How to Say I Love You in Korean: An Essential Guide to Survive in Romantic Korea (2023)

How to Say I Love You in Korean: An Essential Guide to Survive in Romantic Korea (1)

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Have you ever gotten the impression that Korean people are very romantic? Your intuition is probably right. If you wish to not only survive but also live your life to the fullest in this romantic country, you must know how to say I Love You in Korean properly.

Unlike in some cultures where it’s extremely rare for people to express affection, Koreans are hardly ever afraid to do it. I Love You is a phrase often heard in those romantic confession scenes of K-dramas.

Even if you haven’t found your Miss/Mr Right, these phrases about how to say I Love You in Korean can also come in handy when expressing your love to family and friends as well. Now get prepared to become romantic in Korean!

How to Say I Love You in Korean: An Essential Guide to Survive in Romantic Korea (2)

Table of Contents

The Basics of How to Say I Love You in Korean

If you have watched Korean drama, you must have heard of this most common way of saying “I Love You” in Korean.

사랑해요. (saranghaeyo.)

I love you.

사랑해요 is taken from the verb love 사랑하다 (saranghada), with informal polite speech and present tense conjugation. Interested in knowing how the verb 사랑하다 become 사랑해요? Check out this article about Korean verb conjugation.

But there is much more to know other than 사랑해요. Read on to learn more!

How to Say I Love You in Korean: An Essential Guide to Survive in Romantic Korea (3)

The Phrase I Love You is Actually Only a Verb “Love”?!

So does this short phrase only consist of a verb? The answer is YES! Don’t be surprised. The fact is that, unlike romantic phrases in many languages, the whole I Love You phrase in Korean actually only requires the verb Love.

If you’ve already learned about Korean sentence structures, you should know that it is sometimes okay to omit the subject and/or object in Korean. As long as the Korean verb is conjugated correctly, it can stand as an independent phrase.

Therefore, in a non-confusing context, a Korean person only needs to say the verb Love in its proper sentence ending form, and the listener can easily interpret it as I Love You.

The full Korean phrase to say I Love You (informal polite) is:

저는 당신을 사랑해요. (jeoneun dangsineul saranghaeyo.)

I love you.

저 (jeo) is the honorific term for “I”, and 당신(dangsin) is the honorific term for “you”. This is a very literal phrase to say I Love You in Korean, because 당신 is not commonly used in spoken Korean.

A more natural expression is to substitute “you” with the listener’s name + honorific suffix 씨:

xx 씨 사랑해요. (xx ssi saranghaeyo.)

I love you, xx.

Or you can include the title with which you call the listener, such as 오빠 or 누나:

오빠/누나 사랑해요. (oppa/nuna saranghaeyo.)

I love you, my significant other.

Here is a guide to the titles for other people with relation to age. 오빠 literally translates to the older brother of a female, and 누나 literally translates to the older sister of a male, but Korean people use these two terms to call their significant others who are older.

How to Say I Love You in Korean: An Essential Guide to Survive in Romantic Korea (4)

How to Say I Love You in Korean: An Essential Guide to Survive in Romantic Korea (5)

The Formation of the Word Love in Korean

Now, let’s take a closer look at the word Love 사랑하다 (saranghada).

The word Love 사랑하다 is a typical -하다(-hada) verb in Korean. Like many other -하다 verbs in Korean, 사랑하다 can be split into two parts 사랑 + 하다.

  • The first part 사랑 is a noun by itself, and it means “love”.
  • The second part 하다 is a versatile verb in Korean. It literally translates to “do” or “have”, and it can be combined with many nouns to turn the word into a verb.

How to Say I Love You in Korean: An Essential Guide to Survive in Romantic Korea (6)

Here are a few more examples of typical -하다 verbs in the form of noun + 하다:

  • 수영하다 (swim) = 수영 (swimming) + 하다 (do)
  • 공부하다 (study) = 공부 (study) + 하다 (do)
  • 준비하다 (prepare) = 준비 (preparation) + 하다 (do)

How to Say I Love You in Korean: An Essential Guide to Survive in Romantic Korea (7)

How to Say I Love You in Korean: An Essential Guide to Survive in Romantic Korea (8)

How to Say I Love You in Korean in Different Ways

Now you are familiar with the Korean verb Love 사랑하다, and learned how to say I Love You in korean in informal polite speech. This section is going to teach you how to say I Love You in korean in different levels of formality and politeness.

