Learning how to say hello in Korean is an essential step in your journey to mastering the Korean language. Greetings play a significant role in Korean culture, and understanding the appropriate way to greet someone based on the level of formality is crucial. In this guide, we will explore various ways to say hello in Korean, including the proper usage and cultural nuances associated with each greeting. Whether you’re planning to travel to Korea or simply want to connect with Korean speakers, this article will equip you with the knowledge to navigate greetings like a pro.

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Understanding the Hierarchy of Formality

In Korean culture, the level of formality used in greetings depends on various factors such as age, social status, and the relationship between individuals. There are three main levels of formality: casual, polite, and formal/honorific. While the other levels are mostly outdated, understanding the main levels is essential for effective communication.

Common Korean Greetings and Expressions

안녕하세요 (Annyeong Haseyo) – “Hello”

The phrase “Annyeong Haseyo” is the most common way to greet someone in Korean. It is a polite and formal speech pattern used in various situations. We will explore its usage and proper pronunciation.

안녕 (Annyeong) – “Hi”

“Annyeong” is the informal and casual way to greet close friends and family members. While it lacks the formality of “Annyeong Haseyo,” it is a versatile greeting used throughout the day.

안녕하십니까 (Annyeong Hasimnikka) – “Good Day”

“Annyeong Hasimnikka” is a formal and honorific greeting that conveys respect. It is commonly used in formal situations or when addressing someone of higher seniority.

여보세요 (Yeoboseyo) – “Hello” (Phone Greeting)

“Yeoboseyo” is a specific greeting used when answering the phone. We will explore its usage and the cultural significance behind phone greetings in Korean culture.

좋은아침이에요 (Joeun Achimieyo) – “Good Morning”

While “Joeun Achimieyo” means “good morning,” it is not as commonly used as “Annyeong Haseyo.” We will discuss its appropriate usage and when it is commonly used in Korean society.

오랜만이에요 (Oraenmanieyo) – “Long Time No See”

“Oraenmanieyo” is a phrase used to greet someone you haven’t seen in a while. We will delve into its usage and explore its variations based on formality and relationship.

만나서 반갑습니다 (Mannaseo Bangapseumnida) – “Nice to Meet You”

“Mannaseo Bangapseumnida” is a formal and polite expression used to greet someone you are meeting for the first time. We will examine its usage and explore its variations.

무슨 일이야? (Museun Ir-iya?) – “What’s Up?”

This slangy greeting is used among friends to ask what’s happening. We will discuss its informal nature and when it is appropriate to use.

어떻게 지내세요? (Eotteoke Jinaeseyo?) – “How Are You?”

While “Annyeong Haseyo?” can be used to ask how someone is doing, “Eotteoke Jinaeseyo?” is a more direct way to inquire about one’s well-being. We will explore its appropriate usage and cultural implications.

밥 먹었어? (Bab Meogeoss-eo?) – “Did You Eat?”

The phrase “Bab Meogeoss-eo?” is a common way to greet friends in Korea. We will discuss its cultural significance and why it is often used as a greeting.

야! (Ya!) – “Yo!”

“Ya!” is a slangy and informal way to grab the attention of friends. We will explore its usage and discuss its context within Korean society.

잘부탁드립니다 (Jalbutag Deurimnida) – “Please Look After Me”

This phrase is often used as a respectful greeting during introductions. We will delve into its cultural significance and its usage in different contexts.

Mastering the Art of Korean Greetings

In this section, we will dive deeper into the cultural nuances of Korean greetings. Understanding the levels of formality, contextual usage, and cultural etiquette will enhance your ability to navigate greetings effectively.

Practical Tips for Using Korean Greetings

To further enhance your mastery of Korean greetings, we have compiled some practical tips for incorporating greetings into your daily interactions. From learning Hangul for proper pronunciation to practicing with native speakers, these tips will help you confidently use Korean greetings in various settings.


Mastering the art of saying hello in Korean is an essential step in connecting with the Korean culture and people. By understanding the hierarchy of formality, learning common greetings, and familiarizing yourself with cultural nuances, you will be able to navigate greetings with ease. Remember to practice and immerse yourself in the language to become more proficient in Korean greetings. So go ahead, confidently greet others in Korean, and open the doors to new friendships and experiences.ґ


Is there a formal and informal way to say “hello” in Korean?

Yes, in Korean, there are different levels of formality when it comes to greetings. The formal way to say “hello” is “안녕하세요” (Annyeong Haseyo), which is used in more professional or formal settings. The informal way to say “hello” is “안녕” (Annyeong), which is used among close friends and family members.

Are there cultural nuances to consider when greeting someone in Korean?

Yes, there are cultural nuances to be aware of when greeting someone in Korean. Koreans place a strong emphasis on showing respect and hierarchy. The appropriate level of formality is determined by the social status and age of the person you are greeting. It is important to use the correct level of formality based on these factors to show proper respect and avoid any unintended offense.

Can you provide examples of common Korean greetings?

Certainly! Here are some common Korean greetings:

  • “안녕하세요” (Annyeong Haseyo) – Formal way to say “hello.”
  • “안녕” (Annyeong) – Informal way to say “hi” or “hello.”
  • “만나서 반갑습니다” (Mannaseo Bangapseumnida) – Formal way to say “nice to meet you.”
  • “오랜만이에요” (Oraenmanieyo) – Phrase used to greet someone you haven’t seen in a while.
  • “좋은 아침이에요” (Joeun Achimieyo) – Formal way to say “good morning.”
  • “여보세요” (Yeoboseyo) – Greeting used when answering the phone.

How do I pronounce “hello” in Korean?

The pronunciation of “hello” in Korean is as follows:

  • “안녕하세요” (Annyeong Haseyo) – [ahn-nyeong ha-se-yo]
  • “안녕” (Annyeong) – [ahn-nyeong]

Remember to pronounce the double “ㄴ” (n) sound clearly, and the “ㅗ” (o) sound in “안녕” (Annyeong) is pronounced like “oh.”

Are there specific greetings for different times of the day in Korean?

While there is a specific greeting for “good morning” – “좋은 아침이에요” (Joeun Achimieyo), Korean doesn’t have distinct greetings for different times of the day like “good afternoon” or “good evening.” Instead, the general greetings like “안녕하세요” (Annyeong Haseyo) or “안녕” (Annyeong) can be used throughout the day. These greetings are not tied to specific times but can be used in various situations.

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