Three Words, Infinite Emotions: A Guide to “I Love You” in Korean for Beginners
If you’ve ever wondered about the saranghae meaning in English, you must be a really romantic person. Why, you might ask? Well, because this phrase is the most popular way to say I love you in Korean. But, of course, it is not the only one! In today’s article, you’ll explore the most common Korean romantic phrases and words to show affection to your significant other. So buckle up, and let’s dive right into it!
How Do You Say I Love You in Korean: 3 Main Phrases
When you want to say “love” in Korean, you use the word 사랑 (sarang) [sɑɾɑŋ]. Therefore, to say “I love you,” you must add different particles to this term to create a new phrase. By choosing the appropriate particle, you can convey love in various levels of formality. Here are three different ways of saying I love you in Korean:
- 사랑해 (Saranghae) – [salaŋhɛ].
Saranghae Korean meaning is simple – it is the most common and versatile way of saying “I love you.” It is suitable for romantic relationships, family, friends, and anyone you care about. For example:
난 너를 사랑해. (Nan neo-reul sa-rang-hae) – I love you.
엄마, 사랑해. (Eom-ma, sa-rang-hae) – Mom, I love you.
사랑해, 친구야. (Sa-rang-hae, chin-gu-ya) – I love you, my friend.
- 사랑합니다 (Saranghamnida) – [salaŋhapnita].
This is a polite and formal way to say “I love you,” typically used when expressing love to someone with whom you want to maintain a high level of respect. It conveys love in a more formal and polite manner, making it also suitable for serious and respectful situations. For example:
나는 너를 사랑합니다. (Na-neun neo-reul sa-rang-ham-ni-da.) – I love you.
할머니, 사랑합니다. (Hal-meo-ni, sa-rang-ham-ni-da.) – Grandmother, I love you.
사랑합니다, 사랑하는 사람. (Sa-rang-ham-ni-da, sa-rang-ha-neun sa-ram.) – I love you, my love.
- 사랑해요 (Saranghaeyo) – [salaŋhɛjo].
The last phrase on our list is a polite and formal way to say I love you in the Korean language. It is often used in romantic relationships or when expressing love to someone with whom you want to maintain a respectful tone. It’s more polite compared to 사랑해 (Saranghae) but less formal than 사랑합니다 (Saranghamnida). For example:
나는 너를 사랑해요. (Na-neun neo-reul sa-rang-hae-yo.) – I love you.
아빠, 사랑해요. (A-ppa, sa-rang-hae-yo.) – Dad, I love you.
사랑해요, 여보. (Sa-rang-hae-yo, yeo-bo.) – I love you, honey.
I Love You in Korean: Related Expressions
Of course, the language of love goes beyond the three main words we all know. There are many phrases you can use to show affection, respond to someone sharing their feelings, or express romantic interests. Below, you can see some common Korean romantic sayings.
- 나는 너를 친구 이상으로 생각해 (Na-neun neo-reul chin-gu i-sang-eu-ro saeng-gak-hae) – [nanɨn nʌlɨl tʃʰinku isaŋɨlo sɛŋkakhɛ]. – I think of you as more than a friend.
- 좋아해요 (Jo-a-hae-yo) – [tʃohahɛjo]. – I like you, or I have affection for you.
- 나도 사랑해 (Na-do sa-rang-hae) – [nato salaŋhɛ]. – I love you, too.
- 당신 없인 못 살아 (Dang-sin eob-sin mos sar-a) – [aŋsin ʌpsin mos sala]. – I can’t live without you.
- 당신은 나에게 무척 소중해요 (Dangsineun na-ege mucheok sojung-haeyo) – [taŋsinɨn naeke mutʃʰʌk sotʃuŋhɛjo]. – You are very precious to me.
Terms of Endearment
Another way to add more romance to your conversation is by using cute and lovely terms of endearment. There are many examples of such words in Korean. Let’s explore some of the most popular ones.
