When giving or receiving something, you should know both thank you and you’re welcome. It’s the polite thing to do, and people will always appreciate it. We’ve covered thank you in another post here, so you’ll want to check that out first, or after you’ve read this post.
So how do you say you’re welcome in Korean? Let’s break down the different ways with pronunciation and romanization.
This is the formal and more direct translation for saying you’re welcome. It’s not used as often as some of the others we will list below. It is rarely used in spoken conversation and may sound awkward if you do use it in daily conversation. It’s good to just keep this one in mind just for fun though.
천만에요. 잠시 얘기 좀 할 수 있을까요? (cheon-man-e-yo. jam-si yae-gi jom hal-su-i-sseul-kka-yo) = Don’t mention it. Can you spare a minute to talk?
These are used far more often and sound more natural. Usually, these would simply translate to “no”. However, it can also be translated as “It’s nothing” or “Don’t mention it” to say you’re welcome to someone. 아니에요 is standard polite and is used with people you don’t know well who are the same age as you, and 아닙니다 is the formal version used for people older or higher in status than you.
I use the formal version frequently with my mother-in-law when giving gifts for her birthday or holidays like Parent’s Day.
너무 잘 들었습니다. 감사합니다. – 아니에요. (neo-mu jal deul-eo-sseum-ni-da. kam-sa-ham-ni-da. – a-ni-e-yo) = I enjoyed listening to it. Thank you. – You’re welcome.
This is also used in daily speech more than 천마에요. This is commonly used to express you’re welcome when someone says ‘감사합니다’ (formal thank you). This expression also sounds more polite, humble, and modest to people. It will definitely give you some favor in people’s eyes if you use this. The pronunciation is a little difficult compared to the phrases above, so try practicing it over and over to get the hang of it.
별말씀을요 – 고마워. (byeol-mal-sseum-eul-yo. go-ma-weo-yo) = It’s nothing. – Thanks.
Finally, you may have heard these phrases before. They both translate as “It’s okay”. 괜찮아요 is standard polite, and 괜찮습니다 is formal. These can also be used for saying ‘you’re welcome’. Just as in English, you might say to someone “It’s okay” or “It’s alright”, you can use these in the same way in Korean. These both are more commonly used in spoken Korean as well.
괜찮아요. 뭐 어때요. (gwaen-chan-a-yo. mweo eo-ttae-yo) = It’s okay. No Worries.
Hope you enjoyed this post! Look for our next lesson tomorrow!
If you really want to step up your game and learn more basic Korean vocabulary and phrases, check out our ebook that we wrote for you, The Korean Language Starter Pack. Simple and easy to follow content, pictures and illustrations will help you learn Korean with ease.