One of the first phrases that people want to learn when studying a foreign language is how to say ‘I love you’.
After all, it’s important to express our how we feel about those important people in our lives. You could use this phrase with friends, family, spouses, and significant others.
Not only is it a great word to know how to use, but also to recognize! You’ll undoubtedly hear this phrase in Korean songs, Korean movies, K-dramas, signs, product names–almost everywhere you go!
By knowing this phrase, you can also identify other words and phrases that contain the word ‘love’ in them. You’ll start to see it quite often.
Keep reading to learn how to say ‘I love you’ in Korean. You will ‘love’ it!
The Words ‘I Love You’ in Korean
The main common word that you’ll notice in ‘I love you’ in Korean is the word 사랑. The word 사랑 is the noun ‘love’ in Korean. When you add 하다 to the word 사랑, you get the verb 사랑하다. The verb 하다 means ‘to have or do’, so literally translated, this phrase means ‘to have love’.
One thing you will notice again and again is that the ‘I’ and ‘you’ in these phrases is often omitted if the meaning is clear. Often times it will be when you’re talking in Korean. You can be explicit and add in the ‘I’ and ‘you’, but it is often unnecessary and won’t sound natural.
When in doubt, listen to Koreans speak and decide for yourself!
Formal ‘I Love You’ in Korean
1. 사랑합니다 (saranghamnida)
This phrase is the formal version of I love you in Korean, and should be used with people who you do not know, or when talking to a large group. It isn’t used often because of the nature of the word, but might be used if you are making a presentation or a speech at a wedding.
Standard ‘I Love You’ in Korean
1. 사랑해요 (saranghaeyo)
This is the standard way of saying ‘I love you’ in Korean.
The dictionary form of the verb ‘to love’ is saranghada (사랑하다). As a ‘hada’ verb, it has a regular conjugation so should be easy to use in different situations.
In the present tense, it becomes 사랑해요. You might notice that the words ‘I’ and ‘you’ have been dropped. You can say these if you want to, making the phrase:
‘저는 (person’s name)씨를 사랑해요’
Remember when adding in the person’s name to consider rank in the social hierarchy. It’s important to talk in a way that shows your relationship to the other person. As a general rule, use more informal speech for people you know well, and more formal for those you’re less close to.
However, if it is clear who you are talking to, then you can just say 사랑해요.
If you want to conjugate this verb, then you can follow the standard conjugation rules for 하다 verbs:
|사랑해요? (rising intonation)||Do you love me?|
|사랑했어요||I loved (past tense)|
|사랑할 수 있어요 (없어요)||I am able (unable) to love|
|사랑하는 사람||The person that I love|
Informal ‘I Love You’ in Korean
1. 사랑해 (saranghae)
This is the informal way of saying ‘I love you’. The difference is the polite ending (요) has been dropped. This is used between people that you are close to, such as boyfriends and girlfriends. Therefore, is the most common way of saying ‘I love you’. This is because you generally only use it when talking to somebody that you are close to.
You can add the words ‘I’ and ‘You’, making the phrase 나는 너를 사랑해 if you want to, but often the context is clear so these can be omitted.
To make it into a question (do you love me?), simply say it with a rising intonation (사랑해?).
Bonus Ways to Say ‘I Love You’ in Korean
1. 사랑한다 (saranghanda)
This is the written form of the verb ‘to love’, you might come across it in poems or essays about love if you read enough Korean.
2. 사랑행 (saranghaeng)
If you want to sound extra cute with your boyfriend, girlfriend, spouse, or significant other, then it’s time to brush up on your aegyo! Adding the extra ㅇ to the informal version of ‘I love you’ will make it sound even cuter.
3. 당신 없인 못 살아 (dangsin eopsin mot sara)
This is a strong way of expressing your feelings. It means ‘I can’t live without you‘. You might hear this in songs, movies, or TV shows.
4. 나도 사랑해 (nado saranghae)
If someone says ‘I love you’ in Korean to you, then you can reply with 나도 사랑해. It means ‘I love you, too‘.
As you can see, there are many ways to say ‘I love you’ in Korean. When starting out, focus on using 사랑해 and 사랑해요.
Due to its regularity as a 하다 verb, it can be useful for learning how verbs change in different situations. It is also useful for learning how the 를 and는 particles work. For example 나는 너를 사랑해 (I love you) vs 너는 나를 사랑해 (You love me).
Hopefully after reading this article you are now an expert in knowing how to say ‘I love you’ in Korean!