Question words and sentences for beginners

뭐 what

이름이 뭐예요? What is your name?
이거 뭐예요? What is this?
ㅇㅇㅇ이/가 뭐예요? What is ㅇㅇㅇ?
뭐 먹어요? What are you eating?
뭐 좋아해요? What do you like?
뭐 보고 싶어요? What do you want to watch?
뭐 먹고 싶어요? What do you want to eat?

무슨 what + noun

무슨 영화 좋아해요? What kind of movie do you like?
무슨 음식 먹고 싶어요? What kind of food do you want to eat?
무슨 책 읽어요? What kind of book are you reading?
무슨 요일에 가요? What day are you going?
무슨 선물 줄 거예요? What kind of gift are you going to give?

어느 which + noun

어느 나라에서 왔어요? Which country are you coming from?
어느 나라 사람이에요? Which country person are you? (where are you from?)
어느 회사에 다녀요? Which company are you working at?

어디 where

어디에 살아요? Where do you live?
어디에 가요? Where are you going?
지금 어디에 있어요? Where are you now?
가방이 어디에 있어요? Where is the bag?
어디에 가고 싶어요? Where do you want to go?
어디에서 만나요? Where are we meeting? / Where are you meeting?
어디에서 먹어요? Where are we eating? / Where are you eating?

누구 / 누가 who : 누구 “who” as a object, 누가 “who” as a subject

누구세요? Who is it?
이정은 씨가 누구예요? Who is 이정은?
누구 만나요? Who are you meeting?
누구하고 가요? Who are you going with?
누구 좋아해요? Who do you like?
누가 말했어요? Who said it?
누가 먹었어요? Who ate it?
누가 만들었어요? Who made it?

언제 when

한글날이 언제예요? When is 한글 day?
생일이 언제였어요? When was your birthday?
언제 왔어요? When did you come?
언제 쉬어요? When is your day off?
언제 갈 거예요? When are you going?

몇 how many + counter

동생이 몇 살이에요? How old is your younger sibling?
지금 몇 학년이에요? What grade are you now?
바나나 몇 개 샀어요? How many bananas did you buy?
파티에 몇 명 왔어요? How many people came to the party?
몇 개 필요해요? How many do you need?
몇 시간 공부해요? How many hours are you studying?

얼마 how much (about money)

얼마예요? How much is it?
장학금 얼마 받아요? How much do you get the scholarship?

얼마나 how long
얼마나 걸려요? How long does it take?

왜 why

왜 한국에 왔어요? Why did you come to Korea?
왜 한국어 공부해요? Why are you studying Korean?
왜 오늘 학교에 안 왔어요? Why didn’t you come to school?

어떻게 how

학교에 어떻게 와요? How do you come to school?
이거 한국말로 어떻게 말해요? How can I say this in Korean?
어떻게 읽어요? How should I read?

[Grammar] -요 vs 습니다

-요 and 습니다 are both polite sentence endings, but they are used for different situations.

-요 is used for friendly/informal situations. Koreans use -요 for normal/daily conversations, you can use this to anyone who are older than you or you want to express respect.

On the other hand, 습니다 is used more for formal situations like work meetings, conferences, writing, army base, and TV news etc.

Basic form Friendly/informal Formal
Noun이다 이에요/예요 입니다
Verb/adjective다 아요/어요/해요 습니다/ㅂ니다


For example,

Friendly/informal Formal
저는 이미나예요. 저는 이미나입니다.
진주는 제 친구예요. 진주는 제 친구입니다.
이건 가방이에요. 이것은 가방입니다.
이 학교는 좋아요. 이 학교는 좋습니다.
컴퓨터가 있어요. 컴퓨터가 있습니다.
피자가 맛있어요. 피자가 맛있습니다.

If you want to learn more about 이에요, please click here.

If you want to learn more about 아요/어요/해요, please click here.

If you want to learn more about 습니다/ㅂ니다, please click here.

If you want to learn more about the honorific speech, please click here.

[Expression] I like your hat!

