[Ask Hyojin] What’s the difference between 좋아요 & 좋아해요?

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When you like something, you can use both 좋아요 and 좋아해요.

But the fundamental difference is that 좋아요 originally means that “something is good or likable” whereas 좋아해요 means that “YOU like it” – So when something sounds good and you like the idea, you can say 좋아요. But when you want to talk about you liking something actively, you can say 좋아해요, meaning that you like it. So for example, if you like a certain K-Pop band, you can say the name of the band and then add 좋아요. It means they are likable and good. If you say 좋아해요, it means you are fond of them and you like them.

Do you have other Korean questions? Leave us comments or tweet us at http://twitter.com/ttmik : )

[Ask Hyojin] What’s the difference between 좋아요 & 좋아해요?
  • I am almost clear on the difference. Would you please explain the difference when referring to food?

    김치 좋아요. = Kimchi is good.

    김치 좋아해요. = I like kimchi.

    • Marina

      When you say “김치 좋아요. = Kimchi is good.” means that is ok. For example, if you want to make a korean dinner and someone ask you if you want to bring some kimchi. You can answer with this, meaning is ok to bring kimchi.

      But when you use “김치 좋아해요. = I like kimchi.” [usually used with 를/을 -object particle] ->김치를 좋아해요., means that you like kimchi. You can question yourself like this:

      #for the first option: What is ok? What is good?

      #for the second option: What do you like? What is the object/person that you like?

      Hope I was helpful^^

    • Trent

      In addition to Marina’s explanation, I’ll add that the difference becomes more clear when your sentence has a specific subject:

      Jesse가 김치를 좋아해요 = Jesse likes kimchi. (Here, 좋아요 would be incorrect)

      좋다 = adjective meaning “to be good”.
      좋아하다 = verb meaning “to like”.

    • Jay, Korean

      Hi Jessie,
      I happened to know this website thanks to my foreign friend learning Korean. Your understanding about the two sentences is basically correct, but we (I’m Korean) often say “(난) 김치 좋아(요)” to say “I like Kimchi” in colloquial speech, so I’m afraid I can’t agree with the idea that “좋다” is always used as “to be good”. I gave some examples to the foreign friend, and he has posted them here. You can refer to them at the bottom of this page. : )

  • rhomz

    …i’d like to learn korean language,can i ask the first thing to do?thank you

  • @rhomz, Hi ! I’m learning korean too. In my opinion, the first thing to do is to learn how to read or write in korean, the hangul is a very simple and effective alphabet.
    Without hangul, you’ll have to rely too much on the romanisation and I think it’s not really good, even from the beginning.

    Anyway, about the lesson. Thanks a lot Hyojin.
    I already knew the difference but I still makes the mistake sometimes.
    The point between “좋다” and “좋아하다” is the subject of the verb, if you are the subject, then you need to use “좋아하다”.
    (저는) 김치(를) 좋아해요.(you’re the subject)
    김치(가) 좋아요.(kimchi is the subject)

  • Rituwaaa

    Am new in learning Korean and I was just wondering, how do u say “and” in Korean ?

    • huang

      there is different ways, for example:
      1. 그리고
      2. 하고
      3. -고 (with this you connect sentences for example)
      4. 와

      if I’m wrong please correct me 😀

    • Anna

      I’m going to add to huang’s list:
      5. 과
      6. 랑

  • 준형

    이 첵을 좋아요 = This book is good.
    이 첵을 좋아해요 = I like this book.

    맞아요? 🙂

    • I think, “This book is good” should be
      이 첵은 좋아요. or…
      이 첵이 좋아요.

      instead of
      이 첵을 좋아요.

      Because in this case, “This book” is the subject, not object. CMIIW 🙂

    • Lylaine

      I believe “book” in Korean is “책” not “첵” =)

    • Lylaine, 고맙습니다. ^ㅅ^ ㄳ ㄳ ㄳ

      I didn’t notice that I wrote 첵 for 책.

      So, it should be
      이 책은 좋아요. or…
      이 책이 좋아요.

      CMIIW again 🙂

  • John Rambo

    Hi all,

    Also, to help our teachers, I would like to point the following difference. When you see something for the first time, you cannot say 좋아해요, which is only used for something you have seen before and are “actively” liking. Teachers, 맞아요?


