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Archive for the 'Tips & Techniques' Category

How Long Does it Take to Learn Korean?


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

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

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

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

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

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

A Ticking Timer against a White Background

Mastering the Korean language takes time and effort.

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

The Many Factors That May Impact Your Studies

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

Your Native Language vs. Korean 

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

Your Language Learning Experience 

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

Your Motivation and Attitude

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

Learning Methods

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

Businessmen Climbing Ladders and Charting Their Success

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

TOPIK Beginner’s Level

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Man Trying to Pronounce Letters that Are Foreign to Him

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

TOPIK’s Intermediate Level

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Two Ladies Working in an Office

TOPIK’s Advanced Level

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Young Lady Holding a Korean Flag

How KoreanClass101 Can Help You Reach Your Goals

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

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

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

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

Happy Korean learning! You can do this. 😉

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

Essential Korean Phrases for Business


Do you plan on working in South Korea or visiting for a business trip? If so, it’s important that you learn the most common business Korean phrases. 

In this article, we’ll introduce you to the most essential Korean for business, so that you’ll be prepared for any situation. By the time you finish reading, you should feel more confident in your abilities to navigate a variety of workplace or business situations, from performing well in your job interview to chatting with coworkers.

Let’s get started!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Business Words and Phrases in Korean Table of Contents
  1. Why is it Important to Study Business Phrases?
  2. Nail Your Job Interview in Korean
  3. Business Phrases to Interact with Coworkers
  4. Business Phrases to Sound Smart in a Meeting
  5. Business Phrases to Handle Business Phone Calls & Emails
  6. Phrases for Your Business Trip
  7. Business Phrases to Greet Your Colleagues & Boss at Work
  8. It’s Important to Understand Business Etiquette in Korea

1. Why is it Important to Study Business Phrases? 


If you’re planning to work in Korea or find a job position that requires you to speak Korean, a working knowledge of business Korean is crucial. For example, in business settings, you must use the highest politeness form to communicate with native Korean speakers; if you fail to speak business Korean, your opinions may not be heard. 

By studying business Korean, you will not only be able to work effectively with Korean colleagues, but you’ll also gain their respect. Korean business is all about building relationships and respecting each other so that you can work as a team. 

Are you ready to learn business Korean phrases with KoreanClass101? Then let’s go!

2. Nail Your Job Interview in Korean

Job Interview

Job interviews are intimidating enough in one’s native language, let alone in a foreign language! In the following sections, we’ll provide you with some practical business-level Korean for your interview.

Greetings and Introductions

Many interviewers will start by asking you to introduce yourself. As simple as it sounds, we know that self-introductions can be difficult, especially since you want to impress your interviewer.

Use the Korean phrase below to kick off your self-introduction in Korean! 

안녕하십니까. [company’s name] [name of the position] 지원자 [name]입니다.
(Annyeonghasimnikka. [company’s name] [name of the position] Jiwonja [name]imnida).
“Hello. I am [name], an applicant for [company’s name] [position].”

Always start with a greeting, because neglecting to do so will make you sound rude to the interviewer. First of all, there are two common greetings you can use:

  • The Korean business greeting 안녕하십니까 (annyeonghasimnikka) is the most commonly used.
  • Some people opt to use 안녕하세요 (annyeonghaseyo) to sound less serious and more friendly.

Which greeting you use is totally up to you and how you want to approach the interview. In addition, you can replace 안녕하십니까 (annyeonghasimnikka) with 처음 뵙겠습니다 (cheoeum boebgessseumnida), which means “Nice to meet you.” Better yet, you can say the two phrases together!


안녕하십니까. 코리안클래스101 인턴 지원자 박효선입니다.
Annyeonghasimnikka. Koriankeullaeseu101 inteon jiwonja bakhyoseonimnida.
“Hello. I am Hyosun Park, an applicant for a KoreanClass101 internship.”

안녕하세요, 처음뵙겠습니다. 코리안클래스101 마케팅 지원자 매커드 미카엘입니다.
Annyeonghaseyo. Cheoeum boebgessseumnida.Koriankeullaeseu101 maketing jiwonja maekeodeu mikaelimnida.
“Hello, I am Mccard Michael, an applicant for KoreanClass101 marketing.”

Using one of these sentences is a safe way to start your self-introduction, so do memorize them. You can check out our lessons “Tell us about yourself in Korean” and “Introduce yourself in a Korean business meeting” to learn many other ways of introducing yourself in Korean. 

