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88 Korean Words for Animals

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Do you know how to say the names of different animals in Korean? 

Learning animal words in a foreign language is a fun way to expand your vocabulary. Because animals are such a hot topic of discussion, having these words up your sleeve can also help you engage in conversations with native speakers. 

In this article, we’ll introduce you to 88 animal words in Korean. This includes animal names, important animal body parts, and Korean expressions that mention animals. 

Let’s go!

A Picture of Pets
Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Korean Table of Contents
  1. Pets
  2. Farm Animals
  3. In the Wild / Forest / Safari (Land Animals)
  4. In the Ocean (Aquatic / Marine Animals)
  5. Bugs and Insects
  6. Birds
  7. Animal Body Parts
  8. Animal-Related Proverbs and Idioms
  9. How KoreanClass101 Can Help You Learn More Korean

1. Pets

Research conducted in 2020 shows that the most popular pets in South Korea are dogs (83.9%), followed by cats (32.8%) and fish (2.2%). When asked about their favorite animals (and not just pets), Koreans indicated an interest in tigers, Eurasian eagle-owls, and Japanese tree frogs. 

Here are the names of common pets in Korean:

강아지(gangaji)“puppy”
(gae)“dog”
고양이(goyangi)“cat”
햄스터(haemseuteo)“hamster”
토끼(tokki)“rabbit”
친칠라(chinchilla)“chinchilla”
(sae)“bird”
금붕어(geumbungeo)“goldfish”
(baem)“snake”
애완동물(aewandongmu)“pet”
애완견 (aewangyeon)“pet dog”

Example: 

A: 좋아하는 애완동물이 뭐예요?
A: Joahaneun aewandongmuri mwoyeyo? 
A: “What’s your favorite pet?”

B: 저는 햄스터를 좋아해서 지금 여섯 마리 키우고 있어요.
B: Jeoneun haemseuteoreul joahaeseo jigeum yeoseot mari kiugo isseoyo.
B: “I like hamsters, and currently have six.”

    ★ You can visit our free vocabulary list Animal Names to learn the names of even more animals, along with their pronunciation!

A Picture of Goats on a Farm

2. Farm Animals

Fun fact: Cows, pigs, and chickens are the three main farm animals in South Korea.

(so)“cow”
돼지(dwaeji)“pig”
(dak)“chicken”
(yang)“sheep”
알파카(alpaka)“alpaca”
오리(ori)“duck”
(mal)“horse”
염소(yeomso)“goat”
당나귀(dangnagwi)“donkey”
거위(geowi)“goose”
개구리(gaeguri)“frog”
멧돼지(metdwaeji)“wild boar”
송아지(songaji)“calf”

Example: 

A: 우리 할아버지 농장 운영하시는데, 구경하러 갈래? 소랑 돼지 엄청 많아.
A: Uri harabeoji nongjang unyeonghasineunde, gugyeonghareo gallae? Sorang dwaeji eomcheong mana.
A: “My grandfather runs a farm. Did you want to go and see? There are so many cows and pigs.”

B: 응, 좋아!
B: Eung, joa!
B: “Yes, sure!”

    ★ Do you want to learn what sounds animals make in Korean? Check out Sounds That Animals Make to hear their onomatopoeia for yourself! 
    ★ You can also visit our lesson Farm Animals in Korean to learn more relevant words. 
    ★ For advanced learners, we recommend our lesson How Do You Feel About Animals in Zoos? You’ll get to hear about a Korean speaker’s trip to a zoo in Japan that caused her to question how she felt about caging wild animals.

A Picture of a Lion

3. In the Wild / Forest / Safari (Land Animals)

Fun fact: Did you know that the national symbol of South Korea is the tiger? There used to be tigers in Korea, but they’re now extinct. 

You might also like to know that the national bird of South Korea is the Oriental magpie, and the national flower is the Hibiscus syriacus

Want to learn more? Check out the page National symbols of South Korea on Wikipedia!

Now, here are the names of common wild animals in Korean:

사슴(saseum)“deer”
사자(saja)“lion”
호랑이(horangi)“tiger”
원숭이(wonsungi)“monkey”
하마(hama)“hippo”
코뿔소(koppulso)“rhino”
얼룩말(eollugmal)“zebra”
코끼리(kokkiri)“elephant”
여우(yeou)“fox”
(gom)“bear”
늑대(neukdae)“wolf”

Example: 

A: 한국의 상징 동물이 뭔지 알아?
A: Hangugui sangjing dongmuri mwonji ara?
A: “Do you know what the national animal of Korea is?”

B: 응, 호랑이잖아.
B: Eung, horangijana.
B: “Yeah, it’s a tiger.”


A Picture of Marine and Aquatic Animals

4. In the Ocean (Aquatic / Marine Animals)

Considering that South Korea has roughly 1500 miles of coastline, it should come as no surprise that we enjoy a diverse population of marine life. 