In English, people often say “I like your hat!” or “I like your shoes!” if someone is wearing a cool hat or nice shoes. You shouldn’t translate it as “그 모자 좋아해요!” or “신발 좋아해요!” into Korean because “I like your hat!” doesn’t mean “I LIKE it”, it actually means “Your hat is nice.”

If you say “모자/신발 좋아해요” in Korean, it means “I like it” such as “I like apples” or “I like ice cream.”. Therefore you have to say “모자가 멋있어요.(The hat is cool)” or “신발이 예뻐요(The shoes are pretty)” or “모자가 어울려요(The hat fits you very well).”

New words>

모자: hat
신발: shoes
좋아하(): to like
멋있(): to be cool, awesome
예쁘(): to be pretty
어울리(): to fit well, match well
//여요: a sentence ending for present tense

[Expression]어떻게 해요? vs 어떡해요?

어떻게(adverb) means ‘how’ and ‘해요(verb)‘ means ‘do’, so 어떻게 해요 means ‘what should I(you) do?”. And 어떡해요(adjective) is a short form for 어떻게 해요. Therefore, both mean “what should I do?”. They are used for when some BAD thing happened.

In conversations, it can be translated “Oh, no”, “Oh, my god!” or “Too bad”. I heard that a lot of people say ‘미안해요’ when they hear bad news because in English, they say “I am sorry to hear that.” when they hear a bad thing.

But “미안해요.” means “sorry/apologize”, not ‘feel sorry’.  You can say “아이고, 어떡해요.” or “어머, 정말 안 됐네요.(It is too bad)”.



A: 200만원을 잃어버렸어요. I lost 2,000,000 Won.
B: 아이고, 어떡해요. 그거 등록금이잖아요. Oh, my god! That was your tuition!

B: 왜 울고 있어요? 무슨 일 있어요? Why are you crying? What happened?
A: 어제 우리 집 강아지가 갑자기 죽었어요. My dog suddenly died yesterday.
B: 어머, 어떡해요… 무슨 병이 있었어요?  Oh, no… Was he sick before?

A: 지난 주에 정민 씨가 남자 친구하고 헤어졌어요. Jungmin broke up with her boyfriend last week.
B: 어머, 정말 안 됐네요. 정민 씨가 남자 친구를 많이 좋아했잖아요. That’s too bad, Jungmin really like him, right?




[vocabulary] adverb list for beginners

가끔 sometimes
가장 the most
갑자기 suddenly
같이[가치] together
계속 continously
그래서 so, therefore
그러나 but
그러니까 so, therefore
그러면 then
그런데 but
그럼 then
그렇지만 but
그리고 and
must, definitely
거의 almost
너무 too (much/many), very
늦게 late
다시 again
똑바로 straight
많이 a lot
매우 very
매일 everyday
먼저 first
모두 all
물론 of course
바로 right there (time/place)
벌써 already
보다 more
빨리 quickly
서로 each other
아마 maybe
아주 very
아직 yet
어디 where
어서 quickly
언제 when
언제나 always
얼마 how much
얼마나 how much/long
열심히 (do) hard
오래 for long time
오랜만에 it has not been long time
왜냐하면 because
이제 from now
일찍 early
자주 often
잠깐 for a short time
잠시 for a short time
정말 really
제일 the most
조금 a little bit
a little bit
지금 now
천천히 slowly
하지만 but
함께 together
항상 always

You can listen to the audio file by clicking here. 

What is the difference between 나 and 저?

and both mean ‘I’ or ‘me’. is a humble way to say. When you talk to a person who is older or higher position than you or stranger, you have to use . On the other hand, is used for friends(the same age) or a person who is younger than you. Therefore is often used with casual endings which is 아/어/여 or ㄴ/는다 while is often used with polite endings such as -아/어/여요 or -(스)ㅂ니다.

and are often used with particles like 이/가(subject particles), 을/를(object particles), 한테(to), 하고(with/and). For example,

+가 =>가(it is not 나가)
+가 => 가 (it is not 저가)

+를 =>
+를 =>

+한테 => 한테
+한테 =>한테

+하고 =>하고
+하고 =>하고



가 먹었어.
가 먹었어요.

