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

Last Updated on August 25, 2022 by 90 Day Korean
A woman making a heart shape with her hands

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!How to say I love you in Korean

Here’s a FREE PDF guide about love that you can take with you on the go. Check it out below:

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.

How to Say “I Love You” in Korean

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)

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:

Standard I Love You

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 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
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“I Love You” in Korean (Informal)

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:

Informal I Love You

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)

사랑합니다 (saranghamnida) is the formal version 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:

Formal I Love you

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.

What is “Love” in Korean?

The Korean word for “love” is 사랑 (sarang). 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.

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.

How to Pronounce “I Love You” in Korean

Here’s how to pronounce “I love you” in Korean:

Saranghaeyo in Korean

Saranghaeyo is the standard form of “I love you” in Korean. It’s the romanization of the Korean word 사랑해요 (saranghaeyo).

Saranghae in Korean

Saranghae in Korean means “I love you” and is the informal romanization of the Korean word 사랑해.

Although most people in South Korea would understand if you write the word in its romanized form, “saranghae,” it’s still best if you know how to write “I love you” in Hangul.

Saranghamnida in Korean

Saranghamnida in Korean still means “I love you,” but it’s a more formal version. It’s the romanization of the Korean word 사랑합니다.

“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 Too

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

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 Cute

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.I Can't Live Without You

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).

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

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.

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

    • Avatar for Astraea Astraea

      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.

      • Avatar for 90 Day Korean 90 Day Korean

        Hi, Astraea! You can say 당신을 사랑하지만, 당신에 대한 내 감정을 말할 수 없어요.

    • Avatar for elena elena

      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

      • Avatar for 90 Day Korean 90 Day Korean

        You can say 다른 사람을 사랑해요 for “I love someone else.”

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