Here are the names of common aquatic animals in Korean:

돌고래(dolgorae)“dolphin”
물고기(mulgogi)“fish”
고래(gorae)“whale”
문어(muneo)“octopus”
오징어(ojingeo)“squid”
조개(jogae)“clam”
물개(mulgae)“seal”
해파리(haepari)“jellyfish”
 (ge)“crab”
상어(sangeo)“shark”
바닷가재(badaggajae)“lobster”
펭귄(penggwin)“penguin”
송어(songeo)“trout”
물개(mulgae)“seal”
거북이(geobugi)“turtle”


A Picture of a Ladybug

5. Bugs and Insects

While we may not like bugs all that much, they do comprise an essential part of the world’s ecosystem. Let’s take a look at what the most common ones are called in Korean:

(beol)“bee”
거미(geomi)“spider”
달팽이(dalpaengi)“snail”
나비 (nabi)“butterfly”
잠자리(jamjari)“dragonfly”
무당 벌레(mudang beolle)“ladybug”
메뚜기(mettugi)“grasshopper”
사마귀(samagwi)“mantis”
물 거미(mul geomi)“water spider”
애벌레(aebeolle)“larva”
바퀴벌레(bakwibeolle)“cockroach”
개미(gaemi)“ant”

A Picture of Blue Papagalakia Birds

6. Birds 

Did you know there are 583 species of birds in South Korea? While we can’t list all of them here, we’ve included below the names of common birds in South Korea and around the globe:

독수리(doksuril)“eagle”
홍학(honghak)“flamingo”
왜가리(waegali)“heron”
암탉(amtak)“hen”
올빼미(olppaemi)“owl”
공작(gongjak)“peacock”
망아지(mangaji)“foal”
새끼 양(saekki yang)“lamb”
비둘기(bidulgi)“pigeon”
칠면조(chilmyeonjo)“turkey”
황새(hwangsae)“stork”
백조(baekjo)“swan”

A Picture of an Orange Feather

7. Animal Body Parts

Now that you’ve learned the names of many different animals in the Korean language, let’s briefly look at what we call the most important animal body parts.

 부리(buri)“beak”
깃털(gitteol) “feather”
 (ppul) “horn”
말굽(malgup)“horse”
 입마개(ipmagae)“muzzle”
 발톱(baltop)“claw”
 이빨 (ippal) “teeth”
꼬리 (kkori)“tail”

    ★ Would you like to learn the sounds animals make in Korean? Then visit our lesson 10 Animal Sounds!

A Picture of an Old Lady

8. Animal-Related Proverbs and Idioms

Korean animal proverbs and idioms are easy to understand, and Koreans use them every day. Here are just a few of them for you.

하룻강아지 범 무서운줄 모른다Harutgangaji beom museounjul moreunda.“A day-old puppy is not afraid of a tiger.”
This means that an inexperienced person doesn’t know when to be cautious. The meaning can be either positive or negative, depending on how one uses it. 

Example: 

A: 뭐? 신입사원이 매니저한테 소리를 질렀다고?
A: Mwo? Sinipsawoni maenijeohante sorireul jilleotdago?
A: “What? The new employee yelled at the manager?”

B: 그러니까… 하룻강아지 범 무서운줄 모른다더니..
B: Geureonikka…harutgangaji beom museounjul moreundadeoni..
B: “I know right… A day-old puppy is not afraid of a tiger…”

고래싸움에 새우 등 터진다Goraessaume saeu deung teojinda.“When whales fight, the shrimp’s back breaks.”
This means that when two big powers fight against each other, the little bystander is the victim. 

Example: 

A: 오늘 아침 어머니와 아버지가 싸우시는데 그 앞에 서 있다가, 공연히 고래싸움에 새우 등 터질 뻔했어.
A: Oneul achim eomeoniwa abeojiga ssausineunde geu ape seo itdaga, gongyeoni goraessaume saeu deung teojil ppeonhaesseo.
A: “My mother and father were fighting this morning, and I was standing in front of them, and the shrimp’s back almost broke in the fight.”

B: 그러게 왜 앞에 서 있었어?
B: Geureoge wae ape seo isseosseo?
B: “So why were you standing in front of them (in the first place)?”

우물 안 개구리umul an gaeguri“a frog in a well”
The English equivalent is “a big fish in a small pond,” but the Korean idiom has more of a negative connotation.

Example: 

우물 안 개구리가 되지 않으려면 기존에서 벗어난 사고 방식이 필요하다.
Umul an gaeguriga doeji aneuryeomyeon gijoneseo beoseonan sago bangsigi piryohada.
“If you don’t want to be a frog in the well, we really want to change things.”

소 귀에 경 읽기so gwie gyeong ikgi“reading the Bible to a cow”
The English equivalent is “to fall on deaf ears.” This means that even though you try your best to explain something to an ignorant person, they will never understand.

Example: 

요즘 어린 학생들은 어른이 지적을 해도 듣지 않아. 정말 소 귀에 경 읽기야.
Yojeum eorin haksaengdeureun eoreuni jijeogeul haedo deutji ana. Jeongmal so gwie gyeong ikgiya.
“These days, young people don’t listen even when adults point things out. It feels like reading the Bible to a cow.”

호랑이도 제 말하면 온다 Horangido je malhamyeon onda.“Even the tiger will come when it’s mentioned.”
The English equivalent is “Speak of the devil.”