How to Sound Smart When Asking Questions

At the end of the interview, interviewers will ask: 

“Do you have any questions?”


마지막으로 하고 싶은 말이나 궁금하신 점 있으십니까?
Majimageuro hago sipeun marina gunggeumhasin jeom isseusimnikka?
“Is there anything else you want to say?”

You can ask any questions, but the following business phrases in Korean tend to be favored by HR managers. 

이 회사에서 성공하려면 제가 지원하는 직무에서 필요한 자질은 무엇입니까?
I hoesaeseo seonggongharyeomyeon jega jiwonhaheun jikmueseo piryohan jajireun mueotimnikka?
“What qualities do I need in my job application to be successful in this company?”

이 회사에서 직원의 자기계발을 위해 어떠한 교육을 지원합니까?
I hoesaeseo jikwonui jagigyebareul wihae eotteohan gyoyugeul jiwonhamnikka?
“What training does the company support for employee self-development?”

Note that if you’re still a beginner in Korean, you should skip these phrases for now. But if you are an upper-intermediate or advanced learner, we recommend that you memorize these sentences and make the most of your chance to impress your interviewers.

A Guy Checking His Schedule for Upcoming Business Trips

3. Business Phrases to Interact with Coworkers

Building personal relationships is a crucial part of doing business in Korea. This is because Koreans believe that by turning business relationships into personal relationships, they can establish trust and build better working relationships between business partners. To facilitate this, colleagues often go out for drinks to build or maintain their relationships. 

If you go drinking or have dinner with your coworkers, you’ll have a chance to get to know your colleagues a lot better. After all, you spend more than forty hours a week at work, and you never know if some of your coworkers will turn out to be your best friends. 

Also, depending on the company’s culture, after-work drinking may be considered “extended” work, so it’s important to behave as such. This style is fading away slowly. We recommend adjusting your behavior according to the atmosphere of the event.

Here are some useful Korean business phrases for interacting with your coworkers! 

Do you want to go drinking with us?

이번주 금요일 회식할 예정인데 시간돼요?
Ibeonju geumyoil hoesikhal yejeonginde sigandwaeyo?
“We are going to have dinner next Friday, do you want to join us?

오늘 저녁 회식하려고 해요. 같이 가지 않을래요?
Oneul jeonyeok hoesikharyeogo haeyo. Gachi gaji aneullaeyo?
“We are going to have dinner tonight. Would you like to come with us?”

오늘 금요일이니까 같이 한 잔 하러 갈까?
Oneul geumyoirinikka gachi han jan hareo galkka?
“It’s Friday, shall we go drinking?” 

Of course, you can adjust the phrases above to match your circumstances. 


폴, 다음주 월요일 회식할 예정인데 시간돼요? 
Pol, daeumju woryoil hoesikhal yejeonginde sigandwaeyo?
“Paul, we are going to have dinner next Monday, do you want to join us?”

오늘 저녁 회식하려고 하는데, 같이 가지 않을래요? 
Oneul jeonyeok hoesikharyeogo haeyo. Gachi gaji aneullaeyo?
“We are going to have dinner this evening, would you like to go with us?”

내일 금요일이니까 같이 한 잔 하러 갈까? 
Naeil geumyoirinikka gachi han jan hareo galkka?
“Since tomorrow is going to be Friday, shall we go drinking (tomorrow)?”

Did you know that there’s a Korean gesture that means “Let’s go drink”? Check out the “Let’s Go for a Drink” section of our blog article “10 Korean Hand Gestures You Need to Know” for more details! 

Yes, I would love to!

If you don’t have any plans and want to hang out with your coworkers, you can agree to go with them by saying: 

네, 그럼요. 
Ne, geureomyo.
“Yes, of course.”

네, 시간 괜찮아요. 같이 가요. 
Ne, sigan gwaenchanayo. Gachi gayo.
“Yes, I’m available. Let’s go.” 

Now, let’s put it into context using the phrases we covered earlier:

폴, 다음주 월요일 회식할 예정인데 시간돼요? 
Pol, daeumju woryoil hoesikhal yejeonginde sigandwaeyo?
“Paul, we are going to have dinner next Monday, do you want to join us?”

네, 시간 괜찮아요. 같이 가요. 
Ne, sigan gwaenchanayo. Gachi gayo.
“Yes, I’m available. Let’s go.”

