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Different Ways to Say Goodbye in Korean

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There are many different ways to say goodbye in Korean, and each expression is used in a specific context. Studying Korean goodbye phrases and when to use them is crucial in developing your speaking skills, as some phrases may be considered offensive when used in the wrong context. For example, the way you say goodbye to an elder will be different from how you say goodbye to someone your own age.

In this article, you’ll learn how to say goodbye in Korean in any circumstance. By the time you’re done reading, you’ll be one step closer to conversing like a native Korean-speaker! 

Are you ready? Let’s go!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Korean Table of Contents
  1. The Most Common Ways to Say Goodbye
  2. “I gotta go. Goodbye!” & “See you again!”
  3. “Goodbye, see you again.”
  4. Saying “Thank you, goodbye,” to Strangers
  5. Let’s Test Your “Goodbye” Skills
  6. How KoreanClass101 Can Help You with Korean

1. The Most Common Ways to Say Goodbye

Most Common Goodbyes

As you probably know already, Korean has different politeness levels of speech. So, depending on whom you’re speaking to, you need to adjust your behavior as well as the way you talk. 

Let’s say that you just bought something from a supermarket. As you leave, the cashier tells you goodbye by saying: 안녕히 가세요. (Annyeonghi gaseyo.) To reply, you would need to say: 안녕히 계세요. (Annyeonghi gyeseyo.) 

Did you notice the difference? The phrase is exactly the same except for the 가 (ga) and 계 (gye). 

Here’s the rule for this: 

When you say goodbye to someone who is leaving, or going far from where you are, you say:
  • 안녕히 세요. (Annyeonghi gaseyo.)
You can remember this by keeping in mind that 다 (gada) means “to go,” just as the other person is about “to go.”

To say goodbye in Korean when you are leaving instead, you say:
  • 안녕히 세요. (Annyeonghi gyeseyo.)

There are many other ways to say goodbye to someone. Let’s say that you’re at the office and want to say goodbye to your manager. The business level forms of “goodbye” are: 

  • 안녕히 가십시오.
    (Annyeonghi gasipsio.)
    “Goodbye.”
  • 안녕히 계십시오.
    (Annyeonghi gyesipsio.)
    “Goodbye.”

Now, how would you say goodbye to your friends? Here are some informal goodbye phrases:

  • 잘가!
    (Jalga!)
    “Bye!” [Have a safe trip back home.]
  • 안녕.
    (Annyeong.)
    “Bye.”

Be careful when using these informal phrases, and remember that they can only be used among friends. If you say this to an elder or someone of a higher status, you’ll sound extremely offensive. 

Example: 

  • A: 가르시아 씨, 만나서 반가웠어요.
    (Gareusia ssi, mannaseo bangawosseoyo.)
    “It was nice meeting you, Mr. Garcia.”
  • B: 저도요.
    (Jeodoyo.)
    “You too.”
  • A: 그럼. 안녕히 가세요.
    (Geureom. Annyeonghi gaseyo.)
    “Goodbye.”
  • B: 네. 안녕히 계세요.
    (Ne. Annyeonghi gyeseyo.)
    “Goodbye.”
A Woman Waving Goodbye to Her Husband and Baby Before Work

I gotta go. See you tonight!

2. “I gotta go. Goodbye!” & “See you again!”

Let’s say that you’re at a friend’s birthday party and you realize that the last train arrives in fifteen minutes. How would you say “I gotta go” in Korean? How would you hint that you need to leave soon? 

Say one of these phrases:

Formal:
이만 들어가볼게요. (Iman deureogabolgeyo.) – “I am afraid that I need to leave now.”

Formal-casual:
저 갈게요. (Jeo galgeyo.) – “I’m going.”

Formal-casual:
저 가야겠어요. (Jeo gayagesseoyo.) – “I have to run.”

Informal:
가야겠다. (Gayagetda.) – “I gotta go.”

More examples:

Formal

  • 죄송하지만 이만 들어가볼게요.
    (Joesonghajiman iman deureogabolgeyo.)
    “I’m sorry, but I need to go.”

Casual

  • 앗, 벌써 시간이 이렇게 됐네. 가야겠다.
    (At, beolsseo sigani ireoke dwaenne. Gayagetda.)
    “Oh. Time flies. I gotta go.”
Two Children Waving Goodbye to Their Friends After School

School is over! See you tomorrow!

3. “Goodbye, see you again.”

Here, you’ll learn different ways to say: “Goodbye, see you again.”

Let’s say that you and your friend are walking together and are about to go your separate ways. In this case, you can say: 또 봐! (Ttobwa!), meaning “See you!” because you’re with your friend. Another appropriate phrase would be: 안녕 (annyeong). 

Now let’s say that you’re with a business partner and are about to say goodbye. The most appropriate phrase here would be: 다음에 또 뵙겠습니다. (Daeume tto boepgetseumnida.) 

With the basics covered, let’s see a few more ways to give a proper farewell in Korean at different formality levels: 

  • 다음에 또 봐요. [formal]
    (Daeume tto bwayo.)
    “Catch you later.”
  • 나중에 봐요! [formal-casual]
    (Najunge bwayo!)
    “Later!”
  • 잘가요! [formal-casual]
    (Jalgayo!)
    “Bye bye!”
  • 우리 다음에 또 봐요!
    (Uri daeume tto bwayo!)
    “See you again!”
  • 다음에 또 봐.
    (Daeume tto bwa.)
    “See you again.”
  • 또 봐! [casual]
    (Ttoba!)
    “See you!”

More examples: 

  • A: 오늘 정말 즐거웠어요. 고마워요.
    A: Oneul jeongmal jeulgeowosseoyo. Gomawoyo.
    A: “I had so much fun today. Thank you.”
  • B: 별 말씀을요. 다음에 또 봬요.
    B: Byeol malsseumeuryo. Daeume tto bwaeyo.
    B: “Don’t mention it. I will see you next time. ”
  • A: 네. 다음에 또 봬요.
    A: Ne. Daeume tto bwaeyo.
    A: “I will see you next time.”

Learn about parting phrases in Korea in this dedicated lesson:

Silhouettes of People Waving Their Hands in the Air

Goodbye!

4. Saying “Thank you, goodbye,” to Strangers

Let’s say that you asked where the bathroom was at the department store. A receptionist kindly explained to you where the bathroom was, and you wanted to politely say: “Thank you, goodbye.” In this case, you could say: 감사합니다. 안녕히 계세요. (gamsahabnida. annyeonghi gyeseyo.) This phrase translates as: “I appreciate it. Goodbye.”

While that phrase is grammatically correct, people rarely say it in a situation like the one above. 

Instead, they’re more likely to use one of these phrases: 

  • 네, 알겠습니다. (감사합니다.)
    [Ne, algetsseumnida. (Gamsahamnida.)]
    “Okay, I understand. (Thank you.)”
  • 아 네, 감사합니다.
    (A ne, gamsahamnida.)
    “Ah okay, thank you.”
  • 좋은 하루 되세요. [common phrase in the service industry]
    (Joeun haru doeseyo.)
    “Have a good day.”

Example:

  • A: 무엇을 도와드릴까요?
    A: Mueoseul dowadeurilkkayo?
    A: “How may I help you?”
  • B: 저..분실물 센터는 어디에 있나요?
    B: Jeo..bunsilmul senteoneun eodie innayo?
    B: “Um…where is the lost and found center?”

    (After you receive the information)
  • B: 네, 알겠습니다. 감사합니다.
    B: Ne, algetsseumnida. Gamsahamnida.
    B: “Okay, I understand. Thank you.”
A Woman Waving Goodbye to Someone

How do you say “Have a great day” in Korean?

5. Let’s Test Your “Goodbye” Skills

Now that you’ve read all about saying goodbye in Korean, let’s do some exercises! 

Q1. You’re on a date with someone and are about to say goodbye. What’s the most appropriate way to say goodbye to your date? 

  1. 네, 알겠습니다. 감사합니다.
    (Ne, algetsseumnida. Gamsahamnida.)
    “Okay, I understand. Thank you.”
  1. 다음에 또 봬요.
    (Daeume tto bwaeyo.)
    “I will see you next time.”
  1. 안녕히 가십시오.
    (Annyeonghi gasipsio.)
    “Goodbye.”

Q2. You’ve finished your grocery shopping at a supermarket near your house. The cashier in front of you says 안녕히 가세요. (annyeonghi kashipshio.), meaning “Goodbye.” How would you respond? 

  1. 무엇을 도와드릴까요?
    (Mueoseul dowadeurilkkayo?)
    “How may I help you?”
  1. 안녕히 가십시오.
    (Annyeonghi gasipsio.)
    “Goodbye.”
  1. 안녕히 계십시오.
    (Annyeonghi gyesipsio.)
    “Goodbye.”

Q3. You’re at a friend’s birthday party. You realize that the last bus departs soon and you need to leave the party early or you’ll miss it. How would you let your friend know that you have to go now? 

  1. 미안, 막차버스가 12시라서… 나 가볼께.
    (Mian, makchabeoseuga yeoldusiraseo..na gabolkke.)
  1. 미안, 막차버스가 12시라서… 안녕히 계세요.
    (Mian, makchabeoseuga yeoldusiraseo… annyeonghi gyeseyo.)
  1. 안녕, 막차버스가 12시라서… 좋은 하루되세요.
    (Annyeong, makchabeoseuga yeoldusiraseo…joeun harudoeseyo.)

