Top 10 Most Commonly Used Korean Words

Click on the play button below to listen to the audio recording.

The following ten Korean words have been found to be the most commonly used words (nouns) in Korean according to Korean Words & Phrases Use Frequency Statistics.

*Right-click and click 'Save link as' to save this MP3 file.

1. 사람 (Person)
2. 때 (Moment, Time, When)
3. 일 (Work)
4. 말 (Word, Language, Speech)
5. 사회 (Society)
6. 속 (Inside)
7. 문제 (Problem)
8. 문화 (Culture)
9. 집 (House, Home)
10. 경우 (Case, Circumstance)

If I use the top 5 words to make a sentence:

사람이 사회에서 일할 때 말을 조심해야 한다.
= When a person works in a society, he/she needs to be careful with their language/word/speech.)

With the next 5 words, I can make this sentence:

문화 속 문제의 경우 먼저 집에서 부터 해결해야 한다.
= In the case of a problem inside culture, one needs to solve it (beginning) from home.

For More Word Building Exercises:



  1. Very useful. But as a slight criticism, I would've pronounced the word in English first, followed by the Korean equivalent; not vice versa. This is the way it seems to be done on some other language audio such as Berlitz. Perhaps this is why that way seems more natural and understandable.

    Anyhow, this is my first post here and as such, I feel obliged to give you a theoretical pat on the back - well done Luke.

    1. Hi Chris,

      Thanks for your comment, I thought about your approach and it's good that Berlitz and some other language audios pronounce words in English first followed by the words in the language they teach, as that might be easier to comprehend(?).

      However, my only criticism with that approach is that by listening to words in English first, and then to words in the language you learn, you tend to think in English first and then translate it to the language you learn.

      I believe this is not a very effective way of learning a new language in the long run because you tend to think in English first and then translate to whichever language you learn. I find that with this approach, you tend to make sentences that don't make sense.

      This is what happened to me when I tried to translate my sentences in Korean into English when I fist started learning English. The English translations did not really make sense or they were unnatural or awkward.

      I find that it's more helpful to learn the words, sentences or words in the language I learn to whatever language I'm most comfortable with.

      For example, there's a phrase "break a leg" which means "good luck" in English. To learn this phrase and for me to be able to use it, I would first listen to it in English, then understand its meaning, and then try to pronounce it and then use it in a right context, rather than starting with its equivalent/meaning in Korean (for example) and then back to English and use it.

      This is also the approach I use to learn Japanese. I find Japanese words, sentences or phrases first, then listen to them (if I could) then translate it into English or Korean.

      I know it's only a subtle difference in the approach to learning a new language, but it has been working for me for a long time.

      That's why I would pronounce Korean words or sentences first for now for the lessons and audio recordings, unless there's a big demand for the change of the order of the audio recordings from the readers and listeners coming here to learn Korean.

      THEN I MIGHT consider that approach as well, possibly??

      But still, thank you for your comment, and the time you took to write it.

      It certainly made me think about my approach in these audio recordings again.


  2. Those sentences using five words at a time are fun, thanks!

    I was curious about 집에서 부터. I see that 부터 means "from" and also "since". I haven't seen a lesson about that word yet.

    There are so many particles you can attach to nouns that mean "from", including 에서 itself. Can you explain the extra meaning that 부터 adds?

    1. Hi William,

      Yes, 부터 means "from" and it can be used in place of 에서 if it's used as "from".

      For example,
      집에서 학교까지 = From home to school
      집부터 학교까지 = From home to school
      집에서 부터 학교까지 = From home to school

      Actually 에서 means "at/in" not "from".

      What I think happened to 에서 being used as "from" is that 에서 is actually a shortened form of 에서 부터 (from at).

      For example,

      집에서 부터 학교까지 = From (at) home to school

      Pronouncing 에서 부터 can be cumbersome or long in normal conversations so people started to drop 부터 and just say 집에서.

      집에서 (부터) 학교까지 = From home to school

      부터 certainly means "from"

      지금부터 = from now
      지금에서 doesn't mean "from now"

      시작부터 = from the start
      시작에서 doesn't mean "from the start"

      에서 with the meaning "from" can only be used for places, not times!

      Use 부터 for times (& places)


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...