If you want to learn more Korean business phrases for accepting an invitation, check out the “Accepting an Invitation” lesson on our website. 

No, I can’t go, sorry!

You don’t have to say “yes” to every drinking-out event with your coworkers. They’ll understand if you say no, so don’t feel guilty about declining their invitation. If you have other plans, you can say: 

죄송해요, 그날 약속이 있어서 못 갈 것 같아요. 
Joesonghaeyo, Geunal yagsogi isseoseo mot gal geot gatayo.
“I am sorry, I have some plans on that day, so I won’t be able to come.” 

다음에 기회가 되면 초대해주세요. 
Daeume gihoega doemyeon chodaehaejuseyo.
“Please invite me next time you have a chance.”

너무 가고 싶지만 못 갈 것 같아요.  
Neomu gago sipjiman mot gal geot gatayo.
“I would love to go, but I can’t.” 

Let’s put it into context:

내일 금요일이니까 같이 한 잔 하러 갈까? 
Naeil geumyoirinikka gachi han jan hareo galkka?
“Since tomorrow is going to be Friday, shall we go drinking (tomorrow)?”

죄송해요, 그날 약속이 있어서 못 갈 것 같아요. 
Joesonghaeyo, Geunal yagsogi isseoseo mot gal geot gatayo.
“I am sorry, I have some plans on that day, so I won’t be able to come.”

We have study materials for “Declining an Invitation,” where we discuss this in more detail. Check it out when you have time!

Business Phrases

4. Business Phrases to Sound Smart in a Meeting

Depending on where you plan to work, there may be required business meetings. Don’t worry! In this section, we’ll introduce you to some practical Korean for business meetings. 

Shall we begin?

The business phrase below is commonly used by whoever leads the meeting. When your manager says this phrase, you can reply to him or her with 네 (ne), meaning “yes,” or simply use the silence to indirectly say that you are “ready.”

다들 모였으니, 시작할까요?
Dadeul moyeosseuni, sijakhalkkayo?
“Since everyone is here, shall we start?”


매니저: 다들 모였으니, 시작할까요?
Maenijeo: Dadeul moyeosseuni, sijakhalkkayo?
“Since everyone is here, shall we start?”

소연: 네. 
Soyeon: Ne.
Soyeon: “Yes, please.”

Let’s think of a different situation. What if you are the one who needs to lead a meeting? The phrase below is commonly used to begin a meeting, and is versatile enough to be used with your partner, a client, or even your coworkers. 

바쁘신 와중에 시간 내주셔서 감사합니다. 그럼 시작하겠습니다.
Bappeusin wajunge sigan naejusyeoseo gamsahamnida. Geureom sijakhagessseumnida.
“Thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule. Let’s get started.”

I agree with you.

네, 동의합니다.
Ne, donguihamnida.
“Yes, I agree.” 

저도 같은 생각을 가지고 있습니다.
Jeodo gateun saenggageul gajigo itsseubnida.
“I have the same idea.”


다른 분들도 동의하시나요? 
Dareun bundeuldo donguihasinayo?
“Do you agree with me?”

네, 동의합니다. 
Ne, donguihamnida.
“Yes, I agree.”

After you’ve expressed agreement with someone’s idea, you may want to add more information or your point of view on the topic. Here’s a useful phrase for this: 

~님의 의견에 조금 더 덧붙이자면 
~nimui uigyeone jogeum deo deotbuchijamyeon
“I would like to add a little opinion to (someone)~” 


다른 분들도 동의하시나요? 
Dareun bundeuldo donguihasinayo?
“Do you agree with me?”

네, 동의합니다. 추가로 대리님의 의견에 더 덧붙이자면… 
Ne, donguihamnida. Chugaro daerinimui uigyeone jogeum deo deotbuchijamyeon…
“Yes, I agree. I would like to add my opinion to daerinum…”

I disagree with you.

In business, it’s normal to sometimes disagree with each other. Just remember to stay calm and communicate with each other respectfully. Here are some business phrases you can use to disagree with someone during a meeting. 

죄송하지만 동의할 수 없는데요. 
Joesonghajiman donguihal su eomneundeyo.
“I am sorry, but I can’t agree with you.”

음, 그렇군요. 하지만 저는 조금 다른 생각을 갖고 있습니다.
Eum, geureokunyo. Hajiman jeoneun jogeum dareun saenggageul gatgo itseumnida.
“Hmm, right. But I have a slightly different idea.”


