Korean Greetings

Posted on 23. Nov, 2008 by in Vocabulary

Hello everyone!  Today we’re going to learn some important Korean greetings.  The most basic and frequently used greeting is an-nyung-ha-se-yo (안녕하세요).  An-nyung-ha-se-yo (안녕하세요) means hello.  You might be surprised to know that there is no separate greeting for good morning, good afternoon or good evening.  Whether it’s the morning, afternoon or evening, you just use the phrase an-nyung-ha-se-yo (안녕하세요).

There is one exception.  For the phrase ‘good night’ it’s more natural to use the phrase jal ja-yo (잘 자요).  This literally means sleep well.  Now some Koreans from time to time might use the phrase jo-un a-chim (좋은 아침).  Jo-un a-chim (좋은 아침) means good morning.  However, the predominant method for saying good morning is still an-nyung-ha-se-yo (안녕하세요).  I tell my students to just learn the phrase an-nyung-ha-se-yo (안녕하세요) because it’s easier to remember and the more common greeting that Koreans use to say good morning.

Also, if you want to ask someone how they have been you can use the phrase an-nyung-ha-shim-ni-kka (안녕하십니까).  This phrase is on the formal level.  You can also say ‘how are you’ as jal ji-nes-sum-ni-kka (잘 지넸습니까).  While jal ji-nes-sum-ni-kka (잘 지넸습니까) is still formal, it’s a little less formal than an-nyung-ha-shim-ni-kka (안녕하십니까).

While there is only one phrase used to say hello, there are actually two phrases that you could use to say good-bye in Korean.  Each phrase depends on the situation and the person you are talking to.  For example, if you say good-bye to your professor in the hallway and the professor is physically walking away from you, you would use the phrase an-nyung-hi ka-se-yo (안녕히 가세요).  However, if you say good-bye to your professor in his/her office and the professor stays put at his/her desk, you would say an-nyung-hi-ke-se-yo (안녕히 계세요).  As you’ve noticed, whether the person is leaving or staying put, determines the specific good-bye greeting used.

If you want to be less formal when you say good-bye, use the phrase an-nyung (안녕).  This phrase can be used whether the person you’re talking to is staying or leaving; it doesn’t matter.  However, don’t use this phrase when you’re talking to someone older than you or someone you don’t know that well.  While saying good-bye using an-nyung (안녕) is easier to remember, it can only be used with certain people.  One way I try to remember which good-bye greeting to use is by the verb stem.  The greeting used for people who are leaving contains the verb stem ka () which means ‘to go’ while the good bye used for people who are staying contains the verb stem ke () which means ‘to be.’  They are very subtle in sound, so make sure you know the difference between the two good-byes.

Ok everyone, I have to go, so for now I’m going to say daume bayo (다음에 봐요) or see you next time!

If you are looking to learn Korean, check out our website at Transparent.com for free resources like Korean Word of the Day and our Korean Facebook community, or take it to the next level with a free trial of our self-guided online Korean course.

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57 Responses to “Korean Greetings”

  1. Linda 24 November 2012 at 3:53 pm #

    Thanks, glad we can help! :)

  2. kamal 25 December 2012 at 3:31 pm #

    sorry for disturbing..pardon me if i ask since u have a knowledge about korean language,…so, i want to ask what is the meaning of `salanghaneun joh-eun bam’..?….i am glad if u help me….TQ

  3. Pınar 12 January 2013 at 6:53 pm #

    Thank you so much for publishing this, it made things so much easier for me! 😀

  4. Math Homework 23 January 2013 at 5:00 pm #

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  5. jolina 9 July 2013 at 10:21 am #


  6. jolina 9 July 2013 at 10:26 am #

    kamsahamnida to help me to learn to speak korean because nextyear iwill go in korea

  7. Jane 6 July 2015 at 6:34 am #

    an nyung ha -se -yo? it’s my first time to visit this site, am real happy to learn some Korean words, as when I was in ordinary level of education, I had a madam from Korea, she taught us only maths and through an English language, although she makes me aware with some words like, how to greet, say thank you, I love you so I become much interested in learning more about Korean language, although am a real Tanzanian.

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