How to Say ‘Thank You’ in Korean

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Being able to say ‘thank you’ is one of the most important things to learn when starting a new language. When people first start to learn Korean, they are often surprised that there are more ways to say ‘thank you’ than there are in English.

Today, we will learn how to say ‘thank you’ in Korean.

Once you understand the subtleties in the various situations, listen for ‘thank you’s in your daily conversations. It’ll all start to come together.
Let’s get to it!

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Formal ‘Thank You’ in Korean

1. 감사합니다 (kamsa-hamnida)

This is the most common word used for saying ‘thank you’. It is quite formal and polite, so can be used with strangers and people older than you.

You can use this word when saying ‘thank you’ in a restaurant, convenience store, or taxi. It is usually said quite quickly, so the pronunciation actually sounds like ‘kamsamnida’.

If you want to show more gratitude, then add the word 대단히 (daedanhi) in front of it to make ‘대단히 감사합니다’.

2. 고맙습니다 (komap-sumnida)

This word can be used in the same situations as 감사합니다. There is a slight difference in nuance but it is so small that you don’t need to worry about it.

Standard ‘Thank You’ in Korean

1. 고마워요 (komawoyo)

Although 99% of the time you will be speaking in the ‘요’ form of Korean rather than the ‘입니다’ form of Korean, you should generally still use the words 감사합니다 or 고맙습니다. The only time that you should break this rule is when you are talking to people who you are close to.

If you are close to somebody, but they are older than you, then you can say 고마워요 to express your thanks to them. This word, like 고맙습니다, is derived from 고맙다.

It is possible to say 감사해요 at this level of politeness, but very few people say this, preferring 고마워요.

Informal ‘Thank You’ in Korean

1. 고마워 (komawo)

When talking to somebody you are close to, who is the same age or younger than you, then you can say 고마워. Again, this form is preferred over 감사해.

If all of this seems a bit confusing then follow these rules when learning how to say ‘thank you’ in Korean:

Korean Use With
감사합니다 Most people
고마워요 Older people who you are close to
고마워 Younger people who you are close to

When in doubt, remember what Mom always says–it is better to be polite than impolite! Therefore, if you only learn one way to say ‘thank you’, then learn 감사합니다 (kamsamnida).

Happy thanking!


*Want more Korean phrases? Go to our Korean Phrases Page for a complete list!

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