다른 분들도 동의하시나요? 
Dareun bundeuldo donguihasinayo?
“Do you agree with me?”

대리님, 저는 조금 다른 생각을 갖고 있습니다.
Daerinim, jeoneun jogeum dareun saenggag-eul gatgo itsseumnida.
“I have a slightly different idea.”

아 그래요? 말씀해보세요. 
A gerlaeyo? Malsseumhaeboseyo.
“Oh, is that so? Please tell me.”

Check out the “Essential Phrases for Doing Business Successfully” vocabulary list on There, you’ll learn twenty Korean business phrases that you can use at work right away!

A Businesswoman Expressing Her Opinions in a Meeting

5. Business Phrases to Handle Business Phone Calls & Emails

Handling business phone calls can be daunting for non-native speakers. All of the other elements you could usually apply to understand what a person is saying—such as facial expression and body language—become invisible, and you’ll have to solely rely upon the tone of their voice. However, there is always a simple manual that you can use as guidance when handling business phone calls.

When You Pick Up the Phone

Let’s say that you’re in charge of picking up phone calls. 여보세요 (yeoboseyo), a phrase that’s commonly used in daily life to say “Hello?” is rarely used in business environments. 

Instead, you should use one of these two phrases when answering a phone call at work: 

네 [company] 입니다.
Ne [company] imnida.
“Yes, this is [company].”

네, [company] 의 [name]입니다.
Ne [company]eui [name] imnida.
“Yes, this is [company]. [Name] speaking.”


네, 코리안클래스101의 김지연입니다. 
Ne, koriankeullaeseu101ui gimjiyeonimnida.
“Hello, this is KoreanClass101. Kim Jiyeon speaking.”

After you’ve used one of those phrases, the person who called will introduce themself as well. 

안녕하세요, [company]의 [name] 입니다. [reason] 때문에 전화드렸습니다.
Annyeonghaseyo, [company]ui [name] imnida. [reason] ttaemune jeonhwadeuryeotseumnida.
“Hello, this is [name] of [company]. I called for [reason].”

Let’s put it into context:

네, 코리안클래스101의 김지연입니다. 
Ne, koriankeullaeseu101ui gimjiyeonimnida.
“Hello, this is KoreanClass101 Kim Jiyeon speaking”

안녕하세요, ABCD의 김철수입니다. 오늘 미팅 건때문에 전화드렸습니다. 
Annyeonghaseyo, ABCDui gimcheolsuimnida. Oneul miting geonttaemune jeonhwadeuryeotseumnida.
“Hello, this is Kim Cheol-soo from ABCD. I called you for the meeting today.”

Usually, the receiver will continue the conversation with: 

아, 네 안녕하세요. 
A, ne annyeonghaseyo.
“Ah, yes hello.”


네 네 말씀하세요. 
Ne ne malsseumhaseyo.
“Yes, yes, tell me.”

Here’s a tip for you: If you find it too difficult to understand the speaker on the phone, kindly ask them to email you instead. It’s also okay to request them to send a summary of the phone call, because in practice, it’s quite common to do this in Korea. You can say:

말씀하신 내용을 이메일로 받을 수 있을까요?
Malsseumhasin naeyongeul imeillo badeul su isseulkkayo?
“Could you send the summary (or request) from the phone call to my email?” 

When Someone is Not Available for a Phone Call

When a caller wants to speak to someone else on your team, but he or she is not available due to a meeting, you can use one of these common Korean business phrases to let the caller know that he or she is not available. 

죄송하지만, [name] 은/는 지금 미팅중이세요.
Joesonghajiman, [name] eun/neun jigeum mitingjungiseyo.
“I am sorry, but [name] is in a meeting at the moment.” 


지금 미팅중이신데 메모라도 남겨드릴까요?
Jigeum mitingjungisinde memorado namgyeodeurilkkayo?
“He/she is in the meeting right now, would you like me to write a message for him/her?”

지금 미팅중이신데 전화 왔었다고 전해드릴까요?
Jigeum mitingjungisinde  jeonhwa wasseotdago jeonhaedeurilkkayo?
“He/she is in a meeting right now, would you like me to let him/her know that you called?”


지금 미팅중이신데 메모라도 남겨드릴까요?
Jigeum mitingjungisinde memorado namgyeodeurilkkayo?
“He/she is in a meeting right now, would you like me to write a message for him/her?”

