Have you ever been in that situation where someone has captivated your heart to the extent that one day, you just burst out of excitement, and the words “I like you” just come out of your mouth? Many people have, and whereas sometimes it is mutual, sometimes it is not. However, let us assume that the person who has stolen your heart only knows Korean; what would you then do? Well, guess what! You are in luck today, as you have come to the right place. In this lesson, we will learn how to say “I like you” in Korean. To say this, you use:
na neo joahae
In Hangul: 나 너 좋아해
If you are already familiar with at least the basics of the politeness levels (don’t worry if you are not), you will notice that this is expression is the casual and informal way to say “I like you” in Korean. In other words, you use this expression only with people whom you are close, and with people who are younger than you. Will the Korean gods punish you and send you to the North if you get it wrong? No, Koreans usually do not expect non-native speakers to get it right all the time. However, you will give a better impression only by trying to get it right. Now let us break down this sentence, and take a closer look at the individual words.
na (나) = I
neo (너) = you
joahae (좋아해) = like (this is a conjugated form of the dictionary word joahada (좋아하다), meaning “to like”.
If this is all you want to know about this sentence, you might also want to take a look at how to say “I love you” in Korean, which would be more proper to use with someone you do not have a crush on (that is, parents and such).
You might also be wondering, given that you have familiarized yourself with some basic grammar already, where the particles are in this expression. Since this is spoken and informal Korean, you can usually omit them when it’s clear who the subject and the object (etc) are. In other words, with proper grammar you would say na-neun neo-reul joahae (나는 너를 좋아해), but that would sound awkward. However, when learning Korean, it can be good to keep the particles in there just to learn them. This is what language schools will do, and you will be penalized on tests if you forget them.
What about the other politeness levels then? Let us take a look!
The polite way
jeo [name]sshi joahaeyo
in Hangul: 저 [name]씨 좋아해요
This is the polite way to say “I like you” in Korean. Notice how the word for “I” changes from na (나) to jeo (저). By using jeo (저), you are basically “lowering” yourself, which will make you appear more polite and respectful. Furthermore, it will come off as slightly rude or impolite to use the word “you” in polite Korean. Thus, you should use either their name + 씨 (roughly translates to Mr, Ms. Mrs.), or their title, like oppa (오빠) for example. Finally, you you finish off by adding the suffix yo (요) to the end of the verb at the end of the sentence. Generally, this politeness level is used when talking to:
people who are not your close friends
older people, unless they have given you permission to speak casually to them.
people of higher “status” in general (age, rank and so on)
저 오빠 좋아해요.
[jeo oppa joahaeyo]
=I like you Oppa.
The Formal Way
jeoneun [name]sshireul joahamnida
in Hangul: 저는 [name]씨를 좋아합니다
The formal way to say to say “I like you” in Korean is, as you might expect, longer than the previous ones. Luckily, you will rarely find yourself using this expression, considering the nature of what you are saying, in a formal setting. With that said, it does not hurt to learn how to say it, in case you ever find yourself in a position where you would want to use it. Where we previously have omitted the particles, it would be more appropriate to add them here. The verb joahada (좋아하다) conjugates to joahamnida (좋아합니다), which in turn makes it formal. Ideally, formal Korean is used:
on the news
in other formal settings
We have come to the the end of this lesson on how to say “I like you” in Korean. Remember that, while a sizeable chunk of this lesson focused on the different politeness levels, you will most likely want to use the informal, casual expression, since chances good that you two are already close enough to be speaking casually. After all, you are telling someone you LIKE them! Also, if you are a grammar nerd, do not be afraid to drop the particles when speaking (or texting for that matter), it will make you sound much more natural in most cases.
Please like or share this if you found it useful. For more lessons like this one, make sure to check out our Everyday Korean archive where we aim to thoroughly teach you Korean words and expressions that are commonly used in the everyday life. If you have any questions or comments, make sure to leave a comment below, and we will do our best to help you out.
By: Kimchi Cloud
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