Must-Know Korean Greetings & Farewells in Various Situations
Key Points &
Depending on situations, different expressions are used for ‘hi’ and ‘goodbye’ in Korean.
To those whom you have not seen for a while, you can say 안녕하셨어요 which literally means ‘have you been well.'
When you’re leaving the current, you can say 안녕히 계세요, which literally means ‘please be well,’ to those who stay at the place.
When you’re staying at the current, you can say 안녕히 가세요, which literally means ‘please go in peace,’ to those who are leaving the place.
The expression 수고하세요 can be used in place of the usual phrases for goodbye to those who are at work.
안녕하셨어요 : Have you been well
어서 오세요 : Welcome (Lit. Please come in a hurry)
안녕히 가세요 : Goodbye (Lit. Please go in peace)
안녕히 계세요 : Goodbye (Lit. Please be in peace)
수고하세요 : Don’t work too hard (Lit. Work hard ) (You’re being courteous by acknowledging the hard work of the other person )
Directions: Assume the role in the situation and utilize one of the phrases learned in this episode.
1-1. You run into your ex-neighbors on the street whom you haven’t seen for a while.
1-2. After chatting with the ex-neighbors for some time, you are ready to leave.
2-1. Your guests are arriving at your house.
2-2. Your guests are leaving your party.
3. Your colleague is seeing you off as you’re leaving the party at his house.
4. The taxi driver thanks you for your business as you’re about to get off.
Hello! This is KAY from essentialkorean.com. 안녕하세요! 반갑습니다 여러분!
Did everyone understand what I just said? If you did, excellent! If you can’t recall exactly what it means, that’s also OK. Feel free to review previous episodes, as you’re welcome to go back to them whenever and wherever you like. That’s the beauty of technology-mediated learning!
Let’s review these terms, in case you didn’t get them. 안녕하세요 Hello! 반갑습니다 Nice to see you! Now the new term, 여러분, is an honorific word meaning many people, but functionally is used to address an
audience. I’ll say them again:
안녕하세요! 반갑습니다 여러분!
안녕하세요 여러분! 반갑습니다!
Ok, Let’s get started with todays’ lesson!
In this episode, you will learn 5 more Korean greetings beside the ones we learned in Episode 1. In the first episode, we learned how to say Hello or Hi in Korean, 안녕하세요. 안녕 which means well-being, 하세요 means do, 안녕하세요 literally means are you well, but functionally serves as a form of greeting, not as a question.
Building off 안녕하세요, here comes our NEW greeting. Are you ready? Here we go.
안녕하셨어요? 안녕하셨어요? 안녕하셨어요?
안녕 means, again, well being, and 하셨어요 is the past tense form of 하세요. In terms of meaning, the Korean PAST FORM can serve the purpose of the simple past or the past participle. So 안녕하셨어요 literally means have you been well?
Repeat after me. I’ll do the back build-up. It’s easier than trying to say the whole thing at once:
하셨어요 - 안녕하셨어요? / 하셨어요 - 안녕하셨어요? / 하셨어요 - 안녕하셨어요? / 안녕하셨어요
Let’s visualize a situation, which is always good when studying a new language.
Episode 1 introduced a situation where an exchange student from America came to Korea, went through the customs at the airport, and came out to the waiting area where his host family parents were waiting. The exchange student greeted them whom he’s meeting for the first time with 안녕하세요. Remember that? OK...
Now, let’s say there was one more person waiting for him at the airport with the host family. That person is the coordinator from the International Office of the university he’s coming to study. The exchange student and the coordinator have met when she visited his home college in America to promote her school’s study abroad program.
He’s happy to see the coordinator again, and greets her with 안녕하셨어요? It would have been perfectly ok to have greeted her with 안녕하세요; but the past tense 하셨어요, rather than the present tense 하세요, highlights the time they haven’t seen each other.
To sum up, with someone you meet for the first time, you can say 안녕하세요.
With someone you know and haven’t seen for some time, it’s appropriate to say either 안녕하세요, or 안녕하셨어요.
Ok, back to our situation. The coordinator hands the exchange student a welcome package and gives a brief orientation. Then she tells him she has to return to her office. So it’s time to say goodbye. They would say to each other --- 안녕히 가세요: 안녕히 means in peace and 가세요 means go in the honorific form. Putting these together, we get 안녕히 가세요, which literally means Please go in peace. I’ll do the back build-up again:
Repeat after me:
가세요 - 안녕히 가세요 가세요 - 안녕히 가세요 가세요 - 안녕히 가세요 / 안녕히 가세요
So can we say 안녕히 가세요 in all cases where we’d say goodbye in English?
Sometimes, but not for all cases. The English Goodbye is a versatile phrase, because it can be used in almost any parting situation. In Korean, on the other hand, we need to consider two situations: one where you’re talking to someone departing from a location and another where you are talking to someone who is staying.
안녕히 가세요 Please go in peace can be used where both parties move away from where they are, like the situation where the coordinator goes back to her office and the exchange student and his host family head home.
The other goodbye is - are you ready? It’s 안녕히 계세요, used when you are saying farewell to someone who remains. 안녕히 again means in peace and 계세요 means be present or exist in the honorific form. Putting them together, 안녕히 계세요 means Please be in peace.
