You might already know how to say “I don’t know” in Korean, but wouldn’t it be great also to know how to say “I know” in Korean? After all, there will be many situations where this expression could be convenient 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.
- 1 Formal “I Know” in Korean
- 2 Standard “I Know” in Korean
- 3 Informal “I Know” in Korean
- 4 Common Ways to Say “I Know” in Korean
Formal “I Know” in Korean
When you want to say “I know” in Korean when speaking to native speakers older than you, or someone you’re not familiar with, you can refer to these words.
1. 압니다 (amnida)
The first one is the formal conjugation –ㅂ니다 (-ㅂ nida) simply attached to the base of the verb “know,” 알 (al). As part of the group of verbs with the 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 (amnida) being spoken much outside of presentations and equivalent situations, though.
A: 이 사람을 압니까? (i sarameul amnikka)
Do you know this person?
B: 네, 압니다 (ne, amnida)
Yes, I do (know this person).
2. 알고 있습니다 (algo itseumnida)
알고 있습니다 (algo itseumnida) 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 deep manner. It sounds more natural to use in speech, however, than 압니다 (amnida) does.
3. 알겠습니다 (algetseumnida)
알겠습니다 (algetseumnida) can also be used as an “I know” response in some situations, but often its meaning is closer in alignment with that of “I got it” rather than “I know”, so keep that in mind before using it.
A: 이 사람을 알고 있습니까? (i sarameul algo itseumnikka)
Do you know this person?
B: 네, 알고 있습니다 (ne, algo itseumnida)
Yes, I do know this person.
Standard “I Know” in Korean
Here are some standard ways of saying “I know” in Korean that you’ll hear most often.
1. 알아요 (arayo)
If you attach the word 잘 (jal) in front of the verb, you can demonstrate that you know the topic well. For example, if you want to say that you speak Korean well, add 잘 (jal) in front of 알아요 (arayo), 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.”
A: 이 책을 알아요? (i chaegeul arayo)
Do you know this book?
B: 네, 알아요. (ne, arayo)
Yes, I do know this book.
2. 알고 있어요 (algo isseoyo)
Another standard way of saying “I know” 알고 있어요 (algo isseoyo). In this case, since ㄹ is followed by another consonant, it will be pronounced as “l” instead of “r”.
Informal “I Know” in Korean
Once you’ve become close to the person you are talking to, you can drop the 요 (yo) and speak informally like this.
1. 알아 (ara)
The informal way of saying “I know” in Korean is 알아 (ara). Note that you have to be careful if you speak to a stranger or a much older person (without getting their permission) using informal words because you’ll likely offend them. However, to a close friend or equivalent, they’ll be delighted to have you use the informal version.
A: 이 영화 알아? (i yeonghwa ara)
You know this movie?
B: 응, 알아. (eung, ara)
Yeah. I know.
Common Ways to Say “I Know” in Korean
Now you know how to say “I know” in Korean! To further your knowledge of the verb 알다 (alda), here are some other similar usages of the word that might come into use soon.
1. 알겠어요 (algesseoyo)/알겠어 (algesseo)
By using this word, you convey 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 (aratseumnida)/알았어요 (arasseoyo)/알았어 (arasseo)
Like the word above, 알았어요 (arasseoyo) 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 (arasseo)
Now that you know how to say “I know” in Korean, go out and tell people about what you know! You can also mix this up with other Korean phrases or words.