Korean Conjunctions: Basic Sentence Connectors

Last Updated on May 12, 2022 by 90 Day Korean
Korean Conjunctions

Today we’re going to connect you with Korean conjunctions! These useful Korean words will help you improve Korean grammar and express your ideas when talking, writing, or texting in Korean.

You’re likely to recognize these as you watch TV series or K-dramaKorean movies, everyday Korean life, or when you’re talking to native speakers of Korean.

Korean Conjunctions

We’ll show you the common Korean conjunctions and sentence connectors that Korean people use on a daily basis. Let’s get to it!

Below is a free PDF guide that you can download and take with you:

Korean Conjunctions

Below are the common Korean conjunctions list or sentence conjunctions that you should learn first. These basic conjunctions are used to connect phrases, Korean words, and sentences. We’ve also included more examples to help understand the concept better.

The terms are explained using both Hangeul (Korean Alphabet) and romanized English. We recommend learning Hangeul as soon as possible since it’ll accelerate the speed at which you can learn Korean. It also makes it simpler to use Korean slang or create a Korean name for yourself.

Once you get the hang of Korean conjunctions, you can use them to create Korean sentences or try out some new Korean grammar. Lots of options; it’s choose-your-own-adventure Korean!

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“But” in Korean

There are several ways to use “but” in Korean. We’ve explained each of them below.

그렇지만 (geureochiman) = But, however

This is the first way to say “but” in Korean. This Korean conjunction comes from the verb 그렇다(geureota), which translates as simply as “yes.”

However, when you attach ~지만 (~ jiman) to its stem, you are forming a single word that literally means “That’s correct, but…”, which you can then follow with the contradiction to what you are responding to. Let’s see how it’s used in the first sentence example below.

For example:

오늘 친구랑 영화보러 가고 싶어요. 그렇지만 내일 시험 있어서 공부해야 해요.

(oneul chingurang yeonghwaboreo gago sipeoyo. geureochiman naeil siheom isseoseo gongbuhaeya haeyo.)

I want to go see a movie with a friend today. However, I have an exam tomorrow, so I have to study.

~지만 (~ jiman) = But, although

In learning Korean conjunctions, this is one of the first ones to focus on in using “but” in Korean. It is used to unify two sentences into one sentence. Here’s the second sentence example:

For example:

오늘 친구랑 영화보러 가고 싶지만 내일 시험 있어서 공부해야 해요.

(oneul chingurang yeonghwaboreo gago sipchiman naeil siheom isseoseo gongbuhaeya haeyo.)

Although I want to see a movie with a friend today, I have to study for an exam I have tomorrow.

그런데 (geureonde) = But, however, by the way

This is one of the most common Korean conjunctions. It can also be used to form a contradiction, just like 그렇지만 (geureochiman). However, it is better used to relate the two clauses to each other. It’s the form often used among friends.

This conjunction can be used to change topics. The shortened form is 근데 (geunde), with the same meaning.

For example:

어제 하루종일 잤어요. 그런데 오늘 피곤해요.

(eoje harujongil jasseoyo. geureonde oneul pigonhaeyo.)

I slept all day yesterday. But today I am tired.

~ㄴ/는데 (~ㄴ/neunde) = But, however, though

Similar to ~지만 (~ jiman), this Korean conjunction can be used to directly connect the two sentences into one.

For example:

어제 하루종일 잤는데 오늘 피곤해요. (eoje harujongil jatneunde oneul pigonhaeyo.)

Though I slept all day yesterday, I’m tired today.

그러나 (geureona) = But, or

You can say “but” in Korean in this scenario with a similar meaning to 그렇지만 (geureochiman) and 그런데 (geureonde). However, in comparison to the two, it is more of a formal style. You’d most often see it used in literary or academic papers. Of all the Korean conjunctions on this list, this is the one you’ll most likely only see on paper.

How to say "or" in Korean

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“Or” in Korean

When choosing between options, you use the word “or.”

In Korean, you can use the conjunctions ~나 (~ na) or ~거나 (~ geona) depending on the words that they are connecting.

~나 (~ na) = Or

This conjunction literally means “or”,  so you can use this to connect two nouns between which to choose. This is one of the most useful Korean conjunctions. It’s a great one for upgrading your basic Korean sentences.

For example:

오늘 뭘 먹을까? 고기나 치킨? (oneul mwol meogeulkka? gogina chikin?)

What shall we eat today? Meat or chicken?

~거나 (~ geona) = Or

This conjunction has the same meaning as the above, but it is used in connecting two verbs.

