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33 Most Common Korean Conjunctions

Early on in your Korean grammar studies, you’ll encounter the all-important conjunctions. They’re small but mighty things that can take your Korean sentence-making skills to the next level.

Let’s go over the essential Korean conjunctions that you need to know for basic conversation.


What Are Korean Conjunctions?

접속사 is the Korean word for conjunctions.

Conjunctions are the connecting words within a sentence. Their job is to join phrases, ideas and parts of a sentence together.

In English, these are words like “and,” “but,” “or” and so on.

Korean conjunctions are a bit more complicated than English ones, for these reasons:

  • There are multiple options for a conjunction (ex. There are multiple ways to say “and” in Korean).
  • Some conjunctions sound similar and share some syllables.
  • Conjunctions are context-dependent, and their meanings can change slightly.
  • Some conjunctions may lose or gain a syllable, depending on what sound precedes or follows it.

It’s also important to know that Korean conjunctions don’t always act as independent words. They can also work as particles attached directly after a word.

Undoubtedly, conjunctions can be a tough topic for Korean language learners (and even native speakers) to contend with, but they’re absolutely critical.

English was my second language, but I still remember the relief I felt as a kid when I first broached the topic of English conjunctions—it was much more straightforward than I’d expected. Even now, I struggle sometimes to choose the right Korean conjunction for the right situation.

But no worries, because you’ll become familiar with the system with time and practice. That’s why you should start slow with these fundamental conjunctions and get a basic gist of when they’re used.

How to Say “And” in Korean

그리고 (geu-ri-go)

This “and” is used when connecting sentences or nouns. It may also be used at the start of a following related sentence.

오늘 그리고 내일 — Today and tomorrow

~ 이랑 (i-rang) or ~ (rang)

This “and” links nouns and is also more informal in tone compared to 그리고. It may also be translated to “with,” but in that case, no noun should follow the conjunction.

~이랑 is used when the prior syllable ends in a consonant. ~랑 is used when the prior syllable ends in a vowel. The addition of 이 to make 이랑 helps for smoother pronunciation, especially when the previous syllable ends in a hard consonant sound.

이랑 딸기 먹었어요 — I ate rice and strawberries.

~ 하고 (ha-go) or ~ (go)

This “and” typically connects verbs and verbal phrases. It may also imply a sequence of events, so it may also be interpreted as “and then.”

하고 is used when the previous syllable ends in a vowel sound. Like the 이 in 이랑, adding 하 to say 하고 can aid in smoother enunciation.

친구하 마셨어요. — I ate and drank with my friend.

How to Say “But” in Korean

그렇지만 (geu-reo-chi-man)

This “but” typically follows a truthful or agreeable statement. It usually introduces a contradiction or some other countering information.

​​ 저는 많이 아파요. 그렇지만 내일은 괜찮을 거예요. — I am in a lot of pain but tomorrow I will be fine.

그런데 (geu-reon-de) / 근데 (geun-de)

These mean the same thing as 그렇지만. They can also be interpreted as “however” or “by the way.”

근데 is a shorter and more informal version of 그런데, so you’d likely use it when speaking with friends or family.

어제는 비가 왔다. 그런데 오늘은 날씨가 좋다. — Yesterday it rained but today the weather is good.

그러나 (geu-reo-na)

This is a more formal, didactic way of saying 그런데. It’s not often spoken in casual conversation, but it may still be used.

한국은 반도이다. 그러나 일본은 섬나라이다. — Korea is a peninsula, but Japan is an island nation.

~ 지만 (ji-man)

This can mean “but” or “although.” It’s used to connect independent clauses. Notice how it’s essentially half of the previous conjunction 그렇지만.

지만 아이스크림이 먹고 싶어요. — I’m cold but I want ice cream.

~ ㄴ데 or ~ 는데 (neun-de)

This means “but,” “however,” and “though,” typically used between verbs. If the previous syllable ends in a vowel, then you would just add ㄴ under it and then 데 right after. Otherwise, you would just add ~는데.

열심히 공부했는데 시험을 잘 못 봤어요. — I studied a lot but I didn’t do well.

How to Say “Or” in Korean

~ 이나 (i-na) or ~ (na)

This “or” is typically used to connect nouns. If the prior noun ends in a consonant, then ~이나 is used. If it ends in a vowel, then ~나 is used.

이나 국수 둘 중에 하나를 선택하세요. — Please choose between rice or noodles.

~ 거나 (geo-na)

This “or” is typically used to connect verbs.

내일은 흐리거나 비가 오겠습니다. — Tomorrow it will be cloudy or it will rain.

아니면 (ani-myeon)

This directly translates to “if not,” so it’s often used when providing alternate choices to someone.

