Korean Question Words – Asking about what you want to know

In this lesson, we’re going to cover the Korean question words. You can use these words to ask Korean questions, which is really important for having a Korean conversation.

Illustration of female thinking about a question

Once you learn Korean question words from this lesson, you will be able to ask your Korean friends many questions and understand the questions in Korean they’ll want to ask you. The vocabulary below is written in Hangeul with their romanized version. However, we highly encourage learners to start their language journey by learning the Korean alphabet.

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

How to say “question” in Korean

You can use the words 질문 (jilmun) and 문제 (munje) to say “question” in Korean.

Both words mean “question,” but 문제 (munje) talks more about questions or problems that you can answer in textbooks.

Now, let’s head on to specific question words in Korean.

Korean Question Words

To get correct answers to your questions, it’s important to learn how to ask these questions correctly. We’ll discuss what each question word is called in Korean and how to use them in sentences.

What are the common question words in Korean?

There are a bunch of ways to ask questions, depending on the situation. However, in the video below, we will first focus on the most common ones and how to use them to ask questions.

What are the common question words in Korean?

List of Question Words in Korean

Here are the most common question words in the Korean language. Using these will help speed up your Korean language learning by allowing you to have conversations with your Korean friends right away. These words are also beneficial if you’re in South Korea and need to ask questions in Korean to the locals.

What (mwo)
When (eonje)
Where (eodi)
Who (nugu)
Why (wae)
Which (eoneu)
How (eotteoke)
What kind of (eotteon)
What (kind of) (museun)
How many/much/long (eolmana)
How much (eolma)
How many (myeot)

How to Use “Who,” “What,” “When,” “Where,” “Why,” and “How” in Korean

To make your learning as easy as possible, we’ll also show you a sample sentence of each question word. Let’s first start with the common question words used, which are also known as the 5 Ws and H questions, specifically, the question words who, what, when, where, why, and how.

There may also be some notes near the question words if there are special cases. We’ve included the English translation and the sentence in romanized Korean so you can easily take note of the Korean words and phrases used.

“What” in Korean – 뭐 (mwo)

The word for “what” in Korean is 뭐 (mwo), which is the shortened form of 무엇 (mueot). You’ll likely see 뭐 used in most situations, but it’s useful to learn both words.

이름이 예요? (ireumi mwoyeyo?)

What is your name?

“When” in Korean – 언제 (eonje)

The word for “when” in Korean is 언제 (eonje). The example question below is one of the basic questions you’ll hear when having a Korean conversation. To know how to properly respond to this question, we have separate articles that you can read. These are about months, time, and days of the week in Korean, as well as different Korean time expressions.

한국에 언제 왔어요? (eonje hanguge wasseoyo?)

When did you come to Korea?

You can put this question word in various parts of the sentence, but typically it is placed just before the verb. Often you’ll see Korean particles such as 부터 (buteo) and 까지 (kkaji) to indicate “from” and “until” when something happens.

“Where” in Korean – 어디 (eodi)

If you want to ask “where” in Korean, you can say it as 어디 (eodi).

This is another common question that you’re bound to hear if you’re learning the Korean language. To reply, you need to know the name of your country in Korean. You can find a list of countries in Korean on this page. Some of the countries sound like the country’s name in English, and some don’t. Knowing about Korean addresses can also be helpful when learning about this question.

어디에서 왔어요? (eodieseo wasseoyo?)

Where are you from?

“Who” in Korean – 누구 (nugu)

If you want to know someone’s name or identity, you can ask “who” in the Korean language as 누구 (nugu).

제일 친한 친구는 누구예요? (jeil chinhan chinguneun nuguyeyo?)

Who is your best friend?

“Why” in Korean – 왜 (wae)

You can also use the question word 왜 (wae) on its own to say “why” in Korean. For example, you can ask 왜 (wae) or 왜요 (wae-yo). The former is informal, and the latter is a standard version way to say “why” in Korean that you can use with anyone. You can place this word anywhere before the verb. Most of the time, it appears in front of the verb.

한국어를 배워요? (hangugeoreul wae baewoyo?)

Why do you study Korean?

