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

In this article, we’re going to teach you how to say “I love you” in Korean. There are many ways to do it, and we’ll show you how!

A guy doing the heart hand gesture

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How to Say “I Love You” in Korean

One of the first phrases people want to learn when studying a foreign language and culture (particularly Korean and Korean culture) is saying, “I love you.” After all, it’s essential to express how we feel about those critical people in our lives.

There are a few different ways to say “I love you in Korean. It all depends on the formality or politeness you want to express your love for someone.

Here are three ways to say “I love you” in Korean:

  • 사랑합니다 (saranghamnida)
  • 사랑해요 (saranghaeyo)
  • 사랑해 (saranghae)

We’ll show you the ways and when to use them here. Let’s start it off with a video lesson:

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

“I Love You” in Korean (Standard) – Saranghaeyo

사랑해요 (saranghaeyo) is the standard form of saying “I love you in Korean. The dictionary form of the verb “to love” is 사랑하다 (saranghada). A “hada” verb has a regular conjugation, so it should be easy to use in different situations. In the present tense, it becomes 사랑해요 (saranghaeyo).

Listen Here:

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”

When adding in the person’s name, remember to consider rank in the social hierarchy. It’s essential to talk in a way that shows your relationship with the other person. Generally, use more informal or casual language 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 use the polite form 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

“I Love You” in Korean (Informal) – Saranghae

사랑해 (saranghae) is the informal version of saying “I love you” in Korean. The difference is the polite ending 요 ( yo) has been dropped.

Listen Here:

We’re sure you’ve heard the word saranghae before. This is very common in K-dramas and movies. This is used between people you are close to, such as boyfriends and girlfriends. Therefore, it is the most common way of saying, “I love you.” This is because you generally only use it when talking to somebody 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?), say it with a rising intonation.

“I Love You” in Korean (Formal) – Saranghamnida

사랑합니다 (saranghamnida) is the formal form of “I love you” and should be used with people you do not know (not the same age) or when talking to a large group.

Listen Here:

It isn’t used often because of the nature of the word, but it might be used if you are making a presentation or a speech at a wedding.

What is “Love” in Korean?

The Korean word for “love” is 사랑 (sa-rang). It’s a typical Korean term that’s the first thing you’ll notice when someone says “I love you” in Korean.

The Korean word for love is a great word to know how to use and recognize. By knowing this word and how to use it, you can also identify other words and phrases containing “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.

The Words “I Love You” in Korean

Here are the Korean words that make up the phrase “I love you”:

  • 사랑 (sarang) – love
  • 하다 (hada) – to have or to do
  • 사랑 (sarang) + 하다 (hada) = 사랑하다 (saranghada)

When you add 하다 (hada) to the word 사랑 (sarang), you get the Korean verb 사랑하다 (saranghada). So literally translated, this phrase means “to have love.” From this verb, you can get the expressions that we’ve discussed.

You will notice again and again that the “I” and “you” in these phrases are often omitted if the meaning is clear. Often 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.

How to Write “I Love You” in Korean

Here’s how to write the different forms of  “I love you” in Korean

Saranghamnida (formal) → 사랑합니다

Saranghaeyo (standard) →  사랑해요

Saranghae (informal) → 사랑해

The way we’ve written the  Korean words above uses the most common system for the romanization of the Korean language today. Romanization is the process of writing Korean words with Roman characters or the Latin alphabet rather than the Korean alphabet, Hangul.

Learning the romanized versions of Korean words and phrases is excellent, especially if you’re starting to learn Korean. However, it’s good not to depend entirely on romanization.

In Korean language learning, the Korean alphabet is still more accurate and is a better way to learn Korean fast. Don’t worry; Hangul is easy to master! You can learn the Korean alphabet in about 1 hour!

In the meantime, we can teach you the standard romanization of the Korean words for I love you.

There are variations for expressing your “I love you” to someone. Here are some of them and how to say them in Korean.

“I love you too” in Korean

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.”

