10 Most Useful Phrases in Korean

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Hello, everybody! Today, we are going to talk about 10 must-know phrases in Korean.

These are the most essential Korean phrases that are used by Korean speakers on a daily basis.

You can understand and enjoy Korean culture more, once you get used to these phrases.

Are you ready? Let’s go! 

  1. 제발!

In English 제발 translated as ‘please!’. Of course, 제발 is used as a meaning of ‘please’, it has a meaning of asking to do something, or even begging. The interesting thing is that you can also use this phrase when you are a little annoyed or angry, as a meaning of “give me a break” or “come on”. 

Let’s see an example: 

여기 새로 생긴 카페야. 나랑 같이 가자 제~! This is a brand-new cafe! Would you go out with me, please? 

지금 너랑 얘기하고 싶지 않아. 제발, 나 좀 내버려둬. I’m not in the mood to talk to you right now. Give me a break, leave me alone.   

  1. 잘 잤어?

To translate 잘 잤어? literally into English, it is ‘did you sleep well?’. Korean people use this phrase a lot as a meaning of ‘good morning’. ‘Good morning’ is translated as ‘좋은 아침’ in Korean, but Koreans use ‘잘 잤어?’ more often, and hardly use the phrase ‘좋은 아침’.

잘 잤어? is used in informal situations and is used among peers and friends. You can also use this phrase for texting. 

잘 잤어? Good morning!

어제 티비 보다가 잠들었네. 너도 잘 잤어? I fell asleep while watching TV last night. Good morning!  

  1. 지 마, 하지 마

Korean word ‘하다’ means do something, and ‘말다’ means ‘not doing something’. Can you guess the meaning of ‘하지 마’? It means ‘Don’t do it’.

If you combine ‘-지 마‘ with other verbs, you can ask or order someone not to do something. 

Let’s see some examples first. 

가다 go → 가지 마. Don’t go. 

보다 look → 보지 마. Don’t look.

먹다 eat → 먹지 마. Don’t eat.  

Simply remove ‘-다’ from the end of each verb and add the word ‘-지 마’. 

I recommend using this phrase in casual situations, because ‘하지 마’ can be felt somewhat forceful.  

Here are some example dialogues: 

수업 엄청 지루하다. 나 졸려. The class is very boring. I’m sleepy. 

자지 마! 중요한 수업이잖아. Don’t sleep! This class is very important.  

나 너무 피곤해서 지금 집에 가려고. I’m so tired, I’ll go home now. 

나 혼자 여기 있으면 어색하단 말이야. 제발, 가지 마! I’m so awkward with the people here! Please, don’t go!  

  1. 뭐 해?/모해?

뭐 해? means ‘what are you doing?’ Korean people use this phrase a lot, especially when they are texting with friends! It is also commonly used as ‘모해?’ in texting.  

잘 잤어? Good morning! 

너도 잘 잤어? 너 오늘 뭐 해? Good morning! What are you doing today? 

오늘 그냥 쉬려고. I’m just chilling at home.  

모해? What’s up? 

공부 중 I’m studying.  

  1. //ㅇㅇ

The meaning of ‘응’ is ‘yes’. Very simple and easy! This is a word that Koreans use everyday! But ‘응’ is used in written language more. In real-life people use ‘어’ more than ‘응’. 

‘응’ is sometime pronounced as ‘웅’ usually by girls to be cute. And when texting, ‘응’ is shortened and used just with consonants, as ㅇㅇ. 

피씨방 갈래? Would you like to go to the PC room? 

ㅇㅇ Okay. 

조금 이따 아이스크림 먹으러 갈까? Do you want to go eat ice cream later? 

>< YAY!!  

  1. 진짜

Literally ‘진짜?’ can be translated as ‘for real?’ and ‘truly’ in English. It can be used when asking or answering in informal situations. Also ‘진짜’ can be used as an adverb, meaning of ‘very’ and ‘really’. 

Here are some examples: 

나 어제 BTS봤어! I saw BTS yesterday!!! 

진짜? WHAT? FOR REAL?  

지금 진짜 배고파. I’m very hungry 

떡볶이 먹으러 갈래? Would you like to go eat Tteokbokki? 

! Yay! 

  1. 당연하지/당근이지

당연하지 is ‘of course’ in English. This phrase is often used by Koreans, and is also used as ‘당연’.  Sometimes young people use ‘당근이지’ or ‘당근’ as slang, because of the similarity of the sound between 당연 and 당근. 당근 actually means carrot, so you should memorize this phrase Carrots! 🙂 

어제 블랙핑크 노래 나왔던데 들어봤어? Did you hear the new Black Pink song came out yesterday? 

, 당근이지. Yes, of course I did.  

  1. 여보세요?

This is the term used to answer phone calls in Korea. You may have heard of this in many Korean TV-dramas or movies. 

For example: 

여보세요? Hello? 

수현! 오늘 뭐해? Suhyun! What are you doing today? 

  1. 다음에 봐

‘다음에 봐’ is translated as ‘see you next time’ in English. But it doesn’t mean that you ask someone that you two must meet again next time. ‘다음에 봐’ is used as the meaning of ‘later’ and ‘we’ll catch up next’. This phrase is a good parting word in casual and informal situations.  

I’ll give you an example: 

만나서 반가웠어. This was really good to see you. 

그러니까! 다음에 또 봐! 잘 가! Totally! I hope you see you soon! Bye! 

잘 가! Bye! 

  1. 사랑해

‘사랑해’ is the casual way of saying, ‘I love you’ and this phrase is used not only between lovers, but between friends and family too. ‘사랑해’ is often used in K-Pop lyrics and Korean dramas. If someone says ‘사랑해’ to you, simply reply with ‘나도’, which means ‘me too’, in this case ‘I love you, too’. 

사랑해! I LOVE YOU! 

나도 사랑해! LOVE YOU TOO. 

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