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Learn 9+ Useful Korean Motivational Phrases

April 26, 2022

You might know a lot about Korean by now. You might be aware of the grammatical rules, hangul, Korean culture, and whatnot. But are you aware of the ways that you can motivate your friends and partners in the Korean language? In this blog post, we will walk you through all the essential Korean motivational phrases which will act as fortune favors for you. So let's get started!

Korean Motivational Phrases

It is important to know the Korean motivational phrases as a learner of the Korean language. This can help you craft your ideas in a better way. English translations are not always essentially helpful and thus you should know what might be the right thing to say at every moment. You can also get insight into the Korean culture by looking into the popular Korean quotes and words etc.

파이팅! (Paiting!)

There are countless English phrases to use when you want to tell someone to get set ready, go. But is there something in Korean, that you would say to someone when they are about to start something?

Yes, there is. The Korean people use the word 파이팅! (Paiting!) when they want to encourage someone. This word has been derived from the English word, fighting. Now, you must be wondering if this word is exclusive to the fight only. Like a certain word that the players tell each other before wrestling.

The answer is no! Even though the name sounds aggressive, it's just energetic. The word fighting represents the valor and zeal that people have before doing something. It is one of the Korean slang words that Korean simply love.

Korean people use the word 파이팅! (Paiting!) a lot. They use it before taking an exam, before going for sports, and even before proposing to someone. So even when you're going to confess your love for someone, your friends might use this phrase.

This becomes your go-to phrase if you want to motivate anyone at any time. Some nice Korean hand gestures like a thumbs up could make this phrase even more mobile.

화이팅 (Hwaiting)

Korean Motivational Phrases

A Korean version of the word 파이팅! (Paiting!) is 화이팅 (Hwaiting). Both tend to deliver almost similar meanings but the second one sounds closer to the Korean language than the first one. K-pop stars tend to use 화이팅 (Hwaiting) a lot.

아자 (Ah-Ja)

Another phrase to motivate someone is by saying 아자 (ah-ja). This is yet another nice way to tell someone that you can do it. Or if you want to invite someone to do something and you want to say something like let's go, you can say 아자 (ah-ja). It's a bit older than 화이팅 (Hwaiting) or 파이팅! (Paiting!) .

A decade ago people were obsessed with using this phrase over and over again. But now it's just conventional orthodox or traditional at this point. People do not use it a lot, and if you're going to use it in front of some people they might consider you old. However, you can use it with some oldies who become your friends one day, you never know.

It is important to know the meaning of this word in case you ever hear it in a Korean drama or someone uses it as a joke and you know the context. If we would have to suggest you use 아자 (ah-ja) or 화이팅 (Hwaiting) we would say, always go for the latter since it will make sound cooler.

아자 아자 파이팅 (Aja Aja Paiting)

Our previous Phrase leads to another phase that is 아자 아자 파이팅 (aja aja paiting). This is also an old way of motivating someone. People ten years ago used to motivate each other by saying 아자 아자 파이팅 (aja aja paiting).

Not many people do that anymore. People simply say 화이팅 (Hwaiting) or 파이팅! (Paiting!) when they want to encourage someone. However, you might hear the people say 아자 아자 파이팅 (aja aja paiting). And you should know what that means when they say that.

괜찮아 (Gwaenchanh-A)

What would you say if you ever see someone being too embarrassed in the public? What if someone does something really stupid that everyone laughs at? How would you try to encourage that person? You might say 화이팅 (Hwaiting) is a good option here, but no.

You can say 화이팅 (Hwaiting) after dismissing their embarrassment. To help them get over the guilt of insults that they're going through, you can say 괜찮아 (gwaenchanh-a). 괜찮아 (gwaenchanh-a) is a very nice and friendly way to tell someone that everything is OK.

It would encourage them to overcome their fear. If you meet a Korean and you commit a mistake then they might say 괜찮아 (gwaenchanh-a) just to make you feel better about it and elevate their mood.

You cannot expect someone to say 괜찮아 (gwaenchanh-a) when you commit a sin or a bigger mistake like cheating on someone. However, if you do something very silly and small, like dropping a bottle in stress. Then the people around you will say 괜찮아 괜찮아 (gwaenchanh-a, gwaenchanh-a).

Saying 괜찮아 (gwaenchanh-a) in repetition makes it even more polite. For instance, if a child falls down right before a race starts, the people would tell the child that it's okay by saying 괜찮아 (gwaenchanh-a) and asking him to get up. Only a rude person would not say 괜찮아 (gwaenchanh-a) when someone else apologizes for something.

