Learn Korean: Useful Expressions

Here are some useful expressions that will give you just enough to get around, but not quite enough to get into trouble. (Don’t worry. That comes later.)

Need help reading the hangeul script? First thing’s first. Take a little time and learn hangeul.

Useful Expressions


네 / 예: Yes (informal) / yes (somewhat formal)
아니요: No
안녕하세요?: Hello [literally: Are you in peace?]
안녕히계세요.: Goodbye (when you are leaving and the other person is staying)
안녕히가세요.: Goodbye (when you are staying and the other person is leaving)
고마워요 / 고맙습니다 / 감사합니다: Thanks / Thank you (honorific) / Thank you (honorific)
어디: Where
왜: Why
뭐: What
어떻게: How
언제: When
누구/누가: Who / Who (subject of the sentence)
어느: Which one
무슨: What kind of
몇: How many (comes before the noun)
얼마나: How many (comes after the noun)
시간: Time
시: Hour
일: Day
주: Week
월 / 달: Month
년: Year
동안: During, for a period of time
~에: to/at (refers to a place without suggesting an action happening there)
~에서: At/from a place (shows an action at the place)
가다: To go (conjugates to 가요 for polite situations; past tense: 갔어요)
오다: To come (conjugates to 와요 for polite situations; past tense: 왔어요)
여기: Here
거기: There
저기: Over there
나라: Country
미국: The USA
캐나다: Canada
한국: Korea
영어: English
한국말: Korean
가르치다: To teach (conjugates to 가르쳐요 for polite situations; past tense: 가르쳤어요)
선생님: Teacher (drop 님 when referring to yourself) / Mr. (sometimes Mrs.)
알겠습니다: I understand (said often to mean “yes” or to end a conversation in somewhat formal situations)
일: Work
하다: To do / make (conjugates to 해요 for polite situations; past tense: 했어요)
살다: To live (conjugates to 살아요 for polite situations; past tense: 살았어요)
좋다: To be good (conjugates to 좋아요 for polite situations; past tense: 좋았어요)
… 좋아하다: I like … (conjugates to 좋아해요 for polite situations; past tense: 좋아했어요)
~고 싶어요: [Subject] wants to … (past tense: ~고 싶었어요.) Ex: 나가고 싶어요, “I want to go out.”
괜찮아요: It’s OK, it’s fine.
괜찮아요? Are you OK? Is it alright?
됐어요: It’s OK, it works
안돼요: it doesn’t work, it’s no good
~고 있어요: To be doing … (past tense: ~고 있었어요) Ex: 한국말 배우고 있어요, “I am learning Korean.”
밥 먹었어요?: How are you? Have you eaten?
뭐 해요?: What are you doing?
공부 열심히 해요: Study hard / I’m studying hard.
끝났어요?: Are you done?
끝났어요: I’m done.
… 줄까요?: Can I give you … Ex: 물 줄까요? “Can I give you some water?”

Dialogue 1

Korean English
B-네, 안녕하세요?
A-어느 나라에서 왔어요?
B-캐나다에서 왔어요.
A-무슨 일 하세요?
B-영어 가르쳐요.
A-아, 선생님이에요. 어디에서 일해요?
B-청담어학원에서 일해요.
A-한국에 얼마나 있었어요?
B-두달동안 한국에서 살았어요. 선생님은 무슨일을 하세요?
A-택시 기사에요.
A-What country do you come from?
B-I come from Canada.
A-What kind of work do you do?
B-I teach English.
A-Ah, you’re a teacher. Where do you work?
B- I work at ChungDahm Hagwon.
A-How long have you been in Korea?
B-I’ve lived in Korea for two months. What work do you (respectful) do?
A-I’m a taxi driver.
B-Ah, I see.

Back to the Learn Korean start page


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s