Example: 

호랑이도 제말하면 온다더니, 앨리스가 여기 왔어.
Horangido je malhamyeon ondadeoni, alliseuga yeogi wasseo.
“Speaking of the devil. Alice is here.”

9. How KoreanClass101 Can Help You Learn More Korean

You’ve just learned 88 animal words in Korean, as well as a few popular animal-related expressions. 

What’s your favorite animal? Do you know its name in Korean? 

If you would like to continue learning the Korean language, create your free lifetime account on KoreanClass101.com today! We make learning fun and provide our students with a number of effective and entertaining resources: free vocabulary lists, audio and video lessons, and much more! You can also head over to our YouTube channel to learn Korean while watching fun videos.

Happy learning!

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

Essential Korean Phone Conversation Phrases

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

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

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

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

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

1. Picking up the Phone

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

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

1) 여보세요 (yeoboseyo

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

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

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

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

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

Example:

A:
여보세요.
(Yeoboseyo.)
“Hello.”

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

2) 무엇을 도와드릴까요? (Mueoseul dowadeurilkkayo?

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

Example:

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

3) 뭐 해? (Mwo hae?

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

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

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

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

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

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

2. Saying Who You Are

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

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

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

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

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

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

Example:

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

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

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

Another common way to introduce yourself in business settings is: 

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

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

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

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

Example:

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

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

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

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

Do you see the pattern?

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

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

Example:

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


4) 나야 (naya

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

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

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

Example:

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

5) 나 [이름] (na [ireum]

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

Example:

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


A Person Dialing a Number to Make a Phone Call

3. Stating the Reason for Your Call

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

1) 예약하려고 전화드렸어요. (Yeyaghalyeogo jeonhwadeuryeosseoyo.)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Example:

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

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

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

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

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

Example:

A: 
여보세요.
(Yeoboseyo.)
“Hello.”

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

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

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

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

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

Example:

A: 
여보세요.
(Yeoboseyo.)
“Hello.”

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

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

6) 전화했었어? (Jeonhwahaesseosseo?

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

Example:

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


A Lady Studying with a Smartphone

4. Asking to Speak to Someone

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

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

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

Example:

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

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

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

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

Example:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Example:

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

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

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

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

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

Example:

A:
여보세요.
(Yeoboseyo.)
“Hello.”

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

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

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

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

Example:

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

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

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

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

Example:

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

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

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

5. Asking Someone to Wait

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

1) 잠시만요. (Jamsimanyo.)

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

Example:

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

2) 잠시만 기다려주세요. (Jamsiman gidaryeojuseyo.

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

Example:

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

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

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

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

  • 연결해 드리겠습니다. (Yeongyeolhae deurigetseumnida.

Example:

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

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

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

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

Example:

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

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

5) 메시지를 남기시겠어요? (Mesijireul namgisigesseoyo?

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

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

You might also be asked: 

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

Example:

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

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

6) 통화중입니다. (Tonghwajungimnida.) 

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

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

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

Example:

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

7) 잠깐만. (Jamkkanman.) / 잠만. (Jamman.

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

Example:

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

B:
잠깐만.
(Jamkkanman.)
“Hold on.”

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

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

Example:

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

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


A Man Talking on the Phone Inside the Bus

6. Leaving a Message

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

1) 전화했었다고 전해주실래요? (Jeonhwahaesseotdago jeonhaejusillaeyo?)

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

Example:

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

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

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

Translation: “I’ll call again later.”

Example:

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

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

3) 메시지 남겨주시겠습니까? (Mesijireul namgyeojusigetseumnikka?)

Translation: “Could you leave a message?”

Example:

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

A Lady with Headphones Listening to a Korean Song

7. Asking for Clarification

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

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

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

Let’s break it down: 

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

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

Examples:

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

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

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

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

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

Example:

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

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

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

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

Example:

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

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

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

Breaking it down:

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

Examples:

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

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

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

5) 들리시나요? (Deullisinayo?

This phrase means: “Can you hear me?”

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

  • 여보세요? 여보세요? (Yeoboseyo? Yeoboseyo?)

Another option is the phrase: 

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

Example:

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

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

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

6) 뭐라고? (Mworago?

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

Example:

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

7) 잘 안들려. (Jal andeullyeo.

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

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

Examples:

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

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

8) 다시 한번 말해줄래? (Dasi hanbeon malhaejullae?

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

Examples:

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

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

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

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

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

8. Sample Phone Conversations 

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

1) Informal Phone Conversation 

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

영웅: 
여보세요.
(Yeoboseyo.)
“Hello.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2) Formal Phone Conversation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


A Lady Working with a Laptop

9. How KoreanClass101 Can Help You Master the Korean Language

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

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

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Master Korean Words for Beginners with KoreanClass101!

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If you’ve just started learning Korean, it’s vital for your success that you begin by building a solid vocabulary base. This means studying the most frequently used words in a variety of categories—and eventually learning how to form simple sentences with them! 

But, remember: Baby steps. 

Today, you’ll just be learning some basic Korean words for beginners that you’ll need in order to hold conversations with native speakers. 

Let’s go!