    Also, I would like to ask a question. If you have verbs made up of a noun and verb, when do you write them as one word and when do you write it separately when it is used in sentences? There are lots of “sthsth하다” verbs. As another example, this is very confusing:
    to dance = 춤추다
    I dance = 춤을 춰요. [[instead of just 춤춰요]]


    • Trent

      Hi John,
      Regarding your final question (춤추다 vs 춤을 춰요), it seems to me that it is just a matter of style whether you use 을 or not. If you can leave it out and the sentence is still clear, most Koreans (and textbooks, too) seem to leave it out. Example:

      밥을먹어요 is just as often written/said as 밥 먹어요.

  • Rigo

    좋아요 !

  • 소녀시대를 좋아해요
    태연 좋아요 ^ㅅ^ ㅋㅋ

    • michaellasone

      저도 좋아해! 태연 is my bias too. 🙂

  • 태권도_마틴_불가리아

    여러분, 안녕하세요~!!! ^ー^ I already have known the differences between these two and you explained them really well, but I had seen one more usage of ‘좋다’, with the meaning of ‘좋아하다’ that can be confusing a little, so I asked my Korean friend to explain it to me and to you. 😀 🙂 This is what she wrote:

    “Thanks for bringing that question up. Actually, I was little disconcerted by the question yesterday because I had never seriously analyzed the difference between 좋다 and 좋아하다 in my life until your question. (hehehehe~) We just use the two naturally, without analyzing.

    Thanks for the link. It was very interesting to read the explanation about the two verbs and related comments from foreigners learning Korean. As I’ve explained to you, the explanation on the website saying that the concepts of the two is different is basically correct, HOWEVER, I found that we use ‘좋다’ to say ‘to like (좋아하다)’ in some cases as the examples I gave yesterday.

    Ex. 1. 나는/난 네가 좋아. -> I cannot think this means “I think you’re good.” I can’t be more sure that 100% native Koreans think this as “I like you!” upon seeing this sentence. (Of course, 난 널 좋아해 is also correct, but ‘난 네가 좋아’ is also as often used as ‘나는/난 너를 좋아해’ )

    Ex. 2. 나는/난 가을이 좋아. -> This is the same. 100% Koreans will take this as “I like fall”. (“난 가을을 좋아해” is also correct.)

    Ex. 3. 나는 터키가 좋아. -> I don’t think this means ‘I think Turkey is good.’ The first thought that came into my head upon seeing this sentence is obviously “I like Turkey”, NOT “I think Turkey is good.”

    As you see these above examples, 좋다 can also be used in order to say “to like”, especially when the subject is the first person. Therefore, I think TTMIK should have added the explanation for those who may understand ‘좋다’ is ALWAYS used differently from ‘좋아하다’.” :))) ^_^

    읽어주셔서 감사합니다~! 안녕히 계세요ㅡ~! ㅅ‿ㅅ

    • Jay, Korean

      Keep up the good work, my dear Martin! ; )

    • “Therefore, I think TTMIK should have added the explanation for those who may understand ‘좋다’ is ALWAYS used differently from ‘좋아하다’.” ”

      Well I think they did explain in some ways, when saying that ‘좋다’ means “something is good or likable”.

      In all your examples, ‘좋다’ actually means that the thing/person who’s the subject is “likable” (and so if it’s likable there’s a high chance that you like it yourself).

      Maybe using ‘좋다’ instead of ‘좋아하다’ is a way of showing your feeling in a less direct and personnaly engaged way than when using ‘좋아하다’ (since you’re not the subject) ?

      I don’t really know, since I’m just learning korean myself ^^

  • Jay, Korean

    안녕하세요, 스페이스 씨! : )

    댓글 감사합니다. 제가 쓴 글과, 예문은 사실이고요, 저 예문에서 “~좋다”는 “~ is likeable”의 의미로 쓰이지 않았어요. 일반 대화에서 한국인들은 “~좋다”를 “~좋아하다”의 의미로 흔히 써요, 주어가 1인칭일때요.

    모든 규칙에는 예외가 있죠. : )

  • Jay, Korean

    추가적으로 설명을 드릴 필요가 있을 것 같아, 댓글을 또 답니다. (전 영어를 잘 못 하기 때문에 한국어로 쓰는 걸 이해해주세요.)

