
“I am afraid Yeona isn’t in at the moment. Would you like to leave a message?”

6) 통화중입니다. (Tonghwajungimnida.) 

This phrase translates to: “He/she is on the phone right now.” 

It’s one of many possible reasons the call receiver might give you for the other party not being available. Here are more reasons you might hear: 

  • 미팅중입니다. (Mitingjungimnida.) – “He/she is in a meeting.”
  • 점심식사중입니다. (Jeomsimsiksajungimnida.) – “He/she is having lunch.” 
  • 지금 자리에 안 계십니다. (Jigeum jarie an gyesimnida.) – “He/she is not in his/her seat right now.” 
  • 외부 미팅중입니다. (Oebu mitingjungimnida.) “He/she is out on a meeting.” 

Example:

A: 연아씨 지금 자리에 계신가요? (Yeona ssii jigeum jarie gyesingayo?) – “Could I speak to Yeona, please?”
B: 연아씨 지금 통화중입니다. (Yeona ssii jigeum tonghwajungimnida) – “Yeona is on the phone right now.”

7) 잠깐만. (Jamkkanman.) / 잠만. (Jamman.

잠만 (jamman) is a shortened version of 잠깐만 (jamkkanman), and it’s considered a slang term. Both versions mean “hold on,” and they’re best used among friends rather than in business settings. 

Example:

A:
나 집에 열쇠 두고 간 것 같은데 한번 봐줄래?
(Na jibe yeolsoe dugo gan geot gateunde hanbeon bwajullae?)
“I think I left my keys at home. Can you have a look at it for me?”

B:
잠깐만.
(Jamkkanman.)
“Hold on.”

8) 지금 전화 못 받는데. (Jigeum jeonhwa mot batneunde.)

This is a casual phrase often used among friends. It means: “I can’t talk on the phone right now.”

Example:

A:
여보세요, 지금 전화가능?
(Yeoboseyo, jigeum jeonhwaganeung?)
“Hello, are you available for a call?”

B: 
미안, 지금 샤워중이라 전화 못 받는데.
(Mian, jigeum syawojungira jeonhwa mot batneunde.)
“I am sorry, I’m taking a shower so I can’t talk right now.”


A Man Talking on the Phone Inside the Bus

6. Leaving a Message

If you’ve made an urgent phone call only to find out the person you need to speak to is unavailable, you can ask to leave a message. Here are three Korean phone phrases you could use: 

1) 전화했었다고 전해주실래요? (Jeonhwahaesseotdago jeonhaejusillaeyo?)

Translation: “Could you please tell him/her that I called?”

Example:

A:
죄송하지만 연아씨가 잠시 자리를 비웠습니다. 메시지를 남기시겠어요?
(Joesonghajiman yeona ssiga jamsi jarireul biweotseumnida. Mesijireul namgisigesseoyo?)
“I am afraid Yeona isn’t in at the moment. Would you like to leave a message?”

B:  
알겠습니다. 그럼 전화했었다고 전해주실래요?
(Algetseumnida. Geureom keonhwahaesseotdago jeonhaejusillaeyo?)
“Okay. Could you please tell him/her that I called?”

2) 나중에 다시 전화하겠습니다. (Najunge dasi jeonhwahagetseumnida.)

Translation: “I’ll call again later.”

Example:

A:
죄송하지만 연아씨가 잠시 자리를 비웠습니다. 메시지를 남기시겠어요?
(Joesonghajiman yeona ssiga jamsi jarireul biweotseumnida. Mesijireul namgisigesseoyo?)
“I am afraid Yeona isn’t in at the moment. Would you like to leave a message?”

B:
괜찮습니다. 나중에 다시 전화하겠습니다.
(Gwaenchanseumnida. Najunge dasi jeonhwahagetseumnida.)
“Fine. I’ll call again later.”

3) 메시지 남겨주시겠습니까? (Mesijireul namgyeojusigetseumnikka?)

Translation: “Could you leave a message?”

Example:

A: 메시지 남겨주시겠습니까? (Mesijireul namgyeojusigetseumnikka?) – “Could you leave a message?”
B: 전화번호가 어떻게 되시죠? (Jeonhwabeonhoga eotteoke doesijyo?) – “What’s your number?”

A Lady with Headphones Listening to a Korean Song

7. Asking for Clarification

As a non-native speaker making a phone call in the Korean language, you might have difficulty understanding what the other person is saying. This problem could become exacerbated if there’s bad reception in your area. Here are a few phrases you could use to ask for clarification when needed: 

1) 좀 더 크게 말씀해 주시겠어요? (Jom deo keuge malsseumhae jusigesseoyo?

This phrase translates to: “Could you speak up a bit more, please?”

