‘Thank you and ‘welcome’ are such sweet words that bring people closer. Especially ‘thank you’ is probably the first word that a kid learns. You can learn Korean online to know about common Korean phrases to be grateful and considerate towards Korean people. Learning to say ‘Thank you’ in Korean will probably be the first word that you will say once you land in Korea.

No matter where you are, learning good manners is essential. Good manners are universal and promoted by all languages. They say that gratitude is always the right attitude and it is the basic method to be courteous and polite.

No matter where you are in your learning journey, you need to learn to say thank you in Korean at a very early stage. You can get enrolled with italki for your Korean language learning process. With Italki, you can learn Korean online with reputable and professional online Korean teachers. These teachers will make your language learning process smooth and systematic. They will assist you to learn Korean pronunciation, Korean verbs, how to conjugate Korean verbs, and the right contextual use of phrases. Book your lessons with italki and learn Korean at your own pace.

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Saying ‘thank you’ works in all cultures. Showing good manners never goes out of style. In English, the word ‘thank you’ is considered a formal phrase while ‘thanks’ is considered to be a more casual one.

In English, there are several other ways to say thank you. For example, the phrase ‘I appreciate it’ is also used as an alternative to thank you. But things are a bit different in Korean culture.

How the phrase ‘thank you’ works in Korean culture

Formality holds prime importance in Korean culture. Korean people consider etiquette and manners important and they have social rules that are clearly visible in their daily conversations.

In the Korean language, there are levels of speech. These levels make a “politeness system” that depicts the level of formality required in the conversations. These levels range from ‘highly formal’ to ‘least formal’ ones.

Because of these levels, verbal politeness is also done in different ways and the sentences are structured accordingly. ‘Thank you’ in Korean also has different levels and its right use depends upon whom you are thankful.

Age factors also play an important role in selecting the right phrase to say thank you in Korean. Just like Asian cultures, Korean culture shows special respect to elders. No matter how close you are, you are expected to give respect to the ones who are elder. The elder ones receive a degree of formality as a sign of respect.

As mentioned earlier, saying thank you has several formal and informal ways. The boundaries between them are quite clear and you need to be very clear while selecting the right way to say thank you in Korean, depending upon your context and situation.

If you are unclear, play a safe game and stick to the formal ways to avoid any uncomfortable situation. One of the best ways to master it, you can see how native speakers say thank you in different situations.

Saying ‘thank you’ and ‘you are welcome’ in Korean

1. 감사합니다 (gahm-sa-hab-ni-da) — Thank you

This is the most formal way of saying thank you in Korean. This phrase can save you in many situations, especially where you are unclear about the level of formality that you are required to maintain.

In the speech level system, this phrase falls at a general formal level. This phrase can be used with the seniors and strangers to maintain the required level of formality. 감사 is the part that means “thanks” or “gratitude.” 니다 is a form infused with the formality of the basic Korean verb phrase “to be,” 이다 (ii-da). 니다 is the part that shows you are being respectful.

For instance,

선물을 주셔서 감사합니다 (sun-mul-eul ju-shuh-suh gahm-sa-hab-ni-da) — Thank you for the gift.

2. 고맙습니다 (go-map-seup-ni-da) — Thank you

This is also a polite and formal one. But, it is sometimes, used with the people you are already familiar with or who have a low gap in age. It is mostly used in casual contexts. For example, you can use this phrase when you visit the grocery store.

If you feel doubtful regarding its use, you can just go for 감사합니다, but there is really no strong difference between that phrase and this one in daily casual contexts.

3. 정말 고마워요 (jung-mal go-ma-wo-yo) — Thank you sincerely

정말 means “truly” or “sincerely”. It is a formal phrase, normally used in formal settings, and has a pinch of informality as well. But remember, just because you have loosened a little formality does not mean you are not showing the required level of gratitude.

4. 고마워 (go-ma-wo) — Thank you

There is no formal ending to this phrase. It is mostly used for friends, family, and the ones who are close to you. It can also be used for the people who are younger than you and are junior in form of ranking. . By removing 요 from 고마워요, you can move to a more casual way i.e. thanks.

5. 고마워요 (go-ma-wo-yo) — Thank you

This phrase does not have 니다, which means it is not that formal. This phrase is mostly used with the people you are already familiar with and those who are closer to you in terms of age, for example, your friends or classmates.

6. 대단히 감사합니다 (dae-dan-hi gahm-sa-hab-ni-da) — Thank you very much

This is used when the intensity of gratitude is strong and the person truly deserves the appreciation. 대단히 means “very much” or “greatly.” This phrase uses the formal 감사합니다, making it a formal way to thank somebody.

7. 정말 친절하시네요 (jung-mal chin-jul-ha-si-ne-yo) — that is truly kind of you

정말 means ‘truly’ while 친절 means kindness, and 하시네요 is a conversion of the verb phrase “to do,” so together they make up a phrase where you are telling the other person that they are doing kindness to you.

8. 아니요 괜찮습니다 (ah-ni-yo gwoen-chan-seup-ni-da) — No, thank you

괜찮습니다 means “it is okay.” This phrase is also a bit formal and is used with people you are not very familiar with.

9. 아니요 괜찮아요 (ah-ni-yo gwoen-chan-ah-yo) — No, thank you

This is a less formal version. As you can see, in this phrase 니다 is switched with a 요 (compared to the previous one).

10. 감사 (gahm-sa) — Thanks

It is the slang form of saying thanks. This is very informal and casual and is mostly used over text messages and other informal means of communication.

11. 천만에요 (chun-man-eh-yo) — You are welcome

Learning how to say thank you in Korean is not enough, you also must know how to respond when someone is thankful to you. 11. 천만에요 (chun-man-eh-yo) is the phrase that you will see in textbooks though you may not hear it quite often. This phrase is used to say ‘you are welcome’ in Korean. Korean people usually do not use this phrase to respond to thanks. But it can still be used to appreciate thanks.

12. 아닙니다 or 아니에요 (ah-nip-ni-da/ah-ni-eh-yo) — it is nothing/No problem

These two phrases mean ‘it is nothing’ and ‘no problem’. They are more often used by native speakers in their daily routines.

These were some of the ways to say thank you in Korean. You need to learn the basic manner of every language as they will help you a lot in understanding their culture, customs, and values.


Express your gratitude to people and build positive relationships. You can generate flashcards of these phrases along with the contexts in which they ate best suited. It will help you to make the right choice of phrase based on your situation. Learn these phrases and apply them in your situations ranging from formal to informal ones.

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