I saw many foreigners said 잘지냈어요 as ‘how are you?’ in Korean, which sounds very very weird to native Koreans because they really don’t say that. That’s how European languages and English work, not Korean. In this lesson, You will learn how to say ‘How are you’ in 100% Natural Korean.
The Real Meaning of 잘지냈어요
잘지냈어요 is ‘How have you been recently?’ in Korean. It’s really not ‘How are you?’. I’m pretty sure it’s a wrong information from internet. So it sounds very odd if you say it to a stranger or a person you’ve met very recently.
How Are You In Real Korean
Korean students learn 안녕하세요 is hello or hi. That’s correct but it actually means ‘How are you?’. It’s a question : ‘안녕하세요?’
안녕 : Peace / Well / Peaceful stability with no any trouble
하세요 : Do / Be / Have done / Have been
안녕하세요? : Are you well (so far)?
Native Koreans really don’t ask ‘How are you?’. They just keep talking like they never stop a conversation. Of course, they ask ‘잘지냈어요?’ when they meet or contact someone after a couple of weeks.
* Korean grammar doesn’t have ‘be’ for adjectives. Do and Be are same. To learn it more about this, Check the lesson below.
That Is Why
That’s why Korean language doesn’t have a phrase for ‘how are you’ because ‘안녕하세요’ already means ‘How are you?’. And remember, It is not a Korean thing.
How Do You Respond To 안녕하세요?
But now the phrase 안녕하세요 has the only meaning of ‘hi’. So, you don’t answer to 안녕하세요 as a question. Just say ‘안녕하세요’ back.
Native Koreans ask ‘how was your day?’ at night or just ask ‘what are you doing now?’ instead. They often answer it how they are instead of what they are actually doing at the moment especially when something bad happened.
What are you doing? / What’s up?
B: 아 개짜증나
I’m pissed off
A: 무슨 일인데?
What’s wrong? / Something happened?
B: 시험 망쳤어
I blew the test