How to Say I Love You in Korean: An Essential Guide to Survive in Romantic Korea (2023)

How to Say I Love You in Korean: An Essential Guide to Survive in Romantic Korea (1)

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Have you ever gotten the impression that Korean people are very romantic? Your intuition is probably right. If you wish to not only survive but also live your life to the fullest in this romantic country, you must know how to say I Love You in Korean properly.

Unlike in some cultures where it’s extremely rare for people to express affection, Koreans are hardly ever afraid to do it. I Love You is a phrase often heard in those romantic confession scenes of K-dramas.

Even if you haven’t found your Miss/Mr Right, these phrases about how to say I Love You in Korean can also come in handy when expressing your love to family and friends as well. Now get prepared to become romantic in Korean!

How to Say I Love You in Korean: An Essential Guide to Survive in Romantic Korea (2)

Table of Contents

The Basics of How to Say I Love You in Korean

If you have watched Korean drama, you must have heard of this most common way of saying “I Love You” in Korean.

사랑해요. (saranghaeyo.)

I love you.

사랑해요 is taken from the verb love 사랑하다 (saranghada), with informal polite speech and present tense conjugation. Interested in knowing how the verb 사랑하다 become 사랑해요? Check out this article about Korean verb conjugation.

But there is much more to know other than 사랑해요. Read on to learn more!

How to Say I Love You in Korean: An Essential Guide to Survive in Romantic Korea (3)

How to Say I Love You in Korean: An Essential Guide to Survive in Romantic Korea (4)

The Phrase I Love You is Actually Only a Verb “Love”?!

So does this short phrase only consist of a verb? The answer is YES! Don’t be surprised. The fact is that, unlike romantic phrases in many languages, the whole I Love You phrase in Korean actually only requires the verb Love.

If you’ve already learned about Korean sentence structures, you should know that it is sometimes okay to omit the subject and/or object in Korean. As long as the Korean verb is conjugated correctly, it can stand as an independent phrase.

Therefore, in a non-confusing context, a Korean person only needs to say the verb Love in its proper sentence ending form, and the listener can easily interpret it as I Love You.

The full Korean phrase to say I Love You (informal polite) is:

저는 당신을 사랑해요. (jeoneun dangsineul saranghaeyo.)

I love you.

저 (jeo) is the honorific term for “I”, and 당신(dangsin) is the honorific term for “you”. This is a very literal phrase to say I Love You in Korean, because 당신 is not commonly used in spoken Korean.

A more natural expression is to substitute “you” with the listener’s name + honorific suffix 씨:

xx 씨 사랑해요. (xx ssi saranghaeyo.)

I love you, xx.

Or you can include the title with which you call the listener, such as 오빠 or 누나:

오빠/누나 사랑해요. (oppa/nuna saranghaeyo.)

I love you, my significant other.

Here is a guide to the titles for other people with relation to age. 오빠 literally translates to the older brother of a female, and 누나 literally translates to the older sister of a male, but Korean people use these two terms to call their significant others who are older.

How to Say I Love You in Korean: An Essential Guide to Survive in Romantic Korea (5)

(Video) Learn Korean: 100 Korean Phrases for Beginners

How to Say I Love You in Korean: An Essential Guide to Survive in Romantic Korea (6)

The Formation of the Word Love in Korean

Now, let’s take a closer look at the word Love 사랑하다 (saranghada).

The word Love 사랑하다 is a typical -하다(-hada) verb in Korean. Like many other -하다 verbs in Korean, 사랑하다 can be split into two parts 사랑 + 하다.

  • The first part 사랑 is a noun by itself, and it means “love”.
  • The second part 하다 is a versatile verb in Korean. It literally translates to “do” or “have”, and it can be combined with many nouns to turn the word into a verb.

How to Say I Love You in Korean: An Essential Guide to Survive in Romantic Korea (7)

Here are a few more examples of typical -하다 verbs in the form of noun + 하다:

  • 수영하다 (swim) = 수영 (swimming) + 하다 (do)
  • 공부하다 (study) = 공부 (study) + 하다 (do)
  • 준비하다 (prepare) = 준비 (preparation) + 하다 (do)

How to Say I Love You in Korean: An Essential Guide to Survive in Romantic Korea (8)

How to Say I Love You in Korean in Different Ways

Now you are familiar with the Korean verb Love 사랑하다, and learned how to say I Love You in korean in informal polite speech. This section is going to teach you how to say I Love You in korean in different levels of formality and politeness.