How to Say I Love You in Korean: An Essential Guide to Survive in Romantic Korea (9)

How to Say I Love You in Korean: An Essential Guide to Survive in Romantic Korea (10)

How to Say I Love You in Korean in Casual Speech

If you want to express love to someone you’re close to, such as your boyfriend or girlfriend, you can use the casual speech.

In casual speech, you don’t have to use honorific terms 저(jeo) and 당신(dangsin) to say “I” and “you”. The casual words for “I” and “you” are respectively 나(na) and 너(neo).

The full phrase of I Love You in casual speech:

나는 너를 사랑해. (naneun neoreul saranghae.)

I love you.

More often than not, Korean people would omit the subject and object particles, so the phrase would be:

나 너 사랑해. (na neo saranghae.)

I love you.

Or you can substitute “you” with the listener’s name. You don’t need to add 씨 anymore in casual speech, but with 아 or 야 after the name:

xx아/야, 사랑해. (xx-na/ya, saranghae.)

I love you, xx.

You add 아 after the name if it ends with batchim, and 야 if it doesn’t end with batchim.

You may omit the subject “I”:

널 사랑해. (neol saranghae.)

I love you.

널 is the abbreviation of 너 + 를. It is common for people to abbreviate 를 as -ㄹ after a noun or pronoun without batchim in spoken Korean.

The simplest way is still to only keep the verb:

사랑해. (saranghae.)

I love you.

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☝️ Click to watch a short video clip of love confession scene from It’s Okay To Not Be Okay (사이코지만 괜찮아)

How to Say I Love You in Korean: An Essential Guide to Survive in Romantic Korea (11)

How to Say I Love You in Korean in Formal Polite Speech

Theoretically, you would use formal polite speech to say I Love You, when you are expressing your love to somebody older or in a higher status, like your grandparents for example.

If you are expressing your love to your significant other, you also need to use formal polite speech if it’s in a formal setting. For example, when you are giving a speech at the wedding.

However, Korean people rarely use formal polite speech to say I Love You, even though the listener is older in real life. The formal polite speech of I Love You may appear more often in writings or lyrics. All the examples listed below are likely to be written language instead of spoken language.

You can formally express the phrase I Love You as:

저는 당신을 사랑합니다. (jeoneun dangsineul saranghamnida)

I love you.

Or you can substitute “you” with the addressee’s name + honorific 씨:

저는 xx 씨를 사랑합니다. (jeoneun xx ssireul saranghamnida.)

I love you, xx.

You may omit the subject “I”:

당신을 사랑합니다. (dangsineul saranghamnida.)

I love you.

Or substitute “you” with the addressee’s name + honorific 씨:

xx 씨를 사랑합니다. (xx ssireul saranghamnida.)

I love you, xx.

You may only keep the verb:

사랑합니다. (saranghamnida)

I love you.

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A post shared by 🇰🇷 KOREAN DRAMAS (한국 드라마) 🇰🇷 (@k.dramas_) on

☝️ Swipe left to watch a short video clip of love confession scene from Itaewon Class (이태원 클라쓰)

To learn more phrases from K-dramas, watch our Webinar with Hyeon!


How to Say I Love You in Korean: An Essential Guide to Survive in Romantic Korea (12)

How to Say I Love You in Korean with Bonus

Now you’ve learned how to say I Love You in Korean in the three most common speech levels. It’s time to level up the game and learn some phrases to say I Love You with bonus by adding modifiers or confessing your love with rhetorics.

How to Say I Love You in Korean: An Essential Guide to Survive in Romantic Korea (13)

How to Say I Love You Very Much in Korean

First, let’s look at the ways of saying I Love You Very Much.

This can be done by simply adding the degree modifier 너무(neomu) or 많이 (mani), both meaning very much, a lot before the verb:

너무 사랑해요. (neomu saranghaeyo.)

I love you very much.

많이 사랑해요. (mani saranghaeyo.)

I love you a lot.

Or you can express how much you’re in love with the other person in more rhetorical ways:

xx 씨 없이 못 살아요. (xx ssi eobsi mot sarayo.)

I can’t live with you.

xx 씨밖에 없어요. (dangsinbage eobseoyo.)

There’s nobody like you.

xx한테 첫눈에 반했어요. (xx-hante cheotnune banhaeseoyo.)

I fell in love with you at first sight.

저 xx한테 완전히 빠졌어요. (jeo xx-hante wanjeonhi ppajyeoseoyo.)

I’m crazy about you.

The names of the listener (+ 씨) can be substituted with their titles, such as 오빠 or 누나.

