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How do you say sorry in Korean casual?

How to Say Sorry in Korean Casual: A Comprehensive Guide


The Korean language is known for its unique culture and customs, and one of the most important aspects of Korean culture is the way apologies are expressed. Whether you’re learning Korean for business or pleasure, knowing how to say sorry in a casual setting is an essential part of communication. In this article, we will explore the different ways to apologize in Korean casual and explain the nuances behind each expression.

The Importance of Apologizing in Korean Culture

In Korean culture, apologizing is considered a sign of respect and humility. It’s not only necessary when you’ve done something wrong, but also when you want to show empathy or express condolences. Koreans have a saying, “mianhae,” which means “I’m sorry,” but there are many other ways to apologize depending on the situation.

Formal vs. Casual Apologies

In Korean, there are different levels of politeness and formality that dictate how you speak to others. Formal apologies are used in professional settings or when speaking to elders, while casual apologies are used among friends or peers. Knowing the correct level of formality is crucial in communicating effectively in Korean.

The Different Ways to Say Sorry in Casual Korean

There are several different ways to apologize in Korean casual, each with its own nuances and implications. Some common expressions include “mianhae,” “joesonghamnida,” “gomawo,” and “jinja mianhae.” Each expression has its own level of sincerity and can be used for different situations.

“Mianhae” – The Most Common Way to Apologize

“Mianhae” is the most common way to apologize in Korean casual. It’s a simple and straightforward expression that can be used in a variety of situations. However, it’s important to note that “mianhae” is not always the most sincere expression of regret.

“Joesonghamnida” – The Polite Way to Apologize

“Joesonghamnida” is a more polite way to apologize in Korean. It’s often used in professional settings or when speaking to elders. This expression conveys a deeper level of respect and sincerity than “mianhae.”

“Gomawo” – The Grateful Way to Apologize

“Gomawo” is typically used to express gratitude, but it can also be used to apologize in certain situations. This expression is often used when someone has done something for you, and you want to thank them while also apologizing for any inconvenience you may have caused.

“Jinja Mianhae” – The Sincere Way to Apologize

“Jinja mianhae” is a more sincere way to apologize in Korean casual. This expression conveys a deeper level of regret and remorse than “mianhae.” It’s typically used when you want to express your apologies in a more heartfelt manner.

The Importance of Body Language and Tone

In addition to the words themselves, body language and tone are crucial in conveying sincerity and respect when apologizing in Korean. Making eye contact, bowing, and using a respectful tone are all important factors that contribute to an effective apology.

Other Ways to Show Apology

In addition to words and body language, there are other ways to show remorse and regret when apologizing in Korean casual. These can include offering a small gift, writing a letter or card, or making a promise to do better in the future.


Knowing how to apologize in Korean casual is an essential part of communication in Korean culture. By understanding the different expressions and nuances, you can effectively convey your regret and show respect to those around you. Remember to use the appropriate level of formality and pay attention to body language and tone for a truly effective apology.

How do you say sorry in Korean slang?

The term “myan” is a Korean slang word that is commonly used by younger people to express apologies in written contexts. It is a shorter version of the more formal term “joeson,” which is also used casually among people of the same age when apologizing to each other.

What does biyane mean in Korean?

The first two statements are formal and polite, while the last one is a very informal way of saying sorry. I hope this information is useful. I recall hearing the Korean word for sorry as “biane” before.

What does chogi mean in Korean?

/chogi/ refers to the start of a period of time, which is when it first begins.

What is informal sorry?

“I messed up” and “I screwed up” are casual ways to acknowledge making a mistake. In business or professional settings, it is common to say “My apologies for” or “I apologize for” when addressing a mistake, such as being late for an appointment.

How do you say sorry without being cringe?

When apologizing to someone, it is important to take full responsibility for your actions. Say something like, “I want to apologize for what I did. I can see that my behavior upset you.” Show genuine remorse by saying, “I feel embarrassed about how I acted” or “I feel terrible that my actions caused you to be upset.” Avoid making excuses and focus on accepting responsibility for your behavior.

How do Koreans apologise?

In Korean language, there are different levels of formality that depend on the relationship between the speaker and the listener. Similarly, there are two common ways to apologize in Korean – 미안(mi-ahn) and 죄송(joe-song) – with the latter being more formal than the former.

When to Apologize in Korean Culture

In Korean culture, it’s important to apologize for any mistakes or wrongdoings, no matter how small they may seem. This includes situations where you may have accidentally bumped into someone on the street, or if you’ve made a mistake at work. Apologizing shows respect and humility, and it’s an important part of building and maintaining relationships in Korean culture.

The Role of Confucianism in Apologizing in Korean Culture

Confucianism has had a significant impact on Korean culture, including the way apologies are expressed. In Confucianism, respect for elders and authority figures is paramount, and apologizing is seen as a way to show that respect. This is why formal apologies are often used when speaking to elders or in professional settings.

Apologizing for Collective Responsibility

In some cases, Koreans may apologize not only for their own actions but also for the actions of their group or organization. This is known as collective responsibility and is a key aspect of Korean culture. Apologizing on behalf of your group shows that you take responsibility for their actions and that you’re committed to making amends.

The Importance of Forgiveness in Korean Culture

In Korean culture, forgiveness is just as important as apologizing. When someone apologizes, it’s expected that the other person will forgive them and move on. Holding a grudge or seeking revenge is seen as counterproductive and harmful to relationships. Forgiveness is seen as a way to maintain harmony and promote mutual respect.


In conclusion, understanding how to apologize in Korean casual is an important part of effectively communicating in Korean culture. By using the appropriate expressions and paying attention to body language and tone, you can show sincerity and respect when apologizing. Remembering the importance of forgiveness and collective responsibility can also help build and maintain relationships in Korean culture.

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