괜찮습니다. 다시 전화하겠습니다.
Gwaenchansseumnida. Dasi jeonhwahagetseumnida.
“It’s okay. I will give him/her a call again later.”

Want to learn some more business phrases to communicate effectively on the phone in Korean? Check out our lesson “Asking for Someone on the Phone” on! 

Writing an Email

Let’s briefly cover how to write Korean business emails.

Remember, your email should start with the following sentence, or something similar:

안녕하세요, [name of the company] [name] 입니다.
Annyeonghaseyo, [company]ui [name] imnida.
“Hello, this is [name of the company] [name].”


안녕하세요, 코리안클래스101 김지연입니다. 
Annyeonghaseyo, koriankeullaeseu101ui gimjiyeonimnida.
“Hello, this is Kim Jiyeon from KoreanClass101.”

Once you have finished the body of the email, end it with:

“Thank you.”

[name] 드림
[name] deurim
“From [name]”

A Man Studying Business Plans

6. Phrases for Your Business Trip

When you’re traveling abroad for a Korean company, there’s normally someone who books hotels and flight tickets, and builds an itinerary for you and your team.

In this section, let’s focus on phrases for getting yourself checked into and out of your hotel. 

Checking in at a Hotel

안녕하세요, [name]으로 예약 해놨는데요.
Annyeonghaseyo, [name]euro yeyak haenwanneundeyo.
“Hello, I made a reservation under the name of [name].”

안녕하세요, 체크인을 하고 싶습니다. 
Annyeonghaseyo, chekeuineul hago sipseumnida.
“Hello, I would like to check in, please.”

Checking out of a Hotel

체크아웃을 하고 싶습니다.
Chekeuauseul hago sipseumnida.
“I would like to check out, please.”

Check out our lessons “Korean Travel Phrases” and “Going Out to Meet with a Client in South Korea” to learn more essential travel and business phrases before you head out.

Five People Having a Regular Meeting

7. Business Phrases to Greet Your Colleagues & Boss at Work

Now, let’s go into detail about how to greet in Korean business settings.

Generally, you can speak casually with your colleagues. However, you need to be able to adjust your level of politeness depending on the situation. For example, you can call your colleague by their name followed by unni outside the company building, or when you and your colleague are the only people in the meeting room. Just remember not to use that title during a meeting, as it will make you sound unprofessional. During a meeting, you must address your colleague with the proper title (e.g. daeri, gwajang, etc.).

How to Say Hello at Work


This phrase is the most commonly used greeting.


This business phrase is also used, but only by new employees. You can also use this when you need to introduce yourself to your team for the first time.


[As you enter the office]


How to Say Goodbye at Work

There are many phrases for saying goodbye to your colleagues. It’s considered rude to leave the office without greeting your colleagues, so remember to say goodbye properly.

내일 뵙겠습니다. 
Naeil boebgessseumnida.
“See you tomorrow.” 

먼저 가보겠습니다.
Meonjeo gabogessseumnida.
“I’m going to leave first.” 

먼저 가보겠습니다. (Meonjeo gabogessseumnida.) is the most commonly used phrase. It sounds natural, and people usually reply with 내일 뵈어요 (naeil boeeoyo.) or 안녕히 가세요 (annyeonghi gaseyo).

That said, don’t be disappointed if no one responds to you; usually, people are too focused on their work and just don’t hear you.


먼저 가보겠습니다.
Meonjeo gabogessseumnida.
“I’m going to leave first.”

내일 뵈어요 
Naeil boeeoyo.
“See you tomorrow.”

How to Greet During Lunchtime

In Korea, lunchtime is usually around noon or one o’clock, and may last one or two hours depending on the company you work for. Here, you’ll learn a few phrases that you can say to your colleagues or boss at lunchtime, or when otherwise leaving the office.

[If you’re leaving the office to meet a client]

“See you later (I’ll go and come back).”

[If you’re leaving the office to have lunch]

점심 먹으러 다녀오겠습니다.
Jeomsim meogeureo danyeoogesseumnida.
“I’m going for lunch.”

[If you’re replying to someone]

점심 맛있게 드세요.
Jeomsim masitge deuseyo.
“Have a great lunch.” 

A Woman in a Business Suit about to Cross a Red Finish Line

Learn business Korean and boost your confidence today

8. It’s Important to Understand Business Etiquette in Korea

Korea’s working style and etiquette are very different from those in Western countries. Therefore, it’s important to understand Korean etiquette at work.

