Imagine yourself immersed in the vibrant world of Korean culture, singing along to K-pop songs or engrossed in thrilling K-dramas. To fully embrace these experiences, learning how to say “yes” in Korean is a fundamental skill. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the various ways to express agreement in Korean, from formal to informal, while sprinkling in essential keywords to elevate your language prowess.

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Formal “Yes” – Politeness in Words

In formal situations, the Korean word for “yes” is “예” (ye). The pronunciation is akin to the English word “yeah,” but slightly shorter. This respectful form is used to exhibit courtesy and is perfect for professional settings or conversations with elders.


-미국사람입니까? (miguksaramimnikka) Are you American?

-예, 미국사람입니다. (ye, miguksaramimnida) Yes, I am American.

Standard “Yes” – Universally Accepted

“네” (ne) is the standard and versatile way of saying “yes” in Korean. This word can be employed in any situation without worrying about causing offense. You can use it while conversing with friends, colleagues, or strangers.


-김치를 좋아하세요? (gimchireul joahaseyo) Do you like kimchi?

-네, 좋아해요. (ne, joahaeyo) Yes, I like kimchi.

Informal “Yes” – Embracing Informality

For informal settings or when speaking to friends or those lower in social hierarchy, you have the option to use “응” (eung) or “어” (eo) interchangeably.


-나 예뻐? (na yeppeo) Am I pretty?

-어, 너무 예뻐! (eo, neomu yeppeo) Yes, very pretty.

Other Ways to Say “Yes” in Korean

Korean language has a unique aspect when expressing agreement. Instead of using a simple “yes” or “no,” Koreans often respond using the verb from the question itself.

있어요 (isseoyo) / 없어요 (eopseoyo)

The verbs “있어요” (isseoyo) and “없어요” (eopseoyo) respectively mean “to have or exist” and “to not have or not exist.” They are employed to affirm or deny the presence of something.


-포인트 카드 있어요? (pointeu kadeu isseoyo) Do you have a point card?

-있어요 (isseoyo) Yes, I do [literally – it exists] B2: 없어요 (eopseoyo) No, I don’t [literally – it doesn’t exist]

알아요 (arayo) / 몰라요 (mollayo)

The verbs “알아요” (arayo) and “몰라요” (mollayo) mean “to know” and “to not know” respectively. They are employed when someone asks if you possess certain information.


-스티브의 휴대폰번호를 알아요? (seutibeuui hyudaeponbeonhoreul arayo) Do you know Steve’s cell phone number?

-알아요 (arayo) Yes, I do [literally – I know] B2: 몰라요 (mollayo) No, I don’t [literally – I don’t know]

Learning how to say “yes” in Korean is not just about mastering words; it’s about embracing the essence of Korean communication. By understanding the various ways to express agreement, you’ll confidently navigate conversations with native speakers and gain a deeper appreciation for Korean culture. So, let’s say “네” (ne) to this exciting journey of language exploration and unlock a world of thrilling experiences!


Is there a free resource available for learning how to say “yes” in Korean?

Yes, there are free resources available online that can help you learn how to say “yes” in Korean. You can find websites, blogs, and YouTube channels dedicated to teaching basic Korean expressions, including how to say “yes” in different situations.

What are the different ways to say “yes” in Korean based on politeness levels?

In Korean, there are three main ways to say “yes,” depending on the level of politeness you want to convey. The formal way is “예” (ye), the standard way is “네” (ne), and the informal way is “응” (eung) or “어” (eo). The choice of which one to use depends on the social context and the relationship between the speakers.

How does the Korean language differ from English in expressing agreement?

The Korean language differs from English in expressing agreement because, in many cases, Koreans use a verb instead of a simple “yes” or “no” response. In Korean, you would use the positive form of a verb to say “yes” or the negative form to say “no” in response to a question. This is different from English, where we often use the words “yes” or “no” directly.

How can I progress beyond vocabulary learning and have conversations in Korean?

To progress beyond vocabulary learning and have conversations in Korean, it’s essential to practice speaking with native speakers or language partners. Engaging in real-life conversations will help you improve your listening and speaking skills and gain confidence in using the language. Additionally, you can join language exchange groups, take part in language courses, or use language learning apps that offer speaking practice features to enhance your conversational abilities.


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