Ways To Say Excuse Me In Korean

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Written By Jessica Knight

Founder of Linguatics. Passionate multilinguist.

Hey there! Want to learn how to politely get someone’s attention or apologize in Korean? Look no further! In this article, we’ll explore various ways to say ‘excuse me’ in Korean, covering both formal and informal situations.

Whether you’re in a crowded subway or need help finding your way, we’ve got you covered. We’ll also delve into apologizing for inconveniences and expressing gratitude in Korean, so you can navigate social interactions with ease.

By the end of this article, you’ll have a handy set of phrases to use in different situations, ensuring smooth communication in Korean-speaking environments.

So, let’s dive in and discover the art of saying ‘excuse me’ in Korean!

Formal Ways to Say Excuse Me

You should use the formal ways to say excuse me in Korean, as it adds a level of refinement to your speech.

One formal way to say excuse me is ‘실례합니다’ (shillehamnida), which is used when you want to get someone’s attention or apologize for interrupting.

Another formal expression is ‘죄송합니다’ (joesonghamnida), which is used to apologize or express regret.

Using these formal phrases shows respect and politeness in Korean culture.

Informal Ways to Say Excuse Me

Pardon, but there’s a casual manner to get someone’s attention in Korean. Instead of saying ‘excuse me,’ you can use the phrase ‘저기요’ (jeogiyo).

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It’s a simple and informal way to say excuse me when you want to catch someone’s attention or ask for help. This phrase is commonly used in casual situations, such as getting the attention of a waiter in a restaurant or asking a stranger for directions.

Apologizing in Korean

Sorry for the inconvenience caused, but when you mess up in Korean culture, it’s crucial to apologize sincerely and take responsibility. Koreans value humility and respect, so a genuine apology goes a long way.

Use the phrase ‘미안합니다’ (mi-an-ham-ni-da) to say sorry.

If the situation is more serious, you can say ‘참으로 죄송합니다’ (cham-eu-ro jwe-sohng-ham-ni-da), which means ‘I am truly sorry.’

Remember, sincerity is key when apologizing in Korean.

Getting Someone’s Attention Politely

Hey there, if you’re looking to grab someone’s attention politely in Korean, there are a few phrases you can use.

One commonly used phrase is ‘실례합니다’ (sillyehamnida), which means ‘excuse me.’

Another phrase you can use is ‘저기요’ (jeogiyo), which is similar to saying ‘excuse me’ or ‘hey’ in English.

These phrases are polite and can help you get someone’s attention without being rude.

Excusing Yourself in Different Situations

Imagine you find yourself in a crowded Korean restaurant and need to politely leave your table to use the restroom. In this situation, you can say ‘실례합니다’ (sillyehamnida) to excuse yourself.

This phrase is commonly used to politely ask for someone’s attention or to apologize for interrupting. It shows respect and consideration for others.

By using this phrase, you can navigate through the crowded restaurant without causing any inconvenience to those around you.

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Apologizing for Making Mistakes

Now, let’s move on to another important aspect of excusing yourself in Korean: apologizing for making mistakes. It’s crucial to be able to apologize when we mess up, as it shows respect and sincerity.

In Korean, there are various ways to apologize depending on the severity of the mistake and the relationship with the person. Let’s explore these different expressions to ensure you can navigate any situation with grace and politeness.

Asking for Help or Directions

When you find yourself lost in a bustling Korean city, don’t hesitate to ask for help. Locals are usually friendly and willing to assist you in finding your way or giving directions.

Start by politely saying, ‘실례합니다’ (sillehamnida), which means ‘excuse me.’ Then, ask, ‘길을 찾을 수 있을까요?’ (gireul chajeul su isseulkka yo), meaning ‘Can you help me find the way?’

They will likely guide you with accurate and precise instructions.

Polite Phrases for Interruptions

Interrupting someone in a polite manner can be accomplished by using phrases like "Sorry to interrupt, but…" or "Pardon me, may I interject for a moment?"

These phrases show respect and consideration for the other person’s time and conversation. By using such polite language, you can effectively get their attention without being rude or disrespectful.

Remember, it is important to be mindful of the context and the person you are interrupting to ensure a positive interaction.

Apologizing for Inconveniences

If something has caused you inconvenience, it’s important to apologize and take responsibility for the situation.

In Korean culture, expressing apologies for inconveniences is highly valued. To apologize, you can use the phrase ‘미안합니다’ (mianhamnida), which translates to ‘I’m sorry.’

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This phrase is appropriate for various situations, such as when you accidentally bump into someone or when you unintentionally cause a delay.

By apologizing sincerely, you show respect and consideration towards others.

Expressing Gratitude in Korean

You can’t help but feel overwhelmed with gratitude when someone in Korea goes out of their way to show you kindness. Whether it’s a stranger helping you carry your heavy bags, a friend treating you to a delicious meal, or a coworker offering assistance with a difficult task, the gestures of kindness in Korean culture are truly heartwarming.

It’s important to express your gratitude by saying ‘고맙습니다’ (gomapseumnida) or ‘감사합니다’ (gamsahamnida), which means ‘thank you’ in Korean.


In conclusion, knowing how to say ‘excuse me’ in Korean is essential for navigating various social situations with politeness and respect. Whether you need to get someone’s attention, apologize, or ask for help, there are formal and informal ways to do so.

Additionally, expressing gratitude and apologizing for inconveniences are important gestures in Korean culture. By using these phrases correctly, you can effectively communicate and show your understanding of Korean etiquette.

Practice these phrases and you’ll be well-prepared for any interaction in Korean-speaking environments.