15 common Korean phrases that you need to know

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Korean is the official language of South Korea and North Korea. It is also spoken by communities of Korean speakers in various countries around the world, including the United States, China, Japan, and Russia.

Learning Korean can be a rewarding experience, allowing you to explore the rich culture and interact with Korean speakers around the world. There are many resources available, including language courses, textbooks, online platforms, and language exchange programs, that can help you in your journey to learn Korean.

Here are 10 common Korean phrases along with their translations –

These phrases will be helpful to you in basic conversations and everyday interactions with Korean speakers.

1. 안녕하세요? (Annyeonghaseyo?) – Hello/Good day!

“Annyeonghaseyo” (안녕하세요) is a common Korean greeting that translates to “Hello” or “Good day” in English. It is a formal and polite way to greet someone, often used when meeting someone for the first time or in formal settings. The word “annyong” (안녕) itself means “peace” or “well-being,” so the greeting can also be interpreted as wishing the other person peace and well-being.

2. 감사합니다 (Gamsahamnida) – Thank you.

“Gamsahamnida” (감사합니다) is a Korean expression that translates to “Thank you” in English. It is a formal and polite way to express gratitude and appreciation.

3. 어떻게 지내세요? (Eotteoke jinaeseyo?) – How are you?

“Eotteoke jinaeseyo?” (어떻게 지내세요) is a Korean phrase that translates to “How are you?” in English. It is a polite and formal way to ask about someone’s well-being or how they are doing.

4. 죄송합니다 (Joesonghamnida) – I’m sorry

A formal and polite way to apologize or express remorse. So, when you say “Joesonghamnida,” you are offering an apology or seeking forgiveness in a polite manner.

5. 네 (Ne) – Yes.

“Ne” is often used in everyday conversations to indicate agreement, confirmation, or acknowledgment. It can be used in various contexts and situations to respond positively to a question or statement.

6. 아니요 (Aniyo) – No.

It is a straightforward and commonly used negative response in Korean. “Aniyo” is used to deny, disagree, or indicate a negative response to a question, request, or statement. It is a polite and formal way to express a negative answer or disagreement in Korean conversations.

7. 좋은 하루 되세요 (Joheun haru doeseyo) – Have a nice day.

It is a polite and formal way to wish someone a pleasant day. The phrase is commonly used as a parting greeting or farewell, typically said when you want to express well wishes to someone for the rest of their day.

8. 어디에 있어요? (Eodie isseoyo?) – Where are you?

It is a question used to ask about someone’s current location or whereabouts. “Eodie” (어디에) means “where” and “isseoyo” (있어요) is a polite form of the verb “to be” in Korean. So, when you ask “Eodie isseoyo?” you are inquiring about someone’s specific location or asking them where they are at that moment.

9. 처음 뵙겠습니다 (Cheoeum boepgesseumnida) – Nice to meet you (formal).

“Cheoeum” (처음) means “first time” and “boepgesseumnida” (뵙겠습니다) is a respectful form of the verb “to see” in Korean. So, when you say “Cheoeum boepgesseumnida,” you are conveying your pleasure and respect in meeting someone for the first time.

10. 뭐라고요? (Mworagoyo?) – What did you say?/Pardon?

It is used when you didn’t hear or understand what someone said and you are asking them to repeat or clarify their statement.

11. 어떻게 생각하세요? (Eotteoke saenggakhasseyo?) – What do you think?

It is a polite and formal way to ask for someone’s opinion or to inquire about their thoughts on a particular matter. So, when you say “Eotteoke saenggakhasseyo?” you are asking someone how they have thought or what their perspective is on a certain topic.

12. 오빠 (Oppa) – Term used by females to refer to an older brother or older male friend.

The term “oppa” is typically used by females, while males would use “hyung” (형) to refer to an older brother or older male friend. It is important to note that “oppa” is used specifically by females to address males who are older than them or whom they feel close to in a brotherly way.

13. 괜찮아요 (Gwaenchanaoyo) – It’s okay.

“Gwaenchanaoyo” (괜찮아요) is a common response used to indicate that everything is alright or that one is doing well.

14. 진짜? (Jinjja?) – Really?

“jinjja” can convey various meanings such as genuine surprise, disbelief, or sincerity. For example, if someone tells you something surprising, you might respond with “Jinjja?” to express your genuine surprise or disbelief.

15. 사랑해요 (Saranghaeyo) – I love you.

“Saranghaeyo” is a formal and polite way to say “I love you” in Korean. The phrase consists of the word “sarang” (사랑), which means “love,” and the verb ending “-haeyo” (해요), which is a polite form of the verb “to do” in Korean. So, when you say “Saranghaeyo,” you are expressing your love and affection towards someone in a polite and formal manner.


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