List of Pronouns in English
Log in to Download Your Free Cheat Sheet - Beginner Vocabulary in Korean Table of Contents
  1. Pronouns
  2. Numbers
  3. Nouns
  4. Verbs
  5. Adjectives
  6. Conjunctions
  7. How KoreanClass101 Can Help You Learn Korean

1. Pronouns

The first words you should add to your Korean vocabulary are pronouns. These are the words that we use to refer to ourselves, the people around us, and even animals or objects, without saying the actual name of what we’re referring to. Let’s take a look: 

1) Personal Pronouns

KoreanRomanizationEnglish 
jeo“I”
na“I”
neo“you”
geu“he”
그녀geunyeo“she”
저희jeohui“we” / “us”
우리uri“we” / “us”
그들geudeul“they”
그녀들geunyeodeul“they” (females)

2) Demonstrative Pronouns

There are three main demonstrative pronouns that you need to know: 

  • 이것 (igeot) – “this” is used when the object is near the speaker.
  • 그것 (geugeot) – “that” is used when the object is near the listener.
  • 저것 (jeogeot) – “over there” is used when the object is far from both the speaker and the listener.

Example:

  • 여기에 있어요? (Yeogie isseoyo?) – “Is it here?!”
  • 아니요. 거기에 없습니다. 저기에 있습니다. (Aniyo. Geogie eopseumnida. Jeogie itseumnida.) – “No. It’s not there. It’s over there.”

Practice makes perfect! Check out these pages to learn more demonstrative pronouns: 


Five Even Numbers in Blue Balls

2. Numbers

Another set of simple Korean words to practice as a beginner are numbers. Once you have the basics down, you’ll be well on your way to counting, discussing prices, and more! 

Numbers 1-10

There are two ways to count in Korean:

  1. Sino Korean: Used for dates, money, addresses, phone numbers, etc.
  2. Native Korean: Used for number of items and age 

Let’s take a look at Sino and Native Korean for the numbers 1-10. 

  • 일 (il) / 하나 (hana) – “One”
  • 이 (i) /둘 (dul) – “Two”
  • 삼 (sam) / 셋 (set) – “Three”
  • 사 (sa) / 넷 (net) – “Four”
  • 오 (o) / 다섯 (daseot) – “Five”
  • 육 (yuk) / 여섯 (yeoseot) – “Six”
  • 칠 (chil) / 일곱 (ilgop) – “Seven”
  • 팔 (pal) / 여덟 (yeodeol) – “Eight”
  • 구 (gu) / 아홉 (ahop) – “Nine”
  • 십 (sip) / 열 (yeol) – “Ten”

Example

  • 몇 살이에요? (Myeot sarieyo?) – “How old are you?”
    아홉 살이에요. (Ahop sarieyo.) – “I’m nine years old.” (O)
    구살이에요. (Gusarieyo.) – “I’m nine years old.” (X)
  • 이거 얼마예요? (Igeo eolmayeyo?) – “How much is this?”
    삼천원이에요. (Samcheonwonieyo.) – “It’s 3,000 won.” (O)
    셋천원이에요. (Setcheonwonieyo.) – “It’s 3,000 won.” (X)

Check out Counting Part I: Sino-Korean Numbers, Counting Part II: Pure-Korean Numbers, and Numbers on KoreanClass101.com to practice your counting skills! 

3. Nouns 

Nouns are perhaps the most important part of speech when it comes to getting an idea across. They’re used to identify people, places, things, and even ideas. When used with verbs, they form a complete thought—in a pinch, they can even be used by themselves most of the time! Below are the most essential Korean beginner words in this category. 

1) People and Occupations

Family members

  • 장남 (jangnam) – “oldest son”
  • 첫째아들 (cheotjjaeadeul) – “oldest son”
  • 장녀 (jangnyeo) – “oldest daughter”
  • 첫째 딸 (cheotjjae ttal) – “oldest daughter”
  • 둘째 아들 (duljjae adeul) – “second son”
  • 둘째 딸 (duljjae ttal) – “second daughter”
  • 막내 아들 (mangnae adeul) – “youngest son”
  • 막내 딸 (mangnae ttal) – “youngest daughter”
  • 외아들 (oeadeul) – “only child” (male)
  • 외동딸 (oedongttal) – “only child” (female)
  • 형제 (hyeongje) – “brothers”
  • 자매 (jamae) – “sisters”
  • 언니 (eonni) – “older sister” (of a female sibling)
  • 누나 (nuna) – “older sister” (of a male sibling)
  • 여동생 (yeodongsaeng) – “younger sister”
  • 오빠 (oppa) – “older brother” (of a female sibling)
  • 형 (hyeong) – “older brother” (of a male sibling)
  • 남동생 (namdongsaeng) – “younger brother”
  • 쌍둥이 (ssangdungi) – “twins”

You can also check out Describe Your Family in Korean: “Brother” in Korean and More and Must-Know Terms for Family Members to learn more family-related vocabulary and gain insight into Korean family culture.

