Punctuation Marks in Korean

Punctuation Marks in Korean


 

Korean punctuation (문장 부호 [munjang buho]) is so much like English punctuation that some textbooks and references don’t even discuss it. But there are a few significant differences.

Practice with the examples below and familiarize yourself with the usage. If you already understand good punctuation in English, then you’re well on your way in Korean, too.

I selected only common usages from the official guide of National Institute of Korean Language (국립국어원). It’ll make your writing look neater!

PunctuationEnglishKorean
.period마침표 [machimpyo]
,comma쉼표 [swimpyo], 콤마 [comma]
?question mark물음표 [mureumpyo]
!exclamation mark느낌표 [neu-ggimpyo]
" "double quotation mark큰 따옴표 [keun ddaompyo]
' ' single quotation mark작은 따옴표 [jageun ddaompyo]
...ellipsis줄임표 [jurimpyo]
:colon쌍점 [ssangjeom], 콜론 [collon]
~tilde물결표 [mulgyeolpyo]
/slash빗금 [bitgeum], 슬래시 [seullesi]
( )parentheses소괄호 [so-gwalho]

 

1. Period .

마침표 [machimpyo]

⓵ to mark the end of a sentence

한국어는 어렵지 않아요. [hangugeoneun eoryeopji anayo]

Korean is not difficult.

⓶ to write the date using numbers only

2018. 8. 19

August 19th, 2018

 

2. Comma ,

쉼표 [swimpyo]

⓵ to list correlated things

서울, 인천, 부산, 경주, 전주 

Seoul, Incheon, Busan, Gyeongju, Jeonju

⓶ to separate items in a series

한국과 일본, 필리핀과 베트남은 각각 동북아시아와 동남아시아에 있다. [hangukgwa ilbon pillipin-gwa beteunameun gakgak dongbugasiawa dongnamasiae itda]

Korea and Japan, Philippines and Vietnam are in Northeast Asia and Southeast Asia respectively.

⓷ to separate clauses in a sentence

마음에 드는 운동화가 정말 비싼데, 할인하면 좋겠어요. [maeume deuneun undonghwaga jeongmal bissande harinhamyeon jokesseoyo]

The sneakers I like are very expensive, so it would be great if they were on sale.

⓸ to reduce recurring phrases

여름에는 바다에서, 겨울에는 산에서 휴가를 즐겼어요. [yeoreumeneun badaeseo gyeoureneun saneseo hyugareul jeulgyeosseoyo]

I enjoyed the vacation at the sea in summer, and at the mountain in winter.

 

3. Question mark ?

물음표 [mureumpyo]

⓵ to mark the end of a question

점심 드셨어요? [jeomsim deusyeotsseoyo]

Have you had lunch?

지금? [jigeum]

Now?

 

4. Exclamation mark !

느낌표 [neu-ggimpyo]

⓵ to mark the end of an exclamatory sentence

내가 해냈어! [nega henetsseo]

I did it!

⓶ to express surprise

아, 너 여기 있었네! [a neo yeogi itsseonne]

Oh, you’re here!

 

5. Double quotation mark ” “

큰 따옴표 [keun ddaompyo]

⓵ to mark quoted speech

“출입 금지”라고 쓰인 표지판을 봤어요. [churip geumjirago sseuin pyojipaneul bwasseoyo]

I saw a sign that said “Do Not Enter.”

⓶ to mark spoken words and dialogue

“오늘은 어제보다 더 추운 것 같아.” [oneureun eojeboda deo chu-un geot gata]

“I feel today is colder than yesterday.”

“응, 너무 춥다…” [eung neomu chupda]

“I think so, it’s freezing…”

 

6. Single quotation mark ‘ ‘

작은 따옴표 [jageun ddaompyo]

⓵ to mark the quoted phrase within a quote

그는 “안녕하세요. ‘시작이 반이다’라는 말 들어 보셨나요?”라고 말하며 강연을 시작했다. [geuneun annyeonghaseyo sijagi banidaraneun mal deureo bosyeonnayorago malhamyeo gang-yeoneul sijakhetda]

He started the presentation saying “Hello, have you heard of ‘starting is half done’?”

⓶ to mark thoughts

미팅하는 내내 ‘너무 지루하다’라고 생각했어요. [mitinghaneun nene neomu jiruhadarago seng-gakhesseoyo]

I thought ‘It’s so boring’ during the meeting.

 

7. Ellipsis …

줄임표 [jurimpyo]

⓵ to represent silence in speech

“…”

⓶ to indicate speech trailing off

무슨 말인지 알아… [museun marinji ara]

I know what you mean…

 

8. Colon :

쌍점 [ssangjeom]

⓵ to introduce elements of a list

일시: 2018년 8월 26일 일요일 오후 2시 [ilsi icheonsippalnyeon parweol isimnyugil iryoil ohu dusi]

장소: 한강 공원 [jangso hangang gong-weon]

Date: 2 pm Sunday, August 26th, 2018

Location: Hangang park  

⓶ to separate hours from minutes

오전 10:45 [ojeon yeolsi sasibobun]

10:45 am

 

9. Tilde ~

물결표 [mulgyeolpyo]

⓵ to indicate time period

9월 15일~10월 25일

from September 15th to October 25th

⓶ to indicate distance

서울~제주도 

from Seoul to Jeju Island

 

10. Slash /

빗금 [bitgeum]

⓵ to indicate ‘per’ in measurements of speed, prices etc

100미터/초 

100 meter per sec

1,000원/개 

1,000 won each

 

11. Parentheses ( )

소괄호 [so-gwalho]

⓵ to provide additional information

서울(대한민국의 수도)은 큰 도시다. [seoul dehanmin-gugeui sudo eun keun dosida]

Seoul (the Capital of South Korea) is a big city.

⓶ To provide the original script of a word taken from another language

에티켓 (étiquette) [etiket]

커피 (coffee) [keopi]

 

Reference:

“한글 맞춤법 | 국립국어원”. Korean.Go.Kr, 2018, http://www.korean.go.kr/front/page/pageView.do?page_id=P000192&mn_id=30. Accessed 16 Aug 2018.