A Step-by-Step Guide to Korean Email Etiquette to Wow Your Reader (2023)

Writing an email in Korean the first time feels like taking the training wheels off.

You have to get the grammar right, while understanding Korean cultural norms.

No need to worry! This guide will show you exactly how to write an email in Korean.

It covers both formal and casual levels of speech with a handy template at the end.

I learned email etiquette at my first job like most Koreans.

Let’s dive right in!

A Step-by-Step Guide to Korean Email Etiquette to Wow Your Reader (1)
A Step-by-Step Guide to Korean Email Etiquette to Wow Your Reader (2)


  • Korean emails follow an easy-to-learn template.
  • Learning Korean will make relationship building a lot easier. Try Pimsleur here for free and get fluent in 90 days.
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A Step-by-Step Guide to Korean Email Etiquette to Wow Your Reader (3)

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Quick notes

Writing a Korean email can be intimidating at first.

There are many unwritten rules, including ways to write casual and business emails.

More about Living in South Korea as an Expat

Even though Korean business culture is a bit formal, you might encounter some interesting email addresses.

It’s not uncommon to see ones like “skyblue23”, or “duckdream84”.

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Don’t read too much into them. They don’t usually mean what you think they do.

Korean email address format follows conventional rules:

__username__ + @ __email host__.com

Emoticons are sometimes used in emails.

Useful terms

  • 보내는 사람 – Sender
  • 받는 사람 or 수신자 – Receiver/Recipient
  • 참조 – CC
  • 숨은 참조 – BCC
  • 제목 – Subject
  • 파일첨부 – Email attachment
  • 미리보기 – Preview
  • 회신 – Reply
  • 전달 – Forward
  • 보내기 – Send
A Step-by-Step Guide to Korean Email Etiquette to Wow Your Reader (4)

Step 1. Relax

The recipient will know you aren’t Korean (your name will give it away), so you’ll get a lot of leeway.

We’ll cover the entire email writing process, but don’t feel bad if you miss something. They’ll understand.

Step 2. Who are they to you

What’s your relationship to the person?

A business, client, or work relationship requires more formality.

A friend, significant other or family member will allow for a more casual tone. (Koreans don’t really email each other unless it’s for work. They use KakaoTalk messenger for personal use.)

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This is important to figure out in the very beginning, because it will decide which level of speech to use in the entire email.

Step 3. Be upfront

Koreans tend to screen emails by subject.

So it’s important to state your company name and purpose in the subject.

Make sure to format it properly, so it looks important and gets read.

[Your Company Name] Purpose of Email의 건

Step 4. Titles matter

Addressing Korean names in an email must be done correctly. Find out the recipient’s title and write 안녕하세요 (annyeonghaseyo or hello) in the first line of email.

Recipient’s Name + Title님 안녕하세요,

If you’re not sure of the title, use 담당자 instead.

담당자 (damdangja) means person in charge, but is used to substitute a specific title in Korean.

Recipient’s Name 담당자님 안녕하세요,

If you want to skip mentioning the recipient’s name, especially in the first email, you can simply say 안녕하세요, in the beginning.


Step 5. Start with the end

Unlike emails in English, Korean emails start out by introducing the sender.

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This is true even if you know the person.

Your Company Name + Your Name입니다.

Your Company Name + Your Team + Your Name입니다.

Check out Fiverr when you need affordable Korean translation for emails and resumes.

Step 6. What’s the point?

Mention your intention for writing the email next.

Purpose of Email을 위해 메일 드립니다. (I’m emailing to ____.)

Purpose of Email 요청드립니다. (I’d like to request _____.)

Purpose of Email 확인 부탁드립니다. (Please check ___.)

Step 7. Attachments

Like in English, it’s important to mention if you’ve attached a file.

첨부파일 확인 부탁드립니다. (Please find the attached file.)

Step 8. Be polite

If you want to be extra courteous, you can add the following in your email.

문의사항 있으시면 언제든지 연락 부탁드립니다. (Feel free to let me know if you have any questions.)

Step 9. End on a positive note

Koreans are very concerned with health and weather, so it’s a good idea to mention them at the end.

For example,

쌀쌀한 날씨에 감기 조심하세요. (Don’t catch a cold in the chilly weather.)

미세먼지 조심하세요. (Watch out for fine dust.)

즐거운 주말 보내세요. (Have a nice weekend.)

오늘도 좋은 하루 보내세요. (Have a nice day.)