Q4. Your homestay mother is about to leave the house. How would you say “goodbye” to her politely? 

  1. 안녕히 가세요.
    (Annyeonghi gaseyo.)
  1. 안녕.
    (Annyeong.)
  1. 다음에 또 봬요.
    (Daeume tto bwaeyo.)

Here are the answers:

Q1: 2
Q2: 3
Q3: 3
Q4: 1

If you’re still unsure about how to say goodbye in Korean, check out these two pages on KoreanClass101.com: 

A Man Waving to Someone

Hello and goodbye!

6. How KoreanClass101 Can Help You with Korean 

In this article, you learned how to say goodbye in various situations. Here’s a list of pages that you can check out in your spare time to learn more about this topic with cultural insights.

Of course, you’ll need to say “Hello” before you say “Goodbye!” Here are some useful pages on the topic: 

KoreanClass101.com is the best place to learn Korean in a fast, easy, and effective way. Create your free lifetime account today for access to numerous free features, such as themed vocabulary lists and new lessons every week. We provide you with practical information related to vocabulary, grammar, and Korean culture, so you’ll never be at a loss in your Korean learning! 

When was the last time you said goodbye to someone in Korean? Before you go, leave us a comment and let us know—we would love to hear your stories. 

Good luck with your Korean studies!

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Is Korean Hard to Learn (Or Easier Than You Think)?

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So, you’ve decided to learn Korean. That’s good! 

But we’re sure there’s still that creeping question at the back of your mind: Is Korean hard to learn? 

In this article, we’ll answer this question and provide you with examples of things that learners find difficult (and simple) about the language. By the time you’re done reading, you may just walk away with the realization that Korean is easier than you thought! 

But first…

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Learning Korean Table of Contents
  1. Why Should You Learn Korean?
  2. Is it Hard to Learn Korean?
  3. What are the Hardest and Easiest Parts of Learning Korean?
  4. Advice for New Korean-Learners
  5. Why is KoreanClass101 Great for Learning Korean?

1. Why Should You Learn Korean?

Korea is becoming more and more popular worldwide, largely due to K-pop influence. Many K-pop fans learn Korean so that they can read and understand the lyrics of their favorite songs and travel to Korea one day. In fact, learning Korean will open up many new doors; you’ll be able to meet more people and understand that there are many different ways of seeing the world

Another advantage of being able to speak Korean is that you’ll have more opportunities to be hired by a global company. This is because more and more companies are seeking bilingual or multilingual professionals every year. 

Another advantage? Being bilingual is actually good for your health because it keeps your brain sharp and delays the symptoms of memory loss.

2. Is it Hard to Learn Korean?

There’s no definitive answer to this question because so many different factors come into play. 

For example, many Korean words are derived from Chinese characters. Therefore, if your native language also has words derived from Chinese characters, Korean vocabulary won’t be too difficult for you. And if your native language has a similar grammatical structure (like Japanese, for example), you’ll have an easier time learning Korean than people who speak very different languages. In short, any existing similarities between your native language and Korean will help immensely! 

Remember that becoming fluent in Korean requires a good deal of effort and devotion from the learner. It may be difficult at the beginning, but once you have the basics down, Korean is easy! Mastering a new language takes time, but don’t worry. Many aspects of the Korean language are simple, so you can quickly master the beginner level. 

3. What are the Hardest and Easiest Parts of Learning Korean?

So what makes Korean hard to learn? And what things do most learners find easy? Let’s find out:

1 – Memorizing the Korean Alphabet = Very Easy

New Korean-learners often start by memorizing the Korean alphabet, 한글 (Hangul), which is incredibly simple and easy to learn. A lot of Korean-learners report that each Korean letter is easy to memorize and that it takes about one or two hours to memorize them all. 

Each character in Korean is made of two or three elements, usually as simple as a vowel and a consonant. Each consonant and vowel has its own sound that you need to learn by heart. Once you learn the Korean alphabet, you’ll need to learn how to combine the letters/sounds to make words. 

For example:

  • 가 (ga) is a combination of ㄱ(g) andㅏ(a).
  • 헐 (heul) is a combination of ㅎ (h),ㅓ(eo), and ㄹ (l/r).
  • 모 (mo) is a combination of ㅁ (m) and ㅗ (o).
  • 괘 (gwe) is a combination of ㄱ (g), ㅗ (o), andㅐ(e).
  • 학교 (hakgyo) is a combination of ㅎ(h),ㅏ(a),ㄱ (g),ㄱ (g), and ㅛ (yo).
  • 핸드폰 (haendeupon) is a combination of ㅎ(h),ㅐ(ae),ㄴ (n), ㄷ (d), ㅡ (eu), ㅍ (p), ㅗ (o), and ㄴ (n).

As you can see, it’s not that difficult! Once you manage to memorize all of the Korean letters and sounds, you can easily start combining different consonants and vowels to create words.

You can download our Korean Hangul eBook for free and practice Korean words in our “Learn the Korean Alphabet, Hangul, from A to Z!” lesson. Feel free to check out the page and download the Hangul charts to practice your Korean spelling, too.

2 – The Power of the Verb 하다 (hada) = Easy  

Many Korean verbs are just nouns connected to the verb 하다 (hada). 

For example, the verb 공부하다 (gongbuhada) is made up of the noun 공부 (gongbu) and the verb 하다 (hada). The direct translation is “study doing,” and it literally means “I study.” You can do the same thing for taking a shower: 샤워하다 (syawohada) is the combination of the word “shower,” or 샤워 (syawo), and the verb 하다 (hada). 

The verb form 하다 (hada) is used in writing, and the form changes in speaking. You can say 해 (hae) or 합니다 (hamnida) instead. For example, 공부해 (gongbuhae) means “I study” and is usually spoken among friends. On the other hand, 공부합니다 (gongbuhapnida) is formal language and is appropriate to use in a formal setting (such as in business).

Examples: 

  • 수영 (suyeong) or “swim” (noun) + 하다 (hada) or “to do” (verb) = 수영하다 (suyeonghada) or “to swim” 
  • 수영합니다 (suyeonghamnida) -> a formal way to say “(I) am swimming”
  • 수영해 (suyeonghae) -> a casual way to say “(I) am swimming”

Can you see how easy it is to say a simple sentence? Have a look at our article “Korean Conjunctions List: Essential Korean Conjunctions” to learn more about grammatical structures. You can also check out some other pages on KoreanClass101.com:

Someone Writing in a Notebook to Practice Vocabulary

3 – Learning Vocabulary Takes Time = Difficult

If the language has so many simple elements, why is Korean considered hard to learn by so many people? 

Well, many Korean words are borrowed from Chinese, which means that Korean pronunciation is also similar to that of Chinese. Have a look at these vocabulary words: 

  • 학교 (hakgyo) – “school”
  • 과학 (gwahak) – “science”
  • 학생 (hakseang) – “student”
  • 학원 (hagwon) – “academy”

Did you notice anything? 학 (hak) means “education” or “learning,” and it appears in several words that are related to education. This concept is very similar to what happens in Chinese.

Let’s have a look at a different example:

  • 교사 (gyosa) – “teacher”
  • 교과서 (gyogwaseo) – “textbook”
  • 교육장 (gyoyukjang) – “the superintendent of education”
  • 교무실 (gyomusil) – “teacher’s room”
  • 교인 (gyoin) – “believer”

As you may have noticed already, 교 (gyo) means “teaching,” and it appears in words that relate to teaching. 교 (gyo) is from the Chinese characters 敎.

Many compound Korean words are derived from Chinese, so if you know Chinese characters, it will be a lot easier for you to recognize these single-syllable words. If you don’t know Chinese, it’s okay. Once you start learning Korean, you’ll begin to notice these patterns naturally. 

Here are some recommended pages for you:

Practice Your Korean with Native Speakers

4. Advice for New Korean-Learners

The best way to improve your Korean is to surround yourself with native speakers. That’s why people sometimes go abroad and spend many years learning their target language. 

The good news is that it’s not the only way. You can learn and become fluent in a language by simply dedicating your time and effort to doing so. 

There are many resources on the internet that you can use to maximize your study time. We recommend reading various websites, blogs, or magazines in Korean or watching Korean videos on Netflix or YouTube. 

Also, try to make friends with native Korean-speakers. One of the best ways to make friends and learn the language is by offering a language exchange. And this way, you’ll not only learn the Korean language, but also some interesting cultural insights. 

Here are a few pages you can see for more useful information:

Korean Tiger

5. Why is KoreanClass101 Great for Learning Korean?

KoreanClass101 provides many free Korean study materials for Korean-learners at every level, so please check out our website! 

You’ll be able to study at your own pace, and if you want to learn Korean from a native speaker, you can also upgrade your account for access to our MyTeacher program. New lessons and vocabulary lists are posted weekly, so you’ll be able to study new words every day! There are many things that you can do on our website for free, so don’t forget to sign up for KoreanClass101 today and enjoy learning the Korean language. 

Do you think that Korean is difficult to learn? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

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The 5 Most Common Mistakes Korean Learners Make

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Learning a new language isn’t easy; it takes time and effort. Many Korean learners are too afraid to start speaking Korean because they’re scared of making mistakes. But it’s important to understand that you can’t improve your Korean if you don’t keep trying. It’s okay to make mistakes—it’s how you become better at Korean! 

