There is no denying that Korean is a beautiful language. It explains why the language has become incredibly popular across the globe. If you are planning a visit to East Asia or want to show off your skills in front of your friends, we have got you covered.
We have created the ultimate guide to common Korean phrases. Only the most useful basic Korean phrases have been selected to ensure that you can navigate through the streets of Seoul or Busan with ease. Knowing the following Korean sentences will allow you to have the best time.
Most Common Korean Phrases
1. Annyeong-Hase-Yo – 안녕하세요 (Hello)
One of the most important basic Korean phrases that you need to know is Annyeong-Hase-Yo. When you meet someone who is Korean, you can use this phrase to show some respect.
As the majority of the population is courteous and well-mannered, they will expect you to at least be able to greet them. Although there are different variations that are spoken, it is best that you stick to this easy phrase. To get it right, you just need to say the syllables in one go. It will earn you bonus points.
2. Bap-Meogeo-Seoyo – 밥 먹었어요 (How Are You?)
The next basic Korean phrase that you need to use is Bap-Meogeo-Seoyo. It actually means “Have you eaten rice?” and shows concern about how someone is doing.
Since food was not easily available back in the day, especially rice, the phrase is still used today despite the country enjoying an abundance of food. You can respond to the question by saying “Nae, Meogeo-Seoyo” (Yes, I have eaten) even if you have not.
3. Kamsa-Hamni-Da – 감사합니다 (Thank You)
To show gratitude, you can say Kamsa-Hamni-Da. It is an expression that you will need to learn wherever you go. You can use it just like how you would utter its English counterpart. If a friendly stranger smiles at you, it is best that you smile back and thank them.
4. Sarang-Hae – 사랑해 (I Love You)
When you are close to someone, you can let them know you feel about the relationship you share by saying Sarang-Hae. It is an informal phrase and should also be said to people you are close with such as family members or your partner.
If someone tells you they love you in Korean, you can respond with “Nado-Sarang-Hae”.
5. Bangap-Sumni-Da – 반갑습니다 (Nice to Meet You)
If you meet someone new and had a great time talking to them, you can let them know by saying Bangap-Sumni-Da. In formal settings, it is followed by a bow as well as a handshake for displaying respect.
6. Mian-Hamni-Da/ Ch-Way-Seong-Hamni-Da –미안합니다 /최성합니다 (I’m Sorry)
There are two ways to apologize in Korean. Mian-Hamni-Da is spoken when you need someone to forgive you. On the other hand, Ch-Way-Seong-Hamni-Da is said if you accidentally make a mistake and feel sorry for not realizing it.
7. Jamshi-Manyo – 잠시만요 (Excuse Me / A Moment Please)
If you need someone to wait for a few minutes or want them to move out of your way, you can say Jamshi-Manyo. It simply translates as “Little Time Stop”.
For instance, you might be in a situation where you need to get off the elevator but everyone is blocking your way. Hence, you would have to use the phrase to let everyone know that you require some space.
8. Ju-Seyo – 주세요 (Please Give Me)
To make a polite request for something, you can say Ju-Seyo. You might want to order something at a restaurant such as food or a drink. Thus, you can say the phrase and add the Korean word for what you need. For instance, could add Kaw-Pi for some coffee.
9. Eodi-Yeyo – 어디예요 (Where Is?)
Since you cannot know where everything is, you will need to use the phrase Eodi-Yeyo. For instance, you can add Hwajang-Sil to find the bathroom. Similarly, you can use the sentence for locating something at a grocery store or to find the closest subway.
10. Eolma-Yeyo – 얼마예요 (How Much Is It?)
South Korea is a great place to go shopping. It is home to Lotte Department Store which is a huge complex where you can get just about everything.
As you browse through the malls, you can say Eolma-Yeyo to find out how much something is worth. If you think that you should negotiate such as while browsing through a traditional market, you can say Bissa-Yo (It is expensive).
11. Hwait-Ting – 화이팅 (You’ve Got This)
Join the crowd and cheer others on by saying Hwait-Ting. Although it means fighting in English, it is used for showing enthusiasm. Whenever there is a sports event, you are likely to hear it.
12. Manhee-Deu-Seyo – 많이 드세요 (Enjoy Your Meal)
The word for “bon appetite” is Manhee-Deu-Seyo in Korean. It translates to eat a lot. After the Korean War, there was a huge shortage of food throughout the country. Hence, you can say the phrase while serving food to encourage others to eat to their heart’s content. You can also say it to your friends while they eat.
13. Jalmeok-Ge-Seum-Ni-Da – 잘 먹겠습니다 (I Will Eat Well)
Food is a huge part of Korean culture which is why every meal is cherished by the populace. When you are served food, it is polite to say Jalmeok-Ge-Seum-Ni-Da. It shows appreciation towards your host and lets them know that you are grateful for the meal.
14. Jalmeo-Geo-Seum-Ni-Da – 잘 먹었습니다 (The Meal Was Great)
Table manners go a long way in South Korea. It is important that you use the phrase Jalmeo-Geo-Seum-Ni-Da to let your host or server know that you enjoyed the meal.
15. Ga-Seyo – 가세요 (Go in Peace)
Even though the phrase Ga-Seyo translates as “please go”, it is not a harsh word and is actually considered polite. It is used to let the person know that you want them to have a safe journey. Even if you are unsure about where someone might be going, you can still use it.
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Master common Korean phrases by going through our post a few times. You can test them out with a friend or in public.
Korean is a beautiful language that has a lot to offer. It opens up a world full of possibilities. Whether you are a fan of K-Pop or dream of visiting the country, the above phrases will come in handy.
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