즐거운 점심시간 되세요. (Enjoy your lunch.)

Step 10. Be thankful

Make sure to thank the recipient.

A simple 감사합니다. (Thank you. or Sincerely,) will do.


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Step 11. Sign off right

There are two ways to end your email: 드림 and 올림.

드림 means “giving” as in “from”.

It’s a bit more casual, but suitable for most interactions.

올림 means “presenting” as in “from”, but in a polite way.

It’s more formal and is best used for addressing older people in a higher position.

드림: For colleagues, clients, acquaintances

올림: For bosses, president, parents, grandparents, teachers

Your Name 드림

Korean Email Template

Recipient’s Name + Title님 안녕하세요,

Your Company Name + Your Name입니다.

Purpose of Email을 위해 메일 드립니다.

첨부파일 확인 부탁드립니다.

문의사항 있으시면 언제든지 연락 부탁드립니다.

오늘도 좋은 하루 보내세요.


Your Name 드림

Learning Korean

Guided conversation is the fastest way to get fluent in Korean. Pimsleur takes you from 0 to conversational in three months. You can try Pimsleur here for free!


Which email host do Koreans use?

Naver, Daum, and Gmail are the most common for personal use in that order.

A few years ago, Gmail wasn’t an option on most government website forms.

Now it’s slowly gaining popularity.

Most companies use their own email host.

Which emoticons do Koreans use in emails?

Koreans use emoticons to make formal emails a bit softer.

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^^ is a common smiley face symbol in Korea. But, it’s not used in business emails, because it looks unprofessional.

For business emails, you can use “:)” once. This is only in cases where you have some rapport with the recipient.

For example, a long term client or coworker who you’re on friendly terms with would be fine.

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However, it’s not advisable to use emoticons in emails to your boss or managers. Decorum is very important in the Korean business environment.

How to address Korean names in an email?

If you’re on friendly terms and use 반말 in person, writing their name is fine.

For everyone else, use name + title + .

How to sign an email in Korean?

  1. To your superior or boss: Your name + 올림 or Your name + 드림
  2. To your colleague: Your name + 드림
  3. To your subordinates: Your name + 씀 or Your name + 가
  4. To a company or organization: Your company name + Title + Name + 올림 or 드림 [For example, OO 주식회사 사장 OOO 올림]

How to address an email to a professor or teacher in Korean?

The best way to address a professor in Korean is to use name + 교수님.

If you’re writing in English, you can use Professor/Dr.+ last name.

More about teaching in Korea

How to address an email to a Korean businessman/businesswoman?

The best way to address a businessman/businesswoman in Korean is to use name + title + 님.

If you’re writing in English, you can use Mr./Mrs.+ last name.

How to say “you are expecting an email reply” in Korean?

The most polite way is to write, 이메일로 회신 부탁드립니다.

How do you say “I will send you an email” in Korean?

The ideal way is to write, 이메일 보내리겠습니다.

How to say “attached in email” in Korean?

The most polite way is to write, 첨부파일 확인 부탁드립니다.

How long does it take for a Korean email to reach America?

Korean internet speed is fast, so it’ll take about the same amount of time as it does within the U.S.

How to email the North Korean leader?

While the dear leader may not have a personal email address, you can try to contact him through the official North Korean government website. This site is actually blocked in South Korea, so get a VPN here if it’s super important.

Did we miss anything?

Korean email etiquette is easy if you understand the formula.

Always stick to it for the best results, unless you’re very comfortable with Korean.

I spent a lot of time during my first job out of university learning email etiquette.

It’s very important if you want to get ahead in Korea.

Feel free to ask questions below about anything we missed.

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How do you address an email to someone in Korea? ›

Addressing Korean names in an email must be done correctly. Find out the recipient's title and write 안녕하세요 (annyeonghaseyo or hello) in the first line of email. Recipient's Name + Title님 안녕하세요, If you're not sure of the title, use 담당자 instead.

What is the email format in Korea? ›

The most accurate and popular Korea's email format is first + last (ex. JohnSmith@thekoreanlawblog.com). Korea also uses first (ex.

How do I start an email in Korea? ›

  1. Dear [Name], : 친애하는 [이름], ( chin-aehaneun [ileum], )
  2. Hello [Name], : 안녕하세요 [이름], ( annyeonghaseyo [ileum], )
  3. Hi [Name], : 안녕하세요 [이름], ( annyeonghaseyo [ileum], )
Mar 13, 2023

How do you address someone respectfully in Korean? ›

' 씨 [ssi] is the most common name marker in polite speech and is added to the person's full name or just the first name. Of course, there is a slight difference between using full name and just the first name. For native speakers, full-name-with-씨 sounds more formal than given-name-with-씨.

