How to say I love you in Korean

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

Have you ever gotten the impression that Korean people are very romantic? Your intuition is probably right. To survive and enjoy your love life in this romantic country, you need to learn how to say I Love You in Korean appropriately

Unlike in some cultures where it’s extremely rare for people to express love directly, Korean lovers are never afraid to do it. I Love You is a phrase often heard in the romantic confession scenes of fantastic K-dramas. To learn more phrases from K-dramas, watch our Webinar with Hyeon!

Even if you don’t have a significant other yet, these phrases about how to say I Love You in Korean can also come in handy for expressing your love to family and friends. 

The Basics of How to Say I Love You in Korean

First, let’s learn the 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. Here is a complete guide to Korean verbs and conjugations

☝️ Swipe left to watch a short video clip of love confession scene from Dinner Mate (저녁같이 드실래요?)

The Word Love Is the Phrase I Love You ?!

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

short & full phrase of how to say i love you in korean

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: formation of 사랑하다

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 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: i love you in 3 korean speech levels

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 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 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 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.  

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. 

 

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

☝️ Swipe left to watch a short video clip of a love confession scene from Dinner Mate (저녁같이 드실래요?)

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: how to respond to i love you in korean

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Reatchel
Reatchel
1 month ago

I kind of lost track with my Korean lessons and this article helped me and its giving me the motivation to continue learning Korean!!!!💜 사랑해요

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