How to Say “I Meant” in Korean: Formal and Informal Ways

In Korean, expressing the idea of “I meant” is often linked to clarifying your intentions or correcting a misunderstanding. Whether you want to apologize, explain yourself, or simply clarify your original intent, understanding how to convey this concept in both formal and informal situations is essential. In this guide, we will explore various ways to express “I meant” in Korean, providing you with numerous tips and examples along the way. Let’s dive in!

1. Using the Formal Form: 제가 의미한 건

When speaking formally in Korean, the most common phrase to express “I meant” is “제가 의미한 건” (je-ga uimi-han geon). This phrase is often used in professional, official, or polite settings where respectful language is required. Additionally, you can use it when speaking to someone older or in a higher social position than you.

Example: 저는 아무런 의도가 없었어요. 제가 의미한 건 다른 것이었어요. (Jeoneun amureon uido-ga eopseosseoyo. Je-ga uimi-han geon dareun geos-iss-eosseoyo.) – I had no intentions. What I meant was something else.

2. Using the Informal Form: 내가 말하려던 건

When speaking informally in Korean, you can use the phrase “내가 말하려던 건” (nae-ga mal-ha-ryeodeon geon) to convey the idea of “I meant.” This form is used among friends, peers, or in casual situations. Remember to use informal speech only with those who are close to you or of a lower social status.

Example: 너에게 잘못 전달된 대화 때문에 오해를 받았어. 내가 말하려던 건 다른 게 맞아. (Neo-ege jalmot jeon-dal-doen daehwa ttaemune ohwareul bad-ass-eo. Nae-ga mal-ha-ryeodeon geon dareun ge mat-a.) – I was misunderstood because of a conversation that was misinterpreted. What I meant was something different.

3. Additional Ways to Express “I Meant”

While the above phrases are commonly used, there are a few other ways to convey the concept of “I meant” in Korean. These variations can help you express yourself more precisely or adjust the nuance of your statement.

  • 어떤 뜻이었어요 (eotteon tteus-ieosseoyo) – What I meant was…
  • 의도했던 건 (uido-haet-deon geon) – What I intended was…
  • 말하려던 게 (mal-ha-ryeodeon ge) – What I was trying to say was…
  • 제 생각은 (je saeng-gak-eun) – My thought was…

Example: 이해해줘서 고마워. 저의 취지는 긍정적이었어. (Ihae-hae-jwo-seo gomawo. Je-ui chwi-ji-neun geungjeong-jeok-i-eosseo.) – Thank you for understanding. My intention was positive.

4. Tips for Using “I Meant” in Korean

Here are a few helpful tips to keep in mind when using the phrases mentioned above:

  1. Context is key: Ensure that the person you are speaking with understands the context of the conversation to minimize misunderstandings.
  2. Consider the level of formality: Choose the appropriate form based on your relationship with the person you are speaking to and the social setting.
  3. Be clear and concise: Express your intended meaning as clearly as possible to avoid further confusion or misinterpretation.
  4. Practice using these phrases: Familiarize yourself with the pronunciation and usage of each phrase to feel more confident when using them in conversations.

Remember: Language and communication can sometimes be complex, especially when conveying the right meaning. If there are uncertainties, do not hesitate to ask for clarification or further explain your intended message.

By incorporating these tips and examples into your Korean conversations, you will be able to express “I meant” effectively in various social contexts. Remember to observe the appropriate level of formality and adjust your speech according to the person you are communicating with. Keep practicing, and with time, you will become more skilled at conveying your intentions accurately in Korean. Good luck!

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Written by Eileen Melissa

안녕하세요! I'm Eileen. 기분 좋은 날 (It's a good day for writing)! My fondness for Korean language and culture finds its way into my articles, where I make Korean words and phrases accessible and fun for all readers! Cooking 대박 (awesome) Korean meals and gardening are my hobbies. With my pen, I help others navigate Korean language in a variety of scenarios - be it expressions of love, everyday phrases, or the names of your favorites from pop-culture. P.S, dancing to "Blackpink in Your Area" at the break of dawn is my guilty pleasure! Looking forward to writing and learning together.

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