Learn New Words FAST with this Lesson’s Vocab Review List

Get this lesson’s key vocab, their translations and pronunciations. Sign up for your Free Lifetime Account Now and get 7 Days of Premium Access including this feature.

Or sign up using Facebook
Already a Member?

Lesson Notes

Unlock In-Depth Explanations & Exclusive Takeaways with Printable Lesson Notes

Unlock Lesson Notes and Transcripts for every single lesson. Sign Up for a Free Lifetime Account and Get 7 Days of Premium Access.

Or sign up using Facebook
Already a Member?

Lesson Transcript

Hi everybody! Jae here. Welcome to Ask a Teacher, where I’ll answer some of your most common Korean questions.
The question for this lesson is…
Why do Korean people sometimes use 우리 [uri] meaning "our" when they actually mean "my?"
Korean people sometimes use the word 우리 [uri] meaning “our” instead of “my” when talking about a group that they are a part of. For example, "my family," 우리가족 [uri gajok]. It literally means “our family.” And the list goes on for example, 우리 엄마 [uri eomma] "my mom” or literally “our mom”.
Korean people also use the word 우리 [uri] when talking about a group that they are strongly attached to like a family member.
Let’s do some examples so you can learn how to use 우리 [uri] correctly.
Let’s say you want to introduce your coworker to your friend. You would say 우리 회사 동료야. [Uri hoesa dongnyoya.] "This is my coworker." 우리 회사 [uri hoesa] literally means "our company," but you and your friend do not work at the same company. So what you actually mean is “my company.” By saying 우리 회사 [uri hoesa], you express a sense of belonging.
Let’s do another example. Let’s say someone asks you how many people are in your family. If there are four people in your family, you would say, 우리 가족은 4명입니다. [Uri gajogeun ne myeongimnida.] "There are four people in my family." or literally “There are four people in our family.” This use of “our” doesn’t mean that the speaker and the listener are siblings. The speaker uses 우리 [uri] because he or she feels strongly attached to his or her family.
Let’s do one more example. Say you have a best friend named Mark and Mark has a brother named Andy, whom you are also close with. In this case, you can refer to Andy as 우리 앤디 [uri aendi] and ask Mark, 우리 앤디는 지금 뭐 해? [Uri aendineun jigeum mwo hae?] meaning "What is Andy doing now?" or literally “What is our Andy doing now?” This is to show your close friendship with Andy.
You can also use 우리 [uri] when referring to things you are particularly attached to such as 우리 집 [uri jip] "my home" and 우리 차 [uri cha] "my car." Try using 우리 [uri] the next time you talk to your Korean friends and see how you sound!
How was this? Hope that helps!
Please leave any more questions in the comments below and I’ll try to answer them!
Thanks for listening, and see you in another series. Bye! 다음 시간에 만나요. (Daeum-sigane mannayo.)