Your Korean (soon-to-be-ex) girlfrifinish has actually been waiting in a coffee shop for two hrs. And, judging by the looks of those emojis, she’s fuming mad.

You are watching: How to say im sorry in korean

When you ultimately arrive, you decide to lighten the mood and surprise her by coming as much as her from behind and also cupping her eyes, teasingly asking “Guess who?”… and also poking her in the eye, rather.

In moments favor this, you’ll be incredibly glad to recognize just how to properly say sorry in Oriental.

Here’s another potential scenario:

Yesterday, your Korean boss gave a C-level presentation via a PowerPoint Presentation you picked from thin air. You were so hungover from the night before and also were in such a hurry that you made a mess of things. You nearly acquired everything wrong.

Like his name.

You got the fiscal year wrong, some decimals and commas on the numbers acquired misinserted and, by the end of the presentation, you made it look favor the agency has actually been underwater for years and negated all the tough work done by everyone in the agency.

So today, you have the honor of being referred to as to your boss’ office. (I’m guessing a promotion isn’t on the plate.)

An apology is certainly in order.

In instance you haven’t recorded on yet, saying “Sorry!” in Korean will be the crux of this article.

And you’d much better carry out it best or you’ll be out of a project and a romantic companion incredibly soon. And nobody will be the leastern little sorry for you.

So, let’s grovel ameans, then?

Apology Accepted: How to Say Sorry in Korean

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The 2 Main Ways to Say “Sorry” in Korean

By this time, you currently understand that tright here are levels of politeness in Korean. There’s the formal or extra polite language that you use for elders, and there’s a casual tone that’s the language of cshed friends.

There are 2 primary stems for apologizing in Oriental, as well.

One is 미안 (mi-ahn), and the other is 죄송 (joe-song). They both mean “Sorry,” though the last is thought about even more formal.

Let’s look at each, and some of their variations, in closer detail.

미안 (mi-ahn)

Variations: 미안, 미안해, 미안해요, 미안합니다

미안 (mi-ahn)

You can sindicate say 미안. But it wouldn’t suppose much.

It’s the the majority of informal way of apologizing in Korean. It’s not that significant and also has virtually a playful tone to it, occasionally even accompanied by a smirk. You usage this when addressing youngsters or civilization younger than you, and as soon as the boo-boo you’ve made is really not that major. Ala lot of a token apology, I’d say.

미안해 (mi-ah-nae)

You sindicate include (hae) to the 미안 stem.

We’re still in the casual region with 미안해. You usage it when saying sorry to your friends. So it’s most likely the many common apology thrown approximately.

Also, this is often the apology offered in boyfriend-girlfriend relationships. Although in the scenario, you’ve created over, your “Sorry” could be even more acceptable when accompanied by romantic gestures of “reparations” prefer flowers and also chocolates, etc. (I mean, you did poke her eye.)

미안해요 (mi-ah-nae-yo)

You sindicate add 해요 (hae-yo) to the 미안 stem.

With 미안해요, we’re currently entering the formal category. The tone is more severe. You usage 미안해요 for human being that are a tiny bit older than you and also human being who rank better than you at occupational or in society.

미안합니다 (mi-ah-nam-ni-da)

Finally, once you add 합니다 (ham-ni-da) to 미안, you have actually 미안합니다, which is the most formal create of apology of the 미안 stem.

If you desire, you have the right to include 정말 (jeong-mal) at the start of the phase and end up via 정말 미안합니다 (jeong-mal mi-ah-nam-ni-da). 정말 is the Korean tantamount of the English word “very” or “truly.” Adding it serves as an intensifier and also will certainly let the aggrieved party recognize that you’re truly sorry for the hurt feelings you’ve led to.

Okay, let’s move on to the second stem.

죄송 (Joe-song)

Variations: 죄송해요, 죄송합니다

With 죄송, we’re gaining even more formal via the apology.

죄송해요 (Joe-song-hae-yo)

죄송해요 is also offered via elders—prefer once you’re apologizing to parental fees or grandparental fees and also civilization who are clearly over you in age, rank, or social standing. Your boss, in the scenario over, must at least acquire this apology.

죄송합니다 (Joe-song-ham-ni-da)

죄송합니다 is a really formal way of saying “Sorry.” You understand that when you check out endings prefer 합니다, it suggests the situation requires polite and formal language.

You use 죄송합니다 to apologize to people you don’t recognize. Let’s say in your rush to obtain to the coffee shop wbelow your girlfriend’s been waiting for 2 hours, you bump into somebody in the street. You say, 죄송합니다.

