common korean phrases
common korean phrases

The lesson has lists of  both formal and informal common korean phrases with explanations.

In Korean culture, it is very important to use Korean honorifics. Korean honorifics are directly related to Korean formal words/phrases.  Today we are going to learn top Korean phrases.

Formal Korean phrases list

The formal phrases are those phrases that you can use to strangers, older people and people who you are not close to. They are

  • 안녕하세요 is Hello. 
  • 안녕히 가세요  Bye! 
  • 안녕히 계세요Bye 
  • 안녕히 주무세요. Good night 
  • 안녕히 주무셨어요. Good morning! 
  • 잘 먹겠습니다. (Before eating) 
  • 잘 먹었습니다. (After eating) 
  • 감사합니다. Thank you. 
  • 죄송합니다. Sorry.
  • 괜찮아요. It’ fine/okay. No thanks. 
  • 수고하셨습니다 Thank you for your effort. 
  • 네 Yes  
  • 아니요 No  
  • 왜요 why  
  • 좋아요 I like it 
  • 싫어요 I don’t like it
  • 여보세요. Hello (calling)
  • 뭐 드실래요? What do you want to eat? 
  • 뭐 마실래요? What do you want to drink? 
  • ___ 주세요. Please give me ___. 
  • 화장실 어디에요? Where is the bathroom?
  • 이름이 뭐예요? What’s your name? 
  • 제 이름은 ___예요. My name is __. 
  • 만나서 반가워요. Nice to meet you. 
  • 다음에 봐요. See you next time!

Informal Korean phrases list

Informal phrases can be used  in casual situations. Informal phrases are those phrases that you can use with close friends, family members and with those who are younger than you. The lesson includes both formal and informal phrases. Some of them are-

  • 안녕 is Hi. And Bye. 
  • 뭐해? What are you doing? 
  • 잘 지내? How are you? 
  • 잘 잤어? Good morning. 
  • 잘 자. Good night.  
  • 응 Yes  내
  • 아니 no
  • 이름은 [   ](이)야.  My name is [   ] 
  • 화장실 어디야? Where is the bathroom?  
  • 만나서 반가워. Nice to meet you.  
  • 다음에 봐~ See you next time! See you! 
  • 내일 봐. See you tomorrow.  
  • 잘 가~ Bye~  
  • 당연하지. Of course.  
  • 미안해. I’m sorry.  
  • 왜 Why
  • 진짜? Really?  
  • 이해가 안 가. I don’t understand. 
  •  좋아. I like it.  
  • 싫어. I don’t like it.

annyeonghaseyo in korean

안녕하세요 – Hello (formal).  안녕 is informal so you can use it to friends and younger people. 안녕하세요 is a formal form so you can use it to older people or people who you are not really close with. And when you say 안녕하세요, it usually goes with bowing at 45 degree. So you don’t just say 안녕하세요. and if you feel like bowing is too much for you you can just nod your head and say 안녕하세요(annyeonghaseyo).

안녕(Hi)

You can use it at any time of the day even at night. In Korean we say hi and bye too but in Korean accent Hi(하이), Bye(바이).

good evening in korean

There is no specific word for a good evening in Korean but you can say 안녕하세요 for good evening also. You can say either 안녕 (annyeong), 안녕하세요. (annyeonghaseyo), 안녕하십니까. (annyeonghasimnikka) depends on the people whom you are talking.

good afternoon in korean language

Many western and some eastern countries have a greeting system based on the time of day but Korean greeting is not based on the time of day. That is why there is no specific word for good morning good after noon and good evening. You can either say 안녕 (annyeong) which is Informal and casual speech for kids or your close friends or 안녕하세요. (annyeonghaseyo) which is a Informal and polite speech for adults or somebody you dont know well (strangers). You can also say 안녕하십니까. (annyeonghasimnikka) which is a formal and polite speech for someone you respect.

bye bye in Korean

There are many phrases to say bye-bye in Korean. 안녕 (Ahn-nyeong) which is informal/casual. When you stay and when someone leaves you have to say 잘 가 (chal ga) it is an informal / casual phrase.

When you leave and when someone stays you have to say 잘 있어 {chal yees-sseo(ssuh)} it is an informal or casual.