Occupations

  • 농부 (nongbu) – “farmer”
  • 시인 (siin) – “poet”
  • 약사 (yaksa) – “pharmacist”
  • 배관공 (baegwangong) – “plumber”
  • 프로 포커 선수 (peuro pokeo seonsu) – “professional poker player”
  • 변호사 (byeonhosa) – “lawyer”
  • 영업 사원 (yeongeop) – “salesperson”
  • 사무원 (samuwon) – “clerk”
  • 엔지니어 (enjinieo) – “engineer”
  • 미용사 (miyongsa) – “beautician”
  • 디자이너 (dijaineo) “designer”
  • 정원사 (jeongwonsa) – “gardener”
  • 영상 제작자 (yeongsang jejakja) – “audio visual producer”
  • 무대 감독 (mudae gamdok) – “stage director”
  • 음악 기획자 (eumak gihoekja) – “music promoter”

We also have a vocabulary list with example sentences titled 20 Common Words for Occupations. Make sure to check it out if you’d like to learn even more occupation names along with their pronunciation. 

Santiago de Compostela in Spain

2) Places Around Town

  • 도서관 (doseogwan) – “library”
  • 서점 (seojeom) – “bookstore”
  • 식당 (sikdang) – “restaurant”
  • 꽃가게 (kkotgage) – “flower shop”
  • 병원 (byeongwon) – “hospital”
  • 학교 (hakgyo) – “school”
  • 백화점 (baekhwajeom) – “department store”
  • 커피숍 (keopisyop) – “coffee shop”
  • 공항 (gonghang) – “airport”
  • 지하철역 (jihacheolyeok) – “subway station”
  • 호텔 (hotel) – “hotel”
  • 시내 (sinae) – “downtown”
  • 바다 (bada) – “beach”
  • 우체국 (ucheguk) – “post office”
  • 은행 (eunhaeng) – “bank”
  • 소방서 (sobangseo) – “fire station”
  • 경찰서 (gyeongchalseo) – “police station”
  • 약국 (yakguk) – “pharmacy”
  • 제과점 (jegwajeom) – “bakery”
  • 슈퍼마켓 (syupeomakes) – “supermarket”
  • 주유소 (juyuso) – “gas station”
  • 방송국 (bangsongguk) – “broadcasting station”

3) School/Office Essentials

  • 펜 (pen) – “pen”
  • 공책 (gongchaek) – “notebook”
  • 연필 (yeonpil) – “pencil”
  • 숙제 (sukje) – “homework”
  • 시험 (siheom) – “exam”
  • 수학 (suhak) – “math”
  • 대학교 (daehakgyo) – “university”
  • 배낭 (baenang) – “backpack”
  • 과학 (gwahak) – “science”
  • 컴퓨터 (keompyuteo) – “computer”
  • 노트북 (noteubuk) – “laptop”
  • 아이폰 (aipon) – “iPhone”

Check out our vocabulary list School Subjects to learn more useful school-related words in Korean.

4) Body Parts

  • 발 (bal) – “foot”
  • 발목 (balmok) – “ankle”
  • 다리 (dari) – “leg”
  • 머리 (meori) – “head”
  • 목 (mok) – “neck”
  • 팔 (pal) – “arm”
  • 팔꿈치 (palkkumchi) – “elbow”
  • 손목 (sonmok) – “wrist”
  • 손 (son) – “hand”
  • 손가락 (songgarak) – “finger”
  • 근육 (geunyuk) – “muscle”
  • 뼈 (ppyeo) – “bone”
  • 척추 (cheokchu) – “backbone”
  • 몸 (mom) – “body”
  • 배 (bae) – “stomach”
  • 무릎 (mureup) – “knee”
  • 피부 (pibu) – “skin”
  • 혈액 (hyeoraek) – “blood”
  • 등 (deung) – “back”
  • 가슴 (gaseum) – “chest”

Want to learn more words for body parts? Check out our free list titled Your Face

5) Food

Korean Food

  • 된장찌개 (doenjangjjigae) – “doenjang jjigae”
  • 떡볶이 (tteokbokki) – “tteokbokki”
  • 김치 (gimchi) – “kimchi”
  • 김치볶음밥 (gimchibokkeumbap) – “kimchi fried rice”
  • 순두부찌개 (sundubujjigae) – “raw bean curd stew”
  • 김치찌개 (gimchijjigae) – “kimchi stew”
  • 부대찌개 (budaejjigae) – “army base stew”
  • 라면 (ramyeon) – “ramen”
  • 냉면 (naengmyeon) – “cold noodle soup”

Fruits and Vegetables

  • 과일 (gwail) – “fruit”
  • 바나나 (banana) – “banana”
  • 사과 (sagwa) – “apple”
  • 야채 (yachae) – “vegetable”
  • 양상추 (yangsangchu) – “lettuce”
  • 토마토 (tomato) – “tomato”
  • 감자 (gamja) – “potato”
  • 당근 (danggeun) – “carrot”
  • 양파 (yangpa) – “onion”
  • 수박 (subak) – “watermelon”
  • 파인애플 (painaepeul) – “pineapple”
  • 메론 (meron) – “melon”
  • 콩 (kong) – “soybean”
  • 살구 (salgu) – “apricot”
  • 옥수수 (oksusu) – “corn”
  • 고구마 (goguma) – “sweet potato”
  • 땅콩 (ttangkong) – “peanut”
  • 순무 (sunmu) – “turnip”
  • 버섯 (beoseot) – “mushroom”
  • 자몽 (jamong) – “grapefruit”
  • 포도 (podo) – “grape”
  • 캐슈넛 (kaesyuneot)  – “cashew nut”
  • 견과 (gyeongwa) – “nut”

