10 Useful Basic Korean Phrases
for Every Situations
in this lesson, you will learn 10 very useful but most basic phrases you can use in every situations for your traveling, chatting with Korean friends. Sometimes you can get a better service if you can speak Korean even it’s so simple when you are traveling Korea because not many foreigners speak Korean.
if you want to have really unique experiences and visit many local places, then you must know some Korean phrases because a lot of Koreans don’t speak English at all. What would be better than having so unique experiences that not many people can have? 🙂
Next 10 phrases use formal honorific and informal honorific. Korean uses informal honorific in almost conversations but some phrases are more natural in formal honorific such as ‘hello’, ‘bye’, ‘thank you’, ‘sorry’, ‘thank you for the meal’
Verbs are made by adding a predicate maker after a stem of word. it often has forms such as ‘-하세요 (-haseyo)‘, ‘합니다 (-hapnida)‘, ‘-요 (-yo). if you get used to them first, you can memorize them with less efforts. this lesson would be much better if you can read Korean, Hangul. Let’s try to learn how to read it first.
Red Color : Stem of word
Blue Color : Predicate marker
안녕하세요 is actually a question literally means ‘how are you?’ but Korean says it as ‘hello’. Not many foreigners who visit Korea speaks Korean at all, so it’s good to give a good impression to anyone who you will meet, and sometimes it brings you a nice offer that you didn’t expect. even it means ‘how are you?’, you must say ‘안녕하세요’ back too when someone says it to you.
you can always say ‘고맙습니다 (gomapseupnida)’ but it’s less formal than 감사합니다. I highly recommend you to memorize ‘감사합니다’ because you can use it in every situation, it sounds very very formal and polite like ‘I appreciate you’ but somehow, Koreans prefer this phrase more than 고맙습니다.
sorry in formal for strangers or people older than you. I saw a lot of other lessons say it’s ‘최성해요’ which is totally wrong. you can also say ‘미안합니다 (mianhapnida)’ but 죄송합니다 can be used in every situations. much more polite and formal than 미안합니다.
it’s a unique East Asian expression you can use when you have some request to others. for example. you don’t need to say ‘실례합니다’ when you enter the store but it’s good to say it when you need something else than they offer like asking the direction or asking if you can use the restroom. it can be used when you are knocking the door of people who aren’t actually close to you or asking something to someone else.
Good / It’d be good / I’d like to do it / I like it / it’s good / I want it
* ‘좋습니다’ is too formal for almost conversations.
좋아요 can mean many things but it literally means ‘it’s good’ or ‘I like it’, Korean doesn’t say ‘I want it’ or ‘I want to’ so maybe you will need it than other things to express what you want.
I don’t like it / I don’t want it
* ‘싫습니다’ is too formal for almost conversations.
싫어요 is an exactly reverse of 좋아요.
Wait a second / Excuse me / Hold on
You can use it anytime. When you didn’t decide your order yet, or you want someone to wait for you or when you ask someone to move or wait.
8. 안녕히 가세요 / 안녕히 계세요
annyunghi gaseyo / annyunghi geyseyo
‘안녕히 계세요’ literally means ‘Stay well’ you can use it when you are the one who’s leaving. ‘안녕히 가세요’ means ‘leave well’ (sounds weird a bit) you can use it to someone who is leaving
9. 전 괜찮아요
I’m okay / I’m fine / I’m alright
you can use it same with English. it literally means you are fine or you can say it to reject offering nicely. you can skip ‘전 (I am)’, then it also can mean ‘it’s okay’, ‘it’s fine’, ‘it’s alright’
It’s good to see you / Nice to meet you
반가움 is an unique Korean expression for the happiness when you see someone or when you get good news you were looking for. ‘만나서 반가워요’ lieterally means ‘nice to meet you’ and you can say it to a person who you meet for the first time as ‘nice to meet you’. ‘반가워요’ is just an emotion so you can say it anytime to express you are happy to see them.