잘 가(세)요 (잘 가 – go well it is an informal polite & 세 = honorific)[ chal ga(se)-yo ]. 잘 가세요 is used for someone you do respect.

안녕히 계세요 stay well [ ahn-nyeong-hee gye-se-yo ] which is a more formal polite. 안녕히 가세요 go safely/ well [ ahn-nyeong-hee ka-se-yo ] is also more formal polite.

Now lets learn briefly

안녕히가세요

It literally means go well and 안녕히 means well or peacefully and 가세요 means go so 안녕히가세요 literally means go peacefully go well, and we use it to say bye. But be careful you use it when people are leaving, not when you are leaving. So when someone else is leaving, and you are staying in the same place, you say, 안녕히가세요, the informal phrase for this one would be 잘가 and the formal form you use politely is 안녕히가세요. 안녕히 가십시오 is very much formal and high-class honorific word

안녕히 계세요

안녕히 계세요 is bye or stay well just like 잘 있어요. when you translate 안녕히 계세요 directly, it means to stay well not go well. So 안녕히 means well, peacefully and 계세요 means to stay. So 안녕히 계세요 is bye – when you are leaving and someone else is staying. So someone else is staying here and then when you are leaving you say 안녕히 계세요 and this means bye. So there are two ways to say bye in Korean in a polite way in a formal way which is 안녕히 가세요 and 안녕히 계세요.

 안녕히 계세요 is when someone else is leaving and 안녕히 계세요 is when you are leaving. But this is quite confusing even Korean people when they were young, they got confused on this one.

goodnight in korean

안녕히 주무세요 – Good night. Maybe you have already guessed 안녕히 주무세요 means good night and this literally means to sleep well. So 안녕히 as you all know, it means well or peacefully and 주무세요 means to sleep. so 안녕히 주무세요 means sleep well, which is a formal way of saying, good night. So, before you go to sleep, you have to say your 안녕히 주무세요 to your parents. Do you know what is the informal form of saying good night in Korean? It is 잘 자, which also literally means sleep well. So 안녕히 주무세요 is good night.

잘 자 Good night.

You can say this to a person sleeping next to you or to your family before you go to sleep. You can say 잘 자. But remember, you can only say this to your younger brother or sister because this is a casual form/ informal form. 잘 자, good night.

good morning in korean

안녕히 주무셨어요 is a question form of 안녕히 주무세요. so 안녕히 주무셨어요 is literally asking Did you sleep well, and it would be good morning in Korea. In the Korean language, there is no particular phrase of literal Good morning and 좋은 아침/ 좋은 아침이에요 is another phrase of good morning but it sounds awkward because normally Korean people don’t use this in daily life. So good morning means 안녕히 주무셨어요 or 잘 잤어.

You can say 좋은 아침 (Joeun Achim)좋은 아침이야. (Joeun achimiya) is an informal and casual phrase used for kids or your friends. 좋은 아침이에요. (Joeun achimieyo) is an informal and polite phrase used for adults. 좋은 아침입니다 (Joeun achimimnida) is an honorific speech and it is a formal and polite phrase also. But remember 안녕히 주무셨어요, 잘 잤어, 안녕? (Anneyong?, 안녕하세요, (Annyeonghaseyo), 안녕하십니까 (Annyeonghasimnikka) are the most common Korean phrases for good morning in Korean.

잘 잤어? Good morning.

잘 잤어?  is Did you sleep well in Korean.  In textbooks they say 좋은 아침.for  good morning. But Korean people don’t really say that. Instead we say 잘 잤어?

잘 먹겠습니다

잘 먹겠습니다 I will eat well (before eating). 잘 먹겠습니다 literally means I will eat well, means well and 먹겠습니다 means will eat.  먹다 is to eat and 먹겠습니다 is the future form of 먹다. 잘 먹겠습니다 means I will eat well and in Korea we use it before we eat. So this is like a table manner how Koreans are educated growing up. Koreans are educated to say this all the time before they eat 잘 먹겠습니다 and then they can start eating and in like society as well so in Korea like in company dinner or company lunch people say 잘 먹겠습니다 before they eat.