Although more and more companies have deployed many methods to improve the work atmosphere—such as removing job titles for a flat organizational structure—you still need to be able to read the air and adjust your behavior accordingly. Don’t worry, because these etiquette rules can be learned very quickly. Check out the pages below to learn more about business etiquette and Korean culture at work. 

By understanding these cultural differences, you’ll be able to work with Korean colleagues more effectively. Make sure to read our article on “How to Find Jobs in Korea” if you’re planning to work in South Korea one day. It explains in detail about what kind of jobs are available for foreigners and how to land your job in South Korea! 

Lastly, KoreanClass101 discusses many business-related topics where we teach you business Korean phrases, talk about work etiquette, and help you explore Korean culture. We also provide free vocabulary lists, so feel free to check out our website in your spare time.

In summary, we’ve looked at key business phrases in Korean that you can start using right away. Have a question? Feel free to leave us a comment! 

Good luck with your studies and have a great day! 

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11 Korean YouTube Channels to Learn Korean in 2020


Many people these days don’t have enough time to study because of their busy lifestyles. If you work full-time, you know exactly what we’re talking about. It’s difficult to learn a language when you have to work eight hours a day, run personal errands after work, and have loved ones to take care of and spend time with at home. 

But this is where technology can play a beneficial role.

Did you know you can study Korean on your smartphone? You can! This allows you to take lessons with you wherever you go and study anytime. You can read articles, watch videos, and even play educational games on the go.

KoreanClass101 is the perfect way to improve your Korean online. Our website and app can help you make the most of your study time, with numerous audio and video lessons, vocabulary lists, and more. We’re the fastest, easiest, and most fun way to learn Korean. In particular, we think you’ll enjoy the KoreanClass101 YouTube channel, which features tons of free videos containing practical information for learners at every level. 

That said, there are many other Korean YouTubers and channels that we think you’ll enjoy. In this article, we’ll introduce you to some of the most popular Korean YouTube channels in 2020. Let’s get started!

Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Korean Table of Contents
  1. 슈스스TV (SyuseuseuTV)
  2. 동네 놈들 (Dongne nomdeul)
  3. 예림TV (YearimTV)
  4. 아내의 식탁 (Anaeui siktak)
  5. 세바시 강연 (Sebasi gangyeon)
  6. 혀니 (Hyunie)
  7. Solfa
  8. KBS HUMAN: 뭉클티비 (KBS HUMAN: mungkeultibi)
  9. 강형욱의 보듬TV (Ganghyeongugui bodeumTV)
  10. [ODG]
  11. [KoreanClass101]
  12. Final Thoughts

1. 슈스스TV (SyuseuseuTV)

한혜연 (Han Hyeyeon) is one of the most influential stylists in Korea. She created her own YouTube channel in 2018 to connect with her fans and give them fashion tips. On her channel, she visits various clothing stores, picks out a few different clothing items, and explains how you can mix-and-match your clothes. It’s fun to watch her when she gets excited and screams about finding something she really likes.

There are also subtitles, so Korean learners can easily read along. She uses many adjectives to describe clothing and her feelings, and often goes into great detail. This is a great channel for picking up some descriptive vocabulary! 

2. 동네 놈들 (Dongne nomdeul)

Do you like comedy? Then you’ll love this Korean YouTube channel, hosted by three Korean comedians: 안진호 (An Jinho), 정재형 (Jeong Jaehyeong), and 최부기 (Choe Bugi). 

They tend to use simple Korean words and phrases, since they’re more focused on using body language to convey meaning. While their use of body language will make it easier for you to understand what’s going on, it may be difficult for you to grasp the context. Some of the body language and jokes are specific to Korean culture, and they use a lot of slang that beginners may find difficult to understand. 

Nevertheless, most of their content is easy to understand, as long as you have a good foundation of Korean vocabulary and cultural knowledge. 

If you need a good laugh, what are you waiting for? 

3. 예림TV (YearimTV)

This Korean YouTube channel is geared toward children, featuring stories, songs, and traditional fairytales. This is one of the best Korean learning YouTube channels for absolute beginners, because each video has subtitles and the characters speak slowly. This makes it easier for Korean learners to practice their pronunciation and listening comprehension.  

4. 아내의 식탁 (Anaeui siktak)

Do you like trying out new recipes? Do you want to learn how to cook Korean dishes? 

Then you’re going to love this Korean YouTube cooking channel! 

