Korean Phrases For Shopping
Image adapted from: tvN/Netflix
Seoul is a shopping paradise with districts like Hongdae, Myeongdong, and Gangnam being favourites among locals and tourists alike. Whether you’re a shopaholic or someone looking to bring souvenirs back from Seoul, here are 15 Korean shopping phrases that’ll get you all chummy with the sajangnim (boss) to score you the best deals.
We understand that conversing in a foreign language is not easy, and that’s why most of the Korean phrases here will only yield a “yes” or “no” reply. As a rule of thumb, a reply of “neh/yeh” means “yes”, while “ah-ni-yo” means “no”.
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1. Do you have ___? (___ isseoyo?)
Image credit: @tatyana_mamutova
In Korean (Hangeul): __ 있어요?
How to pronounce: __ it-saw-yo?
Most people head to Seoul knowing what they want to bring back home – be it for themselves or as souvenirs for others. Instead of wasting time searching for a specific item, you can just ask the store assistant if they do have it in stock.
Here’s a list of items that people usually get from Korea:
|Face masks (얼굴 마스크)||Awl-gool mah-seu-keu|
|Eye cream (아이 크림)||Ah-ee keu-lim|
|Honey butter almond (허니버터아몬드)||Haw-ni baw-taw ah-mon-deu|
While this is a simplified list, you can see that most of the items are in Konglish – Korean-style English. Since the pronunciations are similar to English, most store assistants will understand even if you use English terms.
2. How much is this? (Igeo eolmayeyo?)
Image credit: @kahohira08
In Korean (Hangeul): 이거 얼마예요?
How to pronounce: Ee-gaw awl-mah-ye-yo?
If you’ve laid your eyes on an item but there’s no price tag on it, ask a store assistant how much the item costs. Say “ee-gaw awl-mah-ye-yo?”, which means “how much is this?” Pass your phone to the staff so they can punch in the price on your calculator app.
3. Please give me this. (Igeo juseyo.)
Image adapted from: tvN/Netflix
In Korean (Hangeul): 이거 주세요.
How to pronounce: Ee-gaw chu-seh-yo.
Once you’re comfortable with the price and have made up your mind to get the item, say “ee-gaw chu-seh-yo”. It’s a clear and succinct phrase where “ee-gaw” means “this” while “chu-seh-yo” means “please give me”.
4. Please give me a discount. (Kkakka juseyo.)
In Korean (Hangeul): 깎아 주세요.
How to pronounce: Kkah-kkah chu-seh-yo.
Little wins in life include getting an item at a discounted price, and a simple phrase like “kkah-kkah chu-seh-yo” might just do the trick.
Use it sparingly though, as not many places offer discounts. You can give it a go at traditional markets, flea markets, and some road-side stalls when you’re making a purchase of more than one item.
Tip 1: For girls, you can add a little aegyo (acting cute) while using this phrase.
Tip 2: Say “hak-saeng ee-ye-yo” before this phrase to indicate that you’re a student. Most of the ahjumma and ahjussi will offer additional discounts to students who don’t usually earn their own keep.
5. Please give me a receipt. (Yeongsujeung juseyo.)
In Korean (Hangeul): 영수증 주세요.
How to pronounce: Yeong-su-jeung chu-seh-yo.
Don’t forget to ask for a copy of the receipt in case you want to do an exchange or refund, or get a tax refund at the airport. The latter adds up to quite a lot so don’t overlook this phrase.
6. Put it in a bag. (Bongtue neoeo juseyo.)
Image credit: @patrekur1978
In Korean (Hangeul): 봉투에 넣어 주세요.
How to pronounce: Bong-tu-eh naw-aw chu-seh-yo.
These days, some stores don’t provide shopping bags unless you ask for it. If that’s the case, you can just ask for one by saying “bong-tu-eh naw-aw chu-seh-yo”. This way, you won’t have to lug any loose items around, especially when you’re out sightseeing for an entire day.
7. Can I pay with a credit card? (Kadeu dwaeyo?)
Image adapted from: tvN/Netflix
In Korean (Hangeul): 카드 돼요?
How to pronounce: Kah-deu dweh-yo?
There’s no doubt that Seoul is a smart city. However, there are still some places that only accept cash. So before making a purchase or proceeding with your food order, ask if they accept credit card – if that’s your preferred mode of payment – by saying “kah-deu dweh-yo?”
