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Korean Phrases Everything You Need in 2018

Power of Korean Phrases

The Power of Korean Phrases

If you’re planning on visiting or living in Korea, then it definitely pays to learn at least a few key Korean phrases. If you live here, then you already know how valuable it is to speak at least a bit of Korean. Here are the top 10 reasons why people learn Korean phrases:

1. Meeting new friends
2. Ordering at restaurants
3. Chatting with locals
4. Taking public transportation
5. Getting discounts
6. Finding best cafes in town
7. Driving
8. Dating
9. Talking to in-laws
10. Showing respect as a visitor

A large number of Koreans in Seoul can speak at least basic English, so it’s true that you are unlikely to get stranded if you visit or come here to live.

However, not knowing any phrases at all severely limits the quality of your time here. If you’re going to travel all this way to Asia, might as well make it the best experience possible!

Many people think that Korean is too difficult to learn. The surprising thing most people don’t know is that you can learn the Korean alphabet (Hangul) in less than one hour. Imagine, you can be reading Korean signs and ordering off of menus by studying for a bit on your airplane/boat/helicopter/submarine ride over here! Exciting, isn’t it?

Learn Korean in 60 minutes

You can learn to read Korean in about 60 minutes

Of course you may not know what the words mean, but thankfully Koreans have Konglish! (Korean-English). Since many modern Korean words are taken from English, you’ll be able to recognize them easily as long as you can sound them out. Once you learn to read Hangul, you’ll have a vocabulary of hundreds of words right from the start. That’s a great way to learn Korean fast.

So if you want to learn conversational Korean, does that mean you need to put in months of study before you can get to talking?

Absolutely not!

You can learn basic conversational Korean in only a few days  by first learning to read Hangul and then adding a few key Korean phrases into the mix. Then you’ll have tons to talk about!

We’re going to give you plenty of key phrases here, but know that you may be in for a surprise. These aren’t your regular run-of-the-mill phrases taken straight from a guidebook. We’ve been there, done that, and the fact is that a lot of those phrases aren’t what people use in everyday life. It’s embarrassing if people don’t understand you.  Instead of putting you in that situation, we’ve hand-picked the most commonly used phrases so you can talk the talk with confidence!

Before we kick things off, make sure to heed the Hangul Warning.

Heed the Hangul Warning

Hangul Warning

All of the phrases below are written in both English and Hangul (the Korean alphabet).

“But I can’t read Hangul, I just want the phrases!”, you might say.

While it is possible to learn some basic Korean without knowing any Hangul, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment.

Learning the Romanized version (English letters to sound out Hangul) of Korean without learning the Korean alphabet is a dangerous way to study the language. The reason is, it severely limits you and almost guarantees failure. If you don’t learn basic Hangul:

1. You can’t read menus and signs

2. You can’t pronounce words correctly

3. You can’t understand other people

To elaborate, not being able to read menus and signs makes you feel like more helpless and lost in Korea. This is especially true if you venture outside of Seoul. If you don’t know Hangul, then pronunciation becomes much harder. Romanized Korean is hard to pronounce even to fluent speakers of Korean. It’s confusing! If you don’t know the correct pronunciation for a Korean phrase, you’re not going to recognize it when someone says it to you.

All of this ultimately leads to confusion and frustration, which eventually ends in lost motivation. This is how people end up quitting and saying Korean is too hard.

It’s not true. The learning system is the problem.

So whether your goal is to pick up a few Korean phrases or to become fully conversational, heed the Hangul Warning and spend the next 60 minutes learning the Korean alphabet. Your future self will thank you for it!

Formal or Informal?

Formal or Informal Korean phrases

Formal or informal Korean phrases?

Korean has many levels of formality within the language. Because of this, saying simple things can seem extremely complex because of the social hierarchies.

If you’re learning Korean but you don’t have Korean ancestry in your family, then you’re in the clear! You can get by with the standard forms of the language and you’ll still be considered polite. That way you can learn some simple phrases without having to know all of the intricacies of the language.

Since there are different forms of Korean, you may occasionally hear more formal versions of the phrases below. However, we’ll give you the 20% of the phrases you’ll hear 80% of the time so you can learn Korean fast.

Let’s get to it!

1. Basics

Essential Korean Phrases

Essential Korean Phrases

Only the essentials!
Photo: Matito

Need the bare minimum for talking in Korean? These are the phrases you’ll want to get down to make sure your time in Korea is smooth sailing!

You might notice that that there area few ways of saying some common phrases, such as “excuse me” and “goodbye”. In English, these phrases are much more multi-purpose. In Korean, there are specific phrases that you’ll use for certain situations.

*Can’t read Korean yet? Click here to learn for free in about 60 minutes!

English 한국어 (Korean)
Thank You 고맙습니다
Don’t mention it 천만에요
Sorry 미안합니다
That’s OK 괜찮아요
Hello 안녕하세요?
Excuse me (to get attention) 저기요
Excuse me (to apologize) 실례합니다
Excuse me (to pass someone) 잠시만요
Hello (on phone) 여보세요
Good morning 안녕하세요?
Good evening 안녕하세요?
Sleep well 잘 자요
Sweet dreams 좋은 꿈 꿔요
Goodbye (to person leaving) 안녕히 가세요
Goodbye (to person staying) 안녕히 계세요
Get home safely 잘 가요
Have a nice day 좋은 하루 보내세요
Have a good trip! 여행 잘하세요
Welcome 환영합니다
No 아니오
Maybe 아마도
Just a moment! 잠깐만요!
I feel sick 아파요
I need a doctor 의사가 필요해요
Take me to the hospital (to taxi) 병원에 가주세요

Everyday Korean Phrases

Everyday Korean phrases

You can use these phrases everyday!

As you learn the lay of the land with your Korean learning, you’ll want to setup up from the essentials to phrases that you’ll need on a daily basis.

When you’re asking questions in Korean, make sure to direct your intonation upwards towards the end of the sentences, as if you’re unsure.

