38 Korean Phrases All Beginners Need To Know

Basic Korean Phrases || A Simple, Easy To Follow Guide

Korean Phrases

Looking for some basic Korean phrases to learn?

You’ve come to the right place!

No matter how hard we study new words or grammar points in our target language, we wonโ€™t get far in the journey to fluency unless we familiarise ourselves with the way natives speak in their everyday lives.

Even if we understand every word in a Korean sentence, its true meaning could still go over our heads because weโ€™re not used to the Korean way of speech.

In this article, we will introduce you to the most basic phrases in Korean language that will give you a head start in your language journey.

Korean Phrases | Greetings in Korean

Korean Phrases | Asking a Name

Korean Phrases | Asking for Age

Korean Phrases | How to Thank Someone

Korean Phrases | I’m Sorry / Excuse Me in Korean

Korean Phrases | How to Say Goodbye

Korean Phrases | Useful Korean Phrases

Korean Phrases | FAQ’s

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Greetings in Korean

Letโ€™s start with the most important part – we need to greet people in order to start talking with them.

Iโ€™m sure all of you are familiar with the most basic form of greeting in Korean โ€“ ์•ˆ๋…•ํ•˜์„ธ์š” (an-nyeong-ha-se-yo).

If you want your greeting to sound more formal, you should use the form โ€“ ์•ˆ๋…•ํ•˜์‹ญ๋‹ˆ๊นŒ? (an-nyeon-ha-shim-ni-kka?).

While talking to your friends you can use the shortest and least formal form โ€“ ์•ˆ๋…•! (an-nyeong!).

Nice to meet you is ๋ฐ˜๊ฐ‘์Šต๋‹ˆ๋‹ค (ban-gab-seum-ni-da).

If you want to flaunt your skills you could add a little bit of spice and say โ€“ ๋งŒ๋‚˜์„œ ๋ฐ˜๊ฐ‘์Šต๋‹ˆ๋‹ค (man-na-seo ban-gab-seum-ni-da.)

If itโ€™s not your first meeting with the person, you should ask them how theyโ€™ve been.

โ€˜How are you?โ€™ in Korean would be:

  • ์ž˜ ์ง€๋‚ด์š”? (jal ji-ne-yo?) (informal).
  • ์ž˜ ์ง€๋‚ด์…จ์–ด์š”? (jal ji-ne-syeo-seo-yo?) (formal/honorific).
How to Say Hello in Korean // It's Not As Simple As It Sounds Thumbnail

How to Say Hello in Korean // It’s Not As Simple As It Sounds

Learning Hello in Korean isn’t as easy as learning just one word. In Korean, there are multiple ways to say hello! Don’t worry, we are here to explain.

Asking for a Name | Basic Korean Phrases

Now letโ€™s ask for the personโ€™s name.

BONUS CONTENT | Check out our article about Korean Names to learn more about Korean culture.

Lex the Lion

Weโ€™ll introduce ourselves as โ€˜Nameโ€™- ์ž…๋‹ˆ๋‹ค (Name-im-ni-da), or the more sophisticated version โ€˜Nameโ€™- ๋ผ๊ณ  ํ•ฉ๋‹ˆ๋‹ค โ€™ (Name-ra-go ham-ni-da) โ€“ which means โ€˜I am called Nameโ€™.

But to ask the other personโ€™s name, you should use one of these phrases, depending on how formal and respectful you want to sound.

  • ์ด๋ฆ„์ด ๋ญ์˜ˆ์š”? (i-reum-I mwo-ye-yo?)
    Whatโ€™s your name? Use this simple phrase when talking with people your age, or people youโ€™d like to befriend.
  • ์„ฑํ•จ์ด ์–ด๋–ป๊ฒŒ ๋˜์„ธ์š”? (seong-ham-I eo-tteo-ke doe-se-yo?)
    This phrase will be useful if youโ€™re talking to someone older,
    and much more respectable than you are.

์„ฑํ•จ (seong-ham) is a honorific form of the word โ€˜nameโ€™ and should be used in formal or official situations.

Korean Names // What are the Naming Customs in Korea? Thumbnail

Korean Names // What are the Naming Customs in Korea?

Korean names are usually composed of three characters, but do you know about their meanings? What about generation names and clans? Follow our guide.

Asking for Age

What about the age? The role of our age is hugely important in Korean society.

But why?

Whilst it’s not so common in the west to divulge your age, in Korea it is. This way people will determine in which honorific level to speak to you.