How to Say I Love You in Korean: An Essential Guide to Survive in Romantic Korea (9)

How to Say I Love You in Korean: An Essential Guide to Survive in Romantic Korea (10)

How to Say I Love You in Korean in Casual Speech

If you want to express love to someone you’re close to, such as your boyfriend or girlfriend, you can use the casual speech.

In casual speech, you don’t have to use honorific terms 저(jeo) and 당신(dangsin) to say “I” and “you”. The casual words for “I” and “you” are respectively 나(na) and 너(neo).

The full phrase of I Love You in casual speech:

나는 너를 사랑해. (naneun neoreul saranghae.)

I love you.

More often than not, Korean people would omit the subject and object particles, so the phrase would be:

나 너 사랑해. (na neo saranghae.)

I love you.

Or you can substitute “you” with the listener’s name. You don’t need to add 씨 anymore in casual speech, but with 아 or 야 after the name:

xx아/야, 사랑해. (xx-na/ya, saranghae.)

I love you, xx.

You add 아 after the name if it ends with batchim, and 야 if it doesn’t end with batchim.

You may omit the subject “I”:

널 사랑해. (neol saranghae.)

I love you.

널 is the abbreviation of 너 + 를. It is common for people to abbreviate 를 as -ㄹ after a noun or pronoun without batchim in spoken Korean.

The simplest way is still to only keep the verb:

사랑해. (saranghae.)

I love you.

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☝️ Click to watch a short video clip of love confession scene from It’s Okay To Not Be Okay (사이코지만 괜찮아)

How to Say I Love You in Korean: An Essential Guide to Survive in Romantic Korea (11)

How to Say I Love You in Korean in Formal Polite Speech

Theoretically, you would use formal polite speech to say I Love You, when you are expressing your love to somebody older or in a higher status, like your grandparents for example.

If you are expressing your love to your significant other, you also need to use formal polite speech if it’s in a formal setting. For example, when you are giving a speech at the wedding.

However, Korean people rarely use formal polite speech to say I Love You, even though the listener is older in real life. The formal polite speech of I Love You may appear more often in writings or lyrics. All the examples listed below are likely to be written language instead of spoken language.

You can formally express the phrase I Love You as:

저는 당신을 사랑합니다. (jeoneun dangsineul saranghamnida)

I love you.

Or you can substitute “you” with the addressee’s name + honorific 씨:

저는 xx 씨를 사랑합니다. (jeoneun xx ssireul saranghamnida.)

I love you, xx.

You may omit the subject “I”:

당신을 사랑합니다. (dangsineul saranghamnida.)

I love you.

Or substitute “you” with the addressee’s name + honorific 씨:

xx 씨를 사랑합니다. (xx ssireul saranghamnida.)

I love you, xx.

You may only keep the verb:

사랑합니다. (saranghamnida)

I love you.

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☝️ Swipe left to watch a short video clip of love confession scene from Itaewon Class (이태원 클라쓰)

To learn more phrases from K-dramas, watch our Webinar with Hyeon!


How to Say I Love You in Korean: An Essential Guide to Survive in Romantic Korea (12)

How to Say I Love You in Korean with Bonus

Now you’ve learned how to say I Love You in Korean in the three most common speech levels. It’s time to level up the game and learn some phrases to say I Love You with bonus by adding modifiers or confessing your love with rhetorics.

How to Say I Love You in Korean: An Essential Guide to Survive in Romantic Korea (13)

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How to Say I Love You Very Much in Korean

First, let’s look at the ways of saying I Love You Very Much.

This can be done by simply adding the degree modifier 너무(neomu) or 많이 (mani), both meaning very much, a lot before the verb:

너무 사랑해요. (neomu saranghaeyo.)

I love you very much.

많이 사랑해요. (mani saranghaeyo.)

I love you a lot.

Or you can express how much you’re in love with the other person in more rhetorical ways:

xx 씨 없이 못 살아요. (xx ssi eobsi mot sarayo.)

I can’t live with you.

xx 씨밖에 없어요. (dangsinbage eobseoyo.)

There’s nobody like you.

xx한테 첫눈에 반했어요. (xx-hante cheotnune banhaeseoyo.)

I fell in love with you at first sight.

저 xx한테 완전히 빠졌어요. (jeo xx-hante wanjeonhi ppajyeoseoyo.)

I’m crazy about you.

The names of the listener (+ 씨) can be substituted with their titles, such as 오빠 or 누나.