How to Say I Love You in Korean: An Essential Guide to Survive in Romantic Korea (14)

Other Indirect Ways to Say I Love You in Korean

Besides saying I Love You directly, you can also express your feelings to the other person in indirect ways.

You can ask if s/he would like to go out with you:

저랑 사귈래요? (jeorang sagwilraeyo?)

Would you go out with me?

You can tell the other person that you want to be with him/her:

같이 있고 싶어요. (gachi itgo sipeoyo.)

I want to be with you.

If s/he is not by your side, you can tell him/her that you miss him/her via phone or text:

보고 싶어요. (bogo sipeoyo.)

I miss you.

You can tell the girl you love that she’s pretty or even beautiful:

예뻐요. (yeppeoyo.)

You’re pretty.

아름다워요. (areumdawoyo.)

You’re beautiful.

You can tell the boy you love that he’s handsome:

잘 생겼어요. (jal saenggyeoseoyo.)

You’re handsome.

멋있어요.

You’re looking good.

How to Say I Love You in Korean: An Essential Guide to Survive in Romantic Korea (15)

How to Respond to I Love You in Korean

If you don’t have anybody to confess your love to, it would be useful for you to learn how to respond to I Love You, if you receive a confession. When you receive a love message, obviously, you have two choices: to accept or to reject.

If you also love the other person, then you can say:

저도 사랑해요. (jeodo saranghaeyo.)

I love you too.

With accepting the love, you can suggest that you two start dating:

우리 사겨요. (wuri sagyeoyo.)

Let’s date.

If you don’t love the other person, then you can reject directly by saying that you don’t love him/her:

사랑하지 않아요. (saranghaji anayo.)

I don’t love you.

제 스타일 아니세요.

You’re not my type.

You can also reject by suggesting that you should just be friends:

우리 친구로 지내요. (wuri chinguro jinaeyo.)

Let’s be friends.

How to Say I Love You in Korean: An Essential Guide to Survive in Romantic Korea (16)

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FAQs

How to Say I Love You in Korean: An Essential Guide to Survive in Romantic Korea? ›

사랑해요. (saranghaeyo.) I love you. 사랑해요 is taken from the verb love 사랑하다 (saranghada), with informal polite speech and present tense conjugation.

What is the Korean word for romantic love? ›

The Korean word for love is 사랑 (sarang). This is why when you say “I love you” to someone, you'll say 사랑해요 (saranghaeyo) or 나는 너를 사랑해 (naneun neoreul saranghae).

When Koreans say I love you? ›

Now, the informal (and most common) way to say “I love you” in the Korean language is 사랑해 (saranghae). 사랑해 (saranghae) is used between couples, and sometimes even close friends. So if you're already in a relationship, this is the phrase you'd use.

What does Neomu saranghae mean? ›

“I love you very much* – 너무 사랑해요 (neomu saranghaeyo) “I love you a lot” – 많이 사랑해요 (mani saranghaeyo)

What do Koreans call their girlfriends? ›

Yeojachingu

How do Koreans flirt? ›

Flirting in Korean culture is pretty much like what you see in Korean dramas. They use romantic, sweet, and cute phrases to touch the heart of the person they like. Aside from romantic phrases, they also flirt by acting cute, called aegyo (애교).

Do Koreans say I love you quickly? ›

“I love you” in Korean is “사랑해 (saranghae)”. They also use “알러뷰” or “알라뷰”, which literally says “I love you” in Korean pronunciation. You might be surprised, but Koreans say “I love you” pretty quickly. If you're not ready to say that, you can always say “좋아해 (joahae)” or “I like you”.

How does BTS say I love you in Korean? ›

This is the most commonly heard love related sentence in Korean, saranghaeyo! If you want to get a bit more specific about your love for BTS, you could say “BTS 당신들을 사랑해요”.

What is the strongest way to say I love you? ›

How to Say “I Love You”
  • I love you to the moon and back again.
  • We fit together like puzzle pieces.
  • You are the best thing that has ever happened to me.
  • You complete me.
  • I can't believe you're mine.
  • You are a beautiful person inside and out.
  • I am here for you… always.
  • I'm yours.
Feb 9, 2014

What is Babe in Korean slang? ›

3. Aegiya – “Baby” / “Babe” If calling someone “sweetheart” or “lover” sounds a little old-fashioned, you can use aegi or aegiya to call someone “baby” or “babe.” This Korean term of endearment suggests an intimate and less formal relationship when referring to your significant other.

