21. Unique Korean Pronouns

In this lesson, you will learn Unique Korean Pronouns with honorific and a little bit of Korean culture with those.

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Unique Korean Pronouns

Korean language has so many pronouns. I think it’s East Asian cultures but slightly different from each. You don’t need to memorize all unique Korean pronouns since even native Koreans are also confused about those often. Yes, We struggle so much to figure out what pronouns are appropriate. Anyway, In this lesson, I will teach you really super essential pronouns you must know. It’s not many, don’t worry.

What unique Korean Pronouns do

Maybe you’ve heard ‘오빠’ if you like k-pop or k-drama. It’s a Korean pronoun which means ‘older brother / older man’. Korean girls use 오빠 to call another person who’s older than them. It’s a title and also a noun that means older brother but Korean grammar uses it as a pronouns too. Other all Korean pronouns are like that. it shows your social status and another’s.




If you say this. it shows you are a girl and another who you are calling is a man who’s older than you.

2nd/3rd Person Korean Pronouns

Koreans use same pronouns often with honorific for 2nd person pronouns and 3rd person pronouns. I’m pretty sure you must be aware of it if you read previous 2 lessons. If you don’t know how it works exactly, I’d strongly recommend you to read previous pronouns lessons.


For Male For Female
Older Brother


Older sister



Middle-aged man


Middle-aged woman


Old man

할아버지 (also means grandpa)

Old woman

할머니 (also means grandma)


오빠는 오늘 어디가요?
Where are you going today?
Where is he going today?


언니는 바빠요
She is busy


아저씨, 이건 얼마예요?
Sir, How much is this?

No Pronoun For

There is no pronouns for younger person because those are for honorific mostly. When you have to make a sentence with mentioning of a younger person then you, you can just use their name or dropping a subject or an object.

Name + Pronoun

You can use an someone’s name with a pronoun together. Names always come first with pronouns. If you want to mention who exactly it is, then you should use ‘name + pronoun’. repeating mention of someone’s name is weird in English but it’s okay in Korean.


오빠는 친구랑 놀러갔어요
Jun 오빠 went out to hang out with his friends


은영 언니는 바빠요
Eunyeong 언니 is busy


종혁 아저씨가 사줬어요
Jonghyeok 아저씨 bought it for me

Are they pronouns?

The answer is no. Technically, they are nouns, not pronouns but Korean grammar use them like pronouns. That’s why I titled them unique Korean pronouns. It’s a Korean culture that you have to get used to because Native Koreans don’t use pronouns much with 해요 honorific style. You can hear pronouns much more often with a non-honorific style but for now, I want you to focus on how native Koreans really speak with honorific because you have more chance to speak honorific than non-honorific.

More Pronouns

Korean grammar has so many pronouns but don’t worry they are also titles or nouns. Using a proper title or pronouns are very important in Korean culture as much as honorific since it’s a part of honorific manners.


선생님, 이것 좀 도와주세요
Teacher Kim, Help me out with this.
= Between coworkers. You can’t call a teacher like that if you are student.


There are so many interesting things with Korean pronouns and its cultures. I’m very sure you would love it but it’s too early to learn those all. Step by step, keep going until the fun Korean pronouns lesson.



Jun Hamm

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