Giving Thanks in Korean

November is here again, which means that people throughout the United States are looking forward to Thanksgiving. This is a time for gathering around the table with friends and family to give thanks, be it in the form of a shared prayer, a toast, or simply sharing what you are most thankful for. If you find yourself at a Korean table, there are several other ways for you to express your thanks:

  • Gomawo: This is the simplest and most informal of Korea’s thank-yous. It is most appropriate when used with siblings, young children, close friends, and other people you can comfortably be casual with. Add “yo” to the end to make it slightly more polite.
  • Kamsahaeyo: Similar to saying “gomawo”.
  • Gomapseumnida: A more formal way to give thanks to people who are of a higher rank or status than yourself, like elders, workplace superiors, or teachers.
  • Kamsahamnida: Roughly translating to “thank you very much”, this is the most formal and polite Korean thank-you.
  • Jal Meokkesseumnida: This phrase is specific to mealtimes, said before you start eating to express your gratitude to your host or chef.