Let’s break it down: 

  • 좀 더 (jom deo) – “a bit more”
  • 크게 (keuge) – “louder”
  • 말씀해 주시겠어요 (malsseumhaejusigesseoyo) – “speak please”

This is a polite/business way to ask someone to speak louder.

Examples:

진호 씨, 죄송하지만 좀 더 크게 말씀해 주시겠어요?
(Jinho ssi, joesonghajiman jom deo keuge malsseumhae jusigesseoyo?)
“Mr. Jinho, I am sorry but could you speak up a bit more, please?”

리나 씨, 목소리가 잘 안 들려요. 좀 더 크게 말씀해 주시겠어요?
(Rina ssi, moksoriga jal an deullyeoyo. Jom deo keuge malsseumhae jusigesseoyo?)
“Ms. Rina, I can barely hear you. Could you speak up a bit more, please?”

2) 다시 말씀해 주시겠어요? (Dasi malsseumhae jusigesseoyo?)

This one means: “Could you repeat that, please?” A common variation is: 

  • 다시한번만 말씀해주시겠어요? (Dasihanbeonman malsseumhaejusigess-eoyo?) – “Could you say that again, please?”

Example:

목소리가 잘 안들렸어요. 다시 말씀해 주시겠어요?
(Moksoriga jal andeullyeosseoyo. Dasi malsseum hae jusigesseoyo?)
“I could not hear you. Could you repeat that, please?”

3) 잘 안들리는데 다시 말씀해 주시겠어요? (Jal andeullineunde dasi malsseumhae jusigesseoyo?

This one translates to: “I’m having a hard time hearing you, can you say that again please?”

We use this phrase to let the person know that we cannot hear his or her voice, and that we’d like them to repeat what they just said. 

Example:

죄송해요. 잘 안들리는데 다시 말씀해 주시겠어요?
(Joesonghaeyo. Jal andeullineunde dasi malsseumhae jusigesseoyo?)
“Sorry, I’m having a hard time hearing you, can you say that again please?”

4) 전화 상태가 너무 안좋은데요. (Jeonhwa sangtaega neomu anjoeundeyo.)

If you’re struggling to hear due to a bad connection, you can use this phrase to let the other person know. The phrase means: “The connection is not good.”

Breaking it down:

  • 전화 상태 (jeonhwa sangtae) – “connection”
  • 너무 (neomu) – “too” 
  • 안 좋은데요 (an joeundeyo) – “is not good”

Examples:

여보세요, 전화 상태가 너무 안좋은데요. 다시 걸어보겠습니다.
(Yeoboseyo, jeonhwa sangtaega neomu anjoeundeyo. Dasi georeobogetseumnida.)
“Hello, the connection is not good. I will try to call you again.”

전화상태가 너무 안좋은데요. 제 목소리 들리시나요?
(Jeonhwa sangtaega neomu anjoeundeyo. Je moksori deullisinayo?)
“The connection is not good. Can you hear my voice?”

여보세요? 전화상태가 너무 안좋은데요. 여보세요?
(Yeoboseyo? Jeonhwa sangtaega neomu anjoeundeyo. Yeoboseyo?)
“Hello? The connection is not good. Hello?”

5) 들리시나요? (Deullisinayo?

This phrase means: “Can you hear me?”

You could say this phrase if you can barely hear the other person over the phone. Alternatively, you could repeat “hello” twice to indicate that the connection is not stable: 

  • 여보세요? 여보세요? (Yeoboseyo? Yeoboseyo?)

Another option is the phrase: 

  • 제 목소리 들리시나요? (Je mogsoli deullisinayo?) – “Can you hear my voice?” 

Example:

A: 
여보세요? 여보세요?
(Yeoboseyo? Yeoboseyo?)
“Hello? Hello?”

B: 
네, 여보세요. 제 목소리 들리시나요?
(Ne, yeoboseyo. Je moksori deullisinayo?)
“Yes, hello. Can you hear my voice?”

A: 
아 네, 이제 들려요.
(A ne, ije deullyeoyo.)
“Yes, I can hear you now.”

6) 뭐라고? (Mworago?

This phrase means “What?” and it’s used among friends. 

Example:

  • 여보세요? 뭐라고? (Yeoboseyo? Mworago?) – “Hello? What?” 

7) 잘 안들려. (Jal andeullyeo.

This phrase means “I can’t hear you,” and it’s used among friends. If you want to say it more politely, it would be: 

  • 잘 안들려요. (Jal andeullyeo.) / 잘 안들립니다. (Jal andeullimnida.)

Examples:

여보세요? 야 잘 안들려. (Yeoboseyo? Ya, jal andeullyeo.) – “Hello? I can’t hear you.”

뭐라고? 잘안들려. (Mworago? Jal andeullyeo.) – “What did you say? I can’t hear you.”

8) 다시 한번 말해줄래? (Dasi hanbeon malhaejullae?