그 사람이 를 좋아한다.
그 사람이 를 좋아합니다.

한테 줘.
한테 주세요.

하고 가자.
하고 가요.

[Expression] 오래/오랫동안/오랜만 for long time

오래 means ‘a long time’ and 오랫동안 means ‘for long time’, which 동안 means ‘for (time)’. 오래 and 오랫동안 are often switchable.

오래 기다렸어요.  I waited for a long time. (=오랫동안)
남자 친구하고 오래 사귀었어요. I have been dating with my boyfriend for a long time. (=오랫동안)
여기에서 오래 살고 싶어요. I want to live here for a long time. (=오랫동안)
오래 앉아 있으면 허리가 아파요. My back is sore if I sit for a long time. (=오랫동안)
* 오래 안 걸릴 거예요. It won’t take long. (It is weird if the verb is 걸리다 which means ‘take time’)


오랜만 (or 오래간만means ‘do something that you have not done for a long time’. For example,

오랜만이에요. It has been a long time (since we saw last time)
오랜만 피자를 먹었어요. I ate pizza. (I had not had pizza for a long time)
오랜만 친구를 만났어요. I met my friend. (I had not seen him/her for a long time)
오랜만 영화를 봤어요. I watched a movie. (I had not seen a movie for a while)
오랜만 오셨네요. You came! (You have not been here for a long time)

You can listen to the audio file by clicking here. 

감사합니다. 미안합니다. and more

There are several ways to say thank you in Korean. 감사합니다 is the most polite way and formal way to say ‘Thank you’. 고맙습니다is a little less formal but still polite. 고마워요 is a friendly way to say, so you can use this to a person who are close to you, but not the same age friend. 고마워 is used between friends who are the same age or to a person who is younger than you.


For saying sorry, there are also many ways to say. 죄송합니다 is the most polite and formal way to say ‘I am so sorry’, it is usually to an old person or bosses. 미안합니다 is less formal than 죄송합니다, but it is still polite. 미안해요 is the most common because it is a friendly way to say ‘I am sorry’. You can use this to your generation, but not to elders. Between friends who are the same age, you can say 미안해 which is very casual.


There is one more thing I want to add in this post, which is “Happy birthday!”. It is 생일 축하합니다 or 생일 축하해요 생일 means ‘birthday’ and 축하합니다/축하해요 mean ‘Congratulations’.

The birthday song in Korean is

생일 축하합니다. 생일 축하합니다. 사랑하는 ㅇㅇㅇ(name), 생일 축하합니다. 

You can sing this song for your Korean friends! You can click a link below to listen to the full song.

[Expressions] Formal? polite? honorific?

When you learn Korean, you will hear terms like formal, polite and honorific. I want to explain this to you in this post.

Formality is about situation. You use formal endings like -습니다, -는다 when you have business meetings, presentations or ceremonies. For normal situations(non-formal) like talking to family, friends or people who you know well, you can use -아/어/여요 or -아/어/여.

Politeness is about listener. When you talk to someone who is older that you or higher position, you should use polite endings like 습니다 or 아/어/여요. When you talk to someone who is the same age as you or younger, you will use -는다 or -아/어/여.

formal non-formal
polite -(스)ㅂ니다 아/어/여요
non-polite -는다 아/어/여

For example,

비가 왔습니다. (formal, polite : news anchor)
비가 왔어요. (non-formal, polite : a kid to a mom)
비가 온다. (formal, non-polite : writing a diary, news paper, books)
비가 와. (non-formal, non-polite : between friends or to young people)

Honorific forms  are used when a subject is a person who is older generation or higher position while politeness is about listener. You will use -(으)시 after verbs and adjectives. For example,

할머니가 오어요.
선생님이 부르요.

You can study honorific forms by clicking here. 

One more thing, 저 and 나 both are ‘I’ or ‘me’. 저 is humble way which is polite, 나 is non-polite. So if you use 저(I,me), you’d better use -(스)ㅂ니다 or -아/어/여요. On the other hand, if you use 나, you can use -ㄴ/는다 or 아/어/여.