Level 4 Lesson 5 / “당신” and “you” / 당신

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In this lesson, we talk about the word 당신. This word appears in a lot of song lyrics and drama lines to mean “you” but is it really appropriate to use the word “당신” whenever you want to say “you” in Korean? Let’s find out!

After listening, let us know if you have any questions about how to use the word 당신. Thanks for studying with us!

You can download a free PDF for this lesson here, or if you want to study with our TalkToMeInKorean textbooks, you can get them here. And after you learn the basics, try writing your own Korean sentences and get corrections from native speakers through HaruKorean, our 1:1 correction service.

  • Dundun

    Thanks for you explanation, Jinseok.
    Could you give me some examples using 저가 and 나가? I hardly see any sentences that use 저가. It is always 저는.


    • Emily

      Dundun, i think It would be long to explain the root of the matter. Just always bear in mind that
      - if 는 is in use, it is always 저는 and 나는 in Korean.never say 저가 or 나가 (나가 sounds like a verb that means to go out in Korean)

      - If 가 (instead of 는) is in use, always use 제가 and 내가
      hope this helps

  • myra

    Seokjin ssi is a big help in this lesson! He is very good in expressing feelings, especially being angry :D

    • http://twitter.com/jinseokjin jinseokjin

      Hahaha Thanks so much. 감사합니다.

    • http://www.bing.com/ Veanna

      Haleullajh! I needed this—you\’re my savior.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Shayanid-Prasertpol/531245148 Shayanid Prasertpol

    this lesson is sooooooooo funny. thank you for the explanation teacher-nims!

    • http://twitter.com/jinseokjin jinseokjin

      Thanks so much for your comment. 감사합니다. : )

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ivy-Salvatore/1121464177 Ivy Salvatore

    hmm what about 그대?I often see this word in korean lyrics and the translation always says that it means YOU? When only it should be used? :) thanks so much for the lesson!

    • http://twitter.com/jinseokjin jinseokjin

      Concerning “그대”, it is only often used in literature like novel, poem and in lyrics in a song. I have never said that during a conversation.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ivy-Salvatore/1121464177 Ivy Salvatore

      Thanks Seok-jin 선생님 ^^

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jolly-Good/100002653168045 Jolly Good

    진석진씨, you should make an appearance more often in the lessons, you’re really funny in this haha ^^

  • Shirley So

    안녕하세요 선생님 저는 Shirley So 홍콩 사람입니다

    As my Korean is not well, so I’m writing you in English instead of.

    About this topic 당신, you said in the lesson that it’s not good to use this pronoun in speaking… but, when I’ve heard the actors saying this promoun very often in the drama. Also, I’ve asked my Korean teacher in Hong Kong about this. He also told me that it’s a good greeting to others.

    It makes me confusing. Therefore, I’m writing you this mail for clearence. Pls explain by return mail at your earliest convenience.

    Thank you for your kind attention.


    PS. We can gain much from your great effort in teaching Korean. Thank you very much.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Hee-Lee/100002453367433 Hee Lee

    lol when i left comment here for the first time ,it’s my first time trying to write in korean too , i want to say hello to 선상님들 , i almost used that word

    and Seokjin ssi , when Hyunwoo ssi introduced you , i was a lil bit distracted , so i didnt know its you , so when i heard your voice, i thought that’s a chinese speaking korean XD

    i cant make a sentence with this word so i’ll post the lyric from super junior song including this word

    Super Junior M – At Least I Still have You (당신이기에) Korean Version

    당신이기에 가능했던 삶이 because of you i still can live

    Seokjin ssi , hople you’ ll like this cheesy song ㅋㅋㅋ

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/HuyenTran-Nguyen/100000679625035 HuyenTran Nguyen

    Seokjin ssi! You make me laugh so much in this lesson your voice is cute, so that I can’t remember it easier. Love you all, Teachers!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Misa-Hughes/542989054 Misa Hughes

    I love how so many comments are just saying how funny the lesson was…because that’s exactly what I was going to do! XD Thank you for the hilarious and informative lesson! :) I laughed so hard.

  • Ahuva

    Thank you for the interesting lesson.
    I would like to ask about “너는”, does it sometimes shortened to 넌 ?
    like I heard 나는 is shortened to 난?
    Thank you

    • Gregos

      나는 => 난, 내가, 나를 => 날
      저는 => 전, 제가, 저를 => 절
      너는 => 넌, 네가, 너를 => 널

      이것은 => 이거는 => 이건
      이것이 => 이거가 => 이게
      이것을 => 이거를 => 이걸
      same with 그것 and 저것

      이곳은 => 여기는 => 여긴,
      이곳이 => 여기가
      이곳을 => 여기를 => 여길

      그곳은 => 거기는 => 거긴
      그곳이 => 거기가
      그곳을 => 거기를 => 거길

      저곳은 => 저기는 => 저긴 etc

      The more contracted it is, the less formal it is. In very formal letters, or maybe conversations, I think all pronouns are spelled fully.

      Also “what” and “who”: 무엇 => 뭐 / 뭘, 누구, 누가, 누굴? 누군? maybe possible too :)

  • Faizah

    Other than 당신, 그대 too appears to mean ‘you’ in songs. I would appreciate if you could explain the word ‘그대’.

    Thank you.