Korean Phrases - Ask for Age

Among friends or younger people the phrase โ€˜How old are you?โ€™ would be “ ๋ช‡ ์‚ด์ด์—์š”? โ€ (myeot sar-i-e-yo?).

But with people older, you should use a more formal phrase.

In this case, always say ๋‚˜์ด๊ฐ€ ์–ด๋–ป๊ฒŒ ๋˜์„ธ์š”? โ€ (na-i-ga eo-tteo-ke doe-se-yo?).

This is an example of a basic exchange in Korean:

์•ˆ๋…•ํ•˜์„ธ์š”, ์ €๋Š” NAME์ž…๋‹ˆ๋‹ค. ๋งŒ๋‚˜์„œ ๋ฐ˜๊ฐ‘์Šต๋‹ˆ๋‹ค!

(An-nyeong-ha-se-yo, jeo-neun NAME-im-nida. man-na-seo ban-gab-seum-ni-da.)
Korean Numbers // Discover the Two Numbering Systems Used (with Quiz) Thumbnail

Korean Numbers // Discover the Two Numbering Systems Used (with Quiz)

There are two numbering systems in Korean. Native and Sino-Korean numbers. Both are not used in the same instances. We’ll teach you when to use them.

How to Thank Someone | Basic Korean Phrases

There are several ways to say thank you in Korean, because we have two verbs expressing gratitude – ๊ฐ์‚ฌํ•˜๋‹ค (gam-sa-ha-da) and ๊ณ ๋ง™๋‹ค (go-mab-da).

Therefore you could use either one of them to express your gratitude, which would be: ๊ฐ์‚ฌํ•ฉ๋‹ˆ๋‹ค (gam-sa-ham-ni-da), or ๊ณ ๋ง™์Šต๋‹ˆ๋‹ค (go-mab-seum-ni-da).

There are several ways to say โ€˜youโ€™re welcomeโ€™.

I think the easiest and the most common one would be ์•„๋‹ˆ์˜ˆ์š” (a-ni-ye-yo) (or โ€˜itโ€™s nothingโ€™.)

  • ๊ณ ๋งˆ์›Œ์š” (Thank you!)
  • ์•„๋‹ˆ์˜ˆ์š” (It’s nothing)

Iโ€™m Sorry / Excuse meโ€ฆ

If we know how to say thank you, we need to know how to express that weโ€™re sorry too.

Korean Phrases - I'm Sorry

Iโ€™m sorry is ๋งˆ์ธํ•ฉ๋‹ˆ๋‹ค (mi-an-ham-ni-da), or ๋ฏธ์•ˆํ•ด์š” (mi-an-hae-yo) (in a less formal way).

While excuse me would be ์ฃ„์†กํ•ฉ๋‹ˆ๋‹ค (joe-song-ham-ni-da).

You can use these phrases in many situations, such as when you want to apologize for something, or for your behavior.

If you want to catch someoneโ€™s attention in the street or to call a waiter in a restaurant, you could just say ์ €๊ธฐ์š”! (jeo-gi-yo).

Speaking of restaurants. We know how important dining is in Korean culture. So letโ€™s learn a few phrases that would help us be as polite and respectful as possible in such situations.

Before eating we should say ์ž˜ ๋จน๊ฒ ์Šต๋‹ˆ๋‹ค (jal meog-get-seum-ni-da!). Translated word-for-word this phrase is simply โ€˜I will eat this wellโ€™.

‘By saying this we are thanking the host for giving us foodโ€™.

After eating our meal, we should finish with ์ž˜ ๋จน์—ˆ์Šต๋‹ˆ๋‹ค (jal meog-eot-seum-ni-da), sounds similar right?

If youโ€™ve touched on grammar in Korean before, youโ€™ll notice how the word โ€˜eatโ€™ has changed from future tense to a past tense. โ€˜I ate wellโ€™, or โ€˜I enjoyed the foodโ€™.

This is how we express our gratitude towards someone who put in effort to make us food.

The Best Korean Food ๐Ÿ‡ฐ๐Ÿ‡ท The Top 10 Korean Dishes for New Eaters to Try Out Thumbnail

The Best Korean Food ๐Ÿ‡ฐ๐Ÿ‡ท The Top 10 Korean Dishes for New Eaters to Try Out

There’s LOTS of various dishes in the Korean gastronomy. It might be hard to know what to try out first, so we selected the best Korean food for you to try.

