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10 Remarkable Ways To Say Sorry In Korean Language

June 20, 2021

Being respectful is one of the most important things you should consider if you want to learn how to say sorry in Korean 죄송합니다. (joe song ham ni da.). Saying sorry in Korean language is one of the basic words that you need to know because it can be used in different situations.

Apologizing or saying sorry is a way of acknowledging your mistake and being humble. It also signifies being polite and respectful to the feelings of other people. When we were young, we were taught to say sorry even for a small mistake. Back then, it was easy. You can simply say the word sorry. But now, we are older, having different ideas and opinions, it became way more challenging. So, saying sorry became complicated, and pride has come in between. But, how far does pride can take you?


Saying Sorry In Korean

If you want to learn Korean, you should also learn about their culture. Aside from words, body gestures and facial expressions are very important in Korean culture when you want to say I'm sorry. For example, Koreans need to bow their heads when they need to apologize slightly. Also, unlike in other cultures, eye contact is considered rude in Korean culture. So, when you apologize in Korean, you should avoid eye contact and look to the floor instead. Remember, you have to be sensitive about their culture to avoid misunderstandings.


Different Ways To Say Sorry In Korean

It's easy to say sorry in English. But, if you are planning to visit Korea, there are different ways to ask for an apology and say sorry in Korean language. Just like saying Thank You 감사합니다 (gam sa ham ni da), saying sorry in Korean considers levels of formality. So, asking for an apology depends on the situation and the person you are talking to. If you want to know the Korean way to say sorry, here is a list of Korean words and phrases that you must learn from formal to informal.

  • 죄송합니다. (joe song ham ni da.) - I am sorry. (Formal)
  • 죄송해요. (joe song hae yo.) - I am sorry. (A bit less formal)
  • 미안합니다 (mi an ham ni da) - Sorry (Formal)
  • 잘못했습니다. (jalmothaetseumnida.) - It is my fault. (Formal)
  • 실례합니다. (sillye ham nida.) - Excuse me. / I am sorry for interrupting. (Formal)
  • 진심으로 사과드립니다. (jinsimeuro sagwadeurimnida.) - I would like to apologize sincerely. (Formal)
  • 용서해주세요. (yongseohaejuseyo.) - It is my fault. (Formal)
  • 미안해 (mi anhae) - Sorry (Informal)
  • 미안 (mian) - Sorry (Informal)
  • 저기요 (jeogiyo) - Excuse me. or Sorry for interrupting (Informal)

Formal Way To Say I'm Sorry In Korean

As mentioned above, there are being respectful and polite is really important in Korean culture. There are different ways to express your apology in the Korean language but, the most important way you should learn is the formal way of apologizing. This can go a long way, and it will avoid misunderstanding. So here are some formal ways to say sorry in Korean.

1. 죄송합니다. (joe song ham ni da.)

English Translation: I am sorry. (Formal)

Say Sorry in Korean (Formal)

Suppose you have just started learning Korean, 죄송합니다. (joe song ham ni da.) is one of the most important phrases that you need to know. 죄송합니다. (joe song ham ni da.) is the most commonly used formal way to say sorry in Korean. You will be using it a lot when you travel across Korea, starting from riding subways, shopping in local stores, walking in the streets, and dining in restaurants. You can say 죄송합니다. ( joesonghamnida .) in most situations because it sounds polite and respectful.

Take note, when you are a foreigner, your go-to phrase should be the polite way of saying sorry in Korean. You could never go wrong with that because it is a sign that you respect their culture.

2. 죄송해요. (joe song hae yo.)

English Translation: I am sorry. (A bit less formal)

The phrase 죄송해요. (joesonghaeyo.) is almost the same as 죄송합니다. (joe song ham ni da.). They have the same meaning but 죄송해요. (joesonghaeyo.) sounds a bit less formal than 죄송합니다. (joe song ham ni da.). This phrase can be used when talking to professionals like your professor or someone much older than you. But again, if you are not a native speaker, it is always better to go with the most formal one.

