Today, we’re going to teach how to say ‘promise’ in Korean. This is another simple, beginner-level word/phrase that you can use and recognize immediately if you listen in on Korean conversations or watch Korean television. Ready to learn? It’ll be easy, we promise!
This is the simple noun for the ‘promise’. Like many other nouns in Korean, you can ad ‘하다’ to turn it into a verb. So then you would get ‘약속하다’ which means ‘to promise’. The verb form is used often, and the noun is also used often just by itself as a way of saying ‘Promise!’ or ‘I promise!’.
Another common way Koreans use this verb is to say they have a plan or meetup later in the day or later in the week. You might ask someone to hangout tomorrow, but they might say to you ‘내일 약속 있어.’ (nae-il yak-ssok i-sseo) which the literal translation means ‘Tomorrow, I have a promise’. But in this context, it translates to something more like ‘I have plans tomorrow.’
Here are the basic conjugations for this verb.
약속해요 (yak-sso-kae-yo) = present tense (declarative standard polite)
약속했어요 (yak-sso-kae-sseo-yo) = past tense (declarative standard polite)
약속할 거예요 (yak-sso-kal kkeo-ye-yo) = future tense (declarative standard polite)
What about using this word in a sentence? Let’s check out some examples:
친구와 점심 약속이 있다. (chin-gu-wa jeom-sim yak-sso-gi it-tta) = I have a lunch date with a friend.
나는 그를 돌보기로 약속했다. (na-neun geu-reul ttol-bo-gi-ro yak-sso-kaet-tta) = I promised to look after him.
나는 약속을 지키는 사람이다. (na-neun yak-sso-geul jji-ki-neun sa-ra-mi-da) = I’m a person of my word.
We’re introducing this word because some beginners often think that it can mean ‘promise’ as well. This word is another word for plan, but it’s never used in situations for a promise or a plan like a simple lunch or dinner date with a friend. It usually refers to bigger plans like goals for your life, a strategy for a problem, or traveling somewhere. Here are some exmaples:
방학 계획 짜셨나요? (bang-hak gye-hoek jja-syeon-na-yo) = Did you make any plans for the vacation?
남은 한 해 계획이요? (na-meun han hae gye-hoe-gi-yo) = Do you have any plans/goals for the rest of the year?
생일 때 계획이 뭐예요? (saeng-il ttae gye-hoe-gi mwo-ye-yo) = Do you have any plans for your birthday?
Hope these examples were useful to you. Good luck!