They say love has no language but expressing love surely requires a language. Learn to say I love you in Korean and get closer to the people you love. Whenever you translate I love you in Korean, the app says 사랑해 (saranghae), but there are several other phrases that fit the situation.

Koreans recently stated that it is essential to express love openly. But, the older generation is still reluctant to express their love. If you are a Korean learner, learn to say I love you in Korean, before you start throwing around such an important sentiment.

How to Say “I Love You” in Korean

If you know how Korean works, here’s a quick list of ways to say “I love you” in Korean and romantic Korean phrases.

  • “I love you” (casual) – 사랑해 (saranghae)
  • “I love you” (polite) – 사랑해요 (saranghaeyo)
  • “I like you” (casual) – 좋아해 (jowahae)
  • “I like you” (polite) – 좋아해요 (jowahaeyo)
  • “I love you, too” (casual) – 나도 사랑해 (nado sarangae)
  • “Love” – 사랑 (sarang)
  • “My love” – 내 사랑 (nae sarang)
  • “Honey” (for women or men) – 여보 (yeobo)
  • “Honey” (for men, only if the woman is younger) – 오빠 (oppa)
  • “Baby” / “Babe” – 자기야 (jagiya) / 자기 (jagi)
  • “Boyfriend” – 남친 (namchin) or 남자 친구 (namjachingu)
  • “Girlfriend” – 여친 (yeochin) or 여자 친구 (yeojachingu)
  • “Husband” – 남편 (nampyeon)
  • “Wife” – 아내 (anae)
  • “Special someone” or “Someone precious” – 아끼는 사람 (akkineun saram)
  • “In love” – 사랑에 빠진 (sarang-e ppajin)
  • “Would you like to date?” – 사귈래요? (sagwillaeyo)
  • “I want to be with you” – 같이 있고 싶어요 (gat-i itgo sipeoyo)
  • “I miss you” – 보고 싶어요 (bogo sipeoyo)

These easy Korean words are not only easy to remember but are powerful enough to bring people closer and create a sense of affection between them. Now, let’s explore some I love you phrases in detail.

“I Love You” in Korean – Saranghaeyo

사랑해요 (saranghaeyo) is a polite way of saying “I love you.” This phrase is frequently said to parents because it is respectful. In this situation, you are not only saying “I love you,” but you are also thanking them for everything they do.

say I love you to parents

You could also say사랑해요 (saranghaeyo) to express your emotions to someone. In Korean, the ㄹ character is in between an “l” and an “r” sound in English. So sometimes it is written as salanghaeyo and other times saranghaeyo. But they are both written the same way in Korean Hangul: 사랑해요.

사랑해 (saranghae) is used between couples, and sometimes even close friends. If you are in a relationship with someone, you can use this phrase to express your emotions.

“Love” in Korean – Sarang

“Love” in the Korean language is 사랑 (sarang). When it is combined with the verb 하다 (hada, “to do”), it becomes the verb “to love” – 사랑하다 (saranghada). Korean is a language of context. When you tell someone you love them, it is usually assumed from the context that you are referring to that person.

If it’s unclear, or if you want to tell someone else who you love, you’d say:

  • “_ is the one I love.” – 는/은 내가 사랑하는 사람이야. (neun/eun naega sarangha neun saramiya.)
  • “I love that person.” – 나는 그 사람을 사랑해요. (na-neun geu saram-eul saranghaeyo.)
  • “I love you” (with “I” and “you”) – 나는 너를 사랑해 (na-neun neo-leul saranghae)

Now you know that knowing some common Korean phrases makes all the difference. It gives you the opportunity to open up to people who actually matter.  

“I like you” in Korean – Jowahae

좋아해 (jowahae) comes from the verb 좋아하다 (jowahada), meaning “to like.” It is a casual phrase that you can use to confess love to your friend, classmate, or your romantic partner.

But like “I love you”, there is also a polite and a formal form to this:

  • 좋아해요 (jowahaeyo) – “I like you” (polite)
  • 좋아합니다 (jowahamnida) – “I like you” (formal)

If you want to use either of these phrases as shorthand, like “I like u” or “I love u” in Korean, then you would just use the short, casual forms: 좋아해! (joahae) or 사랑해 (saranghae).

“My Love” in Korean – Nae Sarang

To say “my love” in Korean, you just need to add “my” to sarang i.e. 내 사랑 (nae sarang). There are some other nicknames that you can use for your special one:

  • “Honey” (for women or men) – 여보 (yeobo)
  • “Honey” (for men, only if the woman is younger) – 오빠 (oppa)
  • “Cutie” – 귀요미 (gwiyomi)
  • “Baby” / “Babe” – 자기야 (jagiya) / 자기 (jagi)
  • “Princess” – 공주님 (gongjunim)
  • “Prince” – 왕자님 (wangjanim)

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“Boyfriend” and “Girlfriend” in Korean

While talking about your significant other to other people, you need to use the correct, polite terms. They are

  • “Boyfriend” – 남친 (namchin) or 남자 친구 (namjachingu)
  • “Girlfriend” – 여친 (yeochin) or 여자 친구 (yeojachingu)

“Husband” and “Wife” in Korean

You can also call your husband 오빠 (oppa), and many women do. Men sometimes use the English term 와이프 (waipeu) for “wife.” But again, when talking to others, it is best to use polite terms.

For married couples, they are:

  • “Husband” – 남편 (nampyeon)
  • “Wife” – 아내 (anae)

Some other romantic Korean phrases

Below are some of the other common romantic Korean phrases that you can use to tell people you love them:

  • “I love you very much* – 너무 사랑해요 (neomu saranghaeyo)
  • “I love you a lot” – 많이 사랑해요 (mani saranghaeyo)
  • “Special someone” or “someone precious” – 아끼는 사람 (akkineun saram)
  • Someone who is full of love, or has many scandalous dating rumors – 사랑꾼 (sarangkkun)
  • Someone who falls in love too easy – 금사빠 (geumsappa)
  • “In love” – 사랑에 빠진 (sarang-e ppajin)
  • “Would you like to date?” – 사귈래요? (sagwillaeyo)
  • “I want to be with you” – 같이 있고 싶어요 (gat-i itgo sipeoyo)
  • That in-between stage where you’re not a couple but there’s “something” there – 썸 (sseom)
  • “I miss you” – 보고 싶어요 (bogo sipeoyo)

It is significant to use the right word while expressing your love to the people you like or love. Learning Korean is not tough but it requires you to consistently learn new Korean words, phrases, conjugating Korean words, sentence formation, Korean numbers, etc.


You can also seek help from Korean media. There is plenty of romantic Korean media including books, films and videos that you can watch to learn appropriate words and phrases.If you are finding difficulty to memorize these phrases to say I love you in Korean, try making flashcards and keep learning them till you get them right.

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