How do you address politely in Korean? ›

Common Korean Honorifics
  1. 씨 (shi) When added to a name, this essentially means Mr./Mrs./Miss. ...
  2. 군 (goon) This honorific is not as common as 씨, but it basically means the same thing. ...
  3. 양 (yang) This is the same as 군, but for young and unmarried females.
  4. 님 (nim) ...
  5. 선배 (sun-bae) ...
  6. 후배 (hu-bae) ...
  7. 귀하 (gwi-ha) ...
  8. 아 (ah)
Oct 1, 2022

What is the standard email format? ›

The most standard and recommended form of a professional email address is firstname.lastname@domain.tld format. There are some other ways you can get a professional email address, such as firstnameinitial.lastname@domain.tld.

How do I type in Korean in Outlook? ›

Log in to your Outlook.com account, click on Settings (wheel icon), type language in the search box and click Language and region. Click the down arrow and select your language.

What is the proper way to start an email? ›

You should start a professional email with a greeting and the name and title of the recipient (e.g., “Dear Mr. Walken”). Then, you should include an introductory line like I hope this email finds you well, followed by the body of the email.

How do you start a message in Korean? ›

8 Korean phrases to get your language exchange started
  1. 몇 살이세요? ( Myeot sariseyo?) — ...
  2. 무슨 뜻이에요? ( Museun tteusieyo?) — ...
  3. 이름이 뭐예요? ( Ireumi mwoyeyo?) — ...
  4. 어디 출신이세요? ( Eodi chulsiniseyo?) — ...
  5. 어디에서 일해요? ( Eodieseo ilhaeyo?) — ...
  6. 어떤 음악을 좋아해요? ( Eotteon eumag eul johahaeyo?) — ...
  7. 시간 있을 때 뭐 하세요? ( Sigan isseul ttae mwo haseyo?) — ...
  8. 어떻게 지내세요? (

What are the 5 rules of South Korea? ›

Meeting & Greeting
  • Bowing is the traditional way to greet in South Korea.
  • Handshakes often accompany the bow among men.
  • Your left hand should support your right forearm when shaking hands.
  • Korean women do not always shake hands and may slightly nod instead of a full bow.
  • Always bow to individuals when departing.

Is it OK to kiss in public in Korea? ›

Kissing in public is looked down upon and seen as highly immodest among older individuals in South Korea. This has become less taboo with the current generation of young adults, but is still widely discouraged by elders. Dressing well is important in South Korea; it is considered a sign of respect.

How do Koreans show respect? ›

Bowing and handshakes

Koreans bow to those senior to them both as a greeting and a show of respect. The junior person initiates the bow, bending from the waist to an angle of between 30 and 45 degrees from vertical. A less accentuated bow is returned as acknowledgment from the more senior person.

What is the most polite form in Korean? ›

Haeyo-che (해요체): This is the most common polite way of speech. Foreigners are usually urged to learn this form of speech because it is simple and has the proper politeness for everyday situations. People use this level to address strangers and the elderly.

What is the most formal way to say thank you in Korean? ›

2. 고맙습니다 (go-map-seup-ni-da) — Formal and Polite. This way is also commonly used to say thank you in Korean.

How do you show politeness in Korea? ›

Basic Etiquette

Respect is exhibited in different ways. Respect should always be shown to those that are older than you. This involves deferring to their opinion, waiting for their input and lowering your gaze if they are an elder. Objects, gifts and food should be offered and received with two hands.

What does Shi mean in Korean? ›

-shi (씨) means a level of respect, something like Mr. Kim or Mrs. Kim. -ah(아) is more for a friend or even someone below you, like a child.

How do you say no in Korean formal? ›

You can use 아니요 (aniyo) in both formal and standard Korean. This is the most basic form of saying “no” and can be used by itself. Some alternate spellings that you might see are 아니오 (anio) and 아뇨 (anyo). These mean the same thing, but the correct spelling is 아니요 (a-ni-yo).

How do you address a letter to Korea from the US? ›

It's pretty simple:
  1. Start with the recipient's name. (last name – first name – honorifics)
  2. Write the province first.
  3. Proceed with street name and street number.
  4. Include the house number.
  5. Add the postal code.