How do Koreans express love? ›

Holding hands, giving a peck, or even a kiss is a usual sight. In many ways, the level of PDA acceptable in South Korea may surprise you. Korean couples are eager to express their affection toward each other in public than people in Europe or even American cultures.

What is honey in Korean love? ›

1. Jagiya (자기야) – “Honey” or “Baby” Perhaps the most popular of the Korean terms of love between couples, it means “honey,” “darling,” or “baby,” which you'll often hear among couples in K-dramas. You can also just shorten it to 자기 (jagi).

Does saranghae mean I love you? ›

“Saranghae” (사랑해) means “I love you“. You can also find it in its more formal form “saranghaeyo” (사랑해요), but it's not used as often since you usually drop the formalities when talking to your loved one.

What saranghaeyo means? ›

사랑해요 (saranghaeyo) is the standard form of saying “I love you in Korean. The dictionary form of the verb “to love” is 사랑하다 (saranghada). A “hada” verb has a regular conjugation, so it should be easy to use in different situations. In the present tense, it becomes 사랑해요 (saranghaeyo).

What do you call a pretty Korean girl? ›

If you want to say 'beautiful' as in 'the beautiful lady' then you should say 아름다운 (areumdaun) or 예쁜 (yeppeun) Example: 아름다운 꽃 (areumdaun kkot) – beautiful flowers. 예쁜 여자 (yeppeun yeoja) – pretty woman.

What do Korean wives call their husbands? ›

the korean word “yeobo”(여보) is used to call the spouse. The korean word “Jagiya”(자기야) is used to call the lover.

What is a Sunbae? ›

sunbae (plural sunbaes) An upperclassman or senior, in the context of South Korea. quotations ▼ (South Korean idol fandom) An older or more experienced idol, viewed as a veteran, mentor, or predecessor. quotations ▼

What is cute in Korean slang? ›

“Cute” in Korean is 귀엽다 (gwiyeopda). That's its dictionary form, so it actually means “to be cute.” What is this? 귀엽다 (gwiyeopda) is perfectly fine to say to yourself, or in exclamation about something cute you see — like a cute puppy!

What is BAE called in Korean? ›

bae = volume_up 중요한 다른 한 사람

What is Korean slang for BF? ›

The word for “boyfriend” in Korean is 남자친구 (namjachingu). This is pretty easy to learn.

Is it OK to kiss in Korea? ›

Kissing in public is looked down upon and seen as highly immodest among older individuals in South Korea. This has become less taboo with the current generation of young adults, but is still widely discouraged by elders. Dressing well is important in South Korea; it is considered a sign of respect.

Is kissing a big deal in South Korea? ›

PDA in Korea

In South Korea, passionate kisses and lingering hugs are considered tacky and inappropriate when they occur in public. Rather, they're seen as special, romantic moments that should be shared with your partner in a private setting.

What happens when you marry a Korean? ›

Naturalization is the process by which a foreign national married to a Korean national acquires Korean citizenship. Once married and on a F£²-1 (Joining Family) visa, the foreign national is granted a period of sojourn between three to six months.

Do Koreans kiss on the first date? ›

In Korea, it's not normal to hold hands or kiss on a first date. A guy may want to hold hands, but kissing on the first date is a big NO. In Korea, it's frowned upon to kiss in public.

Why do Korean couples sleep in different beds? ›

According to Dr. Seockhoon Chung, MD, PhD, and Dr. Hoyoung An, MD, who write in Sleep Medicine Research, Korea's tradition of co-sleeping stems from not only its parenting philosophies, which prioritize family care over individual privacy but also its home design and architecture.

How do you know if Korean guy likes you? ›

Being playful: Korean guys might tease their crush or playfully banter with them in order to show their interest. Being attentive: Korean guys might pay close attention to their crush, offering them drinks or asking about their day in an effort to show interest. He will be texting you on a regular basis, every day.

How do you say I love you in V? ›

Saying “I love you” to your partner in Vietnamese

So to say ”I love you” in Vietnamese: If you're the gentleman, you will say anh yêu em to the lady. If you're the lady, you will say em yêu anh to the man.

Can I just tell you I like you in Korean? ›

저는 당신을 좋아해요 (jeoneun dangsineul joahaeyo)

You can also say 저는 당신을 좋아해요 (jeoneun dangsineul joahaeyo) to say “I like you” in Korean.

