By now you might already know how to say ‘I don’t know’ in Korean, but wouldn’t it be great to also know how to say ‘I know’ in Korean? After all, there will be many situations where this expression could be very handy for you to know.
The infinite form of the expression is the verb ‘to know’ which in Korean is 알다 (alda). To turn it into an ‘I know’, you need to drop the 다 (da) and attach the proper conjugation depending on which level of formality the expression will be used in. Below is a guide on how to say ‘I know’ in Korean, with examples of each level.
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Formal ‘I Know’ in Korean
1. 압니다 (amnida)
2. 알고 있습니다 (algo isseumnida)
3. 알겠습니다 (algesseumnida)
The first one is the formal conjugation –ㅂ니다 simply attached to the base of the verb ‘know’, 알 (al). As part of the group of verbs with them stem ending in ㄹ, the ㄹ disappears when the ㅂ gets attached as part of the conjugation. However, as the ㅂ is followed by ㄴ, it will be pronounced with an ㅁ-sound instead. You won’t hear 압니다 being spoken much outside of presentations and equivalent situations, though.
알고 있습니다 has a very similar meaning, however with this type of conjugation you are trying to convey that you know of the topic you are currently discussing in a deeply manner. It sounds more natural to use in speech, however, than 압니다 does.
알겠습니다 can also be used as an ‘I know’ response in some situations, but oftentimes its meaning is closer in align with that of ‘I got it’ rather than ‘I know’, so keep that in mind before using it.
A: 이 사람을 압니까? (i sarameul amnikka?)– Do you know this person?
B: 네, 압니다 (ne, amnida) – Yes, I do (know this person).
A: 이 사람을 알고 있습니까? (i sarameul algo issseumnikka?)– Do you know this person?
B: 네, 알고 있습니다 (ne, algo issseumnida) – Yes, I do know this person.
Standard ‘I Know’ in Korean
1. 알아요 (arayo)
2. 알고 있어요 (algo isseoyo)
If you attach the word 잘 (jal) in front of the verb, you can really demonstrate that you know of the topic well. For example, if you want to say that you speak Korean well, just add 잘 in front of 알아요, and you’re good to go!
Also notice that when the consonant ㄹ is followed by a vowel, in this case ㅏ, the pronunciation of the letter is closer to an ‘r’ as opposed to ‘l’, whereas if it’s followed by another consonant, it will be pronounced as ‘l’.
A: 이 책을 알아요? (i chaek alayo?) – Do you know this book?
B: 네, 알아요. (ne, alayo) – Yes, I do know this book.
Informal ‘I Know’ in Korean
1. 알아 (ara)
Once you’ve become close with the person you are talking to, you can drop the 요 and speak informally like this. If you speak to a stranger or a much older person (without getting their permission) using informal words, you’ll likely offend them, but to a close friend or equivalent, they’ll be very delighted to have you use the informal version.
A: 이 영화 알아? (i yeonghwa ala?) – You know this movie?
B: 응, 알아. (eung, ala) – Yeah. I know.
And now you know how to say ‘I know’ in Korean! To further your knowledge on the verb 알다, here are some other similar usages of the word that might come in use soon.
Alternate Uses of ‘I Know’ in Korean
1. 알겠어요 (algesseoyo)/알겠어 (algesseo)
By using this word, you are conveying that you understood, aka you ‘got it’, what the other person was saying.
A: 선생님 말 이해했어요? (seonsaengnim mal ihaehaesseoyo?) – Did you understand what the teacher said?
B: 네, 이제 알겠어요 (ne, ije algesseoyo) – Yes, I got it now.
2. 알았습니다 (arasseumnida)/알았어요 (arasseoyo)/알았어 (arasseo)
Like the word above, 알았어요 also has a meaning close to saying that you understood what you just heard. In addition to that, it can also simply be used to mean ‘Okay’.
A: 나한테 나중에 전화해 (nahante najunge jeonhwahae) – Call me later
B: 알았어 (alasseo) – Okay
Now that you know how to say ‘I Know’ in Korean, go out and tell people about the things that you know!