24 Ways to Say How Are You in Korean (And Responses)

Asking how a person is doing, especially after quite some time of not seeing each other, is not just good manners. Itโ€™s also a great way to demonstrate your concern. Thatโ€™s why, along with โ€œhelloโ€ and โ€œgoodbyeโ€, itโ€™s also essential to learn how to ask โ€œhow are youโ€ in Korean.

In this article, you will learn not only how to say โ€œhow are youโ€ in Korean but also how to respond to the question. There are plenty of ways to express this greeting, depending on levels of formality and intimacy.

Three korean girls in hanbok

Korean speech levels or politeness levels

Before learning how to say โ€œhow are youโ€ in Korean, itโ€™s important to keep in mind that the Korean language is hierarchal. Koreans are very particular about the level of formality and politeness in speech. Donโ€™t be surprised if a Korean you just met wants to know your age or date of birth. This is not unusual as most Koreans will want to know your age to be able to address you properly.

While there are seven speech levels in Korean, the most common levels are these three:

  • Formal โ€“ Koreans use this to show respect to a person of authority (i.e. a government official or your boss), to customers (in the service industry), or to someone older who youโ€™re not close with. This is also used in formal business settings and formal broadcasts.

The language you will hear in ์‚ฌ๊ทน (sageuk; historical drama) is also formal, but the language for Korean royalty is of high formality and not commonly used these days.

  • Standard Polite โ€“ This is the language that you will commonly hear in Korea now. This is used in everyday speech, with people you work with, or someone you donโ€™t know very well. Using this level of politeness in your speech is enough to survive in everyday situations in Korea.
  • Informal or Casual โ€“ You can only use this if youโ€™re in the company of close friends or someone younger than you.

How to say โ€œhelloโ€ and โ€œgoodbyeโ€ in Korean

Apps to learn how to say hello

If youโ€™re learning how to say โ€œhow are youโ€ in Korean, you probably already know how to say โ€œhelloโ€ and โ€œgoodbyeโ€ as well. Yes, you can say ์•ˆ๋…• (annyeong) for both but that would be impolite in most cases.

์•ˆ๋…•ํ•˜์„ธ์š” (annyeong haseyo) is the standard and most common way of saying โ€œhelloโ€ in Korean. But if you want to know other ways to do so, you can read this comprehensive guide to saying โ€œhelloโ€ in the Korean language.

As for โ€œgoodbye,โ€ you can either say ์•ˆ๋…•ํžˆ ๊ฐ€์„ธ์š” (annyeonghi gaseyo) or ์•ˆ๋…•ํžˆ ๊ณ„์„ธ์š” (annyeonghi gyeseyo), depending on whoโ€™s leaving or staying. Read this extensive list of ways to say โ€œgoodbyeโ€ in Korean to know more.

Now that thatโ€™s settled, letโ€™s start learning how to say โ€œhow are youโ€ in the Korean language!

Ways to say “how are you” in Korean (+ responses)

์ž˜ ์ง€๋ƒˆ์–ด์š”? (jal-ji-nae-sseo-yo?) โ€“ How are you? or Have you been well?

How are you?

The most common way of saying โ€œhow are youโ€ in Korean is ์ž˜ ์ง€๋ƒˆ์–ด์š” (jal jinaesseoyo). This is the standard polite form which can be broken down into two parts:

์ž˜ (jal) = well

์ง€๋ƒˆ์–ด์š” (jinaesseoyo) = to spend time or live

Taken together, ์ž˜ ์ง€๋ƒˆ์–ด์š” (jal jinaesseoyo) literally means โ€œhave you spent your time well?โ€ so itโ€™s a good way to ask if the person youโ€™re talking to has been well since the last time you saw him or her.

Here are several other ways of saying โ€œhow are youโ€ in Korean:

When someone asks you this question, you can reply in different ways, depending on, well, how you feel. But as someone learning Korean, you can practice saying these common responses:

Since the questions above can also mean โ€œhave you been well?โ€ you can also respond with a simple ๋„ค (ne) or ์•„๋‹ˆ์š” (aniyo). If youโ€™re close with the person who asked, you can be informal and reply with a ์‘ (eung; okay) or ์•„๋‹ˆ (ani; no).

๊ทธ๋™์•ˆ ์ž˜ ๊ณ„์…จ์–ด์š”? (geu-dong-an-jal-gae-syeo-sseo-yo?) โ€“ Have you been well?

Another way to ask โ€œhow are youโ€ in the Korean language is by saying ๊ทธ๋™์•ˆ ์ž˜ ๊ณ„์…จ์–ด์š” (geudongan jal gaesyeosseoyo). ๊ทธ๋™์•ˆ (geudongan) is Korean for โ€œin the meantimeโ€ so this question literally means โ€œhave you been well in the meantime (or during the time we havenโ€™t seen each other)?โ€

The informal way of asking this is ๊ทธ๋™์•ˆ ์ž˜ ์žˆ์—ˆ์–ด (geudongan jal isseosseo). And here are some ways you can respond:

๊ทธ๋™์•ˆ ๋ณ„ ์ผ ์—†์œผ์…จ์–ด์š”? (geu-dong-an-byeol-il-ob-seu-syeo-sseo-yo?) โ€“ Have you been well (without any significant incidents)?