Today, we’ll introduce the five most common mistakes Korean learners make. We’ll focus on Korean language mistakes in grammar, pronunciation, and vocabulary. In addition, we’ll give you information on how you can improve your Korean and make fewer mistakes.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Korean Table of Contents
  1. Korean Pronunciation Mistakes – 합니다 (hamnida) and 같이 (gachi)
  2. Vocabulary Word Mistakes – 이 (i) / 가 (ga) and 은 (eun) /는 (neun)
  3. Homophones- 낳다 (nata) vs. 낫다 (natda) vs. 낮다 (natda)
  4. Korean Grammar Mistakes – Verb Stem + (는)구나 ([neun]guna)
  5. Other Mistakes – 생일 (saengil) vs. 생신 (saengsin)
  6. How KoreanClass101 Can Help You with Korean

1. Korean Pronunciation Mistakes – 합니다 (hamnida) and 같이 (gachi)

The two most common Korean mistakes regarding pronunciation are to mispronounce the words 합니다 (hamnida) and 같이 (gachi). Keep reading to learn how to avoid making these mistakes!

합니다 (hamnida)

Many Korean learners pronounce 합니다 (hamnida) as “hap-ni-da.” However, when you listen closely to native speakers, it’s pronounced “ham-ni-da.” It may sound strange to you because it sounds like 함니다 (hamnida), though this is incorrect. 

Just remember that this is a special case where you need to memorize the correct pronunciation. And pronouncing it correctly will make your life a lot easier. Why? Try saying “hap-ni-da” and “ham-ni-da.” Did you notice that “hamnida” is a lot easier and faster to say? 

같이 (gachi)

Now let’s look at the romanization of 같이 (gachi). Do you know what this word means? That’s right, it means “together.” 

While reading each of the following words and trying to pronounce them, it will sound like “gat-ee.” However, the correct way to pronounce this word is “ga-chi.”

Let’s practice its pronunciation with these two sentences. 


Kid Struggling with His Korean Homework

2. Vocabulary Word Mistakes – 이 (i) / 가 (ga) and 은 (eun) /는 (neun)

Korean learners struggle to understand Korean particles because many of these particles do not translate directly to English. Let’s take a look at the subject markers 이 (i) and 가 (ga) and the topic markers 은 (eun) and 는 (neun).

If you want to know when you should use a subject marker versus a topic marker in a sentence, think of the topic markers (eun/neun) as meaning “as far” or “when it comes to.” This will help you construct Korean sentences. 

If the sentence makes sense in your head when you plug in “as far” or “when it comes to,” then use the topic marker. If not, then use the subject marker.

Examples: 

  • 겨울에는 딸기가 최고지. 
    Gyeoureneun ttalgiga choegoji.
    “When it comes to winter, strawberries are the best.”
  • 저는… 
    jeoneun…
    “as for me…”

Here are a couple of great resources on KoreanClass101.com to help you better understand how to use topic marking particles:


3. Homophones- 낳다 (nata) vs. 낫다 (natda) vs. 낮다 (natda)

Other common mistakes in Korean have to do with using the wrong word because it sounds similar to another one. These three words sound very similar, and a lot of Korean learners struggle to choose the right word. In fact, even native Korean speakers struggle to differentiate between 낳다 (nata) and 낫다 (natda). So let’s take a look at each word and learn when to use them. 

낳다 (nata) vs. 낫다 (natda) vs. 낮다 (natda)

Korean wordsRomanizationMeaning
낳다nata“To give birth”
낫다natda“To recover from something”
낮다natda“To be low”

Most people are able to differentiate between 낫다 (natda) and 낮다 (natda) without much of a problem. However, a lot of people—even native speakers—get confused when it comes to 낳다 (nata) and 낫다 (natda). 

The best way to remember is this: When you want to say “someone gave birth,” then the 받침 (badchim) has to be the last 받침 (badchim) in the order, which is ㅎ. 

Examples:

  • 다리의 상처가 아직 낫지 않았어.
    Dariui sangcheoga ajik natji anasseo.
    “The wound on my leg is not healed yet.”
  •  수잔은 어젯밤에 딸을 낳았다.
    Sujaneun eojetbame ttareul naatda.
    “Susan gave birth to a daughter last night.”

Practice:

Let’s say that your friend got into an accident and needs to stay in the hospital for a few days. You want to write “Get well soon ” in Korean. Which of these should you write? 

  • 빨리 낫길 바래. (Ppalli natgil barae.
  • 빨리 낳길 바래. (Ppalli nakil barae.)

The answer is: 빨리 낫길 바래. (Ppalli natgil barae.)

Many young Koreans make mistakes with these words, so I hope you don’t make the same mistakes!

A Korean Man Covering His Mouth with Both Hands

Oops, I keep making the same mistakes again

4. Korean Grammar Mistakes – Verb Stem + (는)구나 ([neun]guna)

Let’s say that you and your friend are trying to solve mathematical questions. While marking your friend’s paper, you notice that your friend made a lot of the same mistakes over and over. How do you say “You just made a mistake again” in this situation? 

When you’re certain about what you’re saying, there’s a grammatical structure that you need to learn. 

Grammar rule:

Verb Stem + (는)구나 ([neun]guna) establishes a speaker’s certainty.

Rule #1: We attach 구나 (guna) to the past verb stem.
Rule #2: We attach 는구나 (neunguna) to the present verb stem.

Let’s do some exercises: 

Do you know the meaning of 틀렸다 (teullyeotda)? It means “was wrong” or “made a mistake.” To say “(You) made a mistake,” you need to remove 다 (da) and attach 구나 (guna). The whole sentence becomes: 너 틀렸구나 (teulryeottguna). 

Here’s another example:

걸렸다 (geollyeotda) means “to be busted.” To say “(You) are busted,” remove 다 (da) and attach 구나 (guna). The whole sentence becomes: (너) 걸렸구나! ([Neo] geollyeotguna!). This expression is commonly used among friends. 

Examples:

  • 이번에 네 계산은 틀렸구나! 
    틀렸 (teullyeot) + 구나 (guna) => 틀렸구나 (teullyeotguna)
    Ibeone ne gyesaneun teullyeotguna!
    “Your calculations are off this time!”
  • 너 도둑질하다가 걸렸구나! 
    걸렸 (geollyeot) + 구나 (guna) => 걸렸구나 (geollyeotguna)
    Neo dodukjilhadaga geollyeotguna!
    “You got caught while you were stealing something!”

We also use it with the pattern: noun + 이구나 (iguna), as in 팀이구나! (Timiguna!) meaning “You are Tim!”

Example:

  • 존이구나! 
    존 (Jon) + 이구나 (iguna) => 존이구나 (Joniguna)
    Joniguna!
    “You are John!”

There’s another very similar expression: VST + 군(요)’ (gun[yo]). It also expresses the speaker’s certainty, but we use it in formal situations.

Example: 

  • 그렇군요. 알겠습니다. 
    그렇다 (geureota) + 군요 (gunyo) => 그렇군요 (geureokunyo)
    Geureokunyo. Algetseumnida.
    “I see. I understand.”
A Cupcake with a Sparkler on Top

Happy birthday, Grandma!

5. Other Mistakes – 생일 (saengil) vs. 생신 (saengsin

Social rank is very important in Korean culture. As a result, it’s deeply ingrained in the Korean language. 

You’ve already studied the different politeness levels of speech in Korean. In this section, we’ll focus on specific words you should use depending on social rank. Koreans use different words for people of varying social ranks, and depending on who you’re talking to, there are many words for expressing respect. 

Let’s take a look at the word “birthday.” You’ve probably learned that it’s 생일 (saengil) in Korean. But did you know that there’s another word for “birthday” that you should use for people who are older than you or of a higher rank? 

Let’s say that you want to say “happy birthday” to your mother. The polite form of 생일 (sangil) is 생신 (sangsin); therefore, 생신 축하드립니다. (Saengsin chukadeurimnida.) is the correct way to wish your mother a happy birthday.

Let’s take a look at different ways to wish someone a happy birthday:

  • [To your friends] 축하해! (Chukahae!) – “Congratulations!”
  • [To your friends] 생일 축하해! (Saengil chukahae!) – “Happy birthday!”
  • [To elders] 생신 축하드립니다. (Saengsin chukadeurimnida.) – “Happy birthday!”
  • [Casual-formal] 생신 축하드려요. (Saengsin chukadeuryeoyo.) – “Happy birthday!”

If you’re not familiar with the different levels of politeness in Korean, check out “Polite, Conversational Korean for Beginners.” It includes 130 free lessons that will teach you how to introduce yourself in a polite and casual way to native speakers. 

KoreanClass101 also has a blog post that dives into different honorific titles. Check out “Honorific Titles: Oppa, Unni, Hyung, Nuna & More” to understand different ways you can address someone, and to gain some cultural insights.

A Man Journaling on a Bus

Study at your own pace with KoreanClass101

6. How KoreanClass101 Can Help You with Korean

Being fluent in a language takes time and requires your long-term effort. Most language-learners feel embarrassed when they make mistakes, but it’s important to understand that making mistakes is part of the learning process. Also, native speakers are more than happy to correct your mistakes, so be brave! 

In this article, we looked at five of the most common mistakes Korean learners make. Want to read more about how to learn Korean faster? Here are three pages that you can check out in your spare time: 

Have you recently made Korean mistakes? Share your story and what kind of Korean mistake you made. It will help us understand more about what kind of Korean mistakes people make, and it will also help other Korean learners.

Good luck with your Korean studies. Feel free to check out our website, KoreanClass101.com, for more free study materials and more!

