Korean Conjunctions: Basic Sentence Connectors

Two hands putting together two different puzzle pieces

Last Updated on

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

You’re likely to recognize these in K-Dramas, Korean movies, and everyday Korean life.

We’ll show you the common Korean conjunctions and sentence connectors that Koreans use on a daily basis.

Let’s get to it!

Two hands putting together two different puzzle pieces

You can go through this lesson on Korean conjunctions in order, or skip to the sections that interest you most. 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.

Here is a free resource to learn the Korean alphabet in less than an hour.

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

Simple Response in a Conversation

Here’s a simple response that you can use for basic conversations. It’s not really a Korean conjunction, but it’s used quite often in conversation so we thought we’d add it in. It’s a very basic and useful Korean sentence.

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

This is a basic response in a conversation, in 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 or when giving a speech. You would use 그래 (geurae) with someone younger than you or someone who you’re on close terms with.

For example:

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

Shall we meet tomorrow at 5:00?

B: 그래! (geurae!)

OK!

Several lightbulbs hanging upside down with faces painted onto them

Korean Conjunctions

Below are the common sentence conjunctions that you should learn first.

그렇지만 (geureochiman) = But, however

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 word that 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 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

This is one of the Korean conjunctions that you should learn first. It is used to unify two sentences into one sentence.

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 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 with 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

Similarly 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

This Korean conjunction is similar in meaning with 그렇지만 (geureochiman) and 그런데 (geureonde). However, in comparison to the two, it is used in more formal situations. 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.

~나 (~ na) = Or

With this conjunction, you can 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 to connect 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?

Light bulb character holding a finger up to the sky
그리고 (geurigo) = and, and then

You’ve already learned a few ways to say “and” from previous lessons. We’re going to show you another way. Use this Korean conjunction to connect two 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. It has a nearly identical meaning to 그리고 (geurigo) and is used to connect to 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.

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.

~서 (seo) = Because

As mentioned above, this ending expresses cause and effect. It’s one of the most commonly used 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.

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.

~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 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.

Hands holding puzzle pieces그러면 (geureomyeon) = If it’s so, in that case

You can use this conjunction to start a sentence that expands on 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.

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

Once you learn them, you’ll be surprised how often you’ll hear them. They’re bound to come up in your favorite Korean movies, K-Dramas, and K-pop songs.

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 on your next trip to Korea.

Why not give them a try yourself? Write some example sentences using Korean conjunctions in the comments below!

    8 replies to "Korean Conjunctions: Basic Sentence Connectors"

    • Avatar for Ceth Ceth

      Thank you for this because it helps me a lot
      감사합니다 ^^

      • Avatar for 90 Day Korean 90 Day Korean

        Great, thanks for the comment! ^^

      • Avatar for 아인하 아인하

        This enlighten me a lot. Tho there’s more to learn like 가 and 거, are those particles? 그래도, 너무 감사합니다. 😊👏

    • Avatar for celinelindsay celinelindsay

      thank you so much for giving useful information kumawao!

    • Avatar for Yang Yang

      Hi ^_^

      How do i know where to attach the conjunction?

      감사합니다 ^_^

      • Avatar for 90 Day Korean 90 Day Korean

        Hi, Yang! It’s the same as when you put “and” in an English sentence! We usually attach ‘~고’ to verbs and adjectives. ^^

        • Avatar for Yang Yang

          Thank you so much ^^

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.