괜찮아 (gwaenchanh-a) can be a bit informal and you cannot use it with people who are older than you. If an older person gets embarrassed in front of you and you say 괜찮아 (gwaenchanh-a) then it might embarrass them even more since they would perceive it as you're not respecting them.

Formal Version

The polite version of this phrase is 괜찮아요 (gwaenchanh-ayo). Feel free to say 괜찮아요 (gwaenchanh-ayo) with your boss or professional colleagues at your work etc. Korean actors tend to use this phrase a lot.

할 수 있어 (Hal Su Iss-Eo)

Korean Motivational Phrases

If you want to boost someone's confidence and want to make them do something you can say 할 수 있어 (hal su iss-eo). This literally means that you can do it.

Korean people say that when they want someone to do something. It could be both for themselves or for the other person. For instance, if you want a friend to go up the stage and sing a song because they have a beautiful voice, you can say 할 수 있어 (hal su iss-eo).

Or, if your friend is shy to talk to another girl, you can say to make them feel better 할 수 있어 (hal su iss-eo). Another situation can be when your friend is shy to get a haircut but is willing to go for it.

In Korean dramas, it has been shown a lot that the guys are telling each other 할 수 있어 (hal su iss-eo) so that they can muster up some courage and do what they are afraid to do.

Formal Version

The polite version of 할 수 있어 (hal su iss-eo) is 할 수 있어요 [hal su isseoyo]. While you are encouraging an older person to do something you cannot say 할 수 있어 (hal su iss-eo) since that might sound more like an order and less like an encouraging phrase.

힘내 (Himne)

Korean Motivational Phrases

If you want to inform someone of your presence and you can say 힘내 (himne). 힘내 (himne) is a nice way of telling someone that you are there for them and no matter what you will be there for them.

The literal translation of 힘내 (himne) is cheer up. When someone seems really down low or sad you can say 힘내 (himne) to cheer them up. It is very common for Korean people to say 힘내 (himne) when someone or the entire group is sad about something.

Let's say your friends have failed a very important match. To cheer them up, you can say 힘내 힘내! 술 마시러 가자(him ne him ne! sul masileo gaja), which means cheer up! let's go for a drink. Or something like 힘내 힘내! 고통을 멀리 마시자 (him ne him ne! gotong-eul meolli masija) meaning cheer up! let's drink the night away.

Formal Version

Again, it is an impolite version and informal way of saying cheer up. You can only use it with the people younger than you or the people who are your friends or close to you.

힘내세요 (himneseyo)

응원할게 (Eungwon Halge)

Korean Motivational Phrases

What might be the best thing to motivate someone? Being there for them. In Korean, if you want someone to know that you're there for them, you can say 응원할게 (eungwon halge). 응원할게 (eungwon halge) means I'll support you.

If a friend of yours is feeling really low and they've done something that they dread doing. They might need you to stand by them and say 응원할게 (eungwon halge). Korean people tend to use it a lot when they want you to know that they stand with you.

Formal Version

The formal version of 응원할게 (eungwon halge) is 응원할게요 (eung-wonhalgeyo). You can use it with people who are older than you. For example, with your mother, etc.

항상 응원할게 (Hangsang Eung-Wonhalge)

Korean Motivational Phrases

Another way of confirming that you will be there for someone forever is by saying 항상 응원할게 (hangsang eung-wonhalge). This is just like the previous one with the addition of another word, which is always. This phrase means that I will always support you. This phrase is exclusive to the people whom you love. If you have a best friend, you can tell them that you'll be always there for them.

For example, if your spouse is worried about their future and they do not know what they might do, you can tell them 항상 응원할게 (hangsang eung-wonhalge) meaning I will always support you. If a person in your life is feeling insecure about themselves or their future or anything important to them. You can tell them 항상 응원할게 (hangsang eung-wonhalge) in that situation as well.

Formal Version

The formal or polite version of this phrase is 항상 응원할게요 (hangsang eung-wonhalgeyo). If your father figure dies and you need to give some comfort to their wife then you can say 항상 응원할게요 (hangsang eung-wonhalgeyo) to help them know that they do not have to be alone anymore and you will assist them.

잘했어 (Jalhaess-Eo)

Korean Motivational Phrases

There are also some kind words to encourage someone. 잘했어 (jalhaess-eo) is one of them. The word 잘했어 (jalhaess-eo) means great work or you nailed it. You can use it on several occasions like learning a new South Korean Dialect etc. For example when a child starts learning to take responsibility for their own actions then you can say 잘했어 (jalhaess-eo).

Korean people say it to everyone who seems like doing a nice job, even a monkey. If you are learning Korean then knowing this phrase might do wonders. If your Korean friend makes scrumptious Korean rice cakes, you can say 잘했어 (jalhaess-eo).