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10 Common Questions in Korean and How to Answer Them

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One of the most important language skills to attain is the ability to ask and answer different questions appropriately. This is because once you understand them, you’ll be able to hold conversations with native speakers of that language. 

Today, KoreanClass101 will introduce you to the ten most common questions and answers in Korean at different levels of speech. In Korea, there are many speech levels that you can utilize when conversing with people. There are three commonly used speech levels: formal (business level), formal, and informal.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Korean Table of Contents
  1. What is your name?
  2. Where are you from?
  3. Do you speak Korean?
  4. How long have you been studying Korean?
  5. Have you been to Korea?
  6. Do you like [country’s] food?
  7. What are you doing?
  8. What’s wrong?
  9. How much is it?
  10. How is…?
  11. Want to Learn More Korean? We Can Help You!

1. What is your name?

This is one of the first Korean questions any beginner should learn right away. Let’s have a look at three different ways to ask “What is your name?” in Korean. 

1. Formal Phrase – Business Level

성함이 어떻게 되세요? (Seonghami eotteoke doeseyo?) – “Could I have your name, please?”
성함이 어떻게 되십니까? (Seonghami eotteoke doesimnikka?) – “Could I have your name, please?”

성함 (seongham) is a formal word for 이름 (ireum), which is a noun for “name.” In business, it’s offensive to ask someone’s name using the word 이름(ireum), so we use 성함 (seongham) instead to show respect to the person we’re speaking to. 

Appropriate Answer – Business Level

제 이름은 Bob입니다. (Je ireumeun bobimnida.) – “My name is Bob.”

제 (je) is a humble way to refer to yourself. 이름은 (ireumeun) means “name is” and 입니다 (imnida) means “it is…”  

To answer with “My name is [name],” simply add your name between 이름은 (ireumeun) and 입니다 (imnida). This makes a complete sentence.

Example: 

  • 처음 뵙겠습니다. 성함이 어떻게 되십니까? 
    Cheoeum boepgetseumnida. Seonghami eotteoke doesimnikka?
    “Nice to meet you. What is your name?”
  • 제 이름은 윌슨입니다. 
    Je ireumeun wilseunimnida.
    “My name is Wilson.”

2. Formal Phrase – Conversational Level 

이름이 뭐예요? (Ireumi mwoyeyo?) – “What’s your name?”
이름이 어떻게 돼요? (Ireumi eotteoke dwaeyo?) – “What’s your name?” 

This sentence structure works exactly the same way as that of the formal phrase we just looked at. 

이름 (ireum) is “name” and 뭐예요? (mwoyeyo) and 어떻게 돼요? (eotteoke dwaeyo) mean “what is…” in Korean. You can use this phrase for everyday situations, such as speaking to complete strangers (e.g. cashier, receptionist, waiter, etc.) and building a relationship with someone you’ve just met (e.g. on a date, at school, etc.). 

Appropriate Answer

제 이름은 Bob입니다. (Je ireumeun bobimnida.) – “My name is Bob.”
제 이름은 Bob이라고 합니다. (Je ireumeun bobirago hamnida.) – “My name is Bob.”

The answer is exactly the same as the business level one. You can even skip 제 이름 (je ireum), or “my name,” as this is very common to do in conversations. 

Example: 

  • 이름이 뭐예요? 
    Ireumi mwoyeyo?
    “What’s your name?”
  • 제 이름은 마이클이라고 합니다. 
    Je ireumeun maikeurirago hamnida.
    “My name is Michael.”

3. Informal Phrase – Conversational Level 

이름이 뭐야? (Ireumi mwoya?) – “What’s your name?”
이름이 어떻게 돼? (Ireumi eotteoke dwae?) – “What’s your name?” 

You can use these phrases with various people, such as your friends and people who are the same age as you. However, it’s better to start off with a formal phrase when meeting someone for the first time, even if they’re the same age as you. It’s a way to show respect to each other. Eventually, one of you will request to talk informally, and from there, you can start talking to each other in a more casual manner. 

Appropriate Answer

Bob이야. (Bobiya.) – “I’m Bob.”

이야 (iya) means “it is” in Korean. Add your name before this word to complete the sentence. 

Example:

  • 이름이 뭐야? 
    Ireumi mwoya?
    “What’s your name?”
  • 앨리스야. 
    Aelliseuya.
    “I’m Alice.”

2. Where are you from? 

First Encounter

This is one of the most commonly asked questions that Koreans ask foreigners, usually to start a conversation with them. 

1. Formal Phrase 

어디 출신이세요? (Eodi chulsiniseyo?) – “Where are you from?”
어느 나라에서 왔어요? (Eoneu naraeseo wasseoyo?) – “Which country did you come from?”

어디 (eodi) and 어느 (eoneu) indicate a location. 출신 (chulsin) means “origin” and 나라 (nara) means “country.” Koreans use these phrases a lot, so try to memorize them. 

Appropriate Answer

일본에서 왔어요. (Ilboneseo wasseoyo.) – “I am from Japan.”
일본에서 왔습니다. (Ilboneseo wassseumnida.) – “I am from Japan.”

~에서 (~eseo) means “from~,” 왔어요 (wasseoyo) means “came,” and 왔습니다 (wassseumnida) means “come from.” Add the name of your country in Korean in front of ~에서 (~eseo) to complete the sentence. 

You can find a list of countries in Korean on our website; if you don’t know how to say your country in Korean, please check it out. 

Example: 

  • 어느 나라에서 왔어요? 
    Eoneu naraeseo wasseoyo?
    “Which country did you come from?”
  • 인도에서 왔습니다. 
    Indoeseo wassseumnida.
    “I am from India.”

2. Informal Phrase – Conversational Level 

어느 나라 사람이야? (Eoneu nara saramiya?) – “What is your nationality?”

어느 나라 (Eoneu nara) means “which country” and 사람 (saram) means “person.”

Appropriate Answer

일본에서 왔어. (Ilboneseo wasseo.) – “I’m from Japan.”

This sentence structure works exactly the same way as the one above: add the name of the country you want to say to the beginning of the sentence. 

Example: 

  • 어느 나라 사람이야? 
    Eoneu nara saramiya?
    “What is your nationality?”
  • 인도네시아에서 왔어. 
    Indonesiaeseo wasseo.
    “I’m from Indonesia.”
Two Businesswomen Shaking Hands

Do you speak Korean?

3. Do you speak Korean?

There are many Koreans who can speak English. They’ve been learning English as their second language since they were in primary school, and many of the younger generations spend years in English-speaking countries to become fluent. However, when you travel to very remote areas of South Korea, bilingual or trilingual Koreans will be a rarity. This can make it challenging for you to travel around, especially when it comes to purchasing train tickets or buying specific items. But you can always ask questions politely; it’s better than nothing!

Here are the Korean questions and answers you can use to find out what languages your interlocutor speaks, or let them know your current Korean level.

1. Formal Phrase 

한국어 할 수 있습니까? (Hangugeo hal su itseumnikka?) – “Do you speak Korean?”

할 수 있습니까? (Hal su itseumnikka?) means “Can you do ~?” in Korean. 

“English” is spelled 영어 (yeongeo), and “Can you speak English?” is 영어 할 수 있습니까? (Yeongeo hal su issseumnikka?). 

Do you want to know how to spell or say your language in Korean? Check out our list of the Top 38 Languages Spoken in the World on KoreanClass101.com.

Appropriate Answer

조금 할 수 있습니다. (Jogeum hal su isseumnida.) – “Yes, I speak a little.”
네, 잘 할 수 있습니다. (Ne, Jal hal su isseumnida.) – “Yes, I speak fluently.”
아뇨. 못 합니다. (Anyio. Mot hamnida.) – “No, I don’t.”

Example: 미국에 가본 적 있어

  • 불가리어 할 수 있습니까?
    Bulgariaeo hal su issseumnikka?
    “Can you speak Bulgarian?”
  • 아니요, 못 합니다. 
    Aniyo, mot hamnida.
    “No, I can’t.”

2. Informal Phrase – Conversational Level 

Here’s an informal way to ask the same question. 

영어 할 수 있어? (Yeongeo hal su isseo?) – “Do you speak English?”

Appropriate Answer

응, 조금 할 수 있어. (Eung, jogeum hal su isseo.) – “Yes, I speak a little.”
응, 할 수 있어. (Eung, hal su isseo.) – “Yes, I speak fluently.”
아니. 못해. (Ani. Mot hae.) – “No, I don’t.”

Example: 

  • 불가리어 할 수 있어? 
    Bulgariaeo hal su issseumnikka?
    “Can you speak Bulgarian?”
  • 응, 조금 할 수 있어. 
    Eung, jogeum hal su isseo.
    “Yes, I speak a little.”
Introducing Yourself

4. How long have you been studying Korean?

If you’ve been speaking Korean with your interlocutor, they may be curious how long you’ve been learning. Following are some simple Korean questions and answers you should learn and be prepared for! 

1. Formal Phrase 

한국어 공부한지 얼마나 됐어요? (Hangugeo gongbuhanji eolmana dwaesseoyo?) – “How long have you been studying Korean?”

한국어 공부한지 오래됐어요? (Hangugeo gongbuhanji oraedwaesseoyo?) – “Have you been studying Korean for a long time?”

얼마나 됐어요? (Eolmana dwaesseoyo?) means “How long has it been since~” and 오래됐어요? (Oraedwaesseoyo?) means “Has it been long since~” in Korean. 