An Image of the Word Verb

4. Verbs

Verbs describe actions or states of being, and they help to form a complete thought when used with nouns. To give you a huge vocabulary boost, here are the most common Korean verbs:

  • 오다 (oda) – “to come”
  • 마시다 (masida) – “to drink”
  • 먹다 (meokda) – “to eat”
  • 주다 (juda) – “to give”
  • 가다 (gada) – “to go”
  • 듣다 (deutda) – “to hear”
  • 배우다 (baewuda) – “to learn”
  • 만들다 (mandeulda) – “to make”
  • 앉다 (anta) – “to sit”
  • 자다 (jada) – “to sleep”
  • 찍다 (jjigda) – “to take (a picture)”
  • 쓰다 (sseuda) – “to wear (e.g. eyewear)”
  • 신다 (sinta) – “to wear (e.g. shoes)”
  • 빌리다 (billida) – “to borrow” / “to lend”
  • 전화하다 (jeonhwahada) – “to call someone”
  • 말하다 (malhada) – “to talk”
  • 섞다 (seokta) – “to mix”
  • 굽다 (gupda) – “to grill”
  • 가르치다 (gareuchida) – “to teach”
  • 기다리다 (gidarida) – “to wait”
  • 알다 (alda) – “to know”
  • 모르다 (moreuda) – “to not know”
  • 요리하다 (yorihada) – “to cook”
  • 끓이다 (kkeurida) – “to boil”
  • 걸다 (geolda) – “to call” / “to dial”
  • 청소하다 (cheongsohada) – “to clean”
  • 닫다 (datda) – “to close”
  • 일하다 (ilhada) – “to work”
  • 쉬다 (swida) – “to rest”
  • 운동하다 (undonghada) – “to exercise”
  • 생각하다 (saenggakada) – “to think”
  • 썰다 (sseolda) – “to slice”
  • 튀기다 (twigida) – “to fry”
  • 재다 (jaeda) – “to measure”
  • 볶다 (bokda) – “to fry”
  • 찌다 (jjida) – “to steam”
  • 묻다 (mutda) – “to ask”
  • 내다 (naeda) – “to pay”
  • 결혼하다 (gyeolhonhada) – “to marry”
  • 없다 (eopda) – “to not have”
  • 살다 (salda) – “to live”
  • 죽다 (jukda) – “to die”
  • 찾다 (chatda) – “to find”
  • 꿈꾸다 (kkumkkuda) – “to dream”
  • 좋아하다 (joahada) – “to like”
  • 걱정하다 (geokjeonghada) – “to worry”
  • 약속하다 (yaksokada) – “to promise”
  • 휘젓다 (hwijeotda) – “to stir”
  • 하다 (hada) – “to do”
  • 있다 (itda) – “to have”
  • 거짓말하다 (geojinmalhada) – “to lie”
  • 가지다 (gajida) – “to have”
  • 기억하다 (gieokada) – “to remember”
  • 고백하다 (gobaekada) – “to confess”
  • 죄송하다 (joesonghada) – “to be sorry”
  • 시작하다 (sijakada) – “to start”
  • 싫어하다 (silreohada) – “to hate”
  • 이야기하다 (iyagihada) – “to talk”
  • 연습하다 (yeonseupada) – “to practice”
  • 준비하다 (junbihada) – “to prepare”
  • 태어나다 (taeeonada) – “to be born”
  • 서두르다 (seodureuda) – “to hurry”
  • 사랑하다 (saranghada) – “to love”
  • 축하하다 (chukahada) – “to congratulate”
  • 끝나다 (kkeunnada) – “to finish”
  • 보내다 (bonaeda) – “to send”
  • 사용하다 (sayonghada) – “to use”
  • 팔다 (palda) – “to sell”
  • 싸우다 (ssauda) – “to fight”

The more Korean verbs you learn, the better you’ll be at holding conversations with locals. Check out Top 100 Important Korean Verbs for Beginners and Basic Korean Verb & Adjective Conjugation: Rules & Tips to expand your language skills!

5. Adjectives

Adjectives are used to describe nouns. They can add spice to your conversations and flair to your writing. Learning the basic Korean words below will give you more room for creative expression and help you get your point across! 