Thumbs up

If youโ€™re wondering if the other person has been through significant events or happenings since the last time you met, you can ask ๊ทธ๋™์•ˆ ๋ณ„ ์ผ ์—†์œผ์…จ์–ด์š” (geudongan byeol il obseusyeosseoyo). In informal settings, you can ask ๊ทธ๋™์•ˆ ๋ณ„ ์ผ ์—†์—ˆ์–ด (geudongan byeol il obseosseo).

Itโ€™s a mouthful but we can break it down into three parts:

๊ทธ๋™์•ˆ (geudongan) = in the meantime

๋ณ„ ์ผ (byeol il) = any events or incidents

์—†๋‹ค (oepda) = to not exist

To respond, you can say:

์–ด๋–ป๊ฒŒ ์ง€๋ƒˆ์–ด์š”? (eo-tteo-ke-ji-nae-sseo-yo?) โ€“ How have you been?

์–ด๋–ป๊ฒŒ (eotteoke) is Korean for โ€œhowโ€ and ์–ด๋–ป๊ฒŒ ์ง€๋ƒˆ์–ด์š” (eotteoke jinaesseoyo) literally means โ€œhow have you been?โ€ Along with ์ž˜ ์ง€๋ƒˆ์–ด์š” (jal jinaesseoyo), this is one of the most popular ways of saying โ€œhow are youโ€ in Korean.

Here are other forms of this greeting:

To respond, you can state how youโ€™re doing. If youโ€™re neither feeling too great nor too bad, you can say:

๋ญํ•˜๊ณ  ์ง€๋‚ด์…จ์–ด์š”? (mwo-ha-go ji-nae-syeo-sseo-yo?) โ€“ What have you been up to?

๋ญ (mwo) is โ€œwhatโ€ in Korean. Another way of asking โ€œhow are youโ€ in Korean is by asking what the other person has been up to. You can say ๋ญํ•˜๊ณ  ์ง€๋‚ด์…จ์–ด์š”? (mwohago jinaesyeosseoyo?). If youโ€™re meeting up with a close friend you havenโ€™t seen in quite some time, you can be informal and ask ๋ญํ•˜๊ณ  ์ง€๋ƒˆ์–ด? (mwohago jinaesseo?) or ๋ญํ•˜๊ณ  ์ง€๋‚ด? (mwohago jinae?).

You can respond by simply saying what youโ€™ve been up to lately. Maybe studying Korean? ๐Ÿ˜‰

์˜ค๋žœ๋งŒ์ด์—์š” (o-raen-ma-ni-e-yo) โ€“ Long time no see

Korean girls talking to each other

Just like in the English language, Koreans say โ€œlong time no seeโ€ when greeting someone they havenโ€™t seen in a long time. ์˜ค๋žœ๋งŒ์ด์—์š” (oraenmanieyo) is another way of saying โ€œhow are youโ€ in Korean, albeit in a friendly manner. ์˜ค๋žœ๋งŒ์ด์•ผ (oraenmaniya) is its informal version.

๋ฐฅ ๋จน์—ˆ์–ด์š”? (bap-meo-geo-sseo-yo?) โ€“ Did you eat? Or Have you eaten?

Korean food

As mentioned in the article on how to say โ€œhelloโ€ in Korean, ๋ฐฅ ๋จน์—ˆ์–ด์š”? (bap meogeosseoyo?) is a common greeting in Korea. While it literally means โ€œdid you eat?,โ€ it doesnโ€™t necessarily mean that youโ€™re asking if the other person has literally had food. Instead, itโ€™s a way to show concern or interest in his or her well-being, and a way to ask โ€œhow are youโ€ in Korean.

You can answer this question with a simple ๋„ค (ne, or yes) or ๊ดœ์ฐฎ์•„์š” (gwaenchanhayo, or Iโ€™m fine).

์ž˜ ์žค์–ด์š”? (jal-ja-sseo-yo?) โ€“ Did you sleep well?

In a similar vein, Koreans will also ask if you slept well as a way to find out how youโ€™re doing. ์ž๋‹ค (jada) means โ€œto sleepโ€ so ์ž˜ ์žค์–ด์š” (jal jasseoyo) literally means โ€œdid you sleep well?โ€

Imagine going on an overnight trip with co-workers or with friends. You can say this as soon as you see your co-worker or friend in the morning, almost like saying โ€œgood morning.โ€

Here are other forms of this greeting:

More responses to โ€œhow are youโ€ in Korean

Now that you know the many ways to say โ€œhow are youโ€ in Korean, as well as the common and basic responses, you can definitely carry a decent conversation with your Korean acquaintances and friends. How about learning more phrases that you can use as response to โ€œhow are youโ€?

Thatโ€™s a lot of new Korean vocabulary for you! Now, get out there and start impressing your Korean friends!

If you want to advance in your Korean language learning journey, do check out our list of resources, which includes apps, online courses, books, podcasts, and online tutors. These should be more than enough to get you from clueless to fluent!

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