You’ve got the phrases necessary to have simple interactions, so now’s the time to put them to use!

*Can’t read Korean yet? Click here to learn for free in about 60 minutes!

English 한국어 (Korean)
Where is the bathroom? 화장실은 어디에 있어요?
Please repeat that 다시 말해 주세요
Please speak slowly 천천히 말해 주세요
Please write it down 적어 주세요
I understand 이해해요
I don’t understand 이해 못해요
I don’t know 몰라요
I know 알아요
Can you speak Korean? 한국말을 할 수 있어요?
I can speak a little Korean 한국말을 조금 할 수 있어요
I can’t speak Korean 한국말을 못해요
How do you say _______ in Korean? _______이 한국말로 뭐예요?
How much is this? 이거 얼마예요?
I’ll be right back! 금방 갔다 올거예요!
What is this? 이게 뭐예요
Don’t worry! 걱정 하지 마세요!
No problem! 문제 없어요
Good 좋아요
Bad 안 좋아요
So-so 그저 그래요

2. Places

Restaurant Korean Phrases

Korean Phrases for the dinner table

Mom loves when you have good manners at the dinner table

If you’ve had Korean food before, then you know why Koreans can’t live without it when they go abroad. A Korean meal is not just any ordinary culinary experience. It’s a symphony of various side dishes, main dishes, drinks, appetizers, and desserts that will make you wonder how you’ve lived without it for so long.

Korean cuisine is not only strong on variety, but it also is strong on taste! You’ll experience meat, vegetables, noodles, rice, and other seasonings in a way that you might not have had before. But beware, some of these may catch you off guard! Koreans love to spice things up, so don’t be surprised if you find yourself reaching for the ice water more than normal.

*Can’t read Korean yet? Click here to learn for free in about 60 minutes!

English 한국어 (Korean)
Do you have a table for 4 people? 네명 자리 있어요?
Please give me a menu 메뉴판 주세요
Do you have vegetarian dishes? 채식주의자용 식사 있어요?
Is this spicy? 이거 매워요?
Please do not make this spicy 맵지 않게 요리해 주세요
Please give me 4 orders of galbi 갈비 사인분 주세요
Please give me 1 bottle of soju 소주 한병 주세요
Please give me 3 glasses 유리잔 세개 주세요
It’s delicious! 맛있어요!
I don’t like it 맛없어요
It was a delicious meal! 잘 먹었습니다!
What time do you close? 몇시에 문 닫아요?
Do you take credit cards? 카드 돼요?

Cafe Korean Phrases

Coffee shop Korean phrases

If you’ve been to Seoul before, then you know you can go more than a few minutes in each direction without running into a cafe. Korea has a massive coffee-drinking culture, and it’s continuing to spread!

When you order at a cafe, there are some unique Korean cafe phrases that might be surprising to English speakers. For example, the way you ask for your order to go will be different depending on whether you order only a drink or if you order food with your drink. Although Koreans think this is normal, even they get surprised when they think about the intricacies of Korean!

Use these phrases to get the caffeine boost that will supercharge your day.

*Can’t read Korean yet? Click here to learn for free in about 60 minutes!

English 한국어 (Korean)
Please give me 1 hot coffee 따뜻한 아메리카노 한잔 주세요
Please give me 2 ice coffees 아이스 아메리카노 두잔 주세요
Do you have non-caffeinated drinks? 카페인 없는 음료 있어요?
I’d like to eat here 여기서 먹고 갈게요
I’d like this to go (drink only) 테이크 아웃이에요
I’d like this to go (food and drink) 포장해 주세요
Please throw away my receipt 영수증은 버려 주세요
Do you have wifi here? 와이파이 있어요?
What is the wifi password? 비밀 번호 알려 주세요
Do you have electrical outlets? 콘센트 있어요?
Where are your electrical outlets? 콘센트 어디에 있어요?

Shopping Korean Phrases

Korean Shopping Phrases

If you’re out in Dongadaemun, Garosul-gil, or Myeongdong, you are definitely going to need some phrases to help you shop!

Korea has it’s own specialized vocabulary terms when it comes to shopping, so make sure you know these before you head out for the next shopping spree. For example, did you know that some Korean credit cards give you the choice of paying for your purchase over one month or multiple month installments? The installment plans have interest fees, so plan accordingly! Be ready for this question, since some stores will ask you if you want your purchase to be put through as “일시불”.

Use these Korean phrases to add even more fun to your shopping experience.

*Can’t read Korean yet? Click here to learn for free in about 60 minutes!

English 한국어 (Korean)
Throw away the receipt 영수증은 버려 주세요
Please give me a receipt 영수증 주세요
Put it in a bag 봉투에 넣어 주세요
Please give me a discount 좀 깎아 주세요
How much is it? 얼마예요?
Please give me _______ _______ 주세요
Do you have _______? _______ 있어요?
Can I pay with credit card? 카드 돼요?
Please give me a refund 환불해 주세요
Please exchange this 교환해 주세요
Please wrap it for me 포장해 주세요
One-time payment 일시불
3 month installments 3개월 할부

Dry Cleaner Korean Phrases

Dry Cleaner Korean Phrases

Looking sharp and stylish doesn’t happen by accident. Koreans are extremely image-conscious, and go to great lengths to make sure their appearance is the best it can be at all times.

If you feel the same about your clothing, then you know the dry cleaners is your best friend! Ordinary shirts, trousers, skirts, and suits make your clothing look new again. Not only that, but you can save some of your clothing from certain doom. We all know what it feels like when you put your favorite sweater in the dryer and it comes out three sizes too small!
Best to leave the care of your finest threads to the professionals. The next time you stop by your friendly neighborhood dry cleaner in Korea, use these phrases to insure you get exactly what you want.

*Can’t read Korean yet? Click here to learn for free in about 60 minutes!