- 달콤한 (Dalkomhan) – [tɑlkʰomɑn] – Sweet.
It is appropriate to use this term with someone you have a close and affectionate relationship with, such as a significant other or a close friend. For example:
달콤한 친구야. (Dalkomhan chin-gu-ya) – You’re a sweet friend.
오늘도 달콤한 너와 함께해서 행복해. (O-neul-do dalkomhan neo-wa ham-gge-hae-seo haeng-bok-hae) – I’m happy to be with you, my sweet, even today.
- 자기야 (Jagi-ya) – [tɕɑɡija] – Honey.
It is an affectionate term used to address someone you love or care about, similar to “honey” or “baby” in English. For example:
자기야, 나랑 데이트 가자. (Jagi-ya, na-rang de-i-teu ga-ja.) – Honey, let’s go on a date.
자기야, 사랑해. (Jagi-ya, sa-rang-hae.) – Honey, I love you.
- 애기 (Aegi) – [ɛɡi] – Baby, little one.
This term is often used by parents to address their children, but it can also be used between romantic partners to express affection. For example:
애기, 어서 잘 자. (Aegi, eo-seo jal-ja.) – Baby, sleep well.
애기야, 괜찮아. (Aegi-ya, gwaen-chan-a.) – It’s okay, baby.
- 내꺼 (Nae-kkeo) – [nɛk*ʌ] – Mine.
This term translates to “mine” in English and is used to indicate possessiveness or endearment. It is mostly suitable for romantic relationships and couples. For example:
너는 내꺼야. (Neo-neun nae-kkeo-ya.) – You are mine.
그녀는 내 꺼야. (Geunyeoneun nae-kke-oya) – She is mine.
- 여보 (Yeo-bo) – [jʌbo] – Honey, dear.
The last word in our list is also commonly used to address one’s spouse or partner. It is primarily utilized within romantic relationships, typically between married couples or serious partners. For example:
여보, 기념일을 잊지 말았어요. (Yeo-bo, gi-nyeom-il-eul ij-ji mal-at-seo-yo.) – Dear, I didn’t forget our anniversary.
여보, 너와 함께 시간 보내는 게 행복해. (Yeo-bo, neo-wa ham-gge si-gan bo-na-neun ge haeng-bok-hae.) – Honey, spending time with you makes me happy.
Romantic Korean Holidays and Traditions
In addition to different ways to say I love you in Korean, there are also numerous occasions to express such feelings in this country. In Western culture, Valentine’s Day is often considered the most romantic holiday of the year, but in Korea, people celebrate more than a dozen other romantic occasions. So now that you know saranghae meaning in English, let’s explore when you can say these words to your special someone.
Pepero Day – November 11th
While Westerners prepare for Thanksgiving and Christmas in the middle of November, Koreans celebrate one of their most popular romantic holidays – Pepero Day (빼빼로데이 [p*ɛp*ɛɾodɛi]). Initially, it was a day for singles – friends were exchanging yummy Pepero sticks, which look like ones (that is also why it is celebrated on 11/11). Nowadays, it is a romantic occasion for couples to show affection, say I love you in Korean, and treat each other with something sweet.
Diary Day – January 14th
This day is significant for both people in long-term relationships and the ones who have just started dating. Lovey-dovey couples give each other cute diaries and planners, often with pre-marked holidays and other significant events like birthdays or anniversaries. On Diary Day (다이어리 데이 [tɑiʌɾi dɛi]), Koreans also have an opportunity to exchange cute gifts and strengthen the bond by setting common goals.
Valentine’s Day – February 14th
Of course, the Korean words I love you also sound during the international romantic holiday on February 14th. However, in this country, women are the ones who make gifts (usually chocolates and sweets) during Valentine’s Day (발렌타인데이 [pɑllɛntʰɑindɛi]). On this holiday, women show affection to their friends, family members, and, of course, romantic partners.