  • 화나다 (hwanada) – “angry”
  • 짜증나다 (jjajeungnada) – “annoyed”
  • 나쁘다 (nappeuda) – “bad”
  • 아름답다 (areumdapda) – “beautiful”
  • 크다 (keuda) – “big”
  • 쓰다 (sseuda) – “bitter”
  • 심심하다 (simsimhada) – “bored”
  • 지루하다 (jiruhada) – “boring”
  • 씩씩하다 (ssikssikada) – “brave”
  • 싸다 (ssada) – “cheap”
  • 싸늘하다 (ssaneulhada) – “chilly”
  • 통통하다 (tongtonghada) – “chubby”
  • 깨끗하다 (kkaekkeutada) – “clean”
  • 흐리다 (heurida) – “cloudy”
  • 춥다 (chupda) – “cold”
  • 차갑다 (chagapda) – “cold”
  • 편하다 (pyeonhada) – “comfortable”
  • 편리하다 (pyeonrihada) – “convenient”
  • 시원하다 (siwonhada) – “refreshing”
  • 귀엽다 (gwiyeopda) – “cute”
  • 축축하다 (chukchukada) – “wet”
  • 습하다 (seupada) – “damp”
  • 맛있다 (masitda) – “delicious”
  • 다르다 (dareuda) – “different”
  • 어렵다 (eoryeopda) – “difficult”
  • 더럽다 (deoreopda) – “dirty”
  • 건조하다 (geonjohada) – “dry”
  • 이르다 (ireuda) – “early”
  • 쉽다 (swipda) – “easy”
  • 당황하다 (danghwanghada) – “embarrassed”
  • 비어 있다 (bieoitda) – “empty”
  • 비싸다 (bissada) – “expensive”
  • 빠르다 (ppareuda) – “fast”
  • 뚱뚱하다 (ttungttunghada) – “fat”
  • 기름지다 (gireumjida) – “fatty”
  • 적다 (jeokda) – “few”
  • 신선하다 (sinseonhada) – “fresh”
  • 가득하다 (gadeukada) – “full”
  • 기쁘다 (gippeuda) – “glad”
  • 잘생기다 (jalsaengida) – “handsome”
  • 착하다 (chakada) – “good-natured”
  • 좋다 (jota) – “good”
  • 행복하다 (haengbokada) – “happy”
  • 딱딱하다 (ttakttakada) – “hard”
  • 건강하다 (geonganghada) – “healthy”
  • 높다 (nopda) – “high”
  • 뜨겁다 (tteugeopda) – “hot”
  • 덥다 (deopda) – “hot (weather)”
  • 불편하다 (bulpyeonhada) – “inconvenient”
  • 재미있다 (jaemiissda) – “interesting”
  • 복잡하다 (bokjapada) – “crowded”
  • 늦다 (neutda) – “late”
  • 적다 (jeokda) – “less”
  • 많다 (manta) – “many”

Two Hands Connecting Two Puzzle Pieces

6. Conjunctions

  • 그리고 (geurigo) – “and” / “and then”
  • 그래서 (geuraeseo) – “so” / “so that”
  • 그렇지만 (geureochiman) – “but” / “however” (to express disappointment)
  • 그런데 (geureonde) – “but” / “however”
  • 그러면 (geureomyeon) – “then” / “in this case” / “if it’s so”
  • 아니면 (animyeon) – “or”
  • 때문에 (ddaemune) – “because of”
  • 만약 (manyak) – “if”
  • 그래도 (geuraedo) – “even if”

Want to learn more about conjunctions? Check out the lesson Korean Conjunctions: Add Seaweed, and Meat, and Garlic on our website and visit this Wikibooks page as well. 

7. How KoreanClass101 Can Help You Learn Korean

Today, you’ve learned more than 200 of the most useful basic Korean words for beginners, from pronouns to conjunctions. It takes time to memorize each word and understand when it’s used, but if you study every day, you’ll eventually start to sound like a native speaker.

KoreanClass101 has plenty of free resources designed to help you learn even more Korean—from beginner lessons to advanced content—as well as tools you can use to practice. For example, our free vocabulary lists are a great way to learn new words and practice your pronunciation. 

Good luck with your Korean studies and feel free to leave a comment below if you have any questions.

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

The Top 10 Most Common Korean Filler Words

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

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

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

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

1. 음 (eum) / 어 (eo)

KoreanRomanizationEnglish Meaning
음…eum…“um…” 

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

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

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

KoreanRomanizationEnglish Meaning
어…eo…“uh…”

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

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

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

2. 있잖아 (itjana) 

KoreanRomanizationEnglish Meaning
있잖아itjana“you know what”

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

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

#2-1 [Alternative] – 참 (cham) 

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

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

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

Four Popular Filler Words Used Worldwide

3. 세상에 (sesange

KoreanRomanizationEnglish Meaning
세상에sesange“oh my god”

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

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

#3-1 [Alternative] – 오마이갓 (ohmaigat) 

KoreanRomanizationEnglish Meaning
오마이갓omaigat“oh my god”

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

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

4. 말하자면 (malhajamyeon

KoreanRomanizationEnglish Meaning
말하자면malhajamyeon“in short”

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

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

Two Korean Women in Hanbok

5. 아무튼 (amuteun

KoreanRomanizationEnglish Meaning
아무튼amuteun“anyway”

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

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

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

KoreanRomanizationEnglish Meaning
어쨌든eojjaetdeun“anyway”

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

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

6. 우와 (uwa

KoreanRomanizationEnglish Meaning
우와!Uwa!“Wow!”