English 한국어 (Korean)
Please dry clean this for me 드라이 해 주세요
Please iron this for me 다림질 해 주세요
Please make this longer 기장을 늘려 주세요.
Please make this shorter 기장을 줄여 주세요.
Please sew on this button 단추 붙여주세요
Can you remove this stain? 얼룩 뺄 수 있어요?
When can I pick up my clothes? 옷을 언제 받을 수 있어요?
I’m here to pick up my clothes 제 옷을 찾으러 왔어요
How much is it? 얼마예요?
How much is the total? 모두 얼마예요?

Bank Korean Phrases

Bank Korean Phrases

Maybe you’re tired of fumbling around with hand gestures and sentence fragments at the bank. Or perhaps you want to get your banking done at the local branch instead of heading into the one across town that has English speakers.

We got you covered!

Grab your stacks of 오만원 bills, pack them in your briefcase, and head down to your friendly neighborhood bank. Hopefully they have a big enough vault for you!

Use these at the bank to confidently, quickly, and seamlessly get your banking biz taken care of.


*Can’t read Korean yet? Click here to learn for free in about 60 minutes!

English 한국어 (Korean)
I would like to open a new bank account 통장을 만들고 싶어요
I would like an ATM card 체크 카드를 만들고 싶어요
I need to reset my password 비밀번호를 재발급 하고 싶어요
Are there monthly fees? 수수료 있어요?
Do you have an ID card 신분증 있어요?
Please give me your ID card 신분증 주세요
Do you need internet banking? 인터넷 뱅킹 필요해요?
I would like to apply for a public certificate 공인인증서 발급하고 싶어요
I want to send money to _______ _______에 돈 보내려고 왔어요
I need to make a deposit 입금 해주세요
I need to make a withdrawal 출금 해주세요
How much is the wire transfer charge? 송금 수수료는 얼마예요?
Can I apply for a credit card? 신용 카드 신청할 수 있어요?

What are your favorite Korean phrases?

Hospital Korean Phrases

Hospital Korean Phrases

Nobody likes going to the hospital, but it sure it sure is a relief to see a doctor when you aren’t feeling well!

Use these phrases below to explain to the doctor what the problem is.

Even if the doctor speaks English, you may find these phrases handy to use with the nurse or the receptionist who takes your name down and asks what is bothering you.

If you get a prescription, they will usually be a pharmacy nearby. Sometimes, there will be pharmacy inside the hospital!

*Can’t read Korean yet? Click here to learn for free in about 60 minutes!

English 한국어 (Korean)
I need to see a doctor 진찰을 받고 싶어요
I have health insurance 건강 보험 있어요
My body aches all over 몸살 났어요
I have a headache 머리가 아파요
I have a sore throat 목이 아파요
I have a stomachache 배가 아파요
I have diarrhea 설사를 해요
I have indigestion 소화불량 체했어요
My nose is runny 자꾸 콧물이 나요
My nose is stuffy 코가 막혔어요
I don’t have any allergies 알레르기가 없어요
I am allergic to _______ _______에 알레르기가 있어요
Where can I get this prescription filled? 어디에서 약을 조제할 수 있어요?
I have a prescription to fill 처방전을 받아 왔어요

Pharmacy Korean Phrases

Pharmacy Korean Phrases

If you’re not feeling well and you don’t think it’s quite worth a doctor visit, then you might want to swing by your local pharmacy in Korea.

The pharmacists in Korea are very helpful. Explain what the problem is, and they’ll give you the recommended medicine to get you back to your former glorious self.

Or, maybe you went to the hospital and now you’ve got that piece of paper with the cure to your sickness. You’ll be on your way with your prescription filled in no time!

*Can’t read Korean yet? Click here to learn for free in about 60 minutes!

English 한국어 (Korean)
Do you have Tylenol? 타이레놀 있어요?
I have a cold 감기에 걸렸어요
I have a stuffy nose 코가 막혔어요.
I have a runny nose 자꾸 콧물이 나요
I have a headache 머리가 아파요
I have a sore throat 목이 아파요
I have a stomachache 배가 아파요
My body aches all over 몸살 났어요
I have been sick for two days 이틀 동안 아팠어요
Take one pill twice a day 하루에 두 번 한 알씩 드세요
Take one pill three times a day with meals 하루에 세 번 식사할 때마다 한 알씩 드세요
I don’t have any allergies 알레르기가 없어요
I am allergic to _______ _______에 알레르기가 있어요
I have a prescription to fill 처방전을 받아 왔어요

Dentist Korean Phrases

It’s about that time to take care of that movie star smile!

Korean dentist

Visit the dentist regularly so you can show off your lovely smile!

If you’re afraid of the dentist, you’re not alone. Not to worry, we’ve got some phrases you can use at the dentist office to make sure your visit is a smooth one.

In Korean, people use the term “scaling” (스케일링) for cleaning. If the dentist starts talking about scaling your teeth, don’t be surprised, it’s a good thing!

Most of the dentists in Korea speak English, so you likely won’t have to worry about a heavy langauge barrier. However, their assistants may not be as able to communicate, so having some Korean phrases may come in handy.

The dentists in Korea are really good, so sit back and relax, it should be a painless and carefree visit!

*Can’t read Korean yet? Click here to learn for free in about 60 minutes!

English 한국어 (Korean)
I’m here to make an appointment 예약하려고 왔는데요
How long do I have to wait? 얼마나 기다려야해요?
My last checkup was 1 year ago 마지막 치과 검진한지 1년 됐어요
My last cleaning was 6 months ago 마지막 스케일링한지 6개월 됐어요
I am here for a cleaning 스케일링 하러 왔어요
I'm here for a dental checkup 치과 검진 하러 왔어요
My upper tooth hurts 윗니가 아파요
My lower tooth is senstive 아랫니가 시려요
My gums hurt 잇몸이 아파요
I think I have a cavity 충치가 생긴 것 같아요
I don’t have dental insurance 치과 보험 없어요
I have dental insurance 치과 보험 있어요
Can I pay with a credit card? 카드 돼요?