So for a Korean beginner, you’d a lot of most likely need this one in your arsenal.


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Korean Phrases to Express That You’re Sorry

제 잘못이에요. (Je jal-mo-si-e-yo.) — It’s my fault.

This statement is a humble admission of fault or mistake, so you deserve to include it to bolster your apology.

Take note that in Korea, you say “Sorry” just when you’ve actually made a mistake and also have resulted in damage or hurt. It’s essentially an admission of fault. Meaning, the mistake is attributable to you.

In the West, the word “Sorry” has more differed offers. For instance, “Sorry” can be supplied to expush exactly how sad or sorrowful you are at some unfortunate turn of events—also when you clearly have nopoint to do through it.

Let’s say a friend faibrought about make the footsphere team. Somebody from the West would certainly say, “Dude, that sucks. I’m really sorry to hear that.”

This doesn’t happen in Korea. You perform not use the word “sorry” bereason it’s not your fault he didn’t make the team. So you don’t usage 미안해 or 미안해요.

In the situation of your friend not making the football team, you have the right to say 안타깝네요 (an-ta-kkam-ne-yo) instead. It means you’re sad to hear about it… however not “sorry.”

다시는 안 그럴게. (Da-si-neun an geu-reol-ge.) — I won’t perform it aacquire.

Not doing it aobtain is, of course, the highest possible proof that you really are sorry for what you’ve done. It proves to the various other party that you’re seriously repentant of your offense.

Due to the fact that saying “Sorry” doesn’t take place in a vacuum, as soon as apologizing, there are linked gestures, facial expressions and tones that you need to execute to present remorse.

Bowing as soon as asking for forgiveness is supposed, particularly as soon as addressing elders, strangers, and also those above you. Bowing is deeply rooted in Korean culture, and also they bow to show respect, gratitude, and regret. Waist bowing at a 45-degree angle is traditional.

But, just as you have to calibrate your apology to the level of offense, level of regret and also the relationship you have actually via the aggrieved party, the bow is calibrated as well. The thing to remember is that the worse the offense and the deeper your remorse, the lower you bow and the longer you stay down.

Big bows of apology, choose when Oriental public officials or public personalities kneel in front of the cameras to show remorse for an offense, don’t happen every day. (Although Oriental dramas make it look prefer they take place every week.)

When asking for forgiveness to world your age, those younger than you, your girlfrifinish or your circle of friends, overt acts of formality are not forced. A slight tilt of the head and also transporting your 미안해 in a somber tone are sufficient.

제발 화내지 마세요. (Je-bal hwa-nae-ji ma-se-yo.) — Please don’t be mad at me.

Anyone who’s learning around a entirety brand-new culture is most likely to commit a social faux pas that could call for an apology. In that instance, you’ll need to usage this apology.

Different cultures have different ways of doing things and also you might inadvertently cause a small scene simply bereason you don’t know better. For instance, a critical part of Korean etiquette is that elders collection the pace of family members events. In a dining instance, for example, the earliest perboy gets to take the first bite which signals others to start eating. You scarfing down your food before grandma gets to her very own is not a nice image.

Koreans are mainly expertise of foreigners’ social booboos, however you need to certainly have your 죄송합니다 prepared simply in case.

How to Respond When Someone Says “Sorry” to You

On the rare occasion that you uncover yourself on the opposite side of the equation, and somebody has hurt you, forgiveness is the finest perspective forward.

You deserve to say points choose the adhering to phrases:

당신을 용서합니다. (Dang-si-neul yong-seo-ham-ni-da) — I forprovide you.

Say this in somber tones and with a sparkling tear in your eye for complete impact. Sexactly how the various other perboy that also though you’re still hurt, you’re willing to be the bigger perchild and move previous the offense.

사과를 받아들일게. (Sa-gwa-leul ba-da-deu-lil-ge.) — Apology welcomed.

If you’re the miffed girlfrifinish, Visa and also Master Card additionally welcomed.

아니에요, 괜찮습니다. (A-ni-e-yo, gwaen-chan-seum-ni-da.) — It’s okay, never mind.

Say this to the other perchild when you desire to play it cool (also though you are, for instance, literally bleeding). It conveniently absolves the various other party of the offense and refsupplies to take the mistake also seriously. People make mistakes and also you’d desire others to foroffer you on days you make yours.

See more: Which Words Or Phrases Contain Allusions? Check All That Apply.

Now you know just how to say sorry in Korean. This isn’t a license to execute things you’ll have to apologize for, however it’s a great skill to have in situation you need it.