When speaking a foreign language, it is always best to be polite. One way to be polite is to say ‘please’. In this article, you will learn how to say ‘please’ in Korean.
Firstly, the way that ‘please’ is used in Korean is very different from how it is used in English. For starters, there are two different ways of saying please. This article focuses on the word used for making requests. The other word, which is used if you are pleading for something, is covered in the bonus section at the end of the article.
‘Please’ in Korean
There isn’t a direct translation for ‘please’ in English into Korean. The politeness in ‘please’ is added into expressions and grammar by using special grammatical forms and vocabulary.
However, for simplicity, we’ll cover one of the common ways to say ‘please’ in Korean when asking for requests.
The Korean equivalent of ‘please give’ is based on the verb 주다 (juda) meaning ‘to give’
Using 주다 with a noun, for example saying ‘coffee please’ is simple enough. However, if you want to use it with a verb, such as ‘buy this please’ or ‘go there please’, you need to change the verb as follows:
사다 (to buy) > 사 주다 (sa juda)
가다 (to go) > 가 주다 (ga juda)
돕다 (to help) > 도와 주다 (dowa juda)
하다 (to do) > 해 주다 (hae juda)
Formal ‘Please’ in Korean
1. 주십시오 (jusipsio)
This is the highest level of ‘please’ you can use. You might hear this during a speech or a news report.
잠시만 기다려주십시오 (jamsiman gidaryeojusipsio)
Please wait a moment.
2. 주시기 바랍니다 (jusigi baramnida)
A similar phrase that you might hear (especially in announcements) is:
–시기 바랍니다 (sigi baramnida)
Its meaning is slightly different from ‘please’ in the regular sense, so be careful when using it.
안전선 뒤로 물러나 주시기 바랍니다 (anjeonseon dwiro mulleona jusigi baramnida)
Please step back behind the safety line.
Standard ‘Please’ in Korean
1. 주세요 (juseyo)
This is the usual way of saying ‘please’ in Korean. You can use it in most situations, for example ordering food in a restaurant or asking a taxi driver to take you somewhere.
돼지갈비 2인분 주세요 (dwaejigalbi i inbun juseyo)
Two portions of pork ribs, please.
서울역으로 가 주세요 (seoullyeogeuro ga juseyo)
Go to Seoul Station, please.
2. 주시겠어요 (jusigesseoyo)
This version is standard but slightly more polite.
If you are speaking to somebody older than you or meeting somebody for the first time, then you can also use this expression if you want to be more polite.
좀 도와 주시겠어요? (jom dowa jusigesseoyo)
Will you help me, please?
Informal ‘Please’ in Korean
1. 줘 (jwo)
You can use this word with people who are very close to you, and who are of a similar or younger age than you.
아이스크림 사 줘 (aiseukeurim sa jwo)
Buy me ice-cream, please.
Bonus: Pleading and Begging in Korean
Another word that means ‘please’ in Korean is 제발 (jebal). It is used when pleading or begging for something.
제발, 제발 아빠한테 말하지 마세요. (jebal, jebal appahante malhaji maseyo)
Please, please, don’t tell my father.
제발 날 죽이지 마! 미안해! (jebal nal jugiji ma mianhae)
Please don’t kill me! I’m sorry!
A Word of Caution About Romanization
We’ve added in the Romanization for all of these words to help with pronunciation. However, we recommend that you try to move onto reading comfortably in Hangul (the Korean alphabet), as this will improve your pronunciation and your reading skills. It will also help you notice patterns in words, which will lead you to improve the rate at which you learn new Korean words and grammar points.
Learning vocabulary words is a great way to help you learn the basics of a language, but your language learning will only really take off one you start attempting to have conversations in Korean. Take a look at our free list of Korean phrases or our full Korean course for all the help you will need when studying Korean.