3. 미안합니다 (mi an ham ni da)

English Translation: Sorry (Formal)

미안합니다 (mi an ham ni da) is another way to say sorry in Korean language. When you add 합니다 (ham-ni-da) to a Korean word, it becomes formal. You will also be hearing a lot of this among the locals when you visit Korea or watch their series and movies.

4. 잘못했습니다. (jalmothaetseumnida.)

English Translation: It is my fault.

Acknowledging your fault can be challenging for some people. It takes much humility and courage to do this. So, if you know that you did something wrong and you want to ask for formally as for an apology, you can say 잘못했습니다. (jalmothaetseumnida.).

5. 실례합니다. (sillye ham nida.)

English Translation:  Excuse me. / I am sorry for interrupting.

The phrase 실례합니다. (sillye ham nida.) is also a formal way to say sorry in the Korean language. It is rude to just butt in or interrupt people when they have conversations or do something, especially to strangers. If you visit Korea, there will be a time that you need to ask around and 실례합니다. (sillye ham nida.) is the right phrase for you to use.

6. 진심으로 사과드립니다. (jinsimeuro sagwadeurimnida.)

English Translation: I would like to apologize sincerely.

Another formal way to say sorry in Korean is 진심으로 사과드립니다. (jinsimeuro sagwadeurimnida.). If you feel really sorry about doing wrong to other people, you can use this phrase. You might also see a lot of this phrase when you are working in Korea. It is usually in written form, like letters or emails.

7. 용서해주세요. (yongseohaejuseyo.)

English Translation: It is my fault.

The phrases 용서해주세요. (yongseohaejuseyo.) and 잘못했습니다. (jalmothaetseumnida.) has the same meaning. The difference is 잘못했습니다. (jalmothaetseumnida.) is used to apologize and indirectly request for forgiveness while in 용서해주세요. (yongseohaejuseyo.), you directly ask for forgiveness.

Informal Way To Say I'm Sorry In Korean

Now that you have learned the different ways of saying sorry in Korean formally, let us move on to informal ways. Using informal ways of apologizing is only advisable for locals and native speakers. It is used when talking to a close friend, family, or someone of the same age. If you are just a beginner in learning Korean or a first-timer in Korea, being formal is still the better option for you. But because you are learning how to say sorry in Korean, here are some words and phrases to say sorry in Korean in an informal way.

1. 미안해 (mi anhae)

English Translation: Sorry

If you want to say sorry to your close friends, you can say 미안해 (mi anhae). This phrase is the most commonly used informal way of saying sorry in Korean. You can use this in casual conversations with your friends or significant others.

미안해요. (mi an hae yo.)

On the other hand, 미안해요. (mi an hae yo.) is another least formal way to say sorry in Korean. This is not that commonly used, but you can also hear this in Korean dramas and movies, so it wouldn't hurt you to learn this.

2. 미안 (mian)

English Translation: Sorry

You might be confused between the phrases 미안해 (mi anhae) and 미안 (mian). These Korean phrases are used interchangeably, but they have a difference. The phrase 미안해 (mianhae) shows a lot more concern to the feelings of the other person than 미안 (mian).

3.  저기요 (jeogiyo)

English Translation: Excuse me. or Sorry for interrupting

This is another way of saying sorry in Korean. This expression has two meanings which you should take note of to avoid misunderstandings. First, you can use it to call someone's attention to complain about something to another person. Be careful of using this because this might negatively affect someone, so try to think about the situation first before saying 저기요 (jeogiyo).

Another way you can use it is when calling someone like in a restaurant. But, remember, 저기요 (jeogiyo) is informal. So, there are lots of options that you can use to call someone's attention before using this phrase. For example, it will call the waiter's attention, and it can also call the attention of everyone in the restaurant.

There are different ways to say sorry in the Korean language. These words sound different from each other, but they only have one purpose, and that is to ask for a sincere apology and acknowledge that you have done something wrong. The word sorry is a big word for people. Even though it is hard to express your sincere apology sometimes, remember that apologizing doesn't always mean that you are wrong and the other person is right. Sometimes, it means that you value your relationship more than your ego and pride.


Other Ways To Say Sorry In Korean

If you want to learn Korean effectively, you should expand your vocabulary. For example, here are other ways to say sorry in Korean that you can use in different situations.

