힘들어요 vs 어려워요 in Korean

Hi guys, it’s your Korean teacher Jun. Many students requested a tutorial for the differences between 힘들어요 and 어려워요. I think yes, it’s something students gets easily confused because it seems so similar in English. But today I’m going to solve your confusion today! Today’s tutorial is ‘힘들어요 vs 어려워요 in Korean’

Warm Up Your Brain

Actually I taught both Korean words before, can you say what meaning of each word? Answer it in 5 seconds!

힘들어요 vs 어려워요 Featured

힘들어요 Meaning in Korean

힘들어요

[him-deuleoyo]
It’s hard / It’s tough / I’m tired

힘들어요 is ‘to be hard’ because of physical or mental problems or you can’t afford it at the moment. However, Korean extends the meaning ‘to be hard’ because of a mental hardness or a problem too.

Wrong

계속 공부하기 어려워요
[gongbu-hagi eoryeo-woyo]
I’m tired to keep study

Correct

계속 공부하기 힘들어요
[gongbu-hagi himdeu-reoyo]
I’m tired to keep study

Actually in this sentence, 힘들어요 can describes so many reasons, not only being tired, any mental, physical problem can be used like too much noise.

어려워요 Meaning in Korean

어려워요

[eoryeowoyo]
It’s hard / It’s difficult

어려워요 ‘to be hard’ because of lack of skill, ability or knowledges. It can be translated as ‘it’s difficult’ and that’s perfectly natural. It doesn’t have any other meaning such as ‘firm’ or physically hardness.

Wrong (?)

요리하기 힘들어요
[yori-hagi himdeu-reoyo]
It’s difficult to cook

Correct

요리하기 어려워요
[yori-hagi eoryeo-woyo]
It’s difficult to cook

Technically, the first sentence is also right as a meaning difficult and can also means ‘it’s a very tiring job to do’

힘들어요 vs 어려워요 in Korean

So, 힘들어요 actually describe a physical, mental hardness or you can’t afford it at the moment. In the other hand, 어려워요 describes a difficulty to do something. When both words are used alone, you can see the difference very easily.

힘들어요
I’m tired

어려워요
It’s difficult

Sometimes both means exactly same based on a context when it literally means ‘it’s not easy’. How can you tell which is which if both means an exactly same thing? Well you can’t. That’s why you need to read a context. Besides that, now you know which one is more correct to use based on a context.

How To Use

A: 오늘 저녁 준씨가 할거예요?
Will you make dinner tonight Jun?
B: 지금 요리하기 너무 힘들어요
I’m too tired to cook right now

A: 내일 이 요리 해줄 수 있어요?
Can you cook this tomorrow?
B: 이거 요리하기 어려워요
This is difficult to cook

A: 내일 이 요리 해줄 수 있어요?
Can you cook this tomorrow?
B: 이거 요리하기 힘들어요
This needs a lot of labor to cook

Vocabulary Note

계속 -하다 [gesok – hada] : to keep doing something / to continue something
공부하다 [gongbuhada] : to study
요리하다 [yorihada] : to cook
오늘 [oneul] : today
저녁 [jeonyeok] : evening / dinner
지금 [jigeum] : now
너무 [neomu] : too many / too much
내일 [neil] : tomorrow
이 [i] : this [determiner]
이거 [igeo] : this [pronoun]

kr_flag

Teacher

Jun Hamm

Author img

⠂Made in Korea
⠂Made of 100% Korean
⠂Adjusted as 100% Korean
⠂Ready to active Professor Mode
⠂Love to make people laugh as much as I love to teach

Hello everyone, it’s your Korean teacher Jun! Thanks for learning Korean with me! I really want to say I admire your enthusiasm and passion for learning languages. No one forced you to yet you are here on your own to expand your knowledge. I’m happy I’m a part of it ?

I spent years making all the tutorials and I really hope it’d be super duper helpful for you. Also, I should mention that this website has been possible thanks to so many people with a good heart. They are the second author of all tutorials! ?

40%
1:1 MASTER CLASS.

DISCOUNT

DON'T MISS THE SPECIAL OFFER

This Course Was $15

$15, maybe it’s nothing that you can earn after a couple of hours of labor. Or, maybe you have to work for full days to earn it only because of where you were born. And $15, It’s the average price of Korean textbooks. Life is unfair. But that’s why we can help each other, we are helping each other.

This Is Why I Published My Textbook For Free

I didn’t make it possible alone. A lot of people helped me and encouraged me and, of course, support me. I really appreciate my supporters, Team Junicorns. If my tutorials are helpful or if you want to share the same dream, join the Team Junicorns and support me to keep going.

Contact / Follow Me

ig img

Instagram

yt img

Youtube

pt img

Patreon


dc img
Join Korean Jun Community!

Go Team Junicorn!

Why Korean Jun?

Super Real Korean

Do you really use some words such as ‘a little boy’, ‘lions’ or ‘carrot’ everyday? So, I’m not going to teach those.

The Magical POWER

The ancient magical language from the far far land. Learn Korean and it’ll make you look 500% more charming.

No Fake, No False

Some wise man in the internet age said ‘Don’t believe the internet’. However, in Korean Jun, any tutorial is triple checked! Accurate than any textbooks.

Build Korean Brain

Instead of forcing you to memorize words. I’m going to make you understand how Korean grammar really works. Learn Korean grammar triple faster!

Super Duper High-Quality

This is not just an internet free learning material. I spent years for the Core Grammar course.