What does Seoul mean in Korean? ›

The name itself has come to mean “capital” in the Korean language. The city was popularly called Seoul in Korean during both the Chosŏn (Yi) dynasty (1392–1910) and the period of Japanese rule (1910–45), although the official names in those periods were Hansŏng (Hanseong) and Kyŏngsŏng (Gyeongseong), respectively.

How to send a letter to Korea from us? ›

The easiest way to send letters from the USA to South Korea is with Global Forever Stamps for $1.45 each. You can also use regular, domestic forever stamps as long as they add up to $1.45. Extra postage is required over 1 ounce.

What are the 4 main parts of an email message? ›

The 4 Essential Parts of an Email Here's the blueprint of a successful business email.
  • The subject line. Arguably the most important component of the email, the subject line is the deciding factor in whether your message is read or deleted. ...
  • The salutation. ...
  • The bit in the middle. ...
  • The ending.
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What are 3 parts of an email address? ›

Email addresses are made up of three basic elements: the username, the "at" sign (@), and the domain name. In this guide, we explain what username and domain names are, and what symbols you can use in an email address.

What is the most important thing I should do with every email? ›

The most important aspect of the email is to make sure the other person knows what you're saying. Keep it straightforward. A first impression via email is never easy, because your tone and word usage can make or break a relationship.

How can I use Korean on my English keyboard? ›

Hitting the ALT key will make the status icon change to a Korean character '가' (ga). Once this happens, you'll be able to start typing in Korean. To toggle between Korean and English, simply hit the Right ALT key at any time. Vowels are on the right side of the keyboard, and consonants on the left.

What is a good opening sentence for an email? ›

Hello [Recipient's Name], I hope this email finds you well. Good [morning/afternoon/evening] [Recipient's Name], I hope you're having a great day so far! My name is [Your Name], and I wanted to introduce myself as [Your Job Role] at [Your Company Name]. I am reaching out to you because [Reason for Email].

How should I start and end an email? ›

Starting an email in English
  1. Dear. This is a safe, formal and polite way of addressing somebody, particularly if you have not communicated with them before.
  2. Hello. 'Hello' has a mixture of formality, politeness and friendliness. ...
  3. Hi. 'Hi' is much more informal. ...
  4. Yours sincerely. ...
  5. Kind regards / Best regards. ...
  6. Best wishes.
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How do you start a professional email greeting? ›

Here are some formal email greeting examples:
  1. "Dear Sir or Madam"
  2. "To [insert title]"
  3. "To Whom It May Concern"
  4. "Dear Mr./Ms."
  5. "Dear [first name]"
  6. "Hi, [first name]"
  7. "Hello or Hello, [name]"
  8. "Greetings"
Mar 10, 2023

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The first rule of Korean word order is the subject + noun pattern.

What are some basic Korean phrases? ›

Basic Korean Words and Phrases
  • Hello: 안녕하세요 (annyeong haseyo)
  • Yes: 네 (ne) or 예 (ye)
  • No: 아니요 (aniyo)
  • Maybe: 아마도 (amado)
  • Please: 주세요 (juseyo)
  • Thank you: 감사합니다 (gamsahamnida) or 고마워요 (gomawoyo)
  • You're welcome: 천만에요 (cheonmaneyo)
  • Okay: 예 (ye) or 괜찮다 (gwaenchanhda)

What are common Korean greeting phrases? ›

  • Hello – Annyeong Haseyo (in Hangul: 안녕하세요) ...
  • Hello, how are you? ...
  • I'm well. ...
  • Hello – Yeoboseyo (여보세요) ...
  • Hi – Annyeong (안녕) ...
  • Good Day – Annyeong Hasibnikka (안녕하십니까) ...
  • Good Morning – Joeun Achimieyo (좋은아침이에요) ...
  • Welcome – Hwangyong hamnida (환영합니다)
Sep 5, 2022

What is a starter email? ›

A starter email is a custom email template that you save in WordFly. It has all the elements, branding, blocks, etc., that you need to build a new email without starting from scratch.

Can you start an email without a greeting? ›

Email doesn't technically require a salutation as it is considered to be memo format. (This is different from a business letter, which does require a salutation.) When email first appeared, many people did not use salutations.

