영원히 vs 평생 in Korean

Hi everyone, it’s your Korean teacher Jun. I’ve requested for a tutorial that explains differences between 영원히 and 평생 and so many people actually voted for this tutorial on Koreanjun Instagram. I know it’s really tricky and I’m pretty sure so many students only know ‘영원히’ because a lot of songs use the word as ‘forever’. But, you really need to know more than 영원히 means forever in Korean. So, I made this tutorial for 영원히 vs 평생 in korean.

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There are 2 ways to say ‘forever’ in Korean, one of them is ‘영원히’. Then what’s the other? Guess it!

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영원히 Meaning in Korean


Forever / Eternal


영원히 means forever as a meaning of ‘eternal time’. 영원히 is based on a verb 영원하다 which means ‘to be eternal’. 영원하다 is usually used for giving a speech to audience, literatures and lyrics.


This word sounds seriously poetic or formal often. To be honest, it’s not so easy to hear in a casual life. Sometimes, it’s used with 사랑(love) like 영원히 사랑해. But, that’s only an exception. Exception for loooooooove LOOOOOOOVVVVVEEEEE.


영원히 살고 싶어요
[yeongwonhi salgo sipeoyo]
I want to live for eternal time

평생 Meaning in Korean


Forever / For my life


평생 also means forever as a meaning of ‘lifetime’ in Korean. Native Koreans use it as a meaning of ‘for my whole life’ also, normally in a casual sentence. Native Koreans prefer use 평생 more than 영원히 in almost conversation except you don’t mean eternal time. 평생 often sounds way more natural because that’s how native Koreans speak.


평생 피자만 먹고 싶어요
[pyeongseng piza-man meoggo sipeoyo]
I want to eat only pizza forever

영원히 vs 평생 in Korean Featured

영원히 vs 평생

영원히 and 평생 sounds very similar in English and maybe you saw 영원히 very often in Korean songs. However, 영원히 sounds very formal and poetic and way more dramatic. Native Koreans prefer to use 평생 almost times. The reason why 영원하다 sounds formal because it’s actually more like ‘eternal’ or ‘eternity’.


평생 is used as an adverb only almost time because it is an adverb. However, 영원히 can be used in anywhere. So, 영원하다 is used for adjective modifier usually.


영원한 번영
Eternal prosper


평생 번영
… lol… this word really doesn’t sound right

How To Use

A: 평생 피자만 먹고 싶어요
I want to eat only pizza forever
B: 윽…


A: 나는 이 직업이 평생 직업이라고 생각해요
In my opinion, this job is the job that I can keep working forever

B: 저도 안정적인 직업을 갖고 싶네요
I want a stable job too


A: 영원히 살고 싶어요
I want to be immortal
B: 왜요?
Why do you want it?

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평생 살고 싶어요
[pyeongseng salgo sipeoyo]
I want to live forever (for eternal time)
= It means ‘I want to live for my entire life’. It doesn’t make sense, of course.



영원히 피자만 먹고 싶어요
[yeongwonhi piza-man meoggo sipeoyo]
I want to eat only pizza forever
= It makes sense but sometimes it can sound like you want to eat for eternal time with no death… lol… Well… it can be someone’s dream.

Vocabulary Note

살다 [salda] : to live
-싶다 [sipda] : want to – / hope to –
피자 [pija] : pizza
-만 [man] : only
먹다 [meokdda] : to eat
이 [i] : this [determiner]
직업 [jikeop] : job
생각하다 [sengakada] : to think / in my opinion
안정적인 [anjeongjeogin] : stable
갖다 [gadda] : to have / to get