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

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

7. 에이 (ei

KoreanRomanizationEnglish Meaning
에이Ei“come on”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

9. 진짜 (jinjja) / 정말 (jeongmal

KoreanRomanizationEnglish Meaning
진짜jinjja“really”
정말jeongmal“really”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Lady with a Korean Flag Smiling

11. Pros and Cons of Using Korean Filler Words

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

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

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

12. How KoreanClass101 Can Help You with Your Korean Studies

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


1) 주말에 시간 있어요? 

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

Vocabulary

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

Example

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

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

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

2) 카톡해요? [Casual]

Romanization: Katokaeyo? 
Meaning: Do you use Kakaotalk?

Vocabulary

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

Example

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

B: 
네.
Ne.
“Yes.”

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

3) 카카오톡 하세요? [Formal]

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

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

Vocabulary

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

Example

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

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

A: 
아..네.
A..Ne.
“Ah…I see.”

4) 카톡할게.

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

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

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

Vocabulary

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

Example

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

B: 
응 알았어!
Eung arasseo!
“Okay!”

5) 같이 저녁 먹으러 갈래요?

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

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

Vocabulary

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

Example

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

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

6) 저녁 먹으러 갈래? 

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

This is a more casual way to ask someone out. 

Example

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

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

7) 영화 보러 갈래? 

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

Vocabulary

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

Example

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

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

A Couple Drinking a Glass of Wine at a Fancy Restaurant

2. After the First Date

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


8) 오늘 저녁 즐거웠어요. 

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

Vocabulary

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

Example

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

B: 
저도요.
Jeodoyo.
“Me too.”

9) 전화 할게요. 

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

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

Vocabulary

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

Example

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

B:  
좋아요
Joayo.
“Sure.”

10) 집까지 태워다 줄게요

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

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

Vocabulary

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

Example

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

B:
고마워요.
Gomaweoyo.
“Thank you.”

11) 집까지 데려다 줄게요.

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

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

Example

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

B:
고마워요.
Gomawoyo.
“Thank you.”

12) 이번 주말에 시간 어때요? [Polite]

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

Vocabulary

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

Example

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

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

13) 이번 주말에 시간 어때? [Casual]

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

Example

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

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

14) 언제 시간 되세요? [Polite]

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

Vocabulary

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

Example

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

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

15) 언제 시간 돼? [Casual]

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

Example

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

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

16) 내일 몇 시에 만날까요? [Polite]

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

Vocabulary

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

Example

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

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

17) 내일 몇 시에 만날래? [Casual]

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

Example

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

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

18) 우리 지금 만날래요? 

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

Vocabulary

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

Example

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

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

A Man Whispers to a Woman

3. Asking Someone to be Your Girlfriend or Boyfriend

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

19) 저랑 사귈래요? [Polite]

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

Vocabulary

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

Example

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

B: 
좋아요.
Joayo.
“I would love to.”

20) 나랑 사귈래? [Casual]

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

Example

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

B:
응, 좋아.
Eung, joa.
“Yes, sure.”

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

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


21) 보고 싶어 

Romanization: Bogo sipeo.
Meaning: I miss you.

Vocabulary

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

Example

A:
보고 싶어.
Bogo sipeo.
“I miss you.”

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

22) 많이 좋아해

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

Vocabulary

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

Example

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

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

23) 만나고 싶어 

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

Vocabulary

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

Example

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

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

24) 사랑해 

Romanization: Saranghae.
Meaning: I love you.

Vocabulary

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

Example

A:
사랑해.
Saranghae.
“I love you.”

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

25) 많이 사랑해

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

Vocabulary

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

Example

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

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

26) 나도 사랑해.

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

Vocabulary

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

Example

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

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

27) 안아주고 싶어.

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

Vocabulary

  • 안다 (anda) – “to hug”

Example

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

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

A Young Couple Getting Married by the Beach

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

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


28) 나랑 결혼해 줘.

Romanization: Narang gyeolhonhae jwo. 
Meaning: Marry me.

Vocabulary

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

Example

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

B:
응!
Eung!
“Yes!”

29) 나랑 결혼해 줄래?

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

Example

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

B:
응, 좋아!
Eung, joa!
“Yes, sure!”

30) 당신이 없는 삶은 상상할 수 없어요.

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

Vocabulary

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

Example

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

B:
저도요.
Jeodoyo.
“Me too.”

31) 영원히 당신과 함께하고 싶어요. 

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

Vocabulary

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

Example

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

B:
저도요.
Jeodoyo.
“Me too.”

32) 너랑 평생 같이 있고 싶어. 

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

Vocabulary

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

Example

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

B:
나도.
Nado.
“Me too.”

A Man Gives a Small Present to a Woman

6. Endearment Terms

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

자기야 (jagiya) – “darling”

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

여보 (yeobo) – “honey”

This one is more commonly used between husbands and wives.  

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

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

남자친구 (namjachingu) – “boyfriend”

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

여자친구 (yeojachingu) – “girlfriend”

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

애인 (aein) – “lover”

약혼자 (yakhonja) – “fiance”

7. Must-Know Love Quotes

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

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

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

Two Hearts Drawn on Sand

8. How KoreanClass101 Can Help You with Korean

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

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

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

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

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

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

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