This phrase means “Can you say it again?” and it’s used among friends only. 

Examples:

미안, 다시한번 말해줄래?
Mian, dasi hanbeon malhaejullae?
“Sorry, can you say that again?”

미안, 다시 한번만 말해줄래?
Mian, dasi hanbeonman malhaejullae?
“Sorry, can you say that again?”

잘 안들렸어. 다시한번 말해줄래?
Jal andeullyeosseo. Dasi hanbeon malhaejullae?
“I couldn’t hear you. Can you say that again?”

    →Do you want to know Korea’s country code and other interesting information about Korean telephone numbers? Check out this Wikipedia page on telephone numbers in South Korea.

A Staff Member Scanning a Barcode from a Man’s Phone Screen

8. Sample Phone Conversations 

Now that we’ve gone through different Korean phone call phrases, let’s have a look at a couple of sample conversations. One scenario uses only informal language and the other uses formal language. 

1) Informal Phone Conversation 

Scenario: Two friends (Yeongung and Hyunna) are setting up a time to meet for brunch on a weekend.

영웅: 
여보세요.
(Yeoboseyo.)
“Hello.”

현아: 
어. 영웅. 전화했었어?
(Eo, Yeongung. Jeonhwahaesseoseo?)
“Hey Yeongung. Did you call?”

영웅: 
응. 안본지 오래됐는데 같이 점심이라도 먹을까?
(Eung. Anbonji oraedwaetneunde gachi jeomsimirado meogeulkka?)
“It’s been awhile since we’ve met. Do you want to have lunch with me?”

현아: 
응 좋아. 어디로 갈까?
(Eung joa. Eodiro galkka?)
“Yes, sounds good. Where should we go?”

영웅: 
괜찮은곳 알아. 이번 주 금요일 한 시 어때?
(Gwaenchaneungot ara. IIbeon ju geumyoil han si eottae?)
“I know a good place. How about Friday at one o’clock?”

현아:
응 좋아.
(Eung joa.)
“Yeah, sounds good.”

영웅:
알았어. 그럼 예약 잡고 장소 카톡으로 보낼께.
(Arasseo. Geureom yeyak japgo jangso katogeuro bonaelkke.)
“Okay. I will make a reservation and send a message to you on Kakaotalk.”

현아: 
어어 알았어. 고마워!
(Eoeo arasseo. Gomawo!)
“Okay. Thanks!”

2) Formal Phone Conversation

Scenario: After they’ve set the time and place, Yeongung calls the restaurant to reserve a table. 

웨이터: 
A 레스토랑입니다.
(A reseutorangimnida.)
“This is A restaurant.”

영웅: 
여보세요, 점심 예약하려고 전화드렸어요.
(Yeoboseyo, jeomsim yeyakaryeogo jeonhwadeuryeosseoyo.)
“Hello, I am calling to make a reservation for lunch.”

웨이터: 
네, 언제로 잡아드릴까요?
(Ne, eonjero jabadeurilkkayo?)
“Okay. When would you like to come?”

영웅: 
이번 주 금요일 한 시요.
(Ibeon ju geumyoil han siyo.)
“This Friday at one p.m., please.”

웨이터: 
몇 분이세요?
(Myeot buniseyo?)
“How many people?”

영웅: 
두 명입니다.
(Du myeongimnida.)
“Two people.”

웨이터: 
성함은 어떻게 되세요?
(Seonghameun eotteoke doeseyo?)
“Can I have your name, please?”

영웅: 
김영웅입니다.
(Gimyeongungimnida.)
“It’s Kim Yeongung.”

웨이터:
네 알겠습니다. 이번주 금요일 한 시 김영웅 씨 이름으로 테이블 예약해드리겠습니다.
(Ne algetseumnida. Ibeonju geumyoil han si gimyeongung ssi ireumeuro teibeul yeyakaedeurigetseumnida.)
“Okay. I reserved a table for this Friday at one p.m. under the name of Kim Yeongung.”

영웅: 
네 알겠습니다. 감사합니다.
(Ne algetseumnida. Gamsahamnida.)
“Okay. Thank you.”

웨이터: 
그때 봐.
(Geuttae bwa.)
“See you then.”


A Lady Working with a Laptop

9. How KoreanClass101 Can Help You Master the Korean Language

Once you memorize these useful Korean phone call phrases and learn how to use them, you’ll be able to confidently speak on the phone in both formal and informal settings. 

Want to learn more about Korean culture and business etiquette? Or maybe you’d like to study even more practical everyday Korean phrases? Then you should definitely check out KoreanClass101! We provide a range of free learning resources, including vocabulary lists and audio/video lessons. It’s our goal to make learning Korean fun and to infuse each lesson with useful information on Korean culture. 

Create your free lifetime account today and advance your Korean language skills with us!

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

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. 😉

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

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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