Hair Salon Korean Phrases

Korean Hair Salon

Use these phrases at the 미용실!

Ready to head out to the salon?

Or, the “미용실” as they call in it Korean?

You may be worried about the stylist chopping away at you gorgeous locks of hair. After all, it’s really easy to miscommunicate when you’re talking in a foreign language!

And nobody likes to be reassured with the phrase “don’t worry, it will grow back.”

Unlikely it will grow back in time for your big date on Saturday night!

Thankfully, there are hair salon phrases to help you get exactly the hairstyle that you want.

Study up, and get ready to show off that new hairdo!

*Can’t read Korean yet? Click here to learn for free in about 60 minutes!

English 한국어 (Korean)
Please give me a haircut 커트 해주세요
Please dye my hair 염색 해주세요
Dye only my roots please 뿌리 염색 해 주세요 (뿌염 해주세요)
Dye my hair this color please 이 색깔로 염색 해 주세요
Please perm my hair 파마 해주세요
How much does a haircut cost? 머리 커트 얼마예요?
How long will it take? 시간 얼마나 걸려요?
Please don’t cut it too short 너무 짧게 자르지 마세요
Please cut it a little shorter here 여기 조금 더 잘라 주세요
Please just trim my hair 좀 다듬어 주세요
Please just trim my bangs 앞머리만 다듬어 주세요
Please trim the sides and even out the top 위에는 그냥 두고 옆에만 다듬어주세요
Leave the back long 뒷머리는 길게 남겨 두세요
I’d like to make an appointment tomorrow at 2pm 내일 오후 2시로 예약을 하고싶은데요
I’d like my hair like this person in the picture 사진에 있는 사람처럼 머리를 잘라 주세요
Make it about this long 이 정도로 길게 해 주세요

Movie Theater Korean Phrases

No matter what time of year, what time of day, or what the weather is like, it’s always a good time to go see a movie in Korea!

There are a variety of movie theaters, some of the popular being CGV, Lotte Cinema, and Megabox.

CGV Theater Korea

CGV Theater in Korea
Photo: TFurban

There are a few great things about going to the movies in Korea.

First of all, you can easily reserve tickets for a movie through smartphone apps. If some problem with your schedule comes up, many theaters have a refund policy if you cancel before the movie starts (depending on the movie theater).

Secondly, many of the theaters have movies that start well into midnight. You may find yourself going to a movie at 3:00am!

Thirdly, you can cuddle up with your significant other during your movie by reserving couple seats, often on the top row. CGV calls them “Sweetbox” seats, and they have a foldable armrest for a loveseat-style feeling at the movies.

*Can’t read Korean yet? Click here to learn for free in about 60 minutes!

English 한국어 (Korean)
Are there any seats available for the 7:30pm showing? 7시반 상영 자리 있어요?
Are there subtitles for this movie? 영화 자막 있어요?
What time is X movie showing? X 영화는 언제 상영해요?
What is the genre of the movie? 영화는 무슨 장르에요?
How long is the movie? 영화 상영 시간이 얼마나 돼요?
Where is Theater 12 영화관12관 어디에 있어요?
Where is the concession stand? 매점은 어디 있어요?
I’d like two tickets for X movie X 영화는 2장 주세요
How much are the Sweetbox seats? 스위트박스 자리는 얼마예요?
Do you give discounts to students? 학생 할인 돼요?
When is the last move playing? 마지막 영화는 언제예요?


Post Office Korean Phrases

Post Office Korean Phrases

Thinking about sending Mom a letter?

Or maybe you have to mail a birthday gift to a best friend.

Better head to the post office!

Post Office Korean PhrasesThe post offices in Korea have a wide variety of services, from regular domestic shipments to international air mail. Most locations also have shipping supplies right at the post office, so you can do all of your packing and shipping in one spot!

*Can’t read Korean yet? Click here to learn for free in about 60 minutes!

English 한국어 (Korean)
How much is it to send by air mail? 항공우편으로 얼마예요?
How much is the least expensive shipping option? 제일 싼 우편 방법 얼마예요?
Do I need a customs form? 세관 서류 필요해요?
Please send this package by registered mail 등기로 소포 보내주세요
Please send this envelope to Canada by regular mail 캐나다에 봉투우편으로 보내주세요
Where can I buy stamps? 우표는 어디에서 살 수 있어요?
Please give me 3 stamps 우표 3장 주세요
Do you sell envelopes? 편지 봉투 팔아요?
How long will it take to be delivered? 배송기간은 얼마나 걸려요?
What is the zip code for this address? 이 주소의 우편번호가 뭐예요?
Please give me one size 3 box 3호 박스 1개 주세요
Please give me some bubble wrap 뽁뽁이 좀 주세요

3. Travel and Transportation

 Asking for Directions Korean Phrases

asking for directions Korean phrases

Pack your bags, it’s time to do some traveling within Korea!

Of course we want to make this experience as smooth as possible, so we’ll give you some phrases you can use in case you get lost or need directions.

Whether you’re in the big city or quiet countryside, use these Korean phrases to ask the locals where something is.

Start things off with a simple “잠시만요”, and then get to chatting!

*Can’t read Korean yet? Click here to learn for free in about 60 minutes!

English 한국어 (Korean)
Excuse me (asking for help politely) 실례합니다
Excuse me (asking for help) 저기요
I’m lost 길을 잃어버렸어요
Do you know where _______ is? _______ 어디인지 아세요?
How far is it from here? 여기에서 얼마나 걸리는지 아세요?
Is it far from here? 여기에서 멀어요?
It’s quite far 꽤 멀어요
It’s not far 멀지 않아요
It’s close 가까워요
It’s not within walking distance 걸어갈 만한 거리가 아니예요
It’s about 1 kilometer from here 여기에서 1킬로정도 멀어요
Can you show me on the map? 지도로 보여 주시겠어요?
I’m sorry, I’m not from around here 미안하지만 저는 이 근처 사람이 아니예요
It’s that way 그 쪽으로 가세요
Go left 왼쪽 가세요
Go right 오른쪽에 가세요
Go straight 쭉 가세요

Hotel and Pension Korean Phrases

Korean Hotel and Pension Phrases

KAL Hotel in Jeju

Use these phrases to help you at hotels and pensions (B&Bs) in Korea!

