[Ask Hyojin] How to address your friends in Korean

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Want to sound more fluent in Korean? The trick is, if you know how to address people properly, your Korean will sound not only much more fluent but also more polite as well than just calling or addressing people by their names.

In this episode of Ask Hyojin, Hyunwoo and Hyojin explain how to address people in Korean.

Since there are many different ways to address people depending on the age difference between you and them, their gender, and/or how close you two are, we separated this video into two parts. In the first part, we are going to explain how to address your friends or someone you know in Korean. In the second part of the video, we will be introducing some terms that you can use to address strangers.

Click on the link below to see the second video about how to address strangers in Korean!

If you have any questions that you’d like Hyojin to answer in the next episode, leave them in the comment below! You can also browse through and watch all the episodes of Ask Hyojin here!

[Ask Hyojin] How to address your friends in Korean
  • 라넬

    효진 씨 is there a fastfood drive-thru chain in korea? Ive been here in korea for 6 months and i have yet to see one.감사합니다.

    • Yes, we do. Not so many but I’ve seen some McDonalds Drive-thru 🙂

  • Janine K

    효진 선생님 ~ ^^
    I’m curious – at what age do you stop using the terms 오빠, 누나, 언니, and 형 when you address someone older? After university? Or maybe after 30 years old? I’m 43 years old, and it feels a little silly to call someone 오빠 at this point – is that right? I’m safer with -씨 for older people now, I think. 🙂 And although some of my Korean female friends call me 언니 (which I love), none of the guys call me 누나. 🙂
    Thank you for the lesson!
    좋은 하루 보내세요!! ^^

    • There’s no set number of age for it. People try to not use it to people who they’ve just met, especially once they start working. By using – 씨, it also implies that no matter what age you are, and how older/younger you are to me, I will treat you as the same person as me. (Although, of course, there can be still different ways to treat people depending on the age difference even when two people use – 씨). And once they get closer maybe two people who used to use – 씨 change their ‘addressing terms’ to 오빠/누나/언니/형. But it also is depending on the person. Some people stay using – 씨 even though though are pretty close (I have a couple of friends and one of them is even the same age as me and we met back in university, but who still I use – 씨 to. Not VERY common though.) especially if you met through work or still working together. But yeah, using 오빠/언니/누나/형 can be applied to all age. My mom calls her close friends who are older than her 언니, and my dad calls his friends who are older than him 형. It’s just that the older you get, the more you tend to start calling someone who you’ve first met – 씨 and if you change the term or not is all depending on how close you get, or how you two decide.

    • Janine K

      효진 선생님~
      설명해 주셔서 감사합니다!!! ^^

  • 라넬

    효진 씨, where is the exact location of that McDonalds drive-thru? 궁굼해요.. 한국에서 식당이 많아서 그래요. 대답해 주셔서 정말 감사합니다.

  • Lily

    Hi 🙂
    Thanks for the video!
    I just have a question: what is the age difference “needed” to call someone 오빠, 언니, and so on? I mean… for example, should I use these terms for someone who is just a few months older than me? Or for someone who is one year older? What I mean is… from what age difference is someone considered as “older” than somebody else?
    Thank you! Have a nice day!

    • Macaroon

      I read somewhere that if you were born in the same year, you don’t have to use honorifics. So Korean’s age is based on the calendar.
      For example, if you were born in the year 2000, and you have a friend who was born in 1999, you use informal honorifics, such as adding 요 (yo) when you talk. But if your friend was born in the same year as you, you don’t have to add the informal honorifics.

      P.S. I know this reply is really late, but hey, better late than never.

  • 데릭

    Hello hyojin nuna… I want to learn korean language but I don’t know which video to start with..? ㅠ.ㅠ

  • Angelique

    I’m curious to know: a friend of mine is half Korean via her mother. If I were to speak to her mother in Korean what would be the correct term for me to use? Would I call her Jung Sshi? Or (I believe she’s 53) would I just call her Ajuma? When I speak with her in English I normally avoid using her name and often just say ‘mom’ to get her attention (I’m uncomfortable using the first name of someone that much older then me [unless meeting circumstances dictate otherwise] and calling her Ms. Jung feels too polite as I’ve known her for somewhere between 5 and 7 years now). Thank you for the help!

    • It will be good for you to call her “아주머니” or “어머니”. We also often call friend’s mother as “mother” in Korean.

  • 제니퍼

    What if I wanna address a Korean guy friend but he is at the same age with me? So should I just directly call his name ?