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Korean phrases for encouragement

How do you encourage or comfort someone in Korean? What kind of phrases can you use to cheer someone up or console someone when they are facing a tough situation?

Here we will explore a few options that you can use for a number of situations to take you one step closer to having real meaningful conversations with native Koreans.

Encouraging / cheering up someone in Korean

There are a few different ways to encourage or cheer someone up in Korea. Whichever phrase you use, your kind words will be much appreciated by the Korean people especially when used in the appropriate circumstances.

Below is a list of 5 ways to encourage or cheer someone up in Korean.

1 화이팅! (Hwa-i-ting!) “Fighting!”

This English loanword is used quite often in Korea in informal situations as a way to cheer someone up and encourage them. You can usually hear this phrase being shouted by the audience or team members during competitive games.

It is also used in many other situations where someone needs cheering up to help them keep going towards their goals. If you want to really emphasize your words of encouragement, you can also half-raise a clenched fist while you say this phrase with determination.

2 할 수 있어(요)! (Halsu-isseo (yo)!) “You can do it!”

Another way to encourage someone in Korean is to give them a confidence boost by telling them that they can do it, whatever it may be. Perhaps they are not feeling sure of themselves and all they lack is a bit of confidence to achieve their goals.

Let them know that you believe in their abilities by telling them confidently that they can accomplish whatever goal they may have in mind.

Be sure to follow up with some reasons why you believe what they want to achieve is possible, whether it be their intelligence, their capabilities, or their general positive demeanor (Refer back to the post on how to compliment guys in Korean for tips!).

3 힘내(세요)! (Himnae(saeyo)!) “Exert (have) strength!”

Maybe your friend or acquaintance is going through some rough times and they could use some cheering up from someone close to them. Give them some inner strength by telling them to keep exerting the strength that you know they have within.

Perhaps they have just one more hour to go to finish their grueling 12-hour shift and your words of encouragement might be just the thing they need to pull through that last hour.

4 자신감을 가져/ 가지세요! (Jashingameul gajyuh/ gajisaeyo!) “Have confidence!”

Is someone you know down in the dumps or hesitating to make some kind of bold move that they have been thinking about for a while? Tell them to have confidence, because they are probably much more capable than they may be feeling right now.

Again, you will get bonus points if you can follow up with some valid reasons as to why you think the listener should have more confidence in themselves in this situation.

5 응원할게(요)! (Eung-wonhalgeh(yo)!) “I will cheer for you!”

Quite an easy way to cheer for someone in Korean is to actually tell them that you will be cheering for them.

Perhaps they just told you a big goal that they want to achieve this year and you want to show support for their brave decision. Your friend would surely be grateful to hear that you are rooting for their success.

Comforting/ consoling someone in Korean

Consoling and comforting someone in Korean can happen in a variety of situations. These kind and gentle words are meant to help the listener look for the positive in difficult situations and remain hopeful despite the current negative circumstances.

Below is a list of 5 phrases for consoling and/or comforting someone in Korean.

1 괜찮아(요)! 다 잘 될 거야/ 거에요 (Gwaenchana (yo)! Da jal dwel geo-ya/ geo-eh-yo!) “It’s ok! It will all work out fine.”

Tell your friend or acquaintance that things are fine and everything will be ok despite some minor setbacks they may have faced recently.

While we can never know for certain what the future will hold, remind them that it is better to remain hopeful about a situation rather than worry unnecessarily.

2 너무 걱정마(세요) (Neomu geokjeongma(se-yo). ) “Don’t worry too much.”

Reassure and console your friends and acquaintances by telling them not to worry so much, and try to help them to think more positively about a situation.

Of course, you can also use it together with « 다 잘 될 거에요 » (Everything will be ok) to further comfort their worried mind.

3 수고했어요./ 고생했어요. (Soogohaesseo-yo. /Gosaenghaesseo-yo.) “You did well. ”

These Korean phrases are very commonly used after someone has finished a job, and literally means something like ‘you have tired yourself out with work’.

It is an acknowledgment of the completion of a difficult task and can be used to comfort someone after they have finished something especially challenging.

It holds a sense of appreciation for your hard efforts and sometimes also gratitude for a job well done if the speaker happens to be your employer.

4 그럴 수도 있지/ 있죠. (Geu-leolsudo itjji /itjjyo. ) “This can happen. (These things happen.) ”

Use this phrase to gently remind people in your life that sometimes unfortunate things do happen, no matter how hard we try to control or prevent things, and that we shouldn’t be so upset about it.

This can be especially comforting to someone who may be wanting to put too much blame on themselves for a situation. You can add « 괜찮아 » to let them know that everything’s fine. All of us make mistakes sometimes and we deserve to be kinder to ourselves.

5 너무 안 됐다/ 됐어요.. 어떡해(요).. (Neomu an dwaedda/dwaesseo-yo. Uh-ddeokhae (yo)..) “That’s too bad. What could be done? ”

Console someone you know who is facing some difficult times and show empathy by acknowledging their unfortunate situation.

By adding « 어떡해 » you are expressing empathy for the other person’s hardship by asking a rhetorical question that Koreans use often to communicate a feeling of anxiety and worry when they don’t know what to do in a situation.

Sometimes simply listening to someone’s problems sincerely and sympathizing with them could be a great comfort to them even if you may not have all the answers.

Conclusion

These were the 10 Korean phrases that can be used to encourage/ cheer for and/or comfort/ console someone.

As you get more familiar with these phrases, it will become easier to figure out which phrase to use for which situation.

But at the end of the day, don’t worry too much and trust that your kind intentions will be felt deeply by Korean listeners no matter what your actual language level may be!

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