How to Say Goodbye?

Now letโ€™s say our goodbyes.

Youโ€™ve probably heard there are two basic ways to say goodbye in Korean.

Letโ€™s get through each of them.

  1. ์•ˆ๋…•ํžˆ ๊ฐ€์„ธ์š” (an-nyeong-hi ga-se-yo).

With this phrase, we say goodbye to the person whoโ€™s leaving.

So if youโ€™re staying in the room and the other person is going out, you would say โ€˜go wellโ€™ or ์•ˆ๋…•ํžˆ ๊ฐ€์„ธ์š” (an-nyeong-hi ga-se-yo).

  1. ์•ˆ๋…•ํžˆ ๊ณ„์„ธ์š” (an-nyeong-hi gye-se-yo).

This phrase comes in handy in the opposite situation. Meaning โ€˜stay wellโ€™, we use this phrase when we are the ones leaving the other person.

If we memorise the words ๊ฐ€๋‹ค (ga-da) (to go) and ๊ณ„์‹œ๋‹ค (gye-shi-da), the honorific form of the verb โ€˜to beโ€™, weโ€™ll never mix these two sentences again!

Useful Korean Phrases

Now letโ€™s go over other useful Korean phrases that could come in handy in Korea.

์–ผ๋งˆ์˜ˆ์š”? (eol-ma-ye-yo?) How much is it? A handy phrase for shopping when asking for prices.

์ž ์‹œ๋งŒ์š” (jam-shi-man-yo) Just a moment!

๊ดœ์ฐฎ์•„์š” (gwen-chan-a-yo) Itโ€™s okay. Youโ€™ve probably heard this phrase a lot, if you watch K-dramas.

์—ฌ๋ณด์„ธ์š”? (yeo-bo-se-yo?) Hello. Only used while talking on the phone, this is how we answer our calls.

ํ•œ๊ตญ๋ง์„ ์กฐ๊ธˆ ํ•  ์ˆ˜ ์žˆ์–ด์š” (han-gug-mar-eul jo-geum hal su is-seo-yo) I can speak a little Korean.

๋ฐฐ๊ณ ํŒŒ์š” (be-go-pa-yo) Iโ€™m hungry!

๋„์™€์ฃผ์„ธ์š” (do-wa-ju-se-yo) Help me.

To make it more polite you could remember the phrase ๋„์™€์ฃผ์‹ค ์ˆ˜ ์žˆ์–ด์š”? (do-wa-ju-shil su is-so-yo?) Can you help me?

These are some of the most basic phrases in Korean that will make your life in Korea easier!

Did you know many of these? Have we missed any important ones out? Tell us below in the comments.

Good luck ํ™”์ดํŒ…!

Like what youโ€™ve read? Then youโ€™ll probably enjoy these as well!

Basic Korean Phrases || FAQs

How to ask the age of someone in Korean formally?

โ€œ๋‚˜์ด๊ฐ€ ์–ด๋–ป๊ฒŒ ๋˜์„ธ์š”?โ€ (na-i-ga eo-tteo-ke doe-se-yo?) is the expression you can use to ask the age in a formal way.

This phrase should be used with people your senior.

What is the honorific form of the word “name” in Korean?

ํ•จ (seong-ham) is an honorific form of the word โ€˜nameโ€™ and should be used in formal or official situations.

How can I greet a friend in Korean?

When you talk to your friends you can use the shortest and least formal form ์•ˆ๋…•! (an-nyeong).

How to say ‘I’m hungry’ in Korean?

I’m hungry in Korean is ๋ฐฐ๊ณ ํŒŒ์š” (be-go-pa-yo).

What does ‘ ์•ˆ๋…•ํžˆ ๊ฐ€์„ธ์š” ‘ mean?

์•ˆ๋…•ํžˆ ๊ฐ€์„ธ์š” means Goodbye.

You can use this Korean phrase to say goodbye to the person whoโ€™s leaving.

If youโ€™re staying in the room and the other person is going out, you would say โ€˜go wellโ€™ or ์•ˆ๋…•ํžˆ ๊ฐ€์„ธ์š” (an-nyeong-hi ga-se-yo.)

How can I say “I’m sorry” in Korean?

Iโ€™m sorry would be ๋งˆ์ธํ•ฉ๋‹ˆ๋‹ค (mi-an-ham-ni-da), or ๋ฏธ์•ˆํ•ด์š” (mi-an-hae-yo) in a more informal situation.

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