In Korean culture, age is very important. As such, there are many situations in which you might want to ask ‘How old are you?’ in Korean. In this lesson, you will learn how to ask someone’s age in Korean and how to ask and answer ‘How old are you?’. The particular expression you use depends on the situation, and so you will learn the informal, polite, and formal ways to ask ‘How old are you?’. Let’s get started.
How To Ask ‘How Old Are You?’ In Korean
1. 몇 살이야?
The informal way to say ‘How old are you?’ in Korean is 몇 살이야? [myeot sa-ri-ya]. As this is an informal expression, you should only use this when talking to people much younger than you. For example, if you are an adult and you want to ask a child ‘How old are you?’ you can say “몇 살이야?“.
A polite way to say ‘How old are you?’ in Korean is 몇 살이에요? [myeot sa-ri-e-yo?]. As you can see this is similar to the previous expression. It’s made up of 몇 살 which means ‘how many years’, and 이에요 which is a polite way to say ‘is’ in the sense of ‘is equals to’. So, 몇 살이에요? translates as ‘How old are you?’. As this is a polite expression, you can use this in most situations.
3. 나이가 어떻게 되세요?
[na-i-ga eo-tteo-kke doe-se-yo?]
Another polite way to ask someone’s age in Korean is the expression 나이가 어떻게 되세요? [na-i-ga eo-tteo-kke doe-se-yo?]. This expression is made up of 나이 which means ‘age’, the subject marking particle 가, and 어떻게 되세요? which is a polite way to say ‘What is your…?’. So, 나이가 어떻게 되세요? is a polite way to ask ‘What is your age?’ in Korean.
4. 몇 년생이에요?
Another common way to ask someone’s age in Korean is the polite expression 몇 년생이에요? [myeot nyeon-seng-i-e-yo?] which means ‘What year were you born?’. This expression sounds a little softer and polite compared to directly asking ‘How old are you?’ as it is an indirect way to find out someone’s age.
5. 나이가 어떻게 되십니까?
[na-i-ga eo-tteo-kke doe-sim-ni-kka?]
The formal way to ask someone’s age in Korean is 나이가 어떻게 되십니까? [na-i-ga eo-tteo-kke doe-sim-ni-kka?]. This expression can be used in formal situations and in situations in which you want to show a high level of respect.
6. 연세가 어떻게 되십니까?
[yeon-se-ga eo-tteo-kke doe-sim-ni-kka?]
When asking an old person their age in Korean (above 60 years of age) you can make the above formal expression more respectful by changing the word for age (나이) with the honorific word for age which is 연세.
How To Answer ‘How Old Are You?’ In Korean
In order to tell someone your age in Korean, you must first know native Korean numbers. If you need to review these, check out our complete guide to Korean numbers. Native Korean numbers are used when telling someone your age. However, when telling someone your birth year (for example 1985) Sino-Korean numbers are used. This is because native Korean numbers only go up to 99. Once you know Korean numbers, answering ‘How old are you?’ in Korean is relatively simple. Here are some common ways to answer ‘How old are you?’ in Korean.
|How old are you?||몇 살이에요?|
|20 Years old.||스무 살요.|
|I am 30 years old.||서른 살이에요.|
|When were you born?||몇 년생이에요?|
|85 (1985).||팔십오 년생요.|
|My birth year is 85 (1985).||팔십오 년생이에요.|