Happy birthday In Korean

Wishing someone a happy birthday in Korean is a great way to show your Korean friends, loved ones, and co-workers that you care.

As you are probably aware, in Korean there are different levels of politeness and so there are different ways to say happy birthday in Korean depending on who you are talking to.

In this post, we have put together a guide to show you how to wish someone a happy birthday in Korean and how to say happy birthday in Korean.

Related: How To Say ‘I Love You’ In Korean

How To Say Happy Birthday In Korean

The most common ways to say happy birthday in Korean are 생일 축하해요 (saeng-il chu-ka-hae-yo) and 생일 축하합니다 (saeng-il chu-ka-ham-ni-da). 생일 축하해요 is the polite way to say happy birthday, and 생일 축하합니다 is the formal way. These expressions are made up of 생일 (birthday) and the verb 축하하다 (to congratulate.)

As these are the polite and formal ways to say happy birthday in Korean, 생일 축하해요 and 생일 축하합니다 can be used in most situations.

Let’s look at the different ways to say happy birthday in Korean in more detail.

Happy Birthday In Korean – Casual

Happy birthday In Korean - Informal

When wishing someone a happy birthday in Korean who is very close to you, such as a close friend or family member, or someone younger than you, you can use the casual/informal way to say happy birthday.

The casual/informal way to say happy birthday in Korean is 생일 축하해 (saeng-il chu-ka-hae). This is made up of 생일 (birthday) + 축하하다 (to congratulate). When conjugated in the present tense, this becomes 생일 축하해.

As you can see, there is no polite or formal ending in this expression. Therefore, you cannot use this way to say happy birthday with people you are unfamiliar with, or people who are older than you. When you want to say happy birthday in a polite way, you should use the polite way to say happy birthday in Korean.

Happy Birthday In Korean – Polite

Happy birthday In Korean - Polite

The polite way to say happy birthday in Korean is 생일 축하해요 (saeng-il chu-ka-hae-yo). As you can see, this is the same as the previous way to say happy birthday, but with the polite ending 요 attached.

As this is the polite way to say happy birthday in Korean, it can be used in most situations. If you would like to show more respect, you can use the formal way to say happy birthday.

Happy Birthday In Korean – Formal

Happy birthday In Korean - Formal

In some situations, you may wish to say happy birthday in a respectful way. For example, if you are wishing someone older than you happy birthday, or someone you are not very close with, and you want to be polite and respectful, you can use the formal way to say happy birthday in Korean.

The formal way to say happy birthday in Korean is 생일 축하합니다 (saeng-il chu-ka-ham-ni-da). This is made up of 생일 (birthday) + 축하하다 (to congratulate) + the formal ending ~(스)ㅂ니다.

Happy Birthday In Korean – More Formal

Happy birthday In Korean - Very Formal

When saying happy birthday in Korean, as well as changing the ending of the sentence to make it sound more polite and formal, you can also change the verb to a make it sound even more polite and formal.

A more formal way to say happy birthday in Korean is 생일 축하 드려요 (saeng-il chu-ka deu-ryeo-yo). This is made up of 생일 (birthday) + 축하 (noun – congratulations) + the verb 드리다 (formal way to say ‘give’) + the polite ending 요. Together, it becomes 생일 축하 드려요 which literally translates as ‘Birthday congratulations give’ or ‘I give you birthday congratulations.’.

You can even take this more formal way to say happy birthday in Korean and make it extra formal by changing the polite ending 요 to the formal ending ~(스)ㅂ니다 to make 생일 축하 드립니다.

As this is the extra formal way to say happy birthday, you would only use it with people you are really not close with and who you would like to wish happy birthday in a polite and respectful way.

Saying Happy Birthday To People Much Older Than You

If you want to say happy birthday to someone much older than you, such as your grandparents, you can say 생신 축하드립니다 (saeng-sin chu-ka-deu-rim-ni-da). This expression uses the formal way to say birthday (생신) plus the noun for congratulations (축하) plus the formal verb for ‘give’ (드리다) plus the formal ending ~(스)ㅂ니다.

As you can see this way to say happy birthday in Korean is very formal, so you can use it when you wish to show lots of respect when wishing someone much older than you a happy birthday.


Thanks for reading. Before you go, check out our free Korean lessons, and Korean vocabulary pages to learn more useful Korean words and expressions.