  • yi

    Seokjin sii is a funny guy,hahaha.maybe he can record one lesson(or more?) for us.haha.hope Hyunwoo sii don’t mind:)

  • Jonathan

    I’m afraid I’m still a little confused. I was told by a Korean friend that using 당신 was not a good idea, in part because of the romantic meaning of the word. However, I’ve had two close female friends use 당신 to me, and after I learned more about the word, I asked one of them if I had been incorrect to use it to her, and she said no. I didn’t get the impression that they were flirting with me when they used it, either. So, I’m really confused. Please help me! ^_^

    • 학생

      Maybe they just making it easy on you to understand by mentioning the subjects, in the way that you’re used in your native language.. :D
      You probably also talking in 존댓말 so they can’t write to you 너 or 네가.. But most of the time neither are required.

      When I first started chatting with Korean guy, he also addressed me with 당신 in every sentence, the he stopped after he relialized that I’m fine without it, I guess. I didn’t ask him why. Now it’s either by name, 형, 님 etc

  • http://thelovehandles.wordpress.com Mickey

    How do I address strangers? Like asking them “Are you perhaps, Korean?” Is it simply 혹시 한국 사람입니까?
    And how do I say excuse me, as if asking for attention from a stranger. Like asking them “Excuse me, where is the restroom?” How do I ask in both polite and formal form? :D

    • http://twitter.com/jinseokjin jinseokjin

      “혹시 한국 사람입니까?” is perfect!

      If you want to ask for attention, you can say “저기요” simply or “실례합니다” politely.

      In polite form, I will say “실례합니다, 화장실이 어디있죠?” to mean “Excuse me, where is the restfoom?”.

  • vivian

    how about 그대?

    • Greg

      Mostly in songs and literature

  • morgan

    How can, dangshin be both an honorific and a rude term?

    This is so confusing

    • http://twitter.com/jinseokjin jinseokjin

      It can be confusing but it is up to the context and the way how you say it whether it sounds rude or not.

  • Ran


    Good morning!

    Just want to ask how to say “I’ve said that first” in korean in a semi-formal way. ^^

    내가 먼저 일을 말했어요 < is this correct, 선생님?

    Thanks in advance!
    I can't focus on studying korean because of my busy routine.
    But, will surely find time to start again :)

    선생님들 화이팅!
    talktomeinkorean.com fighting ^^;

    • http://twitter.com/jinseokjin jinseokjin

      내가 먼저 일을 말했어요 > 제가 먼저 말했어요. or 제가 먼저 얘기했어요.

      I hope you not to give up studying even though you are spending very busy days. Cheer up!

  • http://@Bushra_SJ Bushra

    So why or when do we sometimes use 니가 or 너?

    • http://twitter.com/jinseokjin jinseokjin

      니가 or 너 are casual form (반말), so you can use them to your friends and younger people who are close to you.

  • Prathima Singh

    Does 내가 mean I? Then when to use 나 and when to use 내가?

    Seok Jin Si 안녕하세요.

    I enjoyed the sample sentences that you say in this podcast.

    • http://twitter.com/jinseokjin jinseokjin

      가 in 내가 is a topic marking particle. It may be hard to understand the concept of the subject/topic marking particle.

      However I hope you to try look at the lesson link below:

  • 안드레이

    하하하, 석진 씨는 정말 좋은 배우인데!

  • Parfyona

    질문이 있는데, 영어를 잘 못해서 한국말로 물어 볼게요.

    예로 앞뒤문맥이 없이도 모국의 존댓말 이인칭 ‘you’가 당신으로 쓰여도 되나요?

  • Rizki

    I was listening to this podcast in the middle of the night, and suddenly when Seokjin ssi come and say “tangshin mwooo yaaa” that was sooo funny and I laughed so hard. Thank you TTMIK teachers!

  • Carl

    Hello everyone!

    What is the most generic term to refer to a person( you don’t know, don’t know the social status or no idea about the person) in 존댓말?

  • Pingback: DON’T use 당신!! (también en español) | Blackholeknitter

  • JUN

    미래에 한국어를 쓸 때 저는 더 조심있을 것입니다.
    “당신”은 이 단어는 쓰거나 말을 해서는 안됩니다.
    좀 더 조심해야 합니다.
    현우 선생님 하고 경은 선생님, 수고하셨습니다.
    즐거운 시간을 보내세요.

  • https://twitter.com/fee Fee

    Why did my ex-boyfriend use 당신 when he was breaking up with me? What could possibly be the reason for that?

  • Pingback: 당신과 함께여서 행복합니다. Srećan sam jer sam s tobom. | hangulija

  • juan342150

    Hi guys just wanna ask something. What if you dont know the person. so you can’t add 씨 or 님. how can i refer to them by saying you but in formal way. Ex: i learned a lot from you. Thanks guys for eveything!!!

  • Adrian Santos

    dangsin can be honorific if you say it gently. Then, it becomes in rude term if you say it angrily or rudely. Am I right?

    Next, you can only use this to a person with honorific or in a high status and you can’t use this to a stranger. Is this also right?

  • Sri Vatsa

    where do you use duedae? 그대 ? i see this word in many songs

  • guest

    “None of the TTMIK staff are married yet”
    Oh my gosh time flies so fast and I’m so behind

  • André Norberg

    Is it possible to use 님 to say “당신님” to be polite? 아니면, 이상해요?


  • samah

    jinseokjin씨가 너무 재미있고, 느끼해요

  • samah

    i wonder if i use 당신 not in the begginig of the the sentences ( not subjeect) i mean i want to use it as object is that also the same or it is okay ot use it as object .. like i want to say..
    이거 당신을 주고 싶어요?
    i want to give you this