“I love you.” It is the phrase that everyone wants to hear. It is easy to say “I love you.” The tricky thing is, however, how to express sincere affection in other ways using the proper words. Today we are going to learn how to show affection and love in romantic situations using the Korean language.
1. 사랑해요 (I love you)
The most basic romantic phrase in Korean is 사랑해요 [sa-rang-hae-yo]. 사랑 is a native Korean word that has existed for thousands of years. 사랑해요 is a plain phrase but also a genuine way to express your love.
2. 보고 싶어요 (I miss you)
If you love somebody, you will miss them when they are away. 보고 싶어요 [bo-go-sip-eo-yo] comes from the verb 보다 (To see). Koreans use this expression to say they miss their lovers. You can also say 빨리 보고 싶어요 [bbal-ri-bo-go-sip-eo-yo], which means “I want to see you soon.”
3. 예쁘다 (Beautiful) / 귀엽다 (Cute)
If you want to express affection to a woman, you can give her a compliment with the word 예쁘다 [ye-bbeu-da] or 귀엽다 [gwi-yeop-da]. It is more common to call someone “cute” than “sexy” in Korea when you are flirting with a woman.
4. 잘 생겼다 (Handsome) / 멋있다 (Cool)
If you want to express affection to a man, you can give him a compliment with the word 잘 생겼다 [jal-saeng-gyeot-da] or 멋있다 [meot-it-da]. As Korea still has relatively conservative gender roles, they would like to hear that they are manly.
5. 라면 먹고 갈래요? (Netflix and chill)
If you want to invite a man to your house but feel too shy to make it obvious, you can say “라면 먹고 갈래요? [ra-myeon meok-go gal-rae-yo?]." This sentence means, "Do you want to have ramen at my house?" and has the same implication of “Netflix and chill” in English.
6. 너랑 있어서 행복해 (I am happy with you)
If you feel happy with someone and want to let them know it, you can say “너랑 있어서 행복해 [neo-rang it-eo-seo haeng-bok-hae].” You can change the adjective 행복해 with other adjectives such as 좋아 (good).
7. 항상 함께 하고 싶어 (I want to be with you forever)
You can say “항상 함께 하고 싶어 [hang-sang ham-gge ha-go sip-eo]” if you want to say, “I want to be with you forever.” You can also say that you want to spend a specific time with someone using phrases like “이번 주말 함께 하고 싶어” (I want to spend this weekend with you).
8. 자기 (Darling)
자기 [ja-gi] is a romantic name to call your lover in Korean. It means "darling" in English. You can use it with your husband or boyfriend.
9. 여보 (Honey)
여보 [yeo-bo] is a romantic name to call your lover in Korean. It means “honey” in English. You can use it with your husband.
10. 뽀뽀 (Kiss)
뽀뽀 [ppo-ppo] is a cute way to say “kiss.” If you want to kiss someone, you can say “뽀뽀 해줘” (please kiss me) or just 뽀뽀.
Today we learned ten romantic Korean words and phrases. If you love a Korean woman or man right now, how about expressing your affection in Korean at the right time? It will be a delightful surprise for them. If you do not have someone in mind right now, you can practice how to express your love adequately in Korean for someone you will meet soon!