To ask about a different language, just add the appropriate word in front of 공부한지 (gongbuhanji) to complete the sentence. 

Appropriate Answer

#년/개월/달 됐어요. (#nyeon/gaewol/dal dwaesseoyo.) – “It’s been #year/month/month.”

한국어 공부한지 얼마 되지 않았어요. (Hangugeo gongbuhanji eolma doeji anasseoyo.) – “It has not been long since I studied Korean.”

한국어 공부한지 좀 됐어요. (Hangugeo gongbuhanji jom dwaesseoyo.) – “It’s been awhile since I’ve been studying Korean.” 

There are various ways to answer this question, and it’s your time to shine. Usually, Koreans don’t appreciate it when someone brags about themselves, so find a way to answer humbly. 

년 (nyeon) means “year.” 개월 (gaewol) and 달 (dal) mean “month(s).”

한국어 공부한지 얼마 되지 않았어요 (Hangugeo gongbuhanji eolma doeji anasseoyo) literally means “It has not been long since I studied Korean,” though it’s also a humble way to express that you’re fluent in Korean, but don’t want to show off your skills. 

Example: 

  • 한국어 공부한지 얼마나 됐어요? 
    Hangugeo gongbuhanji eolmana dwaesseoyo?
    “How long has it been since you started studying Korean?”
  • 한국어 공부한지 1년 됐어요. 
    Hangugeo gongbuhanji ilnyeon dwaesseoyo.
    “It has been a year since I started studying Korean.”

2. Informal Phrase – Conversational Level 

한국어 공부한지 얼마나 됐어? (Hangugeo gongbuhanji eolmana dwaesseo?) – “How long have you been studying Korean?”

한국어 공부한지 오래됐어? (Hangugeo gongbuhanji oraedwaesseoyo?) – “Have you been studying Korean for a long time?”

There’s not much difference, except that the polite form 요 (yo) is removed. 

Appropriate Answer

#년/개월/달 됐어. (#nyeon/gaewol/dal dwaesseo.) – “It’s been #year/month/month.”

한국어 공부한지 얼마 되지 않았어. (Hangugeo gongbuhanji eolma doeji anasseo.) – “It has not been long since I studied Korean.”

한국어 공부한지 좀 됐어. (Hangugeo gongbuhanji jom dwaesseoyo.) – “It’s been awhile since I’ve been studying Korean.” 

There’s not much difference, except that the polite form 요 (yo) is removed. 

Example: 

  • 한국어 공부한지 얼마나 됐어? 
    Hangugeo gongbuhanji eolmana dwaesseo?
    “How long have you been studying Korean?”
  • 한국어 공부한지 좀 됐어. 한 4년 됐나? 
    Hangugeo gongbuhanji jom dwaesseoyo. Han sanyeon dwaenna?
    “It’s been awhile. About four years?”
Someone Holding a Book of Travel Records with a Globe Nearby

Have you been to Korea?

5. Have you been to Korea? 

The person you’re speaking with may be curious about what countries you’ve been to (or maybe you’re the one who’s curious!). Below are some basic questions and answers in Korean that will be useful in a situation like this. 

1. Formal Phrase 

미국에 가본 적 있어요? (Miguge gabon jeok isseoyo?) – “Have you been to America?”
미국으로 여행한 적 있어요? (Migugeuro yeohaenghan jeok isseoyo?) – “Have you ever traveled to America?”

Appropriate Answer

“Yes I have” answers: 
네, 가본 적 있습니다. (Ne, gabon jeok isseumnida.) – “Yes, I have been.”
네, 여행한 적 있습니다. (Ne, yeohaenghan jeok isseumnida.) – “Yes, I have traveled [there].”
네, 가본 적 있어요. (Ne, gabon jeok isseoyo.) – “Yes, I’ve been there.”
네, 여행한 적 있어요. (Ne, yeohaenghan jeok isseoyo.) – “Yes, I have traveled [there].”

“No I haven’t” answers:
아니요, 가본 적 없습니다. (Aniyo, gabon jeok eopseumnida.) – “No, I have never been.”
아니요, 없습니다. (Aniyo, eopseumnida.) – Literally: “No, not.”

Example: 

  • 미국에 가본 적 있어요?
    Miguge gabon jeok isseoyo?
    “Have you been to America?”
  • 네, 가본적 있어요. 
    Ne, gabon jeok isseoyo.
    “Yes, I have.”

2. Informal Phrase – Conversational Level 

미국에 가본적 있어? (Miguge gabon jeok isseo?) – “Have you been to America?”
미국으로 여행한 적있어? (Migugeuro yeohaenghan jeok isseo?) – “Have you ever traveled to America?”

As you may have already guessed, informal phrases are exactly the same as the formal ones, except that the polite form 요 (yo) is removed from each sentence. 

Appropriate Answer

“Yes I have” answers: 
응, 가본적 있어. (Eung, gabon jeok isseo.) – “Yes, I’ve been there.”
응, 여행한 적 있어. (Eung, yeohaenghan jeok isseoyo.) – “Yes, I have traveled [there].”

“No I haven’t” answers:
아니, 가본 적 없어. (Ani, gabon jeok eopseo.) – “No, I’ve never been.”
아니, 없어. (Ani, eopseo.) – Literally: “No, there is not.”

응 (eung) is a casual, conversational word to say “yes” and 아니 (ani) is an informal way to say “no” in Korean. 

Example: 

  • 미국에 가본적 있어? 
    Miguge gabon jeok isseo?
    “Have you been to America?”
  • 아니, 가본적 없어. 
    Ani, gabon jeok eopseo.
    “No, I’ve never been.”

6. Do you like [country’s] food? 

This question is a great way to start a conversation, especially when you want to go to a restaurant. 

1. Formal Phrase 

태국 음식 좋아해요? (Taeguk eumsik joahaeyo?) – “Do you like Thai food?”

음식 (eumsik) means “food” and 좋아해요? (joahae?) means “I like~” in Korean. You can add any noun in front of 좋아해요? (joahaeyo?) to say “Do you like ~?” but let’s focus on food here. 

To ask about a country’s food, you need to write the name of the country, followed by 음식 (eumsik), meaning “food.” For example, if you want to say “Italian food,” then it would be 이탈리아 음식 (itallia eumsik). 

Appropriate Answer

네, 태국 음식 좋아해요. (Ne, taeguk eumsik joahaeyo.) – “Yes, I like Thai food.”
아니요, 태국 음식 좋아하지 않아요. (Aniyo, taeguk eumsik joahaji anayo.) – “No, I don’t like Thai food.”

Example: 

  • 비빔밥 좋아해요? 
    Bibimbap joahaeyo?
    “Do you like Bibimbap?”
  • 네, 좋아해요. 
    Ne, joahaeyo.
    “Yes, I like it.”

2. Informal Phrase – Conversational Level 

태국 음식 좋아해? (Taeguk eumsik joahae?) – “Do you like Thai food?”

Appropriate Answer

응, 태국 음식 좋아해. (Eung, taeguk eumsik joahaeyo.) – “Yes, I like Thai food.”
아니, 태국 음식 좋아하지 않아. (Ani, taeguk eumsik joahaji ana.) – “No, I don’t like Thai food.”

Example: 

  • 태국 음식 좋아해? 
    Taeguk eumsik joahae?
    “Do you like Thai food?”
  • 아니, 태국 음식 좋아하지 않아. 
    Ani, taeguk eumsik joahaji ana.
    “No, I don’t like Thai food.”
A Man Sneaking Up on a Woman and Covering her Eyes with His Hands

What on earth are you doing?

7. What are you doing? 

This is a useful question to know in any language. Here are a few ways you can ask and answer this question. 

1. Formal Phrase 

지금 뭐하세요? (Jigeum mwohaseyo?) – “What are you doing?”
뭐하고 계세요? (Mwohago gyeseyo?) – “What are you doing?”

지금 (jigeum) means “now,” and 지금 뭐하세요? (Jigeum mwohaseyo?) literally means “What are you doing right now?”

Do be careful of your tone when you say this, because it may also sound like “What on earth are you doing?!” in Korean. If you’re a big fan of Korean dramas, you’ve probably heard this phrase a lot. If you want to avoid ambiguity, stick to 뭐하고 계세요? (Mwohago gyeseyo?), or “What are you doing?” which sounds friendlier than the previous phrase. 

Appropriate Answer

지금 일하고 있어요. (Jigeum ilhago isseoyo.)  – “I’m working now.”
전화 하고 있어요. (Jeonhwa hago isseoyo.) – “I’m on the phone.”

There are two simple ways to answer: 

  • 지금 [noun]하고 있어요. (Jigeum ~ isseoyo.) – “I’m ~ing now.” 
  • [noun] 하고 있어요. ([noun]~ hago isseoyo.) – “I’m ~ing.”

To complete the sentence, all you need to do is add a noun to the middle of the sentence and at the beginning of the sentence, respectively. For example, if you want to say “I am swimming now,” “swim” is 수영 (suyeong) in Korean. So the full sentence becomes: 지금 수영하고 있어요. (Jigeum suyeonghago isseoyo.)

Example: 

  • 뭐하고 계세요? 
    Mwohago gyeseyo?
    “What are you doing?”
  • 지금 청소하고 있어요. 무슨 일 있어요? 
    Jigeum cheongsohago isseoyo. Museun il isseoyo?
    “I’m cleaning now. What’s going on?”