You should know not to use 잘했어 (jalhaess-eo) at bad timing. Or else it might backfire. Many people use the phrase 잘했어 (jalhaess-eo) as a sarcastic comment on someone else's actions. For example, if someone does something with their own will yet fail badly then your response could be 잘했어 (jalhaess-eo) as a sarcastic reply.

Do not use 잘했어 (jalhaess-eo) when someone has done something really stupid or have failed at something because they might assume that you are mocking them. For example, your friend failed poorly at making Korean food, you might joke around saying 잘했어 (jalhaess-eo).

Formal Version

While talking to older people you can say 잘했어요 (jalhaess-eo yo). If you are teaching someone how to cross a road and they frinally do that then you can say 잘했어요 (jalhaess-eo yo) to encourage them.

Other Phrases

Korean PhrasesRomanized KoreanEnglish Translation
다 잘 될 거야 (informal)da jal doel geoya (informal)Everything will be fine (informal)
모든 일이 잘 되길 바랄게 (informal)modeun il-i jal doegil balalge (informal)I hope everything goes well (informal)
걱정하지 마세요 (formal)geogjeonghaji maseyo (formal)Don't Worry (formal)
자랑스러워 (informal)jalangseuleowo (informal)I'm proud (informal)
꿈을 이루길 바랄게 (informal)kkum-eul ilugil balalge (informal)I hope your dreams come true (informal)
모든 일이 잘 되길 바랄게요 (formal)modeun il-i jal doegil balalgeyo (formal)I hope everything goes well (formal)
자랑스러워요 (formal)jalangseuleowoyo (formal)I'm proud (formal)
다 잘 될 거예요 (formal)da jal doel geoyeyo (formal)Everything will be fine (formal)
꿈을 이루길 바랄게요kkum-eul ilugil balalgeyoI hope your dreams come true (formal).
걱정하지 마 (informal)geogjeonghaji ma (informal)Don't worry (informal)

Inspirational Korean Quotes

There are also several inspirational and famous Korean quotes and Korean idioms that you should know about.