잘 먹었습니다

잘 먹었습니다– Ate well – After eating. 잘 먹었습니다 literally means I ate well so you use this after eating. So in a family dinner or in a company lunch or dinner after you finish eating you say 잘 먹었습니다 and this will make you look really polite and have manners and well educated. So when you are invited to your Korean family dinner then always say 잘 먹겠습니다 before eating and 잘 먹었습니다 after eating.

잘 먹겠습니다 vs 잘 먹었습니다

잘 means well and 먹다 is the root verb which means to eat. 잘 먹겠습니다 is used before eating (meal) and 잘 먹었습니다 is used after eating (meal). The only difference is ‘겠’ and ‘었’. ‘겠’/ 먹겠습니다 is used in future tense and ‘었’/ 먹었습니다 is used in past tense.

감사합니다

감사합니다 -Thank you. Actually there are many ways to say thank you in a formal way in Korea, They are 고마워요, 감사해요, 고맙습니다, 감사합니다. The phrase most people usually use for Thank you in the formal situation is 감사합니다 -Thank you and don’t forget the bowing and nodding while saying 감사합니다.

고마워

고마워 Thank you. This is an informal form of Thank you. So when you want to say thank you to your friends or people who are younger than you, you say 고마워, when you are really thankful and want to say Oh, really, thank you/ Thank you so much you say 진짜 고마워, 정말 고마워.

죄송합니다

죄송합니다 – sorry. There are many ways to say sorry in Korean in a formal way they are  미안해요, 죄송해요, 미안합니다, 죄송합니다. All these phrases are equally used by Korean people in daily life. 죄송합니다 is the most polite form among these four that I’ve mentioned. So 죄송합니다 means I’m sorry.

미안해 

미안해 I’m sorry. When you did something wrong to your friend or you feel sorry about something you can say 미안해/ 미안, but remember, don’t say this to strangers, because this is an informal speech. If you want to say to strangers you can say, 미안해요. I’m sorry.

괜찮아요

괜찮아요 – It’s fine. 괜찮아요 in general is fine / No thanks. In general, you can say 괜찮아요 when someone says sorry to you. And another way of saying 괜찮아요 is when refusing something in a polite way. For example – when someone says 커피 드릴까요? you can refuse it by saying 아니에요 괜찮아요.

수고하셨습니다

수고하셨습니다 – Thank you for your effort. you can probably hear this phrase 수고하셨습니다 a lot when you are in Korea. So this is like a basic manner or phrase that you say to people who have finished their work. So for example, in your company after someone is leaving work after their hard work, you can say 수고하셨습니다. For example if a plumber comes to your house and finish fixing your kitchen pipes you can say to that plumber, 수고하셨습니다.

yes in Korean

네 is Yes. The informal form of yes/네 is 응. So you can say 네 to older people or in the formal situation and 응 you say to your friends or younger people or someone who is really close with you and it is used in an informal situation.

응 means Yes but Korean don’t really pronounce 응 all the time. Koreans instead just say umm? When Koreans type yes they use 응and when Koreans text friends they use 응, but actually most of the time they just type o o.

Formal Korean phrases

common korean phrases
common korean phrases

아니요 – No

아니요 is no in formal form and 아니 is informal No. So just attach 요 and it will be formal for 아니.

왜요 – Why?

왜요 is why in formal you can really ask a question and say 왜요 meaning Why? Or you can reply by saying 왜요 when someone calls you like when your mom calls you. Hey beans, yeah, and then we’ll but this kind of sounds impolite. These days many teenagers like rebellious teenagers reply by saying this 왜/ 왜요.

좋아요 – Like 

좋아요 means like it. In Facebook there is a like button which in Korean is 좋아요. For example 좋아요 눌러주세요 please press like. 비빔밥 좋아요 means I like bibimbap.

싫어요 – Don’t like

싫어요 means don’t like. 싫어요 can be dislike so 싫어요 눌러지 마세요 means Please don’t press dislike. You can also use it like 매운거 진짜 싫어요. I don’t like spicy things. 김치 싫어요. I don’t like kimchi. Or you can also use it like 오늘 김밥 먹을래요 (Do you want to eat kimbap today?) 싫어요 which means I don’t wanna

여보세요 여보세요 means hello when you pick up the phone.