2. Informal Phrase – Conversational Level 

지금 뭐해? (Jigeum mwohae?) – “What are you doing right now?”
뭐하고 있어? (Mwohago isseo?) – “What are you doing?”

If you want to ask this question even more casually, you can say 뭐해 (mwohae), or “What are you doing?” 

Appropriate Answer

지금 [noun]하고 있어. (Jigeum [noun]~hago isseo.) – “I’m ~ing now.”
[noun]하고 있어. ([noun]~hago isseo.) – “I’m ~ing.”

The rules for constructing each sentence above are exactly the same as for the formal answers. 

Example: 

  • 뭐하고 있어? 
    Mwohago isseo?
    “What are you doing?”
  • 공부하고 있어. 무슨일 있어? 
    Gongbuhago isseo. Museun il isseo?
    “I was studying. What’s up?”

8. What’s wrong? 

This is such an important question to know, because you never know when your Korean friend will be sick or feeling down. Here are some ways to ask this question, and answer it. 

1. Formal Phrase 

무슨일 있어요? (Museun il isseoyo?) – “What’s up?”
왜 그래요? (Wae geuraeyo?) – “What’s wrong?”
무슨 일 있었어요? (Museun il isseosseoyo?) – “What happened?”
괜찮아요? (Gwaenchanayo?) – “Are you alright?”

There are various ways to check up on someone in Korean, but the four above are the most common.  

Also, to start a conversation, Koreans say: 얼굴색이 안좋아 보여요. (Eolgulsaegi anjoa boyeoyo.) The literal translation of the phrase is: “The color of your face does not look good.” It may sound strange or even offensive, but the phrase means “You don’t look well,” in English. 

So if a friend looks sad or seems ill, you can use this phrase followed by one of the “what’s wrong” questions above. 

Appropriate Answer

아무일도 없어요. (Amuildo eopseoyo.) – “I’m good (nothing is happening).”
괜찮아요. (Gwaenchanayo.) – “I’m okay.”

아, 그게 말이죠 (A, geuge marijyo…) – “Uh, actually…”
 사실은요 (sasireunyo) – “Actually”

There’s no fixed answer to “What’s wrong?” because you need to describe how you feel or what exactly happened to you. 

Example: 

  • 무슨 일 있어요? 
    Museun il isseoyo?
    “What’s up?”
  • 아, 그게 말이죠. 중요한 미팅이 취소가 되었어요. 
    A, geuge marijyo. Jungyohan mitingi chwisoga doeeosseoyo.
    “Oh, actually, an important meeting has been canceled.”

2. Informal Phrase – Conversational Level 

무슨일 있어? (Museun il isseo?) – “What’s up?”
왜 그래? (Wae geurae?) – “What’s wrong?”
무슨일 있었어? (Museun il isseoseo?) – “What happened?”

Appropriate Answer

어 그게… (Eo, geuge...) – “Uh…”
아 무슨일이 있었냐면… (A museuniri isseonnyamyeon…) – “Actually…” (connotes “Actually, what happened is that…”)

Example: 

  • 무슨일 있었어? 
    Museun il isseoseo?
    “What happened?”
  • 남자친구랑 헤어졌어.
    Namjachingurang heeojyeosseo.
    “I broke up with my boyfriend.”

9. How much is it?

If you enjoy shopping, this is one of the most important Korean questions for you to learn. Here are the different ways to ask and answer it. 

1. Formal Phrase 

가격이 어떻게 됩니까? (Gagyeogi eotteoke doebnikka?) – “What is the price of this/that?”
저건 얼마입니까? (Jeogeon eolmaimnikka?) – “How much is that?”
이건 얼마예요? (Igeon eolmayeyo?) – “How much is this?”

가격 (gagyeok) means “price.” 가격이 어떻게 됩니까? (Gagyeogi eotteoke doebnikka?) is the most humble way to ask for the price, and it’s commonly used in business environments. 저건 (jeogeon) means “that” and 이건 (igeon) means “this.”

Appropriate Answer

10,000원입니다. (Manwonimnida.) – “It’s 10,000 won.”
10,000원이에요. (Manwonieyo.) – “It’s 10,000 won.”

Check out these pages to learn how to say the price in Korean:

Example: 

  • 저건 얼마입니까?
    Jeogeon eolmaimnikka?
    “How much is that?”
  • 이거요? 15,000원이에요. 
    Igeoyo? Manocheonwonieyo.
    “This one? It’s 15,000 won.”

2. Informal Phrase – Conversational Level 

이건 얼만데? (Igeon eolmande?) – “How much is this?”
저건 얼마줬어? (Jeogeon eolmajwosseo?) – “How much did it cost?”

Probably the only time you would discuss the price of a certain item with someone the same age as you, such as a friend, would be after you purchased the item. These two sentences are common questions to ask a friend. 

Appropriate Answer

이거? 10,000원. (Igeo? Manwon.) – “This? 10,000 won.”
저거? 10,000원 주고 샀어. (Jeogeo? Manwon jugo sasseo.) – “That? I bought it for 10,000 won.”

Example: 

  • 저건 얼마줬어? 
    Jeogeon eolmajwosseo?
    “How much did it cost?”
  • 저 드레스? 25,000원 주고 샀어. 
    Jeo deureseu? Imanocheonwon jugo sasseo.
    “That dress? I bought it for 25,000 won.”
Man Asking How Are You?

10. How is…?

This is a common question structure in any language. Learn how to ask and answer this question in Korean! 

1. Formal Phrase 

어떻게 지내요? (Eotteoke jinaeyo?) – “How are you?”
잘 지내고 있어요? (Jal jinaego isseoyo?) – “How have you been doing?”

These two sentences are commonly used to ask someone how he or she has been doing. If you want to specify the subject, you can add it in front of each sentence. For example, “How is your dog?” is 강아지 잘 지내고 있어요? (Gangaji jal jinaego isseoyo?) in Korean. 

Appropriate Answer

네, 잘 지내고 있어요. (Ne, jal jinaego isseoyo.) – “Yes, I’m doing well.” 
요즘 ~ (yojeum) “~these days”
아니요, 잘 못 지내고 있어요. (Aniyo, jal mot jinaego isseoyo.) – “No, I’m not doing well these days.” 

Example: 

  • 잘지내고 있어요? 
    Jal jinaego isseoyo?
    “How have you been doing?”
  • 그럼요, 잘 지내고 있어요. 
    Geureomyo, jal jinaego isseoyo.
    “Of course, I’m doing well.”

2. Informal Phrase – Conversational Level 

어떻게 지내? (Eotteoke jinae?) – “How are you?”
잘 지내고 있어? (Jal jinaego isseo?) – “How have you been doing?”

Appropriate Answer

응, 잘 지내고 있어. (Eung, jal jinaego isseo.) – “Yes, I’m doing well.” 
아니, 잘 못 지내고 있어. (Ani, jal mot jinaego isseo.) – “No, I’m not doing well these days.” 

Example: 

  • A: 잘지내고 있어?
    Jal jinaego isseo?
    “How have you been doing?”
  • B: 아니, 잘 못 지내고 있어.
    Ani, jal mot jinaego isseo.
    “No, I’m not doing well these days.”
  • A: 왜? 무슨 일 있어? 
    Wae? Museun il isseo?
    “Why? What’s wrong?”

11. Want to Learn More Korean? We Can Help You!

In summary, we’ve gone over ten different Korean questions and how to answer each question appropriately. We’ve also covered the different levels of speech that we could apply, depending on whom we’re talking to. Here are more web pages to help you learn different questions and answers in Korean. 

If you want to learn grammar and culture insights in detail, KoreanClass101.com is here for you. We have free study materials to help you improve your Korean language skills, and blog articles with practical Korean culture insights. Good luck in your studies! 

Before you go, why not practice right away? Leave us a comment with answers in Korean to some of the questions above. We look forward to hearing from you!

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Learn Basic Korean Sentence Patterns with KoreanClass101

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Have you ever wanted to say something in Korean, but you just couldn’t express it because you struggled to structure sentences in your head? 

We feel you. 

In fact, every language-learner will experience this at some point. But don’t worry anymore; as long as you master these basic Korean sentence patterns, you’ll be able to express yourself much more easily and generate hundreds of natural sentences with ease and confidence.

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Korean Table of Contents
  1. Linking Two Nouns: “A is B.”
  2. Using Adjectives to Describe Nouns: “A is (Adjective)”
  3. Various Korean Sentence Structures to Express “Want”
  4. Various Sentence Patterns to Say You Like Something
  5. Politely Asking Someone to Do Something
  6. Asking for Permission
  7. Asking for Information About Something with “What is…”
  8. Asking About Location or Position: Where is …?
  9. Asking About Time: When is …?
  10. Study Korean with KoreanClass101.com

A Close-up Picture of a Red Apple

사과는 과일이에요. (Sagwaneun gwairieyo.) — “Apple is a fruit.” 

1. Linking Two Nouns: “A is B.” 

1. 사과는 과일이에요. (Sagwaneun gwairieyo.) — “Apple is a fruit.”