*Can’t read Korean yet? Click here to learn for free in about 60 minutes!

English 한국어 (Korean)
Do you have any rooms available? 빈방 있어요?
I would like to make a reservation 예약을 하고 싶어요
Did you have a reservation? 예약은 하셨습니까?
I have a reservation 네, 예약했어요
I don’t have a reservation 아직 예약을 하지 않았어요
How much is a room for one night? 하루에 방이 얼마예요?
Is breakfast included with the room? 요금에 조식은 포함되어 있어요?
How long would you like to stay? 몇 박을 하실 겁니까?
May I see the room first? 방을 먼저 봐도 돼요?
I will stay for _____ night(s) _____ 일 묵겠어요
May I have your name? 성함을 말씀해주세요
Can you wake me at _____? _____ 시에 깨워주시겠어요?
I want to check out now 지금 체크 아웃하고 싶어요

Bus Korean Phrases

Sokcho Bus Station in Korea

Sokcho Bus Station in Korea

The Korean bus system is one of the best systems in the world.

The buses are fast, clean, and on time. This goes for the smaller local buses (마을 버스), the regular city buses, and even the express buses (고속 버스).

At many bus stops in Seoul, there is a digital display that shows which buses are coming and what time they will arrive. It’s very accurate!

If you really want to dial in your schedule down to the minute, you can download applicaitons to tell you which bus will arrivate at certain times. That way, you can check the bus arrival times before you get to the bus stop. This is especially useful when during the winter. You may want to stay in that warm cafe or restaurant as long as possible, and walk out to your bus right as it arrives.

The phrases below will help you with regular city buses. There are also phrases to help you book bus tickets from different parts of the country at the various terminals around Korea.

Charge up your T-Money card, and go for a ride!

*Can’t read Korean yet? Click here to learn for free in about 60 minutes!

English 한국어 (Korean)
Please stop the bus here 여기서 세워 주세요
Please open the bus door 버스 문 열어 주세요
What time is the last bus? 마지막 버스 언제예요?
How much is the bus fare? 버스 요금 얼마예요?
Where can I charge my bus card? 버스 카드 어디에 충전할 수 있어요?
How much is a bus ticket to _____? _____에 가는 버스 표가 얼마예요?
One ticket to _____, please _____에 가는 표 한 장 주세요
Where does this bus go? 이 버스는 어디로 가요?
Where is the bus to _____? _____에 가는 버스는 어디에 있어요?
Are there tickets available for the 3pm bus to _____? 3시 _____에 가는 버스 자리 있어요?
Does this bus stop in _____? 이 버스는 _____에 서요?
When does the bus for _____ leave? _____에 가는 버스는 언제 출발해요?
When does bus number _______ arrive? _____번 버스는 언제 도착해요?
When will this bus arrive in _____? 이 버스는 _____에 언제 도착해요?

4. Situations

Dinner Table Korean Phrases

Korean phrases for the dinner table

맛있게 드세요!
Photo: ebifry

Korea has a strong food culture. Along with that, comes a wide range of interesting phrases that will allow you to express your feelings in unique ways.

For example, you say “I will eat well” before eating your meal. This is the way that Koreans show gratitude toward the person who cooked the meal. Then, instead of saying “thank you”, you’d simply say “잘 먹었습니다”, which means “I ate well.”

Also, don’t be surprised if you get some shocked looks when telling Koreans that you’re vegetarian! For Koreans, barbecuing meat is almost a religion. It’s hard for them to imagine living without that tasty part of their cuisine.

*Can’t read Korean yet? Click here to learn for free in about 60 minutes!

English 한국어 (Korean)
Bon appétit 맛있게 드세요
Eat up! 많이 먹어요
I will eat well! 잘 먹겠습니다
I ate well 잘 먹었습니다
It’s delicious! 맛있어요!
It doesn’t taste good 맛없어요
I’m hungry 배고파요
I’m thirsty 목 말라요
Give me _______ please _______ 주세요
I’m a vegetarian 저는 채식주의자예요
I don’t eat meat 저는 고기를 못 먹어요
I can eat anything 다 먹을 수 있어요

Getting to Know You Korean Phrases

Getting to Know You Korean Phrases

These phrases are great for getting to know someone!

Concerned about first impressions?

Well, that’s great news! Koreans are very image conscious, so it’s best to start things off on the right foot.

And what better way of doing that than to know some small talk phrases!

You’re on your way to breaking the ice in Korean.

*Can’t read Korean yet? Click here to learn for free in about 60 minutes!

English 한국어 (Korean)
Nice to meet you 만나서 반가워요
What is your name? 이름이 뭐예요?
My name is _______ 제 이름은 _______이에요
Where are you from? 어디에서 왔어요?
I’m from _______ 저는 _______에서 왔어요
How old are you? 몇 살이에요?
I’m _______ years old 저는 _______살이에요
I can’t speak Korean well 한국말 잘 못해요
I’m learning Korean these days 요즘 한국말 배워요
What is your job? 직업이 뭐예요?
My job is _______ 제 직업은 _______이에요
Really? 정말요?
Where do you live? 어디에 사세요?
Are you married? 결혼했어요?
Do you like _______? _______를 좋아해요?
I like _______ _______를 좋아해요

Meeting Friends Korean Phrases

Meeting Friends Korean Phrases

Use these phrases with your friends!

Imagine that you run into your long-time Korean friend:

“How long has it been?

Have you lost weight? You look great!

I don’t think we’ve seen each other since….well, it’s been way too long!