How do you start a formal email when you don't know the name? ›

The salutation of a formal email is similar to the salutation of a letter. When writing to someone you do not know by name, you put “To Whom it May Concern.” When applying for a job, you would address the person by, “Dear Hiring Manager.” If you do know the recipient's name, you put “Dear Mr./Ms.

How do you apologize in Korean culture? ›

So you can say: 미안합니다, mianhamnida: “I'm sorry” in formal speech. 미안해요, mianhaeyo: “Sorry” in polite speech. 미안해, mianhae: “Sorry” in casual speech.

What are 3 things that are not allowed in North Korea? ›

North Korea has strict laws about what you can bring into the country. It's illegal to bring in religious, pornographic or political items. Declare all published material and electronic devices when you arrive. It's also illegal to knowingly or unknowingly possess items that breach North Korean law.

What is restricted in South Korea? ›

All weapons (including replicas & decorations) such as guns & swords, as well as gunpowder, explosives, toxins, etc. Illegal drugs such as opium, marijuana/cannabis, cocaine, etc.

What is a polite gesture in Korea? ›

Meeting and Greeting

To show respect when shaking hands, support your right forearm with your left hand. Korean women usually nod slightly and will not shake hands with Western men. Western women may offer their hand to a Korean man. Bow when departing.

What is good etiquette in Korea? ›

Common Korean Etiquette

1) Take your shoes off at the door when entering any residence, temple, or guesthouse. 2) Greet people you meet with a short bow—essentially a nod—and soft handshake using both hands. 3) Give and receive any object using both hands.

What is typical Korean behavior? ›

These traditions include the ethical code of conduct in social life and showing respect to the elders and family. Koreans also believe in sincerity and loyalty and follow certain codes of conduct while meeting, eating, praying and even celebrating. At times when many other cultures would shake hands, Koreans bow.

What does the ring finger mean in Korea? ›

Wearing a ring on different fingers has different meanings in South Korea. A couple ring is traditionally worn on the ring finger. Whether it's on the right or left hand doesn't matter. A ring on the ring finger is a sign of love and commitment. A ring on your index finger represents friendship.

How do Koreans flirt? ›

Flirting in Korean culture is pretty much like what you see in Korean dramas. They use romantic, sweet, and cute phrases to touch the heart of the person they like. Aside from romantic phrases, they also flirt by acting cute, called aegyo (애교).

Can you hug someone in Korea? ›

Keep your hands to yourself (at least at first)

While it's not uncommon to bump a few elbows on a crowded street, South Koreans aren't big on touching someone they don't know. This means hugs and shoulder pats aren't welcomed between strangers.

What is South Korea email domain? ›

kr is the country code top-level domain (ccTLD) commonly used in South Korea.

How do you address a Korean client? ›

Whether we talk about informal or business communication, in South Korea family name comes first when addressing people. Calling someone by their first name is considered rude in South Korea. Instead refer to each person by their last name and their job title.

How do I contact someone in South Korea? ›

First dial 011, the U.S. exit code. Next dial 82, the country code for Korea. Then dial the area code (1 digit for Seoul, and 2 digits for all other cities -- please see a sample calling code list below) And finally the phone number (6-8 digits).

How do I contact someone in Korea? ›

International call out: 00N (where N is the carrier code) followed by the distant country code and telephone number. Calling into Korea: +82 XX XXXX YYYY. The leading "0" is dropped when dialling into South Korea from abroad.

What does daero mean in Korean? ›

Street names

Korean streets have names typically ending in -daero (대로, 大路, Blvd.), -ro (로, 路, St.) or -gil (길, 街, Rd.)

Is Gmail a domain name? ›

If you use Gmail, for example, the domain name for your email address is gmail.com.

Do Koreans use WhatsApp? ›

Is WhatsApp Available in South Korea? South Korea is among those countries that use WhatsApp. You can use WhatsApp to call and text friends from overseas. This App is easier to use by all persons of different ages.

What is saving face in Korean culture? ›

In an attempt to save another's face, a Korean is willing to deny a reality which is advantageous to himself, and willing to become a scapegoat. In an attempt to save another's face, he is eager to go along with others, despite the negative consequences.

Can I text someone in Korea from the US? ›

The correct way to send a text to South Korea is by starting with 01182 then the local number.

How do you know if a Korean guy is interested in you online? ›

Being playful: Korean guys might tease their crush or playfully banter with them in order to show their interest. Being attentive: Korean guys might pay close attention to their crush, offering them drinks or asking about their day in an effort to show interest. He will be texting you on a regular basis, every day.


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