How to Say I Love You in Korean: An Essential Guide to Survive in Romantic Korea (14)

Other Indirect Ways to Say I Love You in Korean

Besides saying I Love You directly, you can also express your feelings to the other person in indirect ways.

You can ask if s/he would like to go out with you:

저랑 사귈래요? (jeorang sagwilraeyo?)

Would you go out with me?

You can tell the other person that you want to be with him/her:

같이 있고 싶어요. (gachi itgo sipeoyo.)

I want to be with you.

If s/he is not by your side, you can tell him/her that you miss him/her via phone or text:

보고 싶어요. (bogo sipeoyo.)

I miss you.

You can tell the girl you love that she’s pretty or even beautiful:

예뻐요. (yeppeoyo.)

You’re pretty.

아름다워요. (areumdawoyo.)

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You’re beautiful.

You can tell the boy you love that he’s handsome:

잘 생겼어요. (jal saenggyeoseoyo.)

You’re handsome.

멋있어요.

You’re looking good.

How to Say I Love You in Korean: An Essential Guide to Survive in Romantic Korea (15)

How to Respond to I Love You in Korean

If you don’t have anybody to confess your love to, it would be useful for you to learn how to respond to I Love You, if you receive a confession. When you receive a love message, obviously, you have two choices: to accept or to reject.

If you also love the other person, then you can say:

저도 사랑해요. (jeodo saranghaeyo.)

I love you too.

With accepting the love, you can suggest that you two start dating:

우리 사겨요. (wuri sagyeoyo.)

Let’s date.

If you don’t love the other person, then you can reject directly by saying that you don’t love him/her:

사랑하지 않아요. (saranghaji anayo.)

I don’t love you.

제 스타일 아니세요.

You’re not my type.

You can also reject by suggesting that you should just be friends:

우리 친구로 지내요. (wuri chinguro jinaeyo.)

Let’s be friends.

How to Say I Love You in Korean: An Essential Guide to Survive in Romantic Korea (16)

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FAQs

What does Neomu saranghae mean? ›

I love you very much* – 너무 사랑해요 (neomu saranghaeyo) “I love you a lot” – 많이 사랑해요 (mani saranghaeyo)

How do you answer Saranghaeyo? ›

If someone says “I love you” in Korean to you, then you can reply with 나도 사랑해 (nado saranghae).

What Is Oppa saranghae? ›

Saranghae (사랑해) means 'I Love You' while Oppa (오빠) is a way for a female to address a man that is older than her, which here could be used to the brother/lover/older male friend.

What is Nae Sarang mean? ›

The phrase “my love” in Korean can be expressed as 내 사랑 (nae sarang). You can use this as a term of endearment to your significant other. This phrase is made up of 2 Korean words: 내 (nae) and 사랑 (sarang). 내 means “my” and 사랑 (sarang) means “love.”

What is Jinjja? ›

진짜 • (jinjja) really; actually.

What does Hamnida mean? ›

The word 감사 (gamsa) is a noun that means “gratitude” or “appreciation” in the Korean language. The 합니다 (hamnida) part means “to do.” Put them together, and you get 감사합니다 (gamsahamnida | to do thanks). You can use this phrase to express “thank you” in Korean restaurants, convenience stores, or taxis.

What is i purple you in Korean? ›

'I Purple You' phrase was made by BTS V in 2016. Back then, V explained that this means 'I will trust and love you for a long time.

How do you confess love in Korean? ›

This is why when you say “I love you” to someone, you'll say 사랑해요 (saranghaeyo) or 나는 너를 사랑해 (naneun neoreul saranghae).

Does oppa mean Daddy? ›

Oppa (오빠) means older brother. The word for 'Dad' is 아빠 (ap-pa). As you can see, the word for dad looks and sounds similar to the word for 'older brother', and this is perhaps why some people wonder whether ”Oppa' means 'daddy', but it does not.

Does oppa mean babe? ›

In this case, oppa meaning in Korean can be honey or babe. However, I think it is still a preference of a Korean guy if he wants to be called such. I dated other Korean older guys before my ex-boyfriend and they don't mind if I call them just by their name.

What is Kamsamnida? ›

Kamsahamnida (감사합니다) – “Thank you

What does Nikka mean in Korean? ›

The Korean -nikka represents three interactional functions. • It is used to create ego involvement and/or interpersonal involvement. • It conveys non-referential meaning in interactions as well as referential meaning.