아내의 식탁 (anaeui siktak), or “Wife’s Table,” introduces various recipes, both Korean and Western. The videos are aesthetically beautiful and feature calming background music. In addition, this channel provides subtitles in both Korean and English, making it perfect for Korean learners. 

Didn’t catch everything in the video? Don’t worry! You’ll find the recipe written in the description of each video.

5. 세바시 강연 (Sebasi gangyeon)

If you’re a fan of TedTalks, then something tells us you’ll love this Korean YouTube channel. 

세바시 강연 (sebasi gangyeon) is the Korean version of TedTalks, where various professionals give a speech on a topic they specialize in. Each speaker has a different presentation style, so you’ll be able to observe many of the different tones, speech levels, and commonly used body gestures in Korea. 

Unfortunately, this channel doesn’t provide subtitles in other languages (English included), so you’ll need a good knowledge of Korean to understand the content. 

6. 혀니 (Hyunie)

Here’s another one of the most popular Korean fashion YouTube channels. 

YouTuber Hyunie Shim created her channel in 2012, and she uploads videos that introduce different fashion trends and tips on how to dress up with clothing from reasonably priced brands (such as Zara or H&M). When speaking, she uses a mix of formal and conversational Korean, which definitely reflects how native Korean-speakers communicate in everyday life.

7. Solfa

Solfa is known for its array of interesting videos, many of which focus on psychology and cultural trends. 

When the channel was first created, it posted mainly reaction videos (for example, university students trying out a weird item or eating American snacks). However, its recent content is more focused on two people, a man and a woman, conversing about various topics (such as rating fashion styles or debating whether it’s a good idea to go Dutch on a first date). 

This Korean YouTube channel is the best for listening to real Korean. 

8. KBS HUMAN: 뭉클티비 (KBS HUMAN: mungkeultibi)

The KBS Human channel provides many documentaries from the past, and watching this channel is a great way to see the various lifestyles of Koreans all over the country. If you’re new to Korea, this channel might interest you, since you’ll be able to learn more about both the language and culture of Korea. 

9. 강형욱의 보듬TV (Ganghyeongugui bodeumTV)

If you’re an animal-lover or want to learn how to train a dog, we have the perfect channel for you. 

This Korean YouTube channel features a number of dog training video clips by 강형욱 (Gang Hyeonguk), the most famous and respected dog trainer in Korea. He visits many households to help solve their dog’s problematic behavior, such as biting or barking. By interacting with the dog, he’s able to explain the cause of the dog’s behavior and how to fix it. 

He speaks very slowly, so you can easily understand him (and, of course, his dog training). His videos also have English subtitles so you can read along. 

10. [ODG]

Children are very honest when it comes to giving their opinions, and adults can learn a lot from them in this regard. This is the focus of ODG.

This Korean YouTube channel provides various content that involves asking questions to children about deep topics. Example topics include “What is Evil?” or children’s perspective on “Death.”

There are also videos that cover interactions between Korean and American kids. Each child introduces the other to snacks from their country and tries to teach them their language. These interactions are very interesting, and they allow you to vividly see the cultural differences between Korea and America. 

11. [KoreanClass101]

The KoreanClass101 YouTube channel was created in 2007 and continues to provide insightful videos for Korean learners to help them improve their Korean skills. Here, you can learn to speak, read, write, and understand spoken Korean. You can also learn practical Korean phrases to boost your conversational confidence! 

12. Final Thoughts

Indeed, studying the Korean language on YouTube can be a great way to boost your Korean studies. It’s easy to access and absolutely free! However, one thing is lacking: proper guidance. Learning a new language takes time, and you want to make sure you’re going about it the right way. 

What makes KoreanClass101 better than any other Korean YouTube channel is its focus on Korean learners. This means that you’ll be able to find a video on any topic you’re struggling with: pronunciation, vocabulary, and the list goes on. 

And what’s more? is the best website for you to learn the Korean language. We provide you with the guidance you need, and allow you to learn the language anytime, anywhere, and at your own pace! So why not sign up for KoreanClass101 today

Before you go, let us know which of these Korean YouTube channels you’re most interested in watching. Are there any good ones we missed? We look forward to hearing from you in the comments!

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


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).


  • 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

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


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.


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

Here are a couple of great resources on 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. 


  • 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.”


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. 


  • 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!”


  • 존이구나! 
    존 (Jon) + 이구나 (iguna) => 존이구나 (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.


  • 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

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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,, for more free study materials and more!

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