Are you free for a few minutes? Let’s catch up!”
If you study the phrases below, you’ll have a lot to talk about.

*Can’t read Korean yet? Click here to learn for free in about 60 minutes!

English 한국어 (Korean)
Long time no see 오랜만이에요
Have you eaten? (showing concern) 밥 먹었어요?
How are you? 잘 지내요?
How have you been? 잘 지냈어요?
What have you been up to? 어떻게 지냈어요?
Where shall we go? 어디로 갈까요?
Say hi to _______ for me _______한테 안부 전해 주세요
Get home safely 집에 잘 들어가요

Special Occasion Korean Phrases

Special Occasion Korean Phrases

Use these to express yourself on special occasions

If you’ve been to or lived in Korea, then you know that Koreans love to celebrate!

The big cities stay open all night long, with people roaming the streets until the sun comes up—and  even after.

The next time you’re along for the celebration, use these phrases to fit in with the group.

As you go over the phrases, you’ll notice that some of them are Konglish and some are specific to the Korean language. For example, “Merry Christmas” is sounded out in Hangul. On the other hand, “Happy New Year” does not sound like the English phrase at all. Instead, it directly translates to “I hope you will receive a lot of good luck next year”.

If you’re looking for more phrases for special occaions, check out:

*Can’t read Korean yet? Click here to learn for free in about 60 minutes!

English 한국어 (Korean)
Happy Birthday 생일 축하해요
Merry Christmas 메리 크리스마스
Happy New Year! 새해 복 많이 받으세요!
Happy Chuseok! 즐거운 추석 보내세요
Happy Valentine's Day!  해피 발렌타인 데이!
Cheers! 건배!
Congratulations! 축하해요


Phone Call Korean Phrases

Phone Call Korean Phrases

He’s about to use Korean phrases on his phone call

How often do you pick up the phone and hear Korean being spoken on the other end?

If you’re living in Korea, chance are quite often!

Speaking on the phone can be challenging, especially since you can’t rely on body language or visuals to help make out words. For many, it is the part of language learning that gives them the  most trouble.

Well, today we will help you get a few steps ahead of the game by giving you some common expressions that people use on the phone. 

The phrases below are written in the common form. Not only is it polite, but you can use it comfortably with those older and younger than you. You may hear the other person using slightly more formal versions of these phrases, but it largely depends on who you are talking to. Most often this happens when you call into a office or company.

The next time you get or make a phone call with the other person speaking Korean, you can chat with confidence!

*Can’t read Korean yet? Click here to learn for free in about 60 minutes!

English 한국어 (Korean)
Hello? (on phone) 여보세요?
Who is calling please? 누구세요?
Can I speak to _______ please? _______씨와 통화 할 수 있을까요?
Just a moment please 잠시만 기다려 주세요
_______ isn’t in at the moment _______씨가 자리를 비웠어요
Should I tell _______ to call you back? _______씨에게 다시 전화하라고 할까요?
Would you like to leave a message? 메시지를 남기시겠어요?
Can I take a message? 메시지를 받을 수 있어요?
I will connect you 제가 연결해 드릴게요
Please repeat that for me 다시 말해 주세요
Please speak up a little for me 좀 더 크게 말해 주세요
I will call you back 제가 다시 걸게요
When shall I call? 언제쯤 통화가 가능할까요?

Mobile Phone Korean Phrases:

“If you were stranded on a deserted island, what three items (besides food and clothing) would you take?”

When asked this question, most people reply with “cell phone!” as their first response. How could they ever live without it? It’s an important part of most people’s lives.

Whether or not you feel the same way, you’ll like come across times where you’ll need to take care of your mobile phone. Below are some common Korean expressions that you can use to help you keep your phone powered up and data-charged!

*Can’t read Korean yet? Click here to learn for free in about 60 minutes!

English 한국어 (Korean)
Do you have electrical outlets? 콘센트 있어요?
Where are your electrical outlets? 콘센트 어디에 있어요?
Please charge my mobile for me 휴대폰 충전해 주세요
Do you sell mobile phone cases? 휴대폰 케이스 팔아요?
Do you sell cell phone chargers? 휴대폰 충전기 팔아요?
Can I buy a data plan for my phone? 휴대폰 데이터 플랜랜 살 수 있어요?
How much time is remaining on my contract? 휴대폰 약정 얼마나 남았어요?
Please add minutes to my phone 휴대폰 데이터 충전해 주세요
Can you repair my mobile phone? 휴대폰 고칠 수 있어요?
How much will the repair cost? 고치는 비용 얼마예요?
When can I pick up my phone? 휴대폰 언제 찾으러 올 수 있어요?

Korean Exclamations

Korean exclamations

Photo: Patrick Hoesly

Remember your art teacher back in elementary school? She always encouraged you to express yourself, but maybe you didn’t know exactly how.

Well, we have good news for you! Not only will you learn how to express your emotions, but you’ll also know how to express those emotions in Korean!

Use these exclamations to express your emotions in Korean. 아싸!

*Can’t read Korean yet? Click here to learn for free in about 60 minutes!

English 한국어 (Korean)
Amazing! or Unbelievable! 대박!
What?! or Oh my god! 헐!
Yay! or Hurray! 아싸!
Oh my goodness! 아이고!
Unbelievable! or Impossible! 말도 안돼요!
Really?! 진짜요?
Ouch! 아야!

Impress the Locals Korean Phrases

Phrases that native Koreans use

Native Koreans will love these!
Photo: Erich Ferdinand

Korea has a phrase called “빨리 빨리”, which means “quickly, quickly”. It’s ingrained into the personalities, activities, and mindsets of the people and the culture as a whole. Korea rapidly developed in a short time period. It has a massive economy compared to the size of it’s land and population thanks to their ability to change, adapt, and get things done quickly.

How did they do it so fast? Well, they certainly didn’t waste time with unnecessary vocabulary!