For example:

수업이 끝나면 영화보거나 집에 갈 거예요.

(sueobi kkeunnamyeon yeonghwabogeona jibe gal geoyeyo.)

When the class ends, I will either watch a movie or go home.

아니면 (animyeon) = Or, unless, if not

This is used like the Korean conjunctions ~나 (~ na) and ~거나 (~ geona). For example, you can use it instead of ~나 (~ na)or together with ~거나 (~ geona). You can also use it between two sentences to make them sound more natural.

For example:

고기를 먹을까요? 아니면 다른 거 먹을까요?

(gogireul meogeulkkayo? animyeon dareun geo meogeulkkayo?)

Shall we eat meat? Or shall we eat something else?

“And” in Korean

“And” in Korean is commonly expressed in two ways. The first is with 그리고 (geurigo) while the second is with ~고 (~go).

그리고 (geurigo) = and

You’ve already learned a few different ways to say “and” in Korean from previous lessons. We’re going to show you another way. Use this Korean conjunction to connect nouns. You can also use it as the beginning of another sentence that follows your first one.

For example:

슈퍼에서 우유를 사주세요. 그리고 계란도 사주세요.

(syupeoeseo uyureul sajuseyo. geurigo gyerando sajuseyo.)

Please buy milk from the supermarket. And please buy eggs as well.

~고 (~go) = and, and then

This is one of the basic Korean conjunctions. This version of “and” in Korean has a nearly identical meaning to 그리고 (geurigo) and is often used to connect actions together, typically in the form of “First X, and then Y”.

For example:

저녁을 먹고 샤워할 거예요. (jeonyeogeul meokgo syawohal geoyeyo.)

I’ll eat dinner and then take a shower.

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“So” in Korean

To express an effect of a previous statement, the words 그래서 (geuraeseo) and 그러니까 (geureonikka) can be used.

그래서 (geuraeseo) = So, so that, thus, and so, therefore

The ~서 (~ seo) ending expresses cause and effect in the verbs it is attached to.

For example:

오늘 하루종일 남자친구한테서 연락을 못 받았어요. 그래서 슬퍼요.

(oneul harujongil namjachinguhanteseo yeollageul mot badasseoyo. geuraeseo seulpeoyo.)

I didn’t receive any contact from my boyfriend all day today. Therefore I am sad.

그러니까 (geureonikka) = Therefore

This conjunction is very similar to 그래서 (geuraeseo). More so than 그래서 (geuraeseo), it emphasizes an action made as an effect of the cause.

For example:

그 날 가족과 함께 모일 거예요. 그러니까 생일파티에 못가요.

(geu nal gajokgwa hamkke moil geoyeyo. geureonikka saengilpatie motgayo.)

I will do a get-together with my family that day. Therefore, I cannot go to the birthday party.

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“Because” in Korean

Similar to the word “so”, “because” in Korean is also used to express cause and effect.

~서 (seo) = Because

As a result of an action, this conjunction shows what happens next. It’s one of the most common Korean conjunctions.

Like this:

오늘 사탕을 많이 먹어서 배가 아파요. (oneul satangeul mani meogeoseo baega apayo.)

My stomach hurts because I ate a lot of candy today.

~니까 (~ nikka) = Because of

This is used in a similar fashion as ~서. You will see the Korean conjunctions ~니까 (~ nikka) and ~서 (~ seo) quite often. Like, 그러니까 (geureonikka), it focuses more on expressing the reason why something could not happen. It can be used in the past tense.

For example:

하루종일 잤으니까 폰을 못 봤어요. (harujongil jasseunikka poneul mot bwasseoyo.)

I couldn’t look at my phone because I slept all day.

니까 (~ nikka) = Because of

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“If ” in Korean

This conjunction is generally used to express what must occur before something else will take place.

Here are different ways how to use it.

그러면 (geureomyeon) = If it’s so, in that case

You can use this conjunction to start sentences that expand on the information that’s been revealed to you previously in the conversation.

For example:

이번 일요일은 쉬는 날이에요? 그러면 그때 같이 밥을 먹어요.

(ibeon illyoireun swineun narieyo? geureomyeon geuttae gachi babeul meogeoyo.)

This Sunday is a resting day? In that case, let’s have a meal together then.

~면 (~ myeon) = If, once

Attaching this Korean conjunction to a verb, you can make a sentence saying you’ll do something if you first do X, or once you first do X.

For example:

집에 오면 연락할게요. (jibe omyeon yeollakalgeyo.)

I will contact you once I get home.