Why is BTS called army? ›

ARMY is the military while BTS is the armour, which is a metaphor for how the K-pop band and its fans stick together. As per the famous website USBTSARMY.com, the fandom name “ARMY” also has to do with the meaning of BTS' full name, “Bangtan Sonyeondan,” which translates to “Bulletproof Boyscouts” in English.

What is deeper than love? ›

Being enamored of something or with someone goes far beyond liking them, and it's even more flowery than love. Enamored means smitten with, or totally infatuated. Someone enamored with another will perhaps even swoon.

What is bigger than I love you? ›

I am committed to you" Love can be fleeting, so making a commitment shows your love is something stronger than an emotion. Commitment is choosing to stick with someone in spite of feelings or circumstances and transcends love.

What does Oppa mean in English? ›

Etymology. Borrowed from Korean 오빠 (oppa, “elder brother or close elder male friend (of a female)”).

What does Bubu mean in relationship Korean? ›

부부 • (bubu) (hanja 夫婦) couple, husband and wife; marital.

Do Koreans wear wedding rings? ›

Modern Korean couples often exchange jewellery early on in relationships, with promise rings and couple rings given prior to any engagement. These tend to be fairly simple rings without expensive stones or too much embellishment. The 100-day mark is when many couples decide to get a ring.

Do Koreans confess their love? ›

For Koreans, confessing their love to a crush is deemed a crucial step for a romantic relationship to begin. Only when one party makes the confession, the so-called “some” stage ends and the two become a couple.

How do you call darling in Korea? ›

And if you feel love, then you can use “여보 – yeobo” (honey) or “자기야 – Jagiya” (darling).

What does Yebo mean in Korean? ›

여보 • (yeobo) (my) darling, honey, sweetheart.

What is the meaning of saranghae 💜 in English? ›

Saranghae (사랑해) is a Korean word that means I love you in English.

What is oppa saranghae? ›

Literal meaning. "Oppa,I Love You !" Hanyu Pinyin.

What is the difference between saranghaeyo and saranghae? ›

사랑해 (saranghae) and 사랑해요 (saranghaeyo) both mean "I love you" Only 사랑해요 (saranghaeyo) is more formal. In korean you have to adress formally to. people older than you, here the ending 요 (yo) makes it more polite.

What is my sarang in Korean? ›

Love 사랑 (sarang) in Korean is more than just saying Korean love words and phrases to each other like 사랑해요 (saranghaeyo).

How do you say no in Korean politely? ›

아니요 (Aniyo)

This is the standard way of saying no in Korean. That is why you can use this in most situations. It is not too formal and not too informal, but it is still polite.

Is it salang or sarang? ›

Is it salang or sarang? It's both, the hangul character ㄹ is an r and an l.

What is Bora Hae in Korean? ›

"Borahae" is a newly coined term that began at a BTS fan meeting on November 13, 2016, when BTS member V (Kim Taehyung) said, "Borahae means to trust the other person until the end and love each other for a long time like purple, the last colour of a rainbow.

What is Sarang Hae in Korean? ›

The phrase for 'I love you' in Korean is: 사랑해 (saranghae).

What does Sarang mean in Korean? ›

Unlike most Korean names, which are composed of two Sino-Korean roots each written with one hanja, "Sarang" is an indigenous Korean name: a single word meaning "love".

What is dap dap hae in Korean? ›

Pronunciation: dap-dap-ha-da. This word is used both for its literal meaning – to describe a stuffy room or a need for fresh air – and in a more metaphorical sense.

What does Bo Ra mean in Korean? ›

Bora is a Korean feminine given name. Unlike most Korean given names, which are composed of two single-syllable Sino-Korean morphemes each written with one hanja, Bora is an indigenous Korean name (고유어 이름): a single two-syllable word meaning "purple".

What does purple mean to BTS? ›

Taehyung, whose stage name is V, explained the color purple was a hue of love. "Do you know what purple means? Purple is the last color of the rainbow. Purple means I will trust and love you for a long time, "I just made it up," he said.

What is the name of kiss in Korean? ›

You can say “kiss” in Korean as 키스 (khiseu).

What is opposite of oppa? ›

Nuna is the opposite of oppa. While oppa is used exclusively by females when addressing older males, nuna is used exclusively by males when addressing older females. You may also see 누나 spelled as “Nuna.” Nuna is used in place of a person's name.

What means bae in Korean? ›

The name Bae is primarily a male name of Korean origin that means Inspired.

What does Bae Bae mean in Korean? ›

"Bae Bae" is a slang term in Korean that is used as an affectionate term for a significant other.

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