One thing you’ll notice while talking with Koreans is that they make efforts to shorten the way they speak. Abbreviations and word blending is common.

Below is a list of phrases that Koreans use commonly today but you won’t find in regular textbooks. They’re all rated “G”, so use them freely without worry. Don’t be surprised if you get some shocked looks from Koreans. Be prepared to explain how you know how to speak like a local!

*Can’t read Korean yet? Click here to learn for free in about 60 minutes!

English 한국어 (Korean)
Self-camera 셀카
Company dinner 회식
Bomb drink (i.e. boilermaker or soju bomb) 폭탄주
Soju and beer 소맥
Chimek (chicken and beer) 치맥
Membership training (retreat) 엠티
Part-time job 알바
Of course! 당근!
Starbucks 별다방
Boyfriend 남친
Girlfriend 여친
Free item at restaurant or store 서비스

Talking with the Landlord Korean Phrases

Expressions to help you talk with your Korean landlord

Who is it?
Photo: Pascal

Not matter if you found your apartment yourself or your employer set you up with housing, you’re going to have to talk with your landlord at some point.

In most cases, the landlords are from the older Korean generation and don’t speak English. Therefore, simple things like asking if a package arrived for you or asking for a repair can seem like a dreadful task. You either have to ask a Korean friend, you have to fumble around with basic Korean and body language.

But you don’t roll like that!

Instead, make life easier for everyone by using these handy landlord Korean phrases. Your landlord will appreciate the effort and you can get your housing business handled. Most importantly, you can spend your time talking to your Korean friend about the crazy day you had yesterday instead of the broken light in the hall. 

Everyone is a winner!

*Can’t read Korean yet? Click here to learn for free in about 60 minutes!

English 한국어 (Korean)
Did a package arrive for me? 소포 왔어요?
I expect a package tomorrow 내일 소포가 올거예요
My _______ is broken 제 _______ 고장났어요
I’ll be on vacation from _______ to _______ _______부터 _______까지 휴가 갈거예요
My hot water doesn’t work 뜨거운 물이 안 나와요
My hot water heater is broken 보일러가 고장났어요
My sink is clogged 제 싱크대가 막혔어요
My toilet is clogged 제 변기 막혔어요
The water doesn’t work 수돗물이 안 나와요
The lights don’t work 불이 안 켜져요
The air conditioning isn’t cold 에어컨이 안 시원해요
The neighbors are too loud 이웃이 너무 시끄러워요
The neighbors dog keeps barking 이웃집 강아지가 계속 짖어요

Apartment Search Korean Phrases

If you’ve have the pleasure of going out to find your own apartment in Korea, then you know what it’s like to be at the real estate office!

Apartment Search Korean Phrases

Highrise apartments in downtown Seoul

The 부동산 (real estate office) agents are hustlers. Most of them don’t speak English, but they will usually do their best with what they know to help you find a place.

You can help move the process along by using a few of these key expressions below. The real estate agents will appreciate your efforts, and you’ll have a better chance of finding exactly what you are looking for.

Make your house search a smooth and fun process so you can focus on your 집들이 (housewarming)!

*Can’t read Korean yet? Click here to learn for free in about 60 minutes!

English 한국어 (Korean)
I would like to find housing around here 이 근처의 집을 구하고 싶어요
I would like to find housing near _______ _______에서 근처의 집 구하고 싶어요
I would like to find a studio apartment 원룸 구하고 싶어요
I would like to find a one bedroom apartment 투룸 구하고 싶어요
How much is the monthly rent? 월세 얼마예요?
How much is the deposit? 보증금 얼마예요?
How far is it from the subway station? 지하철역에서 얼마나 걸려요?
This is too small 너무 작아요
This is too big 너무 커요
This is too expensive 너무 비싸요
I don’t really like it 별로 안 좋아요
I like this place a lot 이 집 마음 들어요

Dating & Romance Korean Phrases

Dating and Romance Korean Phrases


Big date with a Korean coming up this weekend?

Or maybe you have a special someone in mind who you want to meet up with, but you’re not quite sure how to ask?

We’ve got you covered! Use the phrases below to set up your date, pay a compliment, or help move the relationship forward.

If you need more dating and relationship expressions, stop by our Korean Love Phrases page for a complete list of things to say.


*Can’t read Korean yet? Click here to learn for free in about 60 minutes!

English 한국어 (Korean)
What is your phone number? 핸드폰 번호가 뭐예요?
Let’s talk on KakaoTalk 우리 카카오톡 해요
Do you have time this weekend? 주말에 시간 있어요?
Are you available ________? ________에 시간 있어요?
I’m busy on________ ________에 바빠요
Shall we go on a date together? 우리 데이트 할까요?
Shall we get dinner together sometime? 언제 우리 같이 저녁 먹을까요?
You are pretty! 예쁘네요!
You are handsome! 잘 생겼어요!
You are charming! 매력적이네요!
That was a great evening 즐거운 저녁이었어요
When shall we meet again? 언제 다시 볼까요?
Will you be my boyfriend/girlfriend? 우리 사귈래요?

Taxi Korean Phrases

Korean Taxi

Taxi in Seoul

If you’re living in Korea, then you know how great the taxi system is. The cars are clean, the fares are inexpensive, and it’s usually quite easy to find one.

If you’re not living in Korea and you’re planning a visit, then you can make your trip go even smoother by learning a few taxi phrases.

Although some areas have international taxis that speak foreign languages, the majority of the taxi drivers still mainly speak Korean. They may know a few words in English, Japanese, and Chinese, but it can sometimes be challenging to tell the driver where to go if you don’t speak the same language. This goes doubly if you live in an area with many twisty side streets—something that Korea is quite famous for!

Take a few minutes and get acquainted with some of the common taxi phrases. Not only will you make sure you get to your destination smoothly, but you’ll likely have a more interesting experience. Taxi drivers are usually friendly, so by showing that you speak a bit of Korean, you’ll often have an fun conversation on the ride there!