예면 예 아니면 아니라고 하세요. — Say yes if yes, if not, say no.

How to Say “If” in Korean

만약 (man-yak)

This can also be translated to “in case” or “in the event that.” It often carries a note of uncertainty, as if the speaker doesn’t truly think that the event referred to would happen.

만약에 복권에 당첨되면 집을 살 거예요. — If I win the lottery, I will buy a house.

~ 한다면 (han-da-myeon)

Technically, this conjunction blends two words: 한다 (“to do”) and 면 (implying “if”).

This is usually used for hypothetical scenarios that would occur, as opposed to those that most likely wouldn’t.

열심히 공부한다면, 시험에 통과할 거예요. — If you study hard, you will pass the exam.

그러면 (geu-reo-myeon)

This can also mean “if it’s so” or “in that case.”

너 숙제 안했어? 그러면 집에 못 가. — Did you not do your homework? In that case, you can’t go home.

~ (~myeon)

This conjunction is frequently used with verbs. It also implies a sequence of events (ex. If X, then Y).

그렇게 할 수 있으 그렇게 하세요. — If you can do that, then do so.

그래도 (geu-rae-do)

Translating to “nonetheless,” “even so” or “but still,” this conjunction presents information that counters the value or truthfulness of the statement just before it.

It’s also used to suggest that something will take place, regardless of the previously mentioned action or state.

니가 날 싫어해도 그래도 난 널 좋아해. — You don’t like me, even so, I like you.

How to Say “So/Therefore” in Korean

그래서 (get-rae-seo)

This is used to connect the causal relationship between verbs and actions.

다리를 다쳤어. 그래서 병원에 갔어. — I hurt my leg therefore I went to the hospital.

그러니까 (geu-reo-ni-kka)

While very similar to 그래서, to the point they’re often used interchangeably, 그러니까 places a bit more emphasis and significance on the consequent action following it.

아기가 금방 잠 들었어요. 그러니까 조용히 하세요. — The baby just fell asleep, so please be quiet.

How to Say “Because” in Korean

~ (seo)

This typically suggests a direct causal relationship, and so, it may also carry the implication of “therefore.”

비가 와 땅이 젖었어요. — Because it rained, the ground got wet.

~ 으니까 (eu-ni-kka) or ~ 니까 (ni-kka)

Similar to 그러니까 and 서, this can also closely translate to “therefore” in certain contexts.

으니까 is used when the prior word ends in a consonant, and 니까 is used when the prior word ends in a vowel.

냉장고에 불고기가 있으니까 먹어. — Because there is bulgogi in the fridge, eat it.

~ 기 때문에 (gi ttae-mun-e) or ~ 때문에 (ttae-mun-e)

Used to indicate a strong causal relationship, ~기 때문에 is typically used for verbs.

저는 해외 여행을 좋아하기 때문에 영어 공부를 매일 해요. — I love traveling abroad, so I study English every day.

~ 때문에 (ttae-mu-ne)

This translates closely to “because of” and is usually preceded by a noun.

감기 때문에 학교에 못 갔어요. — I couldn’t go to school because of my cold.

왜냐하면 (wae-nya-ha-myeon)

This is a truncated version of the phrase 왜 그러냐 하면, which means “if you are wondering/asking why it is.” A more informal version would be 왜냐면.

김치찌개를 먹었어요. 왜냐하면 한국음식을 좋아하거든요. — I ate kimchi stew because I like Korean food.

How to Say “For” in Korean

~ 위해 (wi-hae) or ~ 위해서 (wi-hae-seo)

Either of these conjunctions can be used for nouns and verbs, but depending on which, they should be preceded by a certain syllable.

When used for nouns, the conjunctions should be directly preceded by either 을 (if the noun syllable ends on a consonant) or 를 (if the noun syllable ends on a vowel).

When used for verbs, the conjunctions should be directly preceded by 기.

친구를 위해 가게에 갔어요. — I went to the store for my friend.

시험에 합격하기 위해서 열심히 공부했어요. — I studied hard to pass the exam.

How to Say “With” in Korean

~ (wa) or ~과 (gwa)

Use 와 when the previous syllable ends in a vowel sound. Use 과 when the previous syllable ends in a consonant sound.

영어 수학이 좋아요. — I like English and math (subjects).

오늘은 선생님 학생들이 함께하는 특별한 행사가 있어요. — Today, there is a special event where teachers and students come together.


Remember that these aren’t all the Korean conjunctions that are out there! But it will take some time to master the ones here, so be patient as you learn them. Even though a native speaker may still understand you if you flub a conjunction, it’s important to learn the slight nuance and context for each one.

To really drill them into your head, I recommend that you try to write your own short Korean sentences using these conjunctions.

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