15 phrases commonly used in Korean that will aid in your Korean language learning.

Why choose the Korean language?

how to say hello in korean

Learning a new language can be an intimidating task, but mastering a few key phrases is a great way to start. Korean is a beautiful and melodic language that may seem difficult at first glance, but getting the hang of some basic expressions can go a long way.

In this article, we’ll cover the 15 most commonly used Korean phrases that are perfect for Korean language beginners. Whether you’re traveling to Korea for a vacation or have just started learning the language, these fundamental expressions will help you navigate basic conversational situations smoothly. From greetings to expressing gratitude to asking simple questions, consider this your starter pack of Korean.

So let’s dive in – here are the top 15 Korean phrases you should know!

Let’s begin learning Korean language

Learning these essential Korean words and phrases will give you a strong foundation for building conversational skills. While mastering the proper pronunciation may take some practice, you’ll be surprised by how quickly you can pick up these common expressions.

1. How to say “Hello” in korean (안녕하세요 – ann-yeong-haseyo)

The most basic Korean greeting is “annyeonghaseyo,” which you’ll use when meeting people. Pronounced “ahn-nyawng-hah-seyo,” it simply means “hello.” You can use it both when meeting someone for the first time or when greeting someone you already know. It’s respectful and appropriate in most everyday situations.

2. How to say “Thank you” in korean (감사합니다 – gam-saham-nida)

The best way to say thank you in Korean is “gamsahamnida,” pronounced “gam-sa-ham-ni-da.” From thanking someone for a gift to expressing gratitude for a meal, you’ll use this versatile phrase often. It comes across as polite and genuine.

3. How to say “Yes” in korean (네 – ne)

The Korean word for “yes” is simply “ne,” pronounced “neh.” Use it to agree with someone, confirm something is correct, say you can do something, or just show you understand. It’s the most basic affirmative response in Korean.

4. How to say “No” in korean (아니요 – aniyo)

On the flip side, “aniyo” means “no” in Korean. Pronounced “ah-nee-yo,” you’ll use it to politely decline requests, express disagreement, or indicate something isn’t right. It’s pronounced with a slight upward inflection at the end.

5. How to say “Excuse me” in korean (실례합니다 – shillye-hamnida)

To say “excuse me” when trying to get someone’s attention, make a polite request, or ask someone to repeat something in Korean, say “shillyehamnida.” It translates to something like “I’m sorry to bother you, but…” and conveys respect.

6. How to say “I’m sorry” in korean (죄송합니다 – joe-song-ham-nida)

When you need to apologize in Korean, “joesonghamnida” is the perfect go-to phrase. Pronounced “joe-song-ham-ni-da,” you can use it to express regret and ask for forgiveness in a variety of situations. It communicates your sincere remorse.

7. How to say “How much is this?” in korean (이게 얼마예요? – ige eolmayeyo?)

Wondering how to ask for the price of something in Korean? The phrase “ige eolmayeyo?” means “how much is this?” Pronounce it “ee-geh ul-ma-yey-yo” when inquiring about the cost of an item at a store or market. It’s polite and casual.

8. How to say “Goodbye” in korean (안녕히 계세요 – annyeonghi gyeseyo)

The most common way to tell someone goodbye in Korean is “annyeonghi gyeseyo.” Say it when parting ways with “ahn-nyawng-hee gye-seh-yo” at the end of a conversation. Use it with people you are familiar with, as it means “goodbye and take care.”

9. How to say “Please give me this” in korean (이것 좀 주세요 – igeot jom juseyo)

In Korean, “igeot jom juseyo” is the best way to ask someone to please give you something, like a menu or a napkin. Say “ee-geot jom ju-seh-yo” to politely request the item. It translates to “please give me this.”

10. How to say “Do you speak English?” in korean (영어를 하세요? – yeong-eoreul haseyo?)

If you need to ask “do you speak English?” in Korean, say “yeong-eoreul haseyo?” pronounced “young-uh-rul ha-seh-yo.” It’s a handy phrase for travelers that will help you get assistance with a language barrier.

