Guide: How to Say Goodnight in South Korean (Formal and Informal)

Learning how to say “goodnight” in different languages allows us to connect with people from different cultures on a deeper level. In South Korea, language plays a significant role, and knowing how to bid someone a goodnight can be a thoughtful gesture. In this guide, we will explore both formal and informal ways to say goodnight in South Korean, as well as provide regional variations where necessary. So, let’s dive in!

Formal Way to Say Goodnight in South Korean

When it comes to formal expressions, South Koreans often prioritize politeness and respect. To bid someone a formal goodnight, you can use the phrase “안녕히 주무세요” (annyeonghi jumuseyo), which translates directly to “have a good sleep.” This expression is commonly used among acquaintances, colleagues, or when addressing people older or in higher positions than you.


After a long day at work, you might say to your colleague before parting ways, “안녕히 주무세요” (annyeonghi jumuseyo), meaning “have a good sleep.”

Informal Way to Say Goodnight in South Korean

Informal expressions are used among friends, peers, or people of the same age group. South Koreans often use the phrase “잘 자” (jal ja), which can be translated as “sleep well” or “have a good sleep.” It reflects a friendly and affectionate tone, making it suitable for informal situations.


Before hanging up the phone with your best friend, you might say, “잘 자” (jal ja), conveying the meaning “sleep well” or “have a good sleep.”

Regional Variations

Despite being a relatively small country, South Korea has some regional variations in language. While the formal and informal expressions mentioned above are widely used across the country, some regions have their own unique ways of saying goodnight. Let’s explore a few regional variations.

Seoul Dialect:

In Seoul, the capital city of South Korea, people occasionally use the term “잘 잔다” (jal janda) to say goodnight. It carries the same meaning as the informal expression “잘 자” (jal ja), but the verb form changes slightly in this dialect.

Busan Dialect:

In Busan, a major city located in the southeast, people often use the phrase “잘 찌러요” (jal jjireoyo) to convey the same meaning as “잘 자” (jal ja). The usage of “찌” instead of “자” adds a regional flavor to the expression.

Tips for Pronunciation:

  1. When saying “안녕히 주무세요” (annyeonghi jumuseyo), remember to pronounce each syllable clearly. The sound “ju” is similar to the English word “you.”
  2. In the informal expression “잘 자” (jal ja), make sure to pronounce both “j” sounds clearly. The “ja” in “jal” sounds similar to the English word “jaw.”
  3. If you encounter regional variations, pay attention to the slight changes in pronunciation specific to each dialect. Listening to native speakers can help you grasp these nuances.

Final Thoughts

Learning how to say “goodnight” in South Korean deepens your connection with the language and culture. Whether you want to express formal respect or hop into a friendly tone, using the appropriate phrase can leave a positive impression. Remember to consider the regional variations mentioned if you find yourself in specific cities. Now that you’ve learned how to say goodnight in South Korean, embrace the opportunity to use it in your conversations and make meaningful connections!

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