뭐 드실래요? What do you want to eat? 

뭐 means what and 드실래요 means do you want to eat. Actually 먹다 is to eat  But 먹다 becomes 드시다 when you change it to formal form. 뭐 드실래요 is literally asking what do you want to eat but you can also just say 뭐 드실래요 to say what do you want to eat ? 뭐 드실래요? What do you want to eat? 저는 치킨이랑 맥주요. I want to have chicken and beer.

뭐 마실래요? What do you want to drink?

This as well 뭐  is what and 마실래요 means Do you want to drink? So 뭐 마실래요 means what do you want to drink? 뭐 마실래요? means do you want to drink something?

주세요 Give

주세요 means please give. you can say 주세요 to mean please give and put whatever in front of 주세요, and it would mean to give me this Okay, so kimchi 주세요 give me kimchi. 밥 주세요. please give me some food.

—어디에요? Where is —

so you can put some word in front of 어디에요 to ask where is something. For example 화장실 어디에요? Where is the bathroom? 학교 어디에요? Where is the school? So this is pretty useful when you’re just in the middle of Korea and don’t know where to go.

이름이뭐예요?. What’s your name? 

제 이름은—– 이에요. My name is —–.blah blah in a formal way. How to say my name is blah blah informally? 내 이름은 —(이) 야.Then why did 내 이름은 —(이) 야. changed to 제 이름은—– 이에요? 내 changed to 제. 제 is a formal way of saying my. So when your name ends with a consonant you say —– 이에요 and when your name ends with a vowel you say, —– 예요. For example 제 이름은 김정은 이에요 and 제 이름은 짐미 예요.

전화번호 뭐예요? What’s your phone number?

만나서 반가워요 Nice to meet you.

When you meet someone for the first time you can say 만나서 반가워요. But if the other person is older than you you must say 만나서 반갑습니다.

다음에 봐요 See you next time.

Informal Korean phrases

뭐해?

뭐해? (What are you doing)It may sound weird but Korean start a conversation by saying 뭐해 a lot and usually through texts.

잘 지내?

잘 지내?  (How are you)when you translate 잘 지내 directly it’s more like are you doing well? You can say 잘 지내 after 안녕.  Which means – Hello. How are you doing?

아니

아니 No. 너 걔 좋아해? Do you like him? 아니

밥 먹었어? 아니 So informal yes is 응 and informal no is 아니.

내 이름은 —(이)야.

내 이름은 —(이)야. my name is.—–. 

when your name ends with a consonant you have to use 이야 and when your name ends with the vowel you have to use 야.. 내 이름은 지니야.내 이름은 파월이야.

제발

제발 please. Oh, I’m hungry please give me bread, 제발 빵 사줘.

그래

그래 Okay, Korean also use okay, but with the Korean accent, 오키, 오케이,오케. 커피 마실래?크래

아니야

you’re welcome. Usually in textbooks they say 천만에 for you are welcome but Korean people never say 천만에. Instead koreans say 아니야, 아니야.

몇 시야?

What time is it? You can say 지금 몇 시야? What time is it now?

화장실 어디야 ?

Where’s the bathroom? There are bathrooms in every train station in Korea. So it is a pretty useful phrase to know. And they’re also really clean and free. But be careful this is an informal speech so you cannot use it to strangers. If you want to use it to strangers. You can say 저기요, 화장실 어디에요? Hey, Where’s the bathroom? 

만나서 반가워.Nice to meet you. 안녕, 만나서 반가워, 나는 파월이야.  Hi nice to meet you i’m pawol.

다음에 봐 See you next time/ see you. 

내일 봐 See you tomorrow.

잘 가 Bye It means to leave safe but we use this to say goodbye. But you can only say this to people who are leaving so when someone else is leaving you can say 잘 가.

당연하지 Of course, you can also say 당근이지. 당근 means carrot but it has no relation with this phrase. 

Why? 

진짜? Really?

이해가 안 가.I don’t understand.

아,이해가 안 가 I don’t understand. Oh, 진짜 이해가 안 가. I really, really don’t understand.

좋아 I like it

싫어 I don’t like it.

이거 먹을래? No thanks. I don’t like it.