How would you ask for a favor politely in Korean? What if you asked someone to pass you something near them? What about asking for forgiveness? Today, we’re taking a look at how to say please in Korean.
First up, we’re gonna talk about the direct translation for ‘please’. This is probably the word that many of you will come across when looking for the meaning of this phrase.
Now, although this is usually referred to as the direct translation for the word, it’s only used when specific situations (usually not positive). Especially if you are begging for forgiveness. You can also use this when you’re being very or demanding of someone to do/not do something or give something to you. Here are some example sentences using 제발.
제발 그러지 마요. (je-bal kkeu-reo-ji ma-yo) = Please don’t do that.
자제 좀 해, 제발. (ja-je jom hae, je-bal) = Dial it back, please.
제발 때리지 말아요. (je-bal ttae-ri-ji ma-ra-yo) = Please don’t hit me.
제발 하지 마세요. (je-bal ha-ji ma-se-yo) = Please don’t do it.
제발, 나 좀 귀찮게 하지마! (je-bal, na jom gwi-chan-ke ha-ji-ma) = Please stop bothering me.
As you can see, it’s usually not used in positive situations.
Next, we’re going to talk about the other ways to politely say please in Korean. The following ways involve adding polite verb endings to the action. For example, let’s look at the first verb ending.
[verb stem]+ 십t시오 (ship-shi-o)
This is the most formal verb ending to use in Korean and it’s used frequently in written Korean. You wouldn’t usually use this to someone close to you that you’ve known for a while. Let’s take a look at some examples.
어서 오십시오. (eo-seo o-sip-ssi-o) = Please come in.
앉으십시오. (an-jeu-sip-ssi-o) = Please be seated.
조용히 하십시오. (jo-yong-hi ha-sip-ssi-o) = Please be quiet.
십시오 basically takes on the meaning of please added on to whatever the verb is. -세요 can also be used in these situations. It’s a bit less formal than 십시오, but still has a high level of formality.
Oftentimes, these polite ending is also combined with the verb 주다 (ju-da). The meaning of this verb is “to give”. The most common form of this verb you’ll see is ‘주세요’ and ‘주십시오’ (same ending from above). It can change the meaning of a sentence from “please do something” to “please do something for me”.
Here are some examples:
하나 사주세요 (ha-na sa-ju-se-yo) = Please buy one for me.
좀 도와주세요. (jom do-wa-ju-se-yo) = Please help me.
방 좀 치워 주세요. (bang jom chi-wo ju-se-yo) = Please tidy up the room for me.
좀 비켜 주세요. (jom bi-kyeo ju-se-yo) = Can you please step aside?
여기에 서명을 해 주십시오. (yeo-gi-e seo-myeong-eul hae ju-sip-ssi-o) = Sign your name here, please.
제가 한 일을 용서해 주십시오. (je-ga han i-reul yong-seo-hae ju-sip-ssi-o) = Please forgive me for what I’ve done.
You can also use this verb without the use of another verb:
우유 한 잔 주세요. (u-yu han jan ju-se-yo) = Please give me a glass of milk.
콜라 한 병 주세요. (kol-la han byeong ju-se-yo) = A bottle of coke, please.
If you wanted to use the casual form with your close friends or family, these endings would simply turn into ‘줘’. There are other endings to use with this verb as well. ‘주시기 바랍니다’ is often used in announcements. You really wouldn’t use this towards people in your friend circle or office, but if there was an announcement or notification that needed to be made to everyone at once, this ending would be used.
사전등록 해주시기 바랍니다. (sa-jeon-deung-nok hae-ju-si-gi ba-ram-ni-da) = Advanced registration is required.
모든 학생들은 교실로 이동해 주시기 바랍니다. (mo-deun hak-ssaeng-deu-reun gyo-sil-lo i-dong-hae ju-si-gi ba-ram-ni-da) = All students please proceed to your classrooms.
Finally, we have ‘주시겠어요’ which is a standard, but still polite version.
계산서 좀 갖다 주시겠어요? (gye-san-seo jom gat-tta ju-si-ge-sseo-yo) = Can you bring me the bill, please?
That’s a lot right?! There are actually a few more ways to say please, but we will cover them in a future post by themselves.
Now, to finish off this post, we’ll leave you with a few more useful phrases using please in Korean. Take care!
뽀뽀해 줘. (ppo-ppo-hae jweo) = Kiss me, please.
날 도와줘. (nal tto-wa-jwo) = Help me, please.
건강하세요! (geon-gang-ha-se-yo) = Please stay healthy!
엄마를 부탁합니다. (eom-ma-reul ppu-ta-kam-ni-da) = Please look after my mom. (We didn’t cover this, but 부탁합니다 has the nuance of ‘look after’)
대답하세요. (dae-da-pa-se-yo) = Please reply.
저를 사랑해주세요! (jeo-reul ssa-rang-hae-ju-se-yo) = Please love me!