11. How to say “I don’t understand” in korean (이해하지 못합니다 – ihaehagi motamnida)

“Ihaehagi motamnida” is how to say “I don’t understand” in Korean. You can pronounce it “ee-hae-ha-gi mo-tam-ni-da” to politely tell someone you didn’t follow what they said. Use it if you need clarification or repetition.

12. How to say “What is this?” in korean (이것이 뭐예요? – igeosi mwoyeyo?)

To ask what something is in Korean, say “igeosi mwoyeyo?” or “ee-geh-seh mwah-yeh-yo.” It allows you to politely inquire about an object when you don’t know the name. You’ll find it helpful for learning vocabulary.

13. How to say “Where is the bathroom?” in korean (화장실 어디에 있어요? – hwajangsil eodie isseoyo?)

Not sure how to ask for the bathroom in Korean? Say “hwajangsil eodie isseoyo?” pronounced “hwa-jang-shil uh-dee-eh iss-uh-yo.” It means “where is the bathroom?” in a polite, not too urgent way.

14. How to say “Let’s go eat” in korean (밥 먹으러 가자 – bap meogeureo gaja)

Use this super casual phrase when inviting Korean friends to eat a meal. “Bap meogeureo gaja” means “let’s go eat” in Korean. Say it just like it looks to suggest grabbing some food.

15. How to say “Cheers!” in korean (건배! – geonbae!)

When making a toast in Korean, exclaim “geonbae!” Simply say “geon-bae” to say “cheers!” before taking a drink. It expresses wishing everyone well before imbibing. Use it when enjoying drinks with Korean friends.

Bonus tip (how to say how are you in korean)

To say “how are you” in Korean, you would say:

“잘 지내세요?” (jal jinaesyseo?)

The phrase is pronounced “jal ji-nae-syeo” and is a polite way to ask someone how they are doing.

A few more details:

  • “잘” (jal) means “well”
  • “지내다” (jinaeda) means “to spend time” or “to get along”
  • “세요” (syeo) is a polite ending

So the full translation is something like “Are you spending your time well?” or “Are you getting along well?”

It’s a common greeting in Korean and can be used when meeting someone for the first time or when seeing a friend, co-worker, etc.

Some other variations you may hear:

  • “잘 지내?” (jal jinae?) – less formal
  • “요즘 잘 지내?” (yojeum jal jinae?) – “How have you been lately?”

So in summary, “잘 지내세요?” is the best all-around way to say “how are you?” in polite Korean. Give it a try next time you greet a Korean speaker!


There you have it – the top 15 most commonly used Korean language words and phrases to launch your Korean learning journey. From basic conversational expressions to essential questions and phrases, these will help you get by and forge connections when interacting with Korean speakers. Don’t be intimidated by the new language – try practicing just a few of these everyday Korean terms first. Gradually build upon this foundation at your own pace. Soon enough, you’ll be having real conversations in Korean. You can also enroll in a Korean language institute to effectively learn the language. Stay motivated and keep an open mind as you immerse yourself in this rewarding language. You’ve got this!

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is the best way to learn pronunciation for these Korean phrases?

A: Listening to audio recordings and practicing repeating the phrases out loud is the best technique for nailing down pronunciation. Getting feedback from native Korean speakers can also be very helpful.

Q: Which of these basic Korean phrases will be most useful for travelers visiting Korea?

A: “Hello,” “Thank you,” “How much is this?” and “Where is the bathroom?” will get travelers through many common situations while visiting Korea. Learning the basics for ordering food, getting directions, and making purchases is essential.

Q: How long will it take to become conversational in Korean after learning these phrases?

A: It takes consistent practice over months or years to become conversational in Korean. Consider these phrases a starting point on the journey towards fluency. With continued Korean language study, you’ll gradually become comfortable speaking conversationally.

Q: What are some good resources for learning Korean beyond basic phrases?

A: Great next steps include using Korean language apps, taking formal classes, hiring a tutor, joining a language exchange, watching Korean TV shows, and reading simple books. Immersing yourself in the language is key.

Q: Is there an easy way to memorize how to pronounce Korean words and phrases?

A: Writing down the Korean phonetic spellings, learning Hangul script, listening repeatedly, and practicing out loud can help cement pronunciation. Flash cards and games make the process more engaging. Connect sounds to imagery and emotions for better memorization.

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