그래도 (geuraedo) = Nonetheless, even if, even so, but still, nevertheless

This Korean conjunction is used to say something will be done or something will be happening, regardless of what is said in the first sentence.

For example:

어제 머리가 많이 아팠어요. 그래도 친구랑 놀러 갔어요.

(eoje meoriga mani apasseoyo. geuraedo chingurang nolleo gasseoyo.)

My head hurt a lot yesterday. Even so, I went to play with a friend.

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“With” in Korean

There are two ways to use “with” in Korean which depends if the previous word ends with a vowel or a consonant.

~와 (wa) = with

If the word ends with a vowel 와 (wa) is added.

For example:

어제 친구와 점심 먹었어요. (eoje chinguwa jeomsim meogeosseoyo.)

Yesterday I ate lunch with a friend.

~과 (gwa) = with

If the word ends in a consonant, the conjunction 과 (gwa) is added instead.

You can also use 와 (wa)/과 (gwa) with 함께 (hamkke) or 같이 (gachi ) afterward.

For example:

할머니는 삼촌과 함께 살아요. (halmeonineun samchongwa hamkke sarayo.)

My grandmother lives with my uncle. 

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“For” in Korean

There are two ways to use “for” in Korean.

위해 (wihae) / 위해서(wihaeseo) = for

Noun

[noun] +을 (~eul) /를 (~reul) 위해서 (wihaeseo)

For example:

Using “for” in Korean with a noun:

엄마를 위해 선물을 사요. (eommareul wihae seonmureul sayo.)

I buy a gift for mom.

Verb

[verb] + 기 위해 (~gi wihae) or 기 위해서 (~gi wihaeseo)

For example:

Using “for” in Korean with a verb:

살빼기 위해서 운동해요. (salppaegi wihaeseo undonghaeyo.)

I exercise for losing weight.

“Then” in Korean

“Then” in Korean can be expressed in three different ways.

그때 (geuttae) = at that time

For example:

그때 그녀를 잘 몰랐어요. (geuttae geunyeoreul jal mollasseoyo.)

I didn’t know her well then.

그러면 (geureomyeon) = well then / in that case

For example:

그러면 이걸 다시 해보자. (geureomyeon igeol dasi haeboja.)

Then let’s try this again.

그 다음(geu daeum) = after that

For example:

음식을 주문하고 그 다음 차를 마실 거예요. (eumsigeul jumunhago geu daeum chareul masil geoyeyo.)

I will order food and then drink tea.

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Simple Response in a Conversation

In addition to the Korean conjunctions you’ve learned above, here’s a simple response that you can use for basic conversations.

It’s not really a Korean conjunction, but it’s usually used in Korean conversations that you might encounter, so we thought we’d add it in. It’s a very basic and useful Korean sentence. We’ve also added the English translations and example sentences for each conjunction.

그래요 (geuraeyo) = OK, That’s right, Got it

This is a basic response in a conversation, at each level of politeness. We recommend using 그래요 (geuraeyo) since it’s considered polite but still good for everyday conversations.

그렇습니다 (geureoseumnida) is the formal version you might use at the office when giving a speech, or during formal situations.

You would use 그래 (geurae) with someone younger than you or someone with who you’re on close terms.

For example:

A: 우리 내일 5시에 만날까? (uri naeil daseot sie mannalkka?)

Shall we meet tomorrow at 5:00?

B: 그래! (geurae!)

OK!

그래요 (geuraeyo) = OK, That's right, Got it

We hope you enjoyed learning Korean conjunctions and basic sentence connectors! Start with the simple conjunctions, and keep adding to them as you connect them with Korean words. They’re an important part of Korean grammar and are useful to advance your Korean language studies.

Once you learn Korean conjunctions, you’ll be surprised by how often you’ll hear them. They’re bound to come up in your favorite Korean movies, K-Dramas, and K-pop songs. This way, you’ll automatically be enjoying and learning at the same time.

You can use them along with common Korean phrases or Korean vocabulary words to really start to express yourself. They’re also great for chatting with Korean friends or if you’re speaking with native speakers in Korea.

Why not give them a try yourself? Before you go on to the next lesson, write some example sentences using Korean conjunctions in the comments below!

    26 replies to "Korean Conjunctions: Basic Sentence Connectors"

    • Avatar for carson carson

      hi i was wondering if you guys had more information on conjugation or things that go into more detail explaning conjugation in genral?

    • Avatar for Jing025 Jing025

      Thanks! I still have more way to go before learning Korean language. The basics helped me a lot. I know how to read and write in Korean but I cannot understand it as well as constructing a sentence.

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