Listen here:

“I love you very much” in Korean

There are different ways to say “I love you very much” in Korean.

아주 많이 (aju mani) or 정말 많이 사랑해 (jeongmal mani saranghae) – Informal

아주 많이 (aju mani) or 정말 많이 사랑해요 (jeongmal mani saranghaeyo) – Polite/Standard 

아주 많이 (aju mani) or 정말 많이 사랑합니다 (jeongmal mani saranghamnida) – Formal

Sample sentences:

할머니, 아주 많이 사랑해요! (halmeoni, aju mani saranghaeyo!)

I love you so much, grandma!

지우 씨, 정말 많이 사랑합니다. (Jiu ssi, jeongmal mani saranghamnida.)

I love you so much, Jiwoo.

“I love you a lot” in Korean

If you’d like to express this phrase to someone, here are the ways to say it.

많이 사랑해 (mani saranghae) – Informal

많이 사랑해요 (mani saranghaeyo) – Polite/Standard

많이 사랑합니다 (mani saranghamnida) – Formal

Sample sentences:

친구야, 많이 사랑해. (chinguya, mani saranghae.)

I love you a lot, my friend.

많이 사랑해요, 여보. (mani saranghaeyo, yeobo.)

I love you a lot, honey

“I love you more” in Korean

To express “I love you more” to someone, here are the ways to say it.

내가 더 사랑해 (naega deo saranghae) – Informal

제가 더 사랑해요 (jega deo saranghaeyo) – Polite/Standard

제가 더 사랑합니다 (jega deo saranghamnida) – Formal

Sample sentences:

내가 오빠를 더 사랑해 (naega oppareul deo saranghae)

I love you more, Oppa.

제가 민호 씨를 더 사랑해요 (jega minho ssireul deo saranghaeyo)

I love you more, Minho.

Three “I love you” in Korean lines you need to know

Other Ways to Say “I Love You” in Korean

There are also other ways to say or write “I Love You” in Korean. We’ll talk about them below.

“I Love You” in Korean (written form)

Listen here:

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.

“I Love you” in Korean (cute way)

Listen here: 

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.

“I Love You” in Korean (emotional way of expressing your feelings)

Listen here: 

This is a strong way of expressing your feelings. It means, “I can’t live without you.” You might hear this in songs, romantic movies, or Korean TV shows.

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 helpful in learning how verbs change in different situations. It is also helpful in understanding 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).

Wrap Up

Now that you know how to say “I love you” in Korean, get out there and put it to use! How about learning other romantic Korean phrases next? Our article on Korean Love Phrases can help you with that.

Learning to say “I love you” is a good start to your Korean language journey. If you want to improve your skills, it’s good to have a structured Korean language program that can help you learn Korean fast and efficiently. You’ll not only be saying “I love you” and other common phrases to your Korean friends, but you’ll be able to effectively communicate as well.

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90 thoughts on “How to say I love you in Korean – Meaning of 사랑해 (saranghae)”

  1. I noticed the character for sun (해) is in I love you (사랑해요) for the standard and informal versions. Is there a reason why or is it just the hangul spelling where that is the best way to show the pronunciation. The hopeless romantic in me wants there to be a reason lol.

    Also, are there any other character words that can be found in the phrase? I know you already broke down what makes up the phrase, but I am referring to characters that represent singular words like with the above situation.
    Thank you for your time!

    1. 사랑해요’s base form is 사랑하다. Verbs end with -하다 will change 하 to 해 when conjugating into a polite speech form (-요 ending). You may find there are many other verbs that follow this, such as 공부하다 (study) -> 공부해요, 좋아하아 (like)-> 좋아해요. For the informal version, you simple drop 요, so they will end with 해. e.g. 사랑해. 공부해. 좋아해.

  2. how would i say “i love you, but i can’t tell you my feelings about you” ? I tried to translate it using google translate but I don’t know if it is the accurate translation to it.

  3. how would i say “i love someone else” in korean? ive heard 2 ways of saying it but i dont know which one to use

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