KoreanPronunciationEnglish Translation
다시는 안 그럴게.Dasineun an geureolge.I won't do it again.
그걸 의미한 게 아냐.Geugeol uimihan ge anya.I didn't mean that.
용서해 주길 바라요.Yongseohae jugil barayo.I hope you forgive me.
내 책임이에요.Nae chaegimieyo.I take full responsibility.
사과하고 싶어요.Sagwahago sipeoyo.I would like to apologize.
진심으로 사과드립니다.Jinsimeuro sagwadeurimnida.I sincerely apologize.
이 실수를 다시 하지 않도록 명심할게요.I silsureul dasi haji antorok myeongsimhalgeyo.I'll make sure not to make this mistake again.
제가 그걸 하지 말았어야 했어요.Jega geugeol haji marasseoya haesseoyo.I shouldn't have done it.
못되게 군 것 사과할게요.Motdoege gun geot sagwahalgeyo.I apologize for being mean to you.
돈을 늦게 돌려줘서 미안해요.Doneul neutge dolryeojwoseo mianhaeyo.Sorry for giving your money back late.
늦어서 미안해요.Neujeoseo mianhaeyo.Sorry I’m late.
제발 화내지 마세요.Jebal hwanaeji maseyo.Please don’t be mad at me.
이기적으로 굴어서 미안해요.Igijeogeuro gureoseo mianhaeyo.I’m sorry for being selfish.
 어머, 괜찮으세요? 너무 죄송합니다.eomeo, gwaenchaneuseyo? neomu joesonghamnida.Oh no, are you okay? I am so sorry.


How To Respond?

Forgiveness does not mean trust can snap right back in. However, it is the first step in healing that can benefit you and the other person who hurt you. Therefore, upon learning how to say sorry in Korean, you should also learn how to respond when someone asks for an apology.

1. 괜찮습니다. (gwaenchanseumnida.)

English Translation: It's okay.

The most common response for an apology is 괜찮습니다. (gwaenchanseumnida.). When you are saying it to someone, make sure to use calming tone to imply that you are really okay with what happened. This may be used in situations like when someone accidentally bumped you in the streets or stepped into your foot.

2. 아니요, 괜찮습니다. (aniyo, gwaenchanseumnida.)

English Translation: It’s okay, never mind.

The expression 아니요, 괜찮습니다. (aniyo, gwaenchanseumnida.) is like saying, "Don't mind it." This will make an impression that what happened does not bother you at all.

3. 나는 너를 용서하겠다 (naneun neoleul yongseohagessda)

English Translation: I will for give you.

If you want to express your forgiveness to someone who did something wrong to you, 나는 너를 용서하겠다 (naneun neoleul yongseohagessda) is the perfect example of a phrase that you can use. But, of course, you also have to make sure you plan to settle your past argument not to happen again.

4. 알았어. 이번 한번만 용서해줄께. (arasseo. ibeon hanbeonman yongseohaejulkke.)

English Translation: Alright. I will forgive you this time.

The expression 알았어. 이번 한번만 용서해줄께. (arasseo. ibeon hanbeonman yongseohaejulkke.) has almost the same meaning as the first one. The only difference is you are letting the other person know that it is his/her last chance, and if it happens again, there will be a huge chance that he/she may not be forgiven.

5. 알겠다. 이번 한번만 용서해주마. (algetda. ibeon hanbeonman yongseohaejuma.)

English Translation: Understood. We will forgive you this time.

This expression is commonly used by employers or company owners for their employees who did something wrong. It's like making them feel that everything they do may affect the business or company they are working with.


Don't Say Sorry In The Future. Learn Korean Now!

Are you one of those who were influenced by Korean dramas and music that made you want to learn Korean? Well, don't waste time because you might feel sorry when you do. Ling App can be the answer for the language learning experience you are looking for.

Aside from blog posts, Ling App has another way you can learn, not just different ways to say I'm sorry in Korean. Ling App can also open doors for you to learn different lessons in a game-like way. With Ling App, you can have fun and learn Korean at the same time.

Korean is a beautiful language that you can invest in. It reflects their culture that they truly cherish and value so, don't miss this opportunity and start learning Korean now!

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