8. Is there a bigger/smaller size? (Deo keun/jageun saijeu isseoyo?)
Image credit: @lishuuuuuuu
In Korean (Hangeul): 더 큰/작은 사이즈 있어요?
How to pronounce: Taw keun/jah-geun sah-ee-jeu it-saw-yo?
When all that’s left to make the item yours is getting the correct size, ask the store assistant “taw keun/jah-geun sah-ee-jeu it-saw-yo?”. “Taw keun sah-ee-jeu” means “bigger size”, while “jah-geun sah-ee-jeu” means “smaller size”.
9. Do you have this in [colour of choice]? ( __saeg isseoyo?)
Image credit: @mxh_402
In Korean (Hangeul): __색 있어요?
How to pronounce: __ saek it-saw-yo?
The store might not showcase all of the colours available for a specific item. If you’re interested, you can ask the store assistant if it comes in other colours. Check out the list below and insert your colour of choice into the phrase.
|Colour||How to pronounce|
10. Do you do exchanges? (Gyohwan ganeunghaeyo?)
In Korean (Hangeul): 교환 가능해요?
How to pronounce: Kyo-hwan ka-neung-hae-yo?
We’ve experienced this at least once before – making an impulse buy and regretting our decision after. In case you have a change of heart, make it a habit to ask if the store does exchanges in advance.
11. Do you do refunds? (Hwanbul ganeunghaeyo?)
In Korean (Hangeul): 환불 가능해요?
How to pronounce: Hwan-bool ka-neung-hae-yo?
Imagine the horror of bringing home a faulty item. Although it doesn’t happen often, it doesn’t hurt to ask if the store does refunds before checking out as a precaution.
12. Does this include tax? (Segeum pohamdwaeyo?)
Image credit: Korea Tourism Organisation
In Korean (Hangeul): 세금 포함돼요?
How to pronounce: Seh-geum po-hahm-dweh-yo?
Most prices in stores are inclusive of a 10% sales tax. However, some stores that are popular with tourists offer tax-free prices.
Look out for tax-free logos before entering the store, and double-check with the staff before proceeding to the counter. This is to prevent a situation where you end up paying more than what you expected.
13. I would like to have an additional bag. (Bongtu hana deo juseyo.)
Image credit: @miss._yu_
In Korean (Hangeul): 봉투 하나 더 주세요.
How to pronounce: Bong-tu hah-nah taw chu-seh-yo.
In Korea, it’s uncommon for shops to provide extra plastic bags. Say “bong-tu hah-nah taw chu-seh-yo” if you would like to have an additional bag. This phrase will come in handy especially when you need more bags for the souvenirs you’ve gotten.
14. I will think about it. (Jom deo saenggakhaebolgeyo.)
In Korean (Hangeul): 좀 더 생각해볼게요.
How to pronounce: Jom taw saeng-gak-hae-bol-geh-yo.
While we occasionally make impulse buys, there are days where we do give it more thought before making a purchase. Yes, that’s a good thing, but it’s only respectful to let the staff know that you want to think it through – especially if they have invested some time in serving you.
Politely say “jom taw saeng-gak-hae-bol-geh-yo”, which means “I will think about it.”
15. If I pay with cash, how cheap can it be? (Hyeongeumeulo gyesanhamyeon eolmana ssage hae jul su isseoyo?)
Image adapted from: @cheaheevon
In Korean (Hangeul): 현금으로 계산하면 얼마나 싸게 해 줄 수 있어요?
How to pronounce: Hyawn-geum-eu-ro kye-san-ha-myawn awl-ma-nah ssah-geh hae chul su it-saw-yo?
This is commonly used when making purchases at privately-run stalls in traditional markets – excluding food stalls since their prices are fixed. As your trip is coming to an end and you’ve got excess cash left, this phrase might just score you some really good deals to end your holiday on a high note.
Korean phrases to help you shop like a local
These Korean phrases for shopping are simple and easy to pick up. Even though you may find yourself stuttering, locals do appreciate you putting in extra effort to strike a conversation with them. So don’t worry about mispronouncing a word or two – we’re pretty sure the sajangnim wouldn’t mind.
Check out these articles for your next adventure to Seoul:
- 9 Korean ski resorts less than 3 hours from Seoul
- 10 Affordable Korean buffets in Seoul
- 10 Korean street food better than Netflix’s feature
- 10 Female-friendly hostels in Seoul
- Korean drinking culture