    지금 이 페이지에서 갑론을박이 되고 있는 부분은 ‘좋다’가 ‘좋아하다’의 의미와 같냐, 다르냐라는 부분이고, 스페이스님이 이해하신 건 ‘좋다’는 항상 형용사로만 쓰이고, ‘좋아하다’는 동사로만 쓰여서 사실상 의미가 다르다고 말씀하시고 싶은 것 같은데, 한국인인 저로서는 항상 그런 것만은 아니라는 생각이 듭니다. 모든 한국인들은 위의 마틴이 올린 예문을 보고 저 문장에서 ‘좋다’는 사실상 ‘~ 좋아하다’의 의미를 나타낸다는 걸 쉽게 알 수 있습니다. 만약 저 문장에서 ‘좋다’가 님이 말씀하신대로 단순히 화자의 어떤 대상에 대한 likeable이나 good의 의미로, 즉 단순한 호불호에 대한 표현으로만 쓰였다면, 그건 ‘좋아하다’ 동사의 경우에도 마찬가지 아닐까 싶습니다. ‘좋아하다’라는 동사 역시 어떤 대상에 대해 likeable이나 good이라는 감정을 표현하는 것이니 결국은 같은 맥락인 거죠. 그래서 님의 댓글을 보고 좀 억지라는, 필요 이상 깊이 들어가신 것 같다는 생각이 들었습니다.

    여기서 논의되고 있는 건 ‘좋다’가 ‘좋아하다’의 의미로 쓰이냐는 것인데, 한국인들은 실제로 주어가 1인칭일 경우 ‘좋아하다’ 의미로, ‘좋다’를 빈번히 사용하기 때문에 한국어를 배우는 외국인들이 이런 예외적인 부분에 대해 알아두면 좋을 것 같아 제 친구인 마틴은 제가 준 답변을 올린 것 뿐입니다. 이 친구가 이런 댓글을 올리지 않았다면, 많은 외국인들은 ‘I like fall.’을 말할 때 ‘나는 가을을 좋아해’만이 옳은 표현이라고 생각하게 될 테니까요.

    추신: 혹시 이 댓글을 이해하시는데 조금 어려움이 있으시다면, 주위에서 영어, 한국어를 둘 다 잘 하는 분들께 번역을 부탁드려주세요.

    • 안녕하세요, Jay 씨.
      설명 주셔서 감사합니다 !
      한국어를 아직 잘 몰라서, 내게 너의 댓글 이해가 하는 것은 좀 어려웠어요.
      그래도, 대부분을 이해할 수 있을 것 같아요. ^^
      다시 감사합니다 ^^

      PS: I want to make clear that in my previous comment, I did not intended to say that what you said wasn’t true.
      I know that one word or verb can be used in multiple ways, and I didn’t wanted to contradict your first explanations. I know from my own language (french) that a verb can have a meaning, but be used in another way, which isn’t really the original meaning, but everyone will understand nevertheless. Differents original meanings but same use sometimes.

  • Anya

    TTMIK촣아해요! Hope I use this word right. Thanks for this post and this video, it’s awesome! And very helpful for me. ^.^

  • Solange

    슈퍼주니어 좋아해요!

  • Hey! Now i understand that i’m really happy, because i’m a mexican so, the wall between korean and spanish its a little more big because i have to study in another language (english) that is not my language!!! XD

    And is frecuently that im not understand a little expressions!!! XD


  • An Ugly Truth Relating To Your Beautiful japan Dream

  • Jean

    So, if 좋아요 means that something is good, or likable, than the verb “to be good” would be: 좋다 or 좋아다?

  • 야시

    네 감사합니다 선생님

  • Silejonu

    So, the book I’m studying korean with has a mistake in its title ? It is called “나는 한국어가 좋아요 !”. But it should be called “나는 한국어가 좋아해요 !” (I like korean !) or “한국어가 좋아요 !” (Korean is good !), right ?
    I was explained that “좋다” was to use only for oneself, while “좋아하다” could be used for any person.

  • Heyit’sthatguy

    In the new TTMIK lesson they make it clear that 좋다 can also mean like. So this video is old and inaccurate.