Common Korean Drama Phrases Part II

Want to learn some of the most essential Korean phrases used in dramas and movies? If so, this is for you. I will present these phrases in informal language, or 반말.

This is Part II – you can find Part I here. Can’t read hangeul yet? Learn here!

멋있어 | meosisseo | you’re so cool

멋 or meot (pronounced like mutt) is a word that means a variety of things, like taste, chicness, interestingness, etc. 있어 (isseo, pronounced ee-suh) comes from the verb 있다 (ittda) which literally means to exist – more simply, to be or to have. The coolness exists. You are cool. You are chic, you are interesting. Usually this is said by adoring girls to a handsome man who somehow is different from all the other guys.

As Korean often omits the subject of a sentence, 멋있어’s subject is implied by context. A way of directly and explicitly saying “You are cool” is 너는 멋있어. 너 is you and the attached particle denotes the subject. Korean follows a subject-object-verb sentence structure, by the way.

잘 생겼어 | jal saengyeosseo | he’s hot


잘 (jal) means good or well. 생겼어 (saengyeosseo) is the past tense version of 생기다 which means to appear, to be formed, to have looks….The nuance is a little difficult, so just memorize this phrase if you’re starting out and you’ll do fine. The not-so-good side of this phrase? 못생기다 (mot saengida), or to be ugly. Also, I recommend calling girls 이뻐 (ippeo) and boys 잘생겼어 (jal saengyeosseo) – putting aside arguments about gender, this is how Koreans denote attractiveness between boys and girls.

I translated this to mean “He’s hot” but obviously, the subject is omitted. It also doesn’t literally mean “hot,” but since this phrase is used pretty colloquially, it sounds less awkward than saying “He’s attractive.” He has good looks, he’s hot, he’s attractive. He’s 잘 생겼어.


우와 광수 잘생기다 잘 생겼어 

헐 | heol | omg

헐 (heol, pronounced like the hull of a ship) is a slang word denoting surprise, shock, and excitement (it can be positive or negative). It doesn’t literally mean omg, but it’s used in the same context as omg is in English. Think of it as just a noise of amazement. If you catch it in dramas, you may notice that people use different tones and emphasis when they say it. A drawn out 헐 that’s low and uninflected might be a dismissive sort of “omg why am I not surprise” sort of 헐, for example.


As I said in my previous post on common phrases, next time you’re watching a drama, try to listen for these phrases! Practice saying them the way the actors and actresses do – it’ll improve your accent and intonation even if you’re just beginning to learn Korean.

Happy studying!


지금 재생

Dean’s back, and my friends and I are overwhelmed. Join us in our love for Dean’s music.


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