What do Koreans call their boyfriends? ›

남자친구 (“nam-ja-chin-gu”) — Boyfriend

Again, not really a term of endearment, but this is the standard Korean word for “boyfriend.” 남자 (“nam-ja”) means “man,” and 친구 (“chin-gu”) means “friend.” The whole term can be contracted as 남친 (“nam-chin”), where you just take the first syllables of “namja” and “chingu.”

Does namja Chingu mean boyfriend? ›

It is made up of two words: 남자 (namja), which means 'man'; and 친구 (chingu), which means 'friend'. Words like these are great when you're learning Korean or if you're living in Korea since you'll likely hear them all the time. This word is simple to use but might feel a little bit long.

What is Ottoke? ›

Ottoke?! This expression means “What should I do now?!” This is usually used when you're in a difficult situation. For example: I forgot where I put my Alien Registration Card. Ottoke?! (What should I do now?!)

What is OMO in Korean? ›

Omo / Omona / 어머 / 어머나: “Oh no!” or “Oh my gosh!”

What does Aish mean? ›

Financial assistance for people with disabilities. Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped (AISH)

What does Aish mean in Korean? ›

To start off, 'Aish' is basically a way of expressing frustration or slight anger at someone or a situation. Some beginners learning Korean might think of it as a curse word, but it's not. However, it's still not proper to use it towards older people, strangers, or people in the workplace of higher rank than you.

What does Joahaeyo mean? ›

좋아해 (joahae) = I like you (casual) 좋아해요 (joahaeyo) = I like you (polite) 좋아합니다 (joahamnida) = I like you (formal) Say these to the friends, girlfriends, or boyfriends you make speaking in Korea!

What does BAM mean in Korean? ›

밤 • (bam) night quotations ▼

What is Chagiya? ›

Just like 여보 (yeobo), 자기 (jagi) and 자기야 (jagiya) are also spelled in different ways in English, such as “chagiya” or “chagi.” Nonetheless, they all mean “honey” in Korean.

What do u call your gf in Korean? ›

Chingu Meaning

The word 친구 (chingu) is a term used to call a “friend” in Korean. Combine 여자 (yeoja) and 친구 (chingu) together, and you get the Korean word for girlfriend, 여자친구 (yeojachingu)!

Who in BTS likes purple? ›

J-Hope once had a light-blue mic but more recently used a red one. And Jimin used gold but changed to orange. Suga's mic is usually black, V generally uses green, and Jungkook prefers purple.

Is V from BTS color blind? ›

It was reported that Taehyung suffers from 'monochromatic blindness' meaning he could only see shades of gray and it's like seeing the world through an old black and white television screen.

What is BTS full form? ›

Is there a word for love in Korean? ›

Love 사랑 (sarang) in Korean is more than just saying Korean love words and phrases to each other like 사랑해요 (saranghaeyo).

What does Ahjussi? ›

The term 'ahjussi' is normally used for older men who you don't properly know. It's almost like the equivalent of calling a stranger 'sir' or 'mister', except it's more age-specific.

Is Oppa a brother? ›

The words oppa (오빠) and hyung (형) mean “older brother.” Meanwhile, the Korean words noona (누나) and unnie (언니) mean “older sister.” However, the meaning of these terms expands much further than just your blood-related siblings.

What Is Oppa and noona? ›

Meaning of Oppa (오빠) = older brother. Meaning of Hyung (형) = older brother. Meaning of Noona (누나) = older sister.

What is husband call in Korea? ›

남편 (nam-pyeon). To say 'my husband', you would add '내', (na) or 'my' making it 내 남편 (na -nam-pyeon).

What is Sunbae Korean? ›

Noun. sunbae (plural sunbaes) An upperclassman or senior, in the context of South Korea. quotations ▼ (South Korean idol fandom) An older or more experienced idol, viewed as a veteran, mentor, or predecessor.

Can you call your girlfriend noona? ›

However, unlike oppa, noona can't be used to reference a girlfriend as it's just a friendlier way of saying older sister or woman.

What is Juseyo Korean? ›

주세요 (juseyo)

The usual way of saying “please” in Korean is 주세요 (juseyo). You can use it in most situations, for example, ordering food in a restaurant or asking a taxi driver to take you to the train station.

What is ANYO in Korean? ›

아니오 (anio)

This is the old style of saying “no,” often used in traditional Korean dramas. It's part of an older style of speaking.

Why do Koreans say Haseyo? ›

Anyong haseyo (pronounced "ahn-yo ha-say-yoh") is the most basic way to greet someone in Korea. To show respect to someone older or of higher status, say anyong hashimnikka (pronounced "ahn-yo hash-im-nee-kah") by way of a formal greeting.