*Can’t read Korean yet? Click here to learn for free in about 60 minutes!

English 한국어 (Korean)
Where shall I go? 어디로 갈까요?
Please take me to _______ _______으로 가주세요
I will give you the address 주소를 알려 드릴게요
Please go left at _______ _______에서 좌회전 해주세요
Please go right at _______ _______에서 우회전 해주세요
Please go straight at _______ _______에서 직진 해주세요
Please make a u-turn at _______ _______에서 유턴 해주세요
Please stop at _______ _______에서 세워 주세요
Please stop in front of _______ _______앞에 세워 주세요
Please stop before _______ _______전에 세워 주세요
Please stop before _______ _______전에 세워 주세요
Please stop after _______ _______후에 세워 주세요
Goodbye (to the person leaving) 안녕히 가세요
Taxi driver 기사님

Go back to the top for the full list of phrases.


Emergency Korean Phrases

Korean Emergency Phrases

Korea is a very safe country, so hopefully you will have a safe and pleasant time here. However, emergencies do happen, and it’s always good to know a few key phrases to help make sure that you navigate through them smoothly!

Below are some important emergency Korean phrases. Memorize them so you have them ready in case of an emergency.

*Can’t read Korean yet? Click here to learn for free in about 60 minutes!

English 한국어 (Korean)
This is an emergency 아주 급해요
Where is the nearest police station? 제일 가까운 경찰서는 어디예요?
Where is the closest hospital? 가장 가까운 병원은 어디예요?
Please call an ambulance 구급차를 불러 주세요
Please take me to the hospital 병원에 데려가 주세요
Please help me 도와주세요
Please call the US Embassy immediately 즉시 미국 대사관으로 전화해 주세요
Where can I get help? 어디에서 도움을 구할 수 있어요?
I am a diabetic 저는 당뇨가 있어요
I am allergic to _____ 나는 _____ 알레르기가 있어요.

Go back to the top for the full list of phrases.

Encouragement Korean Phrases

Encouragement Korean Phrases

Everyone faces challenges or gets down and out at times. In those situations, you may want to cheer up a freind or show encouragement to a loved one. Luckily, there are plenty of Korean phases of encouragement to do just that!

Here is a list of encouraging Korean phrases.

*Can’t read Korean yet? Click here to learn for free in about 60 minutes!

English 한국어 (Korean)
Persevere! (cheer) 화이팅!
Cheer up 힘내세요
Don’t give up 포기 하지마세요
Don’t worry 걱정 하지마세요
It’s OK 괜찮아요
You can do it! 잘할 수 있어요!

Go back to the top for the full list of phrases.

5. Special

‘How to Say’ Common Korean Phrases

Common Korean PhrasesSome phrases in Korean are so common, you’ll use them almost everyday. These are the phrases you want to learn the fastest so you can get to speaking Korean as quickly as possible.

Rote memorization of phrases is a bit challenging with a new language. This is especially true if you don’t know what the components of the phrases mean!

We wanted to help with that, so we wrote up a whole series on common Korean phrases. In each writeup, we explain the different versions of common Korean phrases. We also give some more detail as to the meaning and subtleties of each phrase. That way you can be confident using them!

The side benefit of to knowing the structure of the common Korean phrases is that you can break them down and substitute different parts into the phrase. In some cases, you can even learn some grammar points!

Read to learn ‘How to Say’ many things in Korean? Here we go!

*Can’t read Korean yet? Click here to learn for free in about 60 minutes!


Mimetic Korean Phrases

Korea blazing sun


In Korean, there are a special kind of vocabulary words that are used to help paint vivid pictures of situations of moments. They’re called 의태어, or mimetic words in English.

These types of words are similar to onomatopoeia, except they take it a step further by describing movement instead of just a sound.

For example, you might want to talk about how hot the weather was outside. You can describing the hot sun with words such as “scorching” or “blazing”. Or in Korean, you can spice things up by saying the sun was 쨍쨍 blazing hot. Think of the 쨍쨍 as describing the movement of the suns rays on a hot summer day. That extra 쨍쨍 may help you get the tan you were looking for!

*Can’t read Korean yet? Click here to learn for free in about 60 minutes!

English 한국어 (Korean)
Twinkling or glittering 반짝반짝
Heart throbbing 두근두근
Streaming or dripping water 주룩주룩
Thump noises 쿵쿵
Blazing hot sun 쨍쨍
Gentle soft breeze 솔솔
Soft and chewy food 말랑말랑
Moving up and down 들썩들썩
Cringe 오글오글
Sneaking in 살금살금

Go back to the top for the full list of phrases.


Onomatopoeia Korean Phrases

Onomatopoeia Korean Phrases

Raise your hand if you know what the word ‘onomatopoeia’ means!

It seems like a long word, but really it’s just a fancy name for a word that imitates common sounds that we hear.

In Korean, the word for onomatopoeia is 의성어. Here, we will go over some onomatopoeia Korean phrases.

Some of the most common onomatopoeia we hear from when we are kids are those of farm animals. Anyone know what sound a cow makes? How about a pig?

Well, Korean has these words, too! They’re really fun words to learn because you can compare them to the sounds of the animals from your native language and see if they’re the same.

In addition to animal sounds, there are also words for everyday sounds such as snoring, crying, and a doorbell ringing.

*Can’t read Korean yet? Click here to learn for free in about 60 minutes!

English 한국어 (Korean)
knocking 똑똑
doorbell ringing 딩동
car honking 빵빵
heart beating 두근두근
sneezing 에취
crying 엉엉
laughing 하하하
snoring 드르렁드르렁
pig oinking 꿀꿀꿀
dog barking 멍멍
cat meowing 야옹
pigeon sound 구구
cow or sheep sound 음메
duck quacking 꽥꽥
mouse squeaking 찍찍

Go back to the top for the full list of phrases.


What is your favorite Korean phrase? Let us know in the comments below!