Hello everyone, it’s your Korean teacher Jun. In this tutorial, you will learn many useful Korean words that you can use in any situation through the library theme. I recommend you to focus especially on the differences between the English words and the Korean words because they are simple but can be very different.
도서관 describes a building or a room that you can borrow a book like a public library. It doesn’t have any other meanings that the English word ‘library’ has.
도서관에 가서 잠만 잤어요
I went to the library and slept only
책 is an informal Korean word that describes books for learning, entertaining just like all books that you can find in bookstores. It doesn’t describe records such as ‘account books’ or sets of something such as ‘ticket books’.
책을 읽었더니 똑똑해지는 기분이에요
I read books and I feel like I’m getting smarter
빌리다 is an informal Korean word that means ‘to borrow’.
Korean language use 빌리다 for many idioms such as ‘손을 빌리다 (to be given a hand)’ or ‘말씀을 빌리다 (quote someone in a formal and polite way with respect)’.
I borrowed a brain
읽다 is an informal Korean word that means ‘to read’. 읽다 is not much different than the English word ‘read’ except for a few details. However, those details are not necessary to know for beginners. 읽다 mostly means ‘read letters or someone’s mind’.
누가 앱 동의서를 읽어요?
Who reads agreements for apps?
To finish / To end
끝나다 is an informal Korean word that means ‘to be finished’ or ‘to be ended’.
You can also find 끝내다 instead of 끝나다. 끝내다 is a transitive and causative verb form of 끝나다 (to finish / end itself), which means that you have to mention what you finish or end.
I’ll end you
To return / To give (sth) back / To pay back
돌려주다 is an informal Korean word that describes an action of returning something back to the owner. The purpose or reason for giving back doesn’t matter. It can be giving back money for refund or or it can be giving back that you borrowed from your friend. However, 돌려주다 doesn’t work for loans that you get from a bank.
내 젖꼭지 돌려줘!
Give me my nipples back!
To be quiet / To be silent
조용하다 is an informal Korean word that means ‘to be quite’ because there is no sound or something doesn’t make a sound or noise.
You can find many other Koreans word that you can use to describe silence but they all have different nuances and uses. 조용하다 is the most common Korean word among them.
너무 조용해서 으스스하네요
It’s too quiet, it’s spooky.
To pick / To choose
고르다 is an informal Korean word that means ‘to choose something’ or ‘to pick something’.
You can find another Korean word that uses the same spelling with 고르다, which means ‘to be flat’ or ‘to be equal’. They can be very confusing if you don’t know both Korean words.
뭐 먹을지 골라요
Choose what you are going to eat
To be many / much / a lot
많다 is an informal Korean word that means ‘to be many’, ‘to be much’, ‘to be a lot’ and ‘there is many / much / a lot of something’. It’s a very tricky Korean word to understand at first but it’s not so hard if you understand 2 things.
1st, in Korean language, you don’t need to care about countable nouns (e.g. person, dog, chair) and uncountable nouns (water, fear, money). It doesn’t matter if you can count something or not in Korean language. It’s just ‘a lot’ or ‘not’. So, 많다 can be ‘many’, ‘much’ and ‘a lot’.
2nd, Korean language doesn’t have a verb that is similar to ‘be’ in English. 많다 has to be translated as ‘to be many or much’ but that’s not how we Koreans understand. It just describes amount of something. You can understand it as ‘there are many of something’.
Also, 많다 can mean ‘to have many ~’ because 많다 has a similar principle to 있다. Check the tutorial for 있다. You can understand this word much better.
저는 배에 살이 많아요
I have a lot of fat on my belly
To be small / few / little
적다 is an informal Korean word that means ‘to be small’, to be little’ and ‘to be few’. Yes, it’s the exact opposite Korean word of 많다. It has the exact same features that 많다 has. So, I’m not going to explain about this word much. But, I really recommend you to read the tutorial about 있다 verb. That’s going to help you a lot.
By the way, 많다 and 적다 is about the amount. So, 적다 isn’t natural to describe height or size.
You can easily find the homonym 적다 which means ‘to write’.
과자 양이 너무 적어요
This snack is too few
How To Use The Korean Words Like Natives
저는 도서관을 자주 가요
I go to the library often
무슨 책을 제일 좋아해요?
What book do you like most?
= What is your favorite book?
친구한테 책을 빌렸어요
I borrowed a book from my friend
저는 책을 읽고 있어요
I’m reading a book
이제 막 일 끝냈어요
I finished my work just now
친구한테 빌린 책을 돌려줘야 해요
I have to give back the book I borrowed from a friend
여기는 조용해서 좋아요
I like this place is quiet
뭐 먹을 골랐어요
Did you choose what you are going to eat (drink)?
사람이 진짜 많네요
There are many people
= it’s so crowded
양이 너무 적어요!
It’s too few / little!
(while you complain about amount or quantity)
References For Korean Words
korean standard unabridged dictionary
- Emily M
- Chris M
- Carly Sisson
- Lev Izraelit
- Tuoc Phan