“Which” in Korean – 어느 (eoneu)

If there are several choices in a scenario, you can say 어느 (eoneu), translating to “which” in Korean.

어느 대학교를 다니세요? (eoneu daehakgyoreul daniseyo?)

Which university do you go to?

“How” in Korean – 어떻게 (eotteoke)

You’d often hear this as an expression, but 어떻게 (eotteoke) translates to “how” in Korean.

남자친구를 어떻게 만났어요? (namjachingureul eotteoke mannasseoyo?)

How did you meet your boyfriend?

Two people thinking

How to use other Korean question words

Now that you’ve learned sentences using the first six question words, here are more question words for you to learn. We’ve also added sample sentences for each of them below.

“What kind of” in Korean – 어떤 (eotteon)

The word for “what kind of” in the Korean language is 어떤 (eotteon).

어떤 음식을 제일 좋아하세요? (eotteon eumsigeul jeil joahaseyo?)

What kind of food do you like the most?

“What (kind of)” in Korean – 무슨 (museun)

You can say “what (kind of)” in Korean as 무슨 (museun).

이게 무슨 냄새예요? (ige museun naemsaeyeyo?)

What (kind of) smell is this?

How to ask a question in Korean using 무슨 (museun) and 어떤 (eotteon)

As mentioned above, the Korean question words 무슨 (museun) and 어떤 (eotteon) both translate to “what kind of.” However, they are used in different situations. The video below explains the difference between these two words and how to use each of them in a sentence.

What’s the difference between the Korean words 무슨 (museun) and 어떤 (eotteon)?

“How many/much/long” in Korean – 얼마나 (eolmana)

When asking “how many” in Korean, you can say it as 얼마나 (eolmana). The same goes for “how much” in Korean and “how long” in Korean.

Having knowledge of Korean numbers and counters can also help you understand the responses for these questions.

집에서 홍대까지 얼마나 걸릴거예요? (jibeseo hongdaekkaji eolmana geollilgeoyeyo?)

How much time will it take from your home to Hongdae?

“How much” in Korean -얼마 (eolma)

You can also say “how much” in Korean as 얼마 (eolma). This is especially useful when you plan to shop or perhaps buy some Korean food.

바나나 1개 얼마예요? (banana hangae eolmayeyo?)

How much does one banana cost?

“How many” in Korean – 몇 (myeot)

The more specific word for “how many” in the Korean language is 몇 (myeot).

맥주  병 드릴까요? ( maekju myeot byeong deurilkkayo)

How many bottles of beer would you like?

If you’d like to learn more phrases like our sentence examples, we have a separate article on Korean phrases.

What does the Korean word 몇 (myeot) mean?

If you learned something through the videos in this article, you can also subscribe to our YouTube Channel for other helpful videos!

Wrap Up

Big congratulations! You have just learned the commonly used Korean question words! Now, you can immediately go and start asking all the burning Korean questions not only to your friends who speak English but also to those who speak Korean.

Make sure to put the sample Korean sentences to use so you can practice the language right away. If you want to know more about Korean, we have a guide to teach you the best way to learn Korean.

We’d also love to see your own sample sentence in the comments below! As you’re studying Korean, remember that if you have any questions on the lesson topic we have just covered, feel free to ask, and we’re always happy to help. And when you’re ready to learn more information, check out our complete Korean vocabulary list here!

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10 thoughts on “Korean Question Words – Asking about what you want to know”

  1. I don’t know how to speak koren like i have learnt letters and sentence system and now noun and pronouns but how can i speak korean and translate my language into korean. Please tell me i am so confused

  2. 안녕하세요! 제 이름은 멜라니 입니다. Is that correct to introduce myself? Thank you so much po for this site 90dayKorean, I’m learning a lot I already know how to read in Korean words.

  3. Hi

    Is there any website where you can ask questions to Korean individuals in regards to the language? Like spelling and grammar…

    Many thanks

  4. This is very gooodd, Excellence work. Actually i really have a question about korean, i still don’t understand on how to make a sentence using korean? like which one first (Subject or Object or something). Appreciate your response:)

    Great Job 🙂

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