In summary, use 안녕히 가세요 Please go in peace to those who are leaving; and use 안녕히 계세요 Please be in peace to those who stay. More examples on this in a bit.
Before we leave the waiting area at the airport, let’s review:
Have you been well? 안녕하셨어요?
Good bye (to the party that’s leaving the current location, you say,) 안녕히 가세요
Good bye (to the party that stays, you say,) 안녕히 계세요.
OK, time to leave the airport. The host family didn't bring their car because it’s currently at an auto repair shop. So they head to the nearest taxi stand and get a taxi. The taxi driver might greet them, the passengers, with an expression other than 안녕하세요.
If not 안녕하세요, then what?
It is 어서 오세요, which is a welcoming expression. 어서 means in a hurry and 오세요 is an honorific verb form which means come. You will hear this expression in Korean when you enter shops, restaurants, and other places where they welcome customers and guests.
Repeat after me, (I’ll do back-build-up again):
오세요 - 어서 오세요 / 오세요 - 어서 오세요 / 오세요 - 어서 오세요 / 어서 오세요
Ok, back to our situation again: The taxi arrives at the students' new home. The host family pays the fare to the driver, and in return the driver would say 감사합니다 or 고맙습니다 Thank you. The driver might also say goodbye as well, but of course in Korean. Which one would the driver say to the passengers leaving the car? - You are correct if you said 안녕히 가세요 Go in peace.
What about the passengers? What would they say to the driver? If you said 안녕히 계세요 which means Please be in peace, well, you’re not wrong. BUT the situation calls for an alternative phrase which is more frequently used in this and similar situations where you’re leaving someone who is at work. Here’s the expression:
수고하세요. The host family and the exchange students say 수고하세요 to the driver as they get off the taxi.
수고 means effort or hard work; and 하세요 is an honorific verb with the meaning do. So this literally means Please do the hard work. Let’s practice the phrase. Repeat after me:
수고하세요 수고하세요 수고하세요
But wait! Doesn’t it sound a bit weird to tell them to work hard? Well, learning literal meaning can help, but first and foremost, we should learn and understand these expressions in terms of their function and the purpose they serve. In the case of 수고하세요, it’s the recognition that’s at the core. People recognize that they’re doing hard work.
Ok, a quick review of the situation and the expressions from the beginning:
The exchange student greets his host family whom he just met with: 안녕하세요.
The exchange student greets the coordinator from the international office whom he’s meeting again after some time with: 안녕하셨어요?
The taxi driver welcomes the passengers with: 어서 오세요
Arrived at the destination, receiving the fare, the driver thank them with: 감사합니다 or 고맙습니다. And then says: 안녕히 가세요.
As the passengers leave the taxi, they say to the driver: 수고하세요. And they can also say, 안녕히 계세요.
So there you go: the five new expressions we learned today.
Now, it’s quiz time! Let’s see how much we remember and reinforce our lesson points!
Q1. Imagine yourself running into someone you used to work with on the street. It’s been awhile since you last saw him. How would you greet him, highlighting the time you haven’t seen each other?
You’re right if you said 안녕하셨어요? 안녕하셨어요? 안녕하셨어요?
Q2: You and your ex-colleague catch up, and it’s time to say goodbye. (Btw, you and your ex-colleague ran into each other on the street and both were on the way to work.) What will you and your colleague say to each other as you part?
Correct if you said 안녕히 가세요 안녕히 가세요. You will say 안녕히 가세요 to each other.
Q3. You’re having a party at your house. You enter a shop to buy some party goods and shop owner will greet you with 어서 오세요 ~ . You get what you need, pay for them at the cash register, and, as you leave, what would you say to the owner?
You’ve selected very appropriate phrase if you said, 수고하세요. 수고하세요. 수고하세요.
Q4. Now it's party time! How would you welcome your guests as they enter your house?
You’re right if you said 어서 오세요! 어서 오세요! 어서 오세요!
Q5. The party’s over. The guests had a great time! They thank you and leave as they say which phrase?
Yes, 고맙습니다. 감사합니다. 안녕히 계세요. 안녕히 계세요. 안녕히 계세요.
And you’d see them off saying what? - You’re right if you said, 안녕히 가세요 안녕히 가세요 안녕히 가세요
Before I let you go, here are some suggestions for practice.
You’ve learned 4 greetings with the word 안녕 in them --
안녕하세요, 안녕하셨어요, 안녕히 가세요, 안녕히 계세요 --
and learned when to use them.
Whenever you say hello and goodbye, select the most appropriate Korean expression for the situation you’re in. Remember, you need to consider if you’re talking to someone leaving or staying for a Korean goodbye.
Now, whenever you’re saying goodbye to someone still at work, remember the phrase 수고하세요. When you’re getting off work and others are still working; when you leave the cashier after paying; or when you get off a taxi… these are all situations where 수고하세요 is an appropriate phrase to be used.
And when you welcome a guest to your house or welcome a visitor at work, think of the phrase, 어서 오세요.
Ok. That’s it for today’s episode. I’ll see you in one week. Until then, take care! 고맙습니다. 안녕히 계세요!