If you're trying to learn Korean, I’d highly recommend finding a Korean pen pal. Pen pals can be extremely helpful for practicing the language, and in order to talk with your Korean pen pal, you’re going to need to know about how Koreans send messages. Today, let’s talk about how to send text messages in Korean.

안녕하세요! (An-nyong ha-se-yo!) Hello! I'm Billy from GO! Billy Korean on YouTube.

Check out the video here, and read along with the article below!

Let’s talk about some of the most common things to know when texting in Korean.


This is the consonant ㅋ (k), and it can be repeated several times. It’s used in a similar way as “LOL” in English. ㅋㅋㅋ represents the sounds 크크크 (keu-keu-keu), 키키키 (ki-ki-ki), or 쿠쿠쿠 (ku-ku-ku), among others. These are the sounds that a Korean might make when laughing.


You can use the consonant ㅎ (h) in the same way as ㅋ. It’s used in a similar way as “hehe” in English. ㅎㅎㅎ represents the sounds 히히히 (hi-hi-hi), 흐흐흐 (heu-heu-heu), 헤헤헤 (he-he-he), and 하하하 (ha-ha-ha), among others.


This is short for 감사 (gam-sa), as in 감사합니다 (gam-sa-ham-ni-da). It means “thanks.”


This is short for 죄송 (joe-song), as in 죄송합니다 (joe-song-ham-ni-da). It means “sorry.”


This is short for 응 (eung), and is a casual way of saying “yeah.”

This is short for 그냥 (geu-nyang). It means “just.” For example, 걍 곰 인형이야 (geu-nyang gom in-hyeong-i-ya) – “It’s just a teddy bear.”

This is short for 제일 (je-il). It means “most” or “the best.” For example, 내가 젤 좋아하는 음식 (nae-ga jel jo-a-ha-neun neum-sik) – “My favorite food.”


This is short for 재미있다 (jae-mi-it-da). It means “to be entertaining,” or “to be fun.” For example, 진짜 재밌어 (jin-jja jae-mi-seo) – “It’s really fun.”


Korean emoticons work differently than English emoticons. This is one of the most standard smileys. It’s made with two power signs, and an underscore for the mouth. You can change the eyes and mouth to different characters to change the emotion. Here are a few more examples.

^O^ You can change the mouth to a capital O to show excitement.

T_T You can change the eyes to capital T’s to show tears.

*^.^* You can add asterisks to show blushing.

^_- You can use a hyphen to show a winking face.

@_@ “At” symbols can show a confused face.

-_-+ Adding a plus sign can show anger.

Spacing Rules

Often when Koreans text each other, spacing rules go out the window.

This is good because it’s easier to write Korean without worrying about spacing rules. However, it’s bad because it’s more difficult to read Korean written without spaces.


You’ll find a lot of typos when texting with Koreans.

One of the most common typos is with using the verb 이다 (i-da), “to be.”

이다 (i-da) normally conjugates to 이에요 (i-e-yo) after a consonant and 예요 (ye-yo) after a vowel.

But in texting, it’s more common to see it misspelled as 에요 (e-yo) or even 이예요 (i-ye-yo).

ㅁ/음 (m/eum) Ending

This form is used in normal Korean when writing notes, such as in a written record. In texting, this form is used as a slang ending. It’s sometimes used by young teenagers, but typically not used by adults.

To use it, take a verb stem, that’s a verb with the 다 (da) removed, and attach ㅁ (m) if it ends in a vowel, or attach 음 (eum) if it ends in a consonant.

ㅇ (ng) Ending

This form is sometimes used by young girls. It can be used to make a sentence sound cuter.

When a verb ends in a vowel, you can attach ㅇ (ng) to the bottom of the syllable. If the verb ends in a consonant, you cannot use this form.

For example, instead of writing 배고파요 (bae-go-pa-yo) – “I’m hungry.” – you could write 배고파용 (bae-go-pa-yong).


If you want to learn more, I’d highly suggest you find a Korean pen pal and practice yourself.

If you have any questions for me, you can also comment below this article. I love teaching Korean, and I'd love to help you.

If you're learning Korean for the first time, check out my book here. --> Korean Made Simple: A beginner's guide to learning the Korean language

Also visit my YouTube channel, where I upload videos about Korea and Korean every week. --> GO! Billy Korean on YouTube


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