Rules:
1. When the last syllable of the noun ends with a consonant:
(noun)은 (noun) 이에요. (iyeyo)
2. When the last syllable of the noun ends with a vowel: 
(noun)은 (noun) 예요. (yeyo)

Examples:

  • 이것은 레몬이에요. (Igeoseun remonieyo.) — “This is a lemon.” 
  • 이 아이는 학생이에요. (I aineun haksaengieyo.) — “This person is a student.” 
  • 존은 저의 친구예요. (Joneun jeoui chinguyeyo.) — “John is my friend.” 
  • 유미는 저의 여자친구에요. (Yumineun jeoui yeojachingueyo.) — “Yumi is my girlfriend.”
  • 이 분은 우리 어머니예요. (I buneun uri eomeoniyeyo.) — “This is my mother.”
  • 내 친구는 택시 드라이버예요. (Nae chinguneun taeksi deuraibeoyeyo.) — “My friend is a taxi driver.”
  • 이 시계는 우리 부모님이 주신 시계예요. (I sigyeneun uri bumonimi jusin sigyeyeyo.) — “My parents bought this watch.” 

2. 비빔밥은 한식이야. (Bibimbabeun hansigiya.) — “Bibimbap is a Korean food.” 

Rules:
1. When the last syllable of the noun ends with a consonant: 
(noun)은 (noun) 이야. 
2. When the last syllable of the noun word ends with a vowel:
(noun)는 (noun) 이야.

Here’s a brief explanation of the Korean sentence rules above:

You want to say: “Alice is a person.” 

In Korean, “Alice” is written as 앨리스 (aelliseu) and “person” is 사람 (saram). 

The Korean sentence pattern for “A is B” is (noun)은 (noun) 이야

Let’s put each word inside the parentheses, making the full sentence: 앨리스는 사람이야 (Aelliseuneun saramiya).

Examples:

  • 존은 나의 친구야.  (Joneun naui chinguya.) — “John is my friend.”
  • 유미는 나의 여자친구야. (Yumineun naui yeojachinguya.) — “Yumi is my girlfriend.”
  • 이 분은 우리 어머니야. (I buneun uri eomeoniya.) — “This is my mother.”
  • 내 친구는 택시 드라이버야. (Nae chinguneun taeksi deuraibeoya.) — “My friend is a taxi driver.”
  • 이 시계는 우리 부모님이 주신 시계야. (I sigyeneun uri bumonimi jusin sigyeya.) — “My parents bought this watch.” 

Check out the Basic Korean Grammar page on our website for more basic Korean sentence structure practice.

A Little Kid Eating Ice Cream

이 아이스크림 너무 맛있어요. “This ice cream tastes great.” 

2. Using Adjectives to Describe Nouns: “A is (Adjective)”

Rules:
1. If the vowel is not ㅏor ㅗ, add 어요 (eoyo):
A은/는 Adjective어요.
2. If the vowel is ㅏor ㅗ, add 아요 (ayo):
A은/는 Adjective아요.

Examples: 

  • 이 요리는 맛있어요. (I yorineun masisseoyo.) — “This dish is delicious.” 
  • 앨리스는 키가 커요. (Aelliseuneun kiga keoyo.) — “Alice is tall.” 
  • 애드리언은 잘생어요.(Aedeurieoneun jalsaengeoyo.) — “Adrien is handsome.” 
  • 광희는 재미있어요. (Gwanghuineun jaemiisseoyo.) — “Gwanghee is funny.” 
  • 스마트폰은 빨라요. (Seumateuponeun ppallayo.) — “Smartphones are fast.” 
  • 이 사람은 말이 많아요. (I sarameun mari manayo.) — “This person talks a lot.” 

Want to learn more adjectives? Check out “Which Adjective Describes Your Personality Best?” and “Most Common Adjectives” on our website! 

A Woman Thinking a Lot

너무 많은것을 갖고 싶어요. “I want to have so many things!”

3. Various Korean Sentence Structures to Express “Want”

1. 인형을 갖고 싶어요. (Inhyeongeul gatgo sipeoyo.) — “I want to have a doll.”

When you want to have something, use this Korean sentence construction.

Rules: 
1. When the last syllable of the noun ends with a consonant:
(noun) 을 갖고 싶어요. (~eul gatgo sipeoyo.)
2. When the last syllable of the noun ends with a vowel:
(noun) 를 갖고 싶어요. (~reul gatgo sipeoyo.)

Explanation: 

If you want to speak formally, end the sentence with 싶어요 (sipeoyo); if you want to speak informally, end the sentence with 싶어 (sipeo).

Examples: 

  • 게임기를 갖고 싶어. (Geimgireul gatgo sipeo.) — “I want to have a game console.”
  • 스마트폰을 갖고 싶어. (Seumateuponeul gatgo sipeo.) — “I want to have a smartphone.” 
  • 컴퓨터를 갖고 싶어요. (Keompyuteoreul gatgo sipeoyo.) — “I want to have a computer.” 
  • 한국 친구를 갖고 싶어요. (Hanguk chingureul gatgo sipeoyo.) — “I want to have Korean friends.” 

2. (이것을) 갖고 싶지 않아요. (igeoseul gatgo sipji anayo.) — “I don’t want to have this.”

When you don’t want to own something, or if you’re being forced to receive something from someone and want to express that you don’t want it, use this Korean sentence pattern.

Rules: 
1. When the last syllable of the noun ends with a consonant:
(noun) 을 갖고 싶지 않아요. (~eul gatgo sipeoyo.)
2. When the last syllable of the noun ends with a vowel:
(noun) 를 갖고 싶지 않아요. (~reul gatgo sipeoyo.)

Examples: 

  • 아이를 갖고 싶지 않아요. (Aireul gatgo sipji anayo.) — “I don’t want to have a baby.” 
  • 이런것들은 갖고 싶지 않아요. (Ireongeotdeureun gatgo sipji anayo.) — “I don’t want to have these.”
  • 이런 작은 물건은 갖고 싶지 않아요. (Ireon jageun mulgeoneun gatgo sipji anayo.) — “I don’t want to have small objects like these.” 

3. 콜라를 마시고 싶어요. (kollareul masigo sipeoyo.) — “I want to drink a Coke.” 

Use this pattern to say that you want to do something.

Rules:
1. (verb) 하고 싶어요.(~hago sipeoyo.)
2. (verb) 하고 싶습니다. (~hago sipseumnida.) – Used in business

Examples: 

  • 맥주를 마시고 싶어. (Maekjureul masigo sipeo.) — “I want to drink a beer.”
  • 커피 마시고 싶어. (Keopi masigo sipeo.) — “I want to drink a coffee.”
  • 요리를 하고 싶어. (Yorireul hago sipeo.) — “I want to cook.”
  • 어디론가 여행을 하고 싶어. (Eodironga yeohaengeul hago sipeo.) — “I want to travel somewhere.”
  • 한국어를 공부하고 싶어. (Hangugeoreul gongbuhago sipeo.) — “I want to study Korean.”
  • 프로젝트를 진행하고 싶습니다. (Peurojekteureul jinhaenghago sipseumnida.) — “I’d like to continue the project.” 

4. 운동하고 싶지 않아. (undonghago sipji ana.) — “I don’t want to exercise.” 

To express that you don’t want to do something, use this expression.

Rules:
1. (verb) 고 싶지 않아요. (~go sipji anayo.) — informal
2. (verb) 고 싶지 않습니다. (~go sipji anseumnida.) — formal

Examples: 

  • 요리하고 싶지 않아요. (Yorihago sipji anayo.) — “I don’t want to cook.”
  • 자고 싶지 않아요. (Jago sipji anayo.) — “I don’t want to sleep.”
  • 공부하고 싶지 않아요. (Gongbuhago sipji anayo.) — “I don’t want to study.”
  • 결혼하고 싶지 않아요. (Gyeolhonhago sipji anayo.) — “I don’t want to get married.”
  • 법을 어기고 싶지 않아요. (Beobeul eogigo sipji anayo.) — “I don’t want to break the law.”

Check out “Learn How to Talk Out Issues/Problems and Explain Yourself” to practice Korean sentence patterns for expressing want.

A Bouquet of Roses

“I like roses.”

4. Various Sentence Patterns to Say You Like Something

1. 장미를 좋아해요. (Jangmireul joahaeyo.) — “I like roses.”

When you want to express that you like something, you use this type of sentence in Korean.

Rules:
1. When the last syllable of the noun ends with a consonant:
(noun)을 좋아해요. (~eul joahaeyo.)
2. When the last syllable of the noun ends with a vowel:
(noun)를 좋아해요. (~reul joahaeyo.)

Examples: 

  • 김밥을 좋아해요. (Gimbabeul joahaeyo.) — “I like gimbap.”
  • 한식을 좋아해요. (Hansigeul joahaeyo.) — “I like Korean food.”
  • 너를 좋아해. (Neoreul joahae.) — “I like you.”
  • 김치를 좋아해. (Gimchireul joahae.) — “I like kimchi.”
  • 식혜를 좋아해. (Sikyereul joahae.) — “I like sikhye.”

2. 요리하는것을 좋아해요. (Yorihaneungeoseul joahaeyo.) — “I like to cook.”

When you want to talk about activities that you like doing, you can use this expression.

Rules: 
1. When the last syllable of the noun ends with a consonant:
(noun)을 하는것을 좋아해요.
2. When the last syllable of the noun ends with a vowel:
(noun)를 하는것을 좋아해요.

Examples:

  • 사람들과 이야기를 하는것을 좋아해요. (Saramdeulgwa iyagireul haneungeoseul joahaeyo.) — “I like chatting with people.” 
  • 강아지와 함께 산책하는것을 좋아해요yo. (Gangajiwa hamkke sanchaekaneungeoseul joahae.) — “I like taking my dog for a walk.”
  • 홈스테이 어머니와 함께 한식을 만드는것을 좋아해. (Homseutei eomeoniwa hamkke hansigeul mandeuneungeoseul joahae.) — “I like making Korean dishes with my homestay mother.” 
  • 친구와 함께 원데이클래스를 하는것을 좋아해. (Chinguwa hamkke wondeikeullaeseureul haneungeoseul joahae.) — “I like taking a one-day class with my friend.” 