White Day – March 14th
The month after Valentine’s Day, it is time for men to show the Korean meaning of I love you. This day is the response to February 14th, when men reciprocate by giving gifts, often white chocolates, to women who gave them presents before. White Day (화이트데이 [hwaitʰɯdɛi]) is for returning affection and expressing gratitude to close friends and significant others.
Black Day – April 14th
Since couples already stole Pepero Day from singles, they’ve decided to celebrate their own holiday – Black Day (블랙데이 [pɯllɛkt*ɛi]). It is a time when single guys and gals spend time with their friends. They gather to enjoy casual conversations and eat jjajangmyeon (black bean noodles).
Yellow Day – May 14th
Yellow Day (옐로우데이 [jɛlloudɛi]) is a romantic holiday for everyone. For couples, it is a great occasion to wear matching outfits (yellow, of course) and exchange flowers and small gifts. Singles have their own tradition – on May 14th, they eat traditional yellow curry, hoping it will spice up their love life.
Kiss Day – June 14th
The last romantic holiday on our list is the famous Kiss Day (키스데이 [kʰisɯdɛi]), marked in the first summer month. It is a great chance for couples to celebrate by sharing kisses and enjoying intimate moments. It’s a day to emphasize physical affection and closeness.
Learn Saranghae Meaning and Beyond with the Promova App
Many people believe that self-studying Korean is almost impossible. While we agree that learning this language is quite a challenge, we believe that with dedication and access to proper resources, you can still reach the desired fluency level. And since you are already interested in mastering Korean, let us help you a bit more. Today, we want to introduce you to the Promova app – your one-stop solution for learning new languages.
Promova is the perfect choice for those aiming to learn foreign tongues, even with a tight schedule. You can spend only a few minutes a day, anywhere and anytime you are comfortable, and still see the results.
In addition to saranghaeyo in English, you can learn how to say I love you (and more!) in Spanish, German, French, Italian, and other tongues. The Promova application allows you to access engaging and valuable interactive lessons created by language professionals. Also, you can track your progress, stay motivated during your study, expand your vocabulary, improve listening and speaking skills, etc.
The Promova application is available for both iOS and Android devices, so you can study using your smartphone, tablet, and any other gadget. Installing the app can significantly impact your learning experience and make your studying process exciting and fun. So what are you waiting for? Install the Promova app and see all the benefits by yourself!
Learning to express your feelings in a foreign language is not only challenging but also a very romantic step. In today’s article, we’ve explored the most common ways of saying the three main words in Korean. Now, you know a few more romantic phrases, terms of endearment, and other expressions. We hope that your friends, romantic partners, or family members will be really surprised when you say you love them in Korean! And that’s it for today. But don’t worry; we’ll see you soon in the next article!
Is it common to say “I love you” in Korean culture?
Koreans are known for their modesty and politeness. Therefore, the older generations often emphasize actions and gestures as a way of showing love and care rather than verbal expressions. However, younger generations in Korea are becoming more open to saying “I love you,” influenced by popular Korean dramas and Western culture.
How can I learn to say “I love you” in Korean effectively as an English speaker?
There are many tips that can help you say “I love you” and other common phrases more effectively. You can start by learning the basics of the Korean language, including the Hangul (Korean script) and pronunciation. Also, you can use language-learning apps like Promova to build your language skills. Finally, you can practice communicating with native speakers or language exchange partners to improve your pronunciation and comprehension.
Do Koreans engage in public displays of affection (PDA)?
Public displays of affection in Korea are mainly more reserved compared to some Western countries. Holding hands and making light physical contact are generally acceptable, especially among couples. However, kissing or other intimate displays of affection can be considered inappropriate in many situations, particularly in more traditional or conservative settings.
What are some common non-verbal expressions of love in Korea?
Like many other people around the globe, Koreans often express love and affection through non-verbal means. It includes gift-giving on special occasions or just because, respectful gestures like bowing, acts of service like preparing meals or offering help, and even spending quality time together and making an effort to be present in the moment.