What is Yeoboseyo mean? ›

여보세요 • (yeoboseyo) hello (when asking or answering the telephone)

What does Annyeong Hashimnikka mean? ›

안녕하십니까 (annyeong hashimnikka) Good evening. (Evening greeting)

Why do Koreans say yo? ›

Does 요[yo] make everything more polite in Korean? The short answer is yes. With the particle 요 [yo], you can make words sound more polite.

What are flirty nicknames? ›

Generally cute nicknames for your boyfriend
  • Boo.
  • Booboo Bear.
  • Sweetheart.
  • Baby Boy.
  • Baby/Babe.
  • Baby Love.
  • Boo Thang.
  • Love Bug.
19 Sept 2022

How can I call my lover? ›

44 Sweet, Romantic, and Quirky Nicknames for Your Partner
  1. Babe. You can't go wrong with this staple. ...
  2. Baby. "Baby" is another go-to nickname that will stick even after you have kids. ...
  3. (My) Beloved. "My beloved" was once the most popular term of affection. ...
  4. Darling. ...
  5. Love. ...
  6. Love Bug. ...
  7. Lover. ...
  8. Hot Stuff.
11 Aug 2022

What Koreans call their mother? ›

Eomeoni / eomma (어머니/ 엄마): The first term is the formal way of saying mother, while the second term is the informal way of saying the same (mom).

How do you say cute in Korean? ›

The informal way to say “cute” in Korean is 귀여워 (gwiyeowo). You can use this expression with people who are very close to you, such as with your girlfriend or date.

What is Nampyeon Korean? ›

남편 (nampyeon) noun meaning husband in Korean.

What is Neomu in Korea? ›

너무 • (neomu) (in negative contexts) too, excessively. (in positive contexts) so, very, extremely.

What is the difference between Neomu and Jinjja? ›

neomu means very if you turned it to english. like you use it in 'neomu bashisseoyo' it's very delicious. jinjja is the colloquial for jeongmal and they both mean 'really'.

What is the meaning of Neomu Gwiyeowo? ›

If you want to exclaim “So cute!” or “Too cute!”, just add 너무 (neomu, “too”) to make 너무 귀여워! (neomu gwiyeowo!).

What is omma saranghae? ›

엄마 사랑해 (Omma Saranghae) means 'Mum I love you' in Korean.

Does Shiro mean no? ›

Direct translation: Shiro / 싫어

I hate it!” How about some pasta?

What is Dega in Korean? ›

dega" is translated often as "I" and "uri" often as "we, ours, mine, my".

What is Joahaeyo? ›

좋아해 (joahae) = I like you (casual) 좋아해요 (joahaeyo) = I like you (polite) 좋아합니다 (joahamnida) = I like you (formal) Say these to the friends, girlfriends, or boyfriends you make speaking in Korea!

What Bogoshipda means? ›

Kimchi Cloud | February 6, 2015 | 1 Comment | Everyday Korean. So let's take a look at how to say I miss you in Korean. The most common way is to say bogoshipo (보고 싶어) and if you want to make it more polite you can say bogoshipoyo (보고 싶어요).

What is Annyeong Hashimnikka? ›

Good morning. (Morning greeting) 안녕하십니까 (annyeong hashimnikka)

What is Sesang? ›

/sesang/ world. countable noun. Someone's world is the life they lead, the people they have contact with, and the things they experience.

What is Kaede in English? ›

The name Kaede is both a boy's name and a girl's name meaning "maple tree". No - not a creative spelling of Katy. This name, which can be used for boys or girls, means maple tree.

What is Sumnida in Korean? ›

Basically, it means “thank you.”

What is Gomawo? ›

“Thanks” in Korean is 고마워 (gomawo). You may notice it's very similar to the last phrase we learned – 고마워요 (gomawoyo). And that's because it's still a conjugation of 고맙다 (gomapda). This phrase is informal, so you'll want to use it with those you're close to or anyone younger than you, but only if you know them.

What does Nan Neoreul saranghae mean? ›

나도 너를 사랑해요 – Nado neoreul saranghaeyo. this when someone says i love you and you want to reply i love you too. literally this means 'Me too, love you'.

What does Jagiya saranghae mean? ›

자기야 사랑해 (jagiya saranghae) - I love you darling. 보고 싶어 (bogoshipo) - I miss you.

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