Korean QuotesRomanized KoreanEnglish Translation
자존심은 오전에는 풍요, 오후에는 가난, 밤에는 악명과 함께한다.jajonsim-eun ojeon-eneun pung-yo, ohueneun ganan, bam-eneun agmyeong-gwa hamkkehanda.Pride goes with abundance in the morning, poverty in the afternoon, and infamy at night.
너만 네 인생을 바꿜 수 있다neoman ne insaeng-eul bakkwol su issdaOnly you can change your life
밥만 먹고서 살아가고 싶지는 않아. 나는 내가 원하는 삶을 살고 싶다.babman meoggoseo sal-agago sipjineun anh-a. naneun naega wonhaneun salm-eul salgo sipda.I don't want to live on rice alone. I want to live the life I want.
어제 너는 내일이라고 말했다. 그냥 해. (나이키)eoje neoneun naeil-ilago malhaessda. geunyang hae. (naiki)Yesterday you said tomorrow just do it. (Nike)
구름 뒤엔 여전히 태양이 빛나고 있다.guleum dwien yeojeonhi taeyang-i bichnago issda.The sun is still shining behind the clouds.
너 자신의 별을 좇아라.neo jasin-ui byeol-eul joch-ala.Follow your own star.
아무도 당신이 될 수 없다. 그것이 당신의 힘이다.amudo dangsin-i doel su eobsda. geugeos-i dangsin-ui him-ida.No one can be you That's your strength.
위대한 이들은 목적을 갖고, 그 외의 사람들은 소원을 갖는다. (워싱턴 어빙)widaehan ideul-eun mogjeog-eul gajgo, geu oeui salamdeul-eun sowon-eul gajneunda. (wosingteon eobing)Great people have a purpose, others have a wish. (Washington Irving)
인생을 마음껏 누려라.insaeng-eul ma-eumkkeos nulyeola.Enjoy life to the fullest.
자기자신에게 먼저 온화해져라jagijasin-ege meonjeo onhwahaejyeolaBe gentle with yourself first
번넘어져도 8번 일어나라.beonneom-eojyeodo 8beon il-eonala.Even if you fall once, get up 8 times.
싦을 매우 단순하다.silm-eul maeu dansunhada.It is very simple.
별을 향해 쏴라.byeol-eul hyanghae sswala.Shoot towards the stars.
자존심은 가장 고귀한 인격을 망친다.jajonsim-eun gajang gogwihan ingyeog-eul mangchinda.Pride spoils the noblest character.
만족은 결과가 아니라manjog-eun gyeolgwaga anilaSatisfaction is not a result
때때로, 올바른 길이 가장 쉬운 길이 아닙니다.ttaettaelo, olbaleun gil-i gajang swiun gil-i anibnida.Sometimes, the right path is not the easiest.
즐겁게 소비한 시간은 낭비한 시간이 아니다.jeulgeobge sobihan sigan-eun nangbihan sigan-i anida.Time spent happily is not time wasted.
재능 있는 사람의 행복은 재능을 사용하는 데에 달려 있다.jaeneung issneun salam-ui haengbog-eun jaeneung-eul sayonghaneun dee dallyeo issda.The happiness of a talented person depends on the use of it.
자신이 됨으로써 세상을 바꿔라. (에이미 폴러)jasin-i doem-eulosseo sesang-eul bakkwola. (eimi polleo)Change the world by being yourself. (Amy Pauler)
훈련이 완벽을 만든다.hunlyeon-i wanbyeog-eul mandeunda.Training makes perfect.
가치가 있는 곳으로 가려면gachiga issneun gos-eulo galyeomyeonTo go where it's worth
어디든 가치가 있는 곳으로eodideun gachiga issneun gos-euloAnywhere worth it.
곳으로 가려면 지름길은 없다gos-eulo galyeomyeon jileumgil-eun eobsdaThere is no shortcut to get there
치지 않은 공은 100% 골인되지 않는다.chiji anh-eun gong-eun 100% gol-indoeji anhneunda.A ball that is not hit is not 100% scored.
있는 곳으로 가려면 지름길은issneun gos-eulo galyeomyeon jileumgil-eunA shortcut to get to where you are.
행복은 우리 자신에게 달려 있습니다. (아리스토텔레스)haengbog-eun uli jasin-ege dallyeo issseubnida. (aliseutotelleseu)Happiness depends on ourselves. (Aristotle)
꿈 말고 추억이랑 같이 죽어라.kkum malgo chueog-ilang gat-i jug-eola.Die with memories, not dreams.
결코 늦지 않았다.gyeolko neuj-ji anh-assda.It's never too late.
꿈만 꾸지말고 꿈이되어라.kkumman kkujimalgo kkum-idoeeola.Don't just dream, become a dream.
재능이 있거든 가능한 모든 방법으로 사용하라. 쌓아두지 마라. 구두쇠처럼 아껴 쓰지 마라. 파산하려는 백만장자처럼 아낌없이 써라.jaeneung-i issgeodeun ganeunghan modeun bangbeob-eulo sayonghala. ssah-aduji mala. gudusoecheoleom akkyeo sseuji mala. pasanhalyeoneun baegmanjangjacheoleom akkim-eobs-i sseola.If you have a talent, use it in every way possible. do not pile up Don't use it sparingly like a miser. Spend it sparingly like a millionaire on the verge of bankruptcy.
믿음은 모든지 가능하게 한다.mid-eum-eun modeunji ganeunghage handa.Faith makes everything possible.
성공하기 까지 항상 실패를 거친다.seong-gonghagi kkaji hangsang silpaeleul geochinda.You always fail until you succeed.
사는게 자체로 위험하다.saneunge jachelo wiheomhada.Living in itself is dangerous.
자기 자신에게 솔직해져라jagi jasin-ege soljighaejyeolabe honest with yourself
앞서가는 방법의 비밀은 시작하는 것이다. (마크 트웨인)apseoganeun bangbeob-ui bimil-eun sijaghaneun geos-ida. (makeu teuwein)The secret to getting ahead is getting started. (Mark Twain)
모든 벽에도 문이 있다.modeun byeog-edo mun-i issda.Every wall has a door.
멈추지 말고 계속 해나가기만 한다면 늦어도 상관없다meomchuji malgo gyesog haenagagiman handamyeon neuj-eodo sang-gwan-eobsdaIt doesn't matter if it's late as long as you don't stop and keep going
고생 끝에 낙이 온다gosaeng kkeut-e nag-i ondaNo pain no gain
한 술 밥에 배 부르랴han sul bab-e bae buleulyaWill I be full with one drink?
이가 없으면 잇몸으로 살지iga eobs-eumyeon ismom-eulo saljiIf you don't have teeth, you live by your gums
뜻이 있는 곳에 길이 있다tteus-i issneun gos-e gil-i issdaWhere there is a will there is a way.
공 든 탑이 무너지랴gong deun tab-i muneojilyaWill the ball tower collapse?
실패는 성공의 어머니silpaeneun seong-gong-ui eomeoniFailure is the mother of success

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Korean Motivational Phrases

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