How to say I love you in Korean – Meaning of 사랑해 (saranghae)

Last Updated on September 8, 2021 by 90 Day Korean
A woman making a heart shape with her hands

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 how we feel about those important people in our lives. 

A woman making a heart shape with her hands

Not only is it a great word to know how to use, but also to recognize!

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, and it’s a common word you’ll need as you learn how to speak Korean.

We also have a FREE PDF guide that you can take with you on the go. Check it out below:

Keep reading to learn how to say “I love you” in Korean. You will “love” it!

How to Say I LOVE YOU in Korean | 90 Day Korean

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 (sarang). The word 사랑 (sarang) is the noun “love” in Korean. When you add 하다 (hada) to the word 사랑 (sarang), you get the verb 사랑하다 (saranghada). The verb 하다 (hada) means “to have or do”, so literally translated, this phrase means “to have love”.

The Words I Love You in Korean

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 KoreanHow to Say I love you in Korean formal

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.

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Standard ‘I Love You’ in KoreanHow to Say I love you in Korean standard


This is the standard way of saying “I love you” in Korean.

The dictionary form of the verb “to love” is 사랑하다 (saranghada). 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 (saranghaeyo). 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”

“jeoneun (person’s name)ssireul saranghaeyo”

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 (saranghaeyo).

If you want to conjugate this verb, then you can follow the standard conjugation rules for 하다 (hada) verbs:

saranghaeyoDo you love me?
saranghaesseoyoI loved (past tense)
saranghal su isseoyoI am able to love
saranghal su eopseoyoI am unable to love
saranghaneun saramThe person that I love

Informal “I Love You” in KoreanHow to Say I love you in Korean informal

사랑해 (saranghae) is the informal way of saying “I love you”. The difference is the polite ending (요 | yo) 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 (naneun neoreul saranghae) if you want to, but often the context is clear so these can be omitted.

To make it into a question 사랑해? (saranghae | do you love me?), simply say it with a rising intonation.

Bonus Ways to Say “I Love You” in Korean

How to Say I love you in Korean - I love you


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.

How to Say I love you in Korean - I love you cute

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.

How to Say I love you in Korean - I can’t live without you

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.

How to Say I love you in Korean - I love you too

If someone says “I love you” in Korean to you, then you can reply with 나도 사랑해 (nado saranghae). 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 (saranghae) and 사랑해요 (saranghaeyo).

Due to its regularity as a 하다 (hada) 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 (naneun neoreul saranghae | I love you) vs 너는 나를 사랑해 (neoneun nareul saranghae | You love me).

Now that you know how to say “I love you” in Korean, get out there and put it to use! 

Want more Korean phrases? Go to our Korean Phrases Page for a complete list!

    66 replies to "How to say I love you in Korean – Meaning of 사랑해 (saranghae)"

    • Avatar for Ed Ed

      What form would i use towards a kpop idol? 🙂

    • Avatar for Anonymous Anonymous

      How to say I love you so much

      • Avatar for 90 Day Korean 90 Day Korean

        Hi, Anonymous! You can say “정말 많이 사랑해.” ^^

        • Avatar for tyra tyra

          what does neol saranghae mean?

    • Avatar for JD JD

      How do you say “I love you too” their polite way though? I’ve heard “na do yo”, but how do you put the “yo” when you want to say it fully, “ na do saranghaeyo” or “ na do yo saranghae”? Sorry for the ignorance.

      • Avatar for 90 Day Korean 90 Day Korean

        Hi, JD! ‘나도 사랑해요’ [na do saranghaeyo] is correct. ^^

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