By the end of this lesson you’ll know the formal and informal ways to ask people how they are to ensure you make a good first impression. And just in case you need to apologize… you’ll learn how to say sorry in Korean as well!
Resources for further reading:
Feeling confident with these basic Korean words and phrases will make such a positive difference to your experiences with Korean people. Remember, a stranger is just a friend you haven’t met yet!
For friends or family:
Rocket Record lets you perfect your Korean pronunciation. Just listen to the native speaker audio and then use the microphone icon to record yourself. Once you’re done, you’ll get a score out of 100 on your pronunciation and can listen to your own audio playback. (Use a headset mic for best results.) Problems? Click here!
Jal jinae shutsuyo?
Have you been well? (formal)
How have you been?
Long time no see. (informal)
For strangers or more senior persons:
Long time no see. (formal)
After this, you’d want to ask how they’ve been, or if they’ve been well.
If someone asks you one of these questions, would you know how to answer? Here’s one possible answer:
I have been well. (polite)
Or, when in casual situations, you can use one of the following informal answers.
네. 잘 지냈어요.
Ne. Jal jinaetsuyo.
I'm fine, thanks!
A little tired.
If someone tells you that he or she is not feeling well you could say the following…
If someone is feeling great you might want to say the following…
Nice to hear.
A common follow-up question after stating how you are, is, “And you?”
(그쪽은) 어떻게 지내세요?
(Geutjogeun) Utduke jinaeseyo?
And you? (formal)
And you? (informal)
Koreans have a strong family bond and when people meet their close friends or people younger than themselves, they’ll ask how their family is. Remember never to greet older or more senior people in this way!
Here are some example dialogues:
Boomonimeun jal gyeshuh?
Are your parents doing well? (polite)
Ne, jal gyeshimnida.
Yes, they are doing well. (polite)
Boomonimeun gungang hashuh?
Are your parents healthy? (polite)
They are healthy. (polite)
Remember, if you don’t understand something, you should always say so!
이해를 못 했습니다.
Ihaereul mot haetseumnida.
I didn't understand.
And hopefully the person you’re speaking to will speak slower.
To finish off today’s lesson, I’d like to leave you with THREE important phrases that you absolutely must know in any language. They are:
I love you.
Excuse me… (to ask for something)
Hmm, I can’t think of a situation in which I’d need to use all three, but I’ll leave it to your imagination!
That’s it for this lesson. I do hope you enjoyed it. Remember that if you want to retain your new Korean knowledge, it requires a little practice. Sure, practice is not always the most fun thing to do, but the rewards are well worth it!
For more on the use of Korean questions check out these lessons...
Anyoung hee gaseyo!
Sujung Lee: Rocket Korean
Reinforce your learning from this lesson with the Rocket Reinforcement activities!