Check out “Learn About Talking About Likes and Interests” on KoreanClass101.com to practice how to say “I like Kimchi” in Korean! 

Sentence Patterns

5. Politely Asking Someone to Do Something

When you want to ask someone to do something for you, use this expression.

Rules:
1. ~해 주세요. (~hae juseyo.) — “Please do ~.”
2. ~해 주시겠어요? (~hae jusigesseoyo?) — “Can you please ~?”
3. 부탁 들어주세요. (Butak deureojuseyo.) — “Please do me a favor.”

Examples: 

  • 한국어로 번역해 주세요. (Hangugeoro beonyeokae juseyo.) — “Can you translate this in Korean?”
  • 러시아어로 통역해 주시겠어요? (Reosiaeoro tongyeokae jusigesseoyo?) — “Can you interpret in Russian?”
  • 제 부탁 하나만 들어주실래요? (Je butak hanaman deureojusillaeyo?) — “Could you do me a favor?”
  • 제가 어려운 부탁 하나만 드려도 될까요? (Jega eoryeoun butak hanaman deuryeodo doelkkayo?) — “Can I ask you a huge favor?”

Check out “Learn How to Use the Sentence Pattern “Could You Help…?” to practice more ways to ask someone for a favor. 

6. Asking for Permission

When you want to ask for permission from another person or want to know if it’s okay to do something, use this expression.

-아도 돼요? (~ado dwaeyo?)
-어도 돼요? (~eodo dwaeyo?)

Explanation: 

The easiest way to construct this sentence is to combine your desired action and permission phrase together. 

Let’s say that you want to go to the toilet and ask the teacher for permission.Your desired action is “to go to the toilet,” which is 화장실에 가요 (hwajangsire gayo). The phrase for asking someone for permission is 그래도 돼요? (Geuraedo dwaeyo?), meaning “Is it okay to do it?” By combining the two phrases, it becomes: 화장실에 가도 돼요? (Hwajangsire gado dwaeyo?). 

Let’s take a look at different examples. 

1) 집에 가요. + 그래도 돼요?
= 집에 가도 돼요?

2) 먹어요 + 그래도 돼요? 
= 먹어도 돼요?

Examples: 

  • 이 사진 봐도 돼요? (I sajin bwado dwaeyo?) — “Can I have a look at this picture?”
  • 오늘도 와도 돼요? (Oneuldo wado dwaeyo?) — “Can I come tomorrow, too?”

Want to practice asking people politely for permission? Check out these two pages from our website! 

A Woman Thinking

What is this called in Korean? 

7. Asking for Information About Something with “What is…” 

Here are some important Korean sentences to know if you need information about something.

1. 이것은 뭐예요? (Igeoseun mwoyeyo?) — “What is this?” [formal]

When you want to formally ask someone, such as a friend, about something you don’t know, you can use this expression.

Rules: 
1. When the last syllable of the noun ends with a consonant:
(noun)은 뭐예요? (~eun mwoyeyo?)
2. When the last syllable of the noun ends with a vowel:
(noun)는 뭐예요? (~neun mwoyeyo?)

Examples: 

  • 이물건은 뭐예요? (Imulgeoneun mwoyeyo?) — “What is this object for?”
  • 저것은 뭐예요? (Jeogeoseun mwoyeyo?) — “What is this?”
  • 이 물건은 뭐예요? (I mulgeoneun mwoyeyo?) — “What is this stuff?”
  • 이름이 뭐예요? (Ireumi mwoyeyo?) — “What’s your name?”
  • 이메일 주소는 뭐예요? (Imeil jusoneun mwoyeyo?) — “What’s your email address?” 

2. 어제 숙제는 뭐였죠? (Eoje sukjeneun mwoyeotjyo?) — “What was the homework from yesterday?” [formal]

When you want to politely ask someone, such as a teacher or older sibling, about something you don’t know, or if you need to ask someone to recall an event, you can use this expression.

Rules:
1. When the last syllable of the noun ends with a consonant:
(noun)은 뭐였죠? (~eun mwoyeotjyo?)
2. When the last syllable of the noun ends with a vowel:
(noun)는 뭐였죠? (~neun mwoyeotjyo?)

Examples:

  • 어제 같이 먹었던 음식 이름은 뭐였죠? (Eoje gachi meogeotdeon eumsik ireumeun mwoyeotjyo?) — “What was the name of the food we had yesterday?”
  • 어제 같이 봤던 영화 이름은 뭐였죠? (Eoje gachi bwatdeon yeonghwa ireumeun mwoyeotjyo?) — “What was the name of the film we watched yesterday?”
  • 어제의 뉴스에 나왔던 사고는 뭐였죠? (Eojeui nyuseue nawatdeon sagoneun mwoyeotjyo?) — “What was the news from yesterday all about?”

3.이거는 뭐야? (Igeoneun mwoya?) — “What is this?” [informal]

When you want to informally ask someone, such as a friend, about something you don’t know, you can use this expression.

Rules:
1. When the last syllable of the noun ends with a consonant:
(noun)은 뭐야? (~eun mwoya?)
2. When the last syllable of the noun ends with a vowel:
(noun)는 뭐야? (~neun mwoya?)

Examples:

  • 저건 뭐야? (Jeogeon mwoya?) — “What is that?”
  • 이 물건은 뭐야? (I mulgeoneun mwoya?) — “What is this stuff for?”
    = 이 물건은 뭐에 쓰는 물건이야?
  • 이름이 뭐야? (Ireumi mwoya?) — “What’s your name?” 
  • 이단어 뜻이 뭐야? (Idaneo tteusi mwoya?) — “What is the meaning of this word?” 
A Map Showing Sheung Wan Station

Where is Sheung Wan station?

8. Asking About Location or Position: Where is …?

1. 화장실은 어디예요? (Hwajangsireun eodiyeyo?) — “Where is the bathroom?” [formal]

When you want to politely ask someone about locations, you can use this Korean phrase.

Rules: 
1. When the last syllable of the noun ends with a consonant:
(noun)은 어디예요? (~eun eodiyeyo?)
2. When the last syllable of the noun ends with a vowel:
(noun)는 어디예요? (~neun eodiyeyo?)

Examples:

  • 엘리베이터는 어디예요? (Ellibeiteoneun eodiyeyo?) — “Where is the elevator?”
  • 고향은 어디예요? (Gohyangeun eodiyeyo?) — “Where is your hometown?”
  • 고속터미널역은 어디예요? (Gosokteomineollyeogeun eodiyeyo?) — “Where is the express bus terminal?”
  • 강남역 2번출구는 어디예요? (Gangnamyeok 2beonchulguneun eodiyeyo?) — “Where is the Exit 2 of Gangnam Station?” 
  • 예술의전당은 어디예요? (Yesuruijeondangeun eodiyeyo?) — “Where is the zoo?”

2. 교실은 어디야? (Gyosireun eodiya?) — “Where is the class?”

When you want to casually ask someone about locations, you use this phrase.

Rules: 
1. When the last syllable of the noun ends with a consonant:
(noun)은 어디야? (~eun eodiya?)
2. When the last syllable of the noun ends with a vowel:
(noun)는 어디야? (~neun eodiya?)

Examples:

  • 화장실은 어디야? (Hwajangsireun eodiya?) — “Where is the bathroom?”
  • 에스컬레이터는 어디야? (Eseukeolleiteoneun eodiya?) — “Where is the elevator?”
  • 서초역 1번 출구는 어디야? (Seochoyeok ilbeon chulguneun eodiya?) — “Where is the Exit 1 of Seocho Station?”
  • 이수역 2번출구는 어디야? (Isu ibeonchulguneun eodiya?) — “Where is Exit 2 of Isu Station?”

Check out “Learn About Gyeongbok Palace” to learn how to say “Where am I?” in Korean! 

Timetable of Flights

Timetable of flights

9. Asking About Time: When is …?

When you want to ask the time or the date/day of a specific event, you can use this phrase.

Rules:
1. 언제야? (eonjeya?) — “When is…?” [casual]
2. 언제예요? (eonjeyeyo?) — “When is …?”  [casual formal]
3. 언제입니까? (eun/neun eonjeimnikka?) — “When is …?” [formal]

Examples:

  • 생일은 언제야? (Saengireun eonjeya?) — “When is your birthday?”
  • 미팅은 언제예요? (Mitingeun eonjeyeyo?) — “When is the meeting?”
  • 비행기 도착시간은 언제입니까? (Bihaenggi dochaksiganeun eonjeimnikka?) — “When is the arrival time of the plane?”
  • 미팅은 언제부터 시작입니까? (Mitingeun eonjebuteo sijagimnikka?) — “When does the meeting start?” 
Sentence Components

10. Study Korean with KoreanClass101.com

Learning a new language takes time, and KoreanClass101.com will be here for you from start to finish. We provide free vocabulary lists and lessons for Korean learners, and there are many Korean native speakers eager to help you improve your Korean language skills. 

We hope that you found this article on beginner Korean sentences very useful. Come back anytime you need to study Korean sentence patterns, and feel free to reach out in the comments section with any questions. 

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