Level 1 Korean Grammar

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Hello. Thank you. / 안녕하세요. 감사합니다.


Yes. No. What? / 네. 아니요. 네?


Good-bye. See you. / 안녕히 가세요. 안녕히 계세요. 안녕.


I’m sorry. Excuse me. / 죄송합니다. 저기요.


It’s me. What is it? / 저예요. 뭐예요?


What is this? This is ... / 이거 뭐예요? 이거...


This, That, It / 이, 그, 저


It’s NOT me. / 아니에요.


Particles for Topic and Subject / 은, 는, 이, 가


have, don’t have, there is, there isn’t / 있어요, 없어요


Please give me. / 주세요.


It’s delicious. Thank you for the food. / 맛있어요. 잘 먹겠습니다. 잘 먹었습니다.


I want to ... / -고 싶어요


What do you want to do? / 뭐 하고 싶어요?


Sino-Korean Numbers / 일, 이, 삼, 사


Basic Present Tense / -아요, -어요, -여요


Past Tense / -았/었/였어요 (했어요)


Particles for Location / 에, 에서


When / 언제


Native Korean numbers / 하나, 둘, 셋, 넷


Negative Sentences / 안, -지 않다


하다 verbs


Who? / 누구?


Why? How? / 왜? 어떻게?


From A To B, From C Until D / -에서/부터 -까지


Test Your Korean – Level 1 Dialogue in 100% Korean

I’m sorry. Excuse me. / 죄송합니다. 저기요.

After listening to this lesson, you can say “I’m sorry.” or “Excuse me.” in Korean. You will also learn how to say “Excuse me. Let me pass.” when you have to walk through a crowd of people.

After studying with this lesson, you will be able to say “I am sorry” or “I apologize” in Korean. You will also be able to get someone’s attention when you want to say something to them or order something in a restaurant.

죄송합니다. [ joe-song-ham-ni-da] 

Do you remember how to say “Thank you” in Korean? It is 감사합니다. [gam-sa-ham-ni-da]

If you also remember that 감사합니다 is basically 감사 (“appreciation” or “thankfulness”) plus 합니다 (“I do”), you can assume that 죄송합니다 is also 죄송 plus 합니다.

죄송 [ joe-song] means “apology”, “being sorry” or “feeling ashamed”, and 합니다 [ham-nida] means “I do”, so 죄송합니다 [ joe-song-ham-ni-da] means “I am sorry.” or “I apologize.”

Q: Why is “합니다” not pronounced as [hap-ni-da] and pronounced as [ham-ni-da]?

A: In Korean, when you say something like “합”, you don’t pronounce the ending letter independently, but as a part of the entire syllable. Therefore, instead of pronouncing 합 as “ha” plus “p”, you have to have your mouth closed after 합, without pronouncing the independent “peu” sound. And since the letter that comes after 합 is 니, you have no vowel to use with ㅂ to make a clear “b” or “p” sound. Right after you say 합, your mouth is closed and if you say 니 next, the ㅂ sounds is softened to a ㅁ sound. 

“I’m sorry.” is NOT always 죄송합니다. 

Even though 죄송합니다 [ joe-song-ham-ni-da] is BASICALLY “I’m sorry”, you can’t use 죄송합니다 when you want to say “I am sorry to hear that.” Many Korean people actually get confused when they talk about some bad news to their English-speaking friends and hear “I’m sorry” from them. If you say “I’m sorry.” after you hear a piece of bad news from your Korean friend, he or she might say “Why are YOU apologizing for that?” to you. This is because 죄송합니다 ONLY means “I apologize.”, “It was my bad.”, “Excuse me.” or “I shouldn’t have done that.” It can never mean “I’m sorry to hear that.” 

Usually, when you talk to a stranger, you have to get their attention first, or when you want to order something in a restaurant, in English you can say “Excuse me.” And the waiter or the waitress will come to you, and the stranger that you just tapped on the shoulder will turn around and say “What is it?”. But you can’t say “죄송합니다” in these situations. You need to say “저기요.”

저기요. [ jeo-gi-yo]

저기[jeo-gi] literally means “over there”, so “저기요” means “Hey, you! Over there! Look at me!” but in a little more polite way. You can say “저기요” when someone is not looking at you but you need their attention. It is exactly the same as “Excuse me” except “저기요” does not mean “I’m sorry”. 

In English, you can use the expression “Excuse me.” in all of the following situations.

1) when you are passing through a crowd of people
2) when you are leaving the room for a second
3) when you want to get someone’s attention and talk to them or let them know something
4) when you want to call the waiter in a restaurant or a cafe to order something

저기요 [jeo-gi-yo] is an expression that can be translated to “Excuse me” but this Korean expression, 저기요 is ONLY used for situation number 3 and 4 above.

There are some more expressions you can use when you want to pass through a crowd of people. 

1. 잠시만요. [ jam-si-man-yo] (literal meaning: “Just a second.”)
2. 죄송합니다. [ joe-song-ham-ni-da] (literal meaning: “I am sorry.”)
3. 잠깐만요. [ jam-kkan-man-yo] (literal meaning: “Just a second.”)
(Yes, “jamsimanyo” and “jamkkanmanyo” are the same thing.)

These are the most commonly used expressions. You don’t have to memorize them right now, but they are just good to know! 

After listening to this lesson, you can say “I’m sorry.” or “Excuse me.” in Korean. You will also learn how to say “Excuse me. Let me pass.” when you have to walk through a crowd of people.
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