13 Ways to Say YOU or Address a Person in Korean (당신, 그대, 너, 네, 얘, 자네, 그쪽, 귀하)

13 Ways to Say YOU or Address Someone in Korean 

Unlike the simplicity to say “You” in English, addressing “You” in Korean is quite complicated, depending on the formality, politeness, age, relationship, or methods such as spoken or written.

When you meet someone, you can address them by their age such as “아저씨, 아줌마, 아가씨,…” or by their job title such as “선생님, 기사님, 교수님, 학생…”, or by relationship such as “어머님, 아버님, , 누나, 언니, 동생…” or by their name + / to address friends or younger persons such as “승모아, 대한아, 수지야…”


8 ways to say You in Korean and 5 alternative methods to address someone in Korean

당신그대자네그쪽귀하 = YOU


1. 당신 = ‘You’, ‘honey’, ‘darling’ ~ used when a husband or wife address each other, also used to someone you are fighting against or in very formal contexts in song, poem, and textbook, rarely used in spoken Korean, may be rude if spoken


당신과 결혼해서 같이 벌써 이십 년이 넘었네요.

It's already been more than 20 years since I married you and lived together.


나는 당신과 자식들을 위해서라면 무엇이든 있어요.

I can do anything for you and the children.


2. 그대 = ‘You’, ‘Dear’, My love” ~ poetic and romantic term of endearment, mostly found in song lyrics, love letters, and books, rarely used in spoken Korean


그대여 = Dear you

그대에게 = To you

그대와 함께 = without


오늘 학교에서 그대를 보고 저는 첫눈에 그대에게 반했습니다.

When I saw you at school today, I fell in love with you at first sight.


그대가 편지를 읽을 때쯤이면 나는 미국을 이미 떠나 있겠군요.

By the time you read this letter, I will have already left America.


3. = ‘You’ ~ casual spoken language, only used when you are close to someone who is same age or younger than you.


엄마는 나에게 "너는 엄마랑 아빠랑 누가 좋아?"라고 물으셨다.

My mom asked me, “Who do you like better, mom or dad?”


이번 시험에서 등이 누구래?

- 바로 너래. 축하해!

Who gets first place in this exam?

- It’s you. Congratulations!


4. [spelling ] = ‘You’  ~used when particle is attached to it, mostly used in written texts, 네가 also has the meaning of ‘your’.


네가 좋아할지 몰라서 이것저것 왔어.

I didn't know what you would like, so I bought you some things.


네가 어질러 놓은 네가 치워!

Clear up your own mess!


5. = 아이 = ‘You’, ‘dear’, ‘son’, ‘daughter’, ‘kid’ ~ a casual spoken language used to call a child or someone younger, for example, parents address their children, or a teacher address their kindergarten students like 얘들아.


얘야, 이름이 뭐니?

What’s your name, dear?


어머, 얘가 너무 귀여워요!

Oh my, she’s so cute!


6. 자네 = ‘You’ ~ used when an old person addresses someone who is much younger, mostly used by old generations such as grandfather, grandmother, and old seniors


학생, 자네는 이름이 뭐지?

Student, what is your name?


, 나는 자네만 믿겠네.

Mr. Kim, I will only trust you.


7. 그쪽 = ‘You’, ‘that side’ ~mostly used to address a stranger (for example, online messages) and may be perceived as an impolite word.


그쪽. 그쪽.

You. You.


그녀가 그쪽으로 얼굴을 밀었다.

She pushed her face towards him.


8. 귀하 = ‘You’ ~ very formal and polite, used when someone or company officially sends an email or letter to you or customer.   


귀하의 문의에 대한 회신으로

In response to your inquiry…


귀하의 가정에 평안과 행복이 가득하시기를 기원합니다.

I hope your home is filled with peace and happiness.


Due to the complexity of saying “You” in Korean, DON’T USE IT until you understand its meaning totally.


Therefore, Try to use the common ways below to address someone in Korean.


1. Person name + / ~ casually address someone who is close to you, same age or younger than you.


수지야, 지원야, 재현아,…


2. Person name + = Mr. Mrs. Ms. ~ politely address someone


수지 , 재현 , 대한 ,…


3. (Family name) + job title or social title + ~ formal and polite form to address someone


선생님 (Teacher Kim), 기사님 (driver), 사부님 (sir, madam, master), 

교수님 (Professor Oh), 박사님 (Doctor Lee), 선배님 (senior),

사장님 (Director Park), 주장님 (chief), 과장님 (manager), 손님 (customer)


4. By their age or relationship:


아저씨 used to address a middle-aged man

아줌마 used to address a middle-aged woman, but be careful to use

오빠/언니 used when a female addresses an older brother or sister

/누나 used when a male addresses an older brother or sister

*어머님 / 아버님 politely used when the person is about the same age of your parents

5. Omit ‘subject’ and use honorific ending such as –()세요?


어디에 사세요?

Where do you live?


어떤 하세요?

What is your job?

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