Bringing back a feature we briefly premiered last year, it’s time for Word Of The Week! Each week we’ll be bringing you a new useful Korean word – and perhaps occasional phrase – to learn, if you haven’t already that is. So to kick off this week, we have words of the week with ‘What’s your name?’.

If you’re a 4Minute fan, or have heard their hit track ‘What’s your name?’, I’m sure you’re very familiar with the phrase – 이름이 뭐예요? (ireumi mwo-ye-yo). But for those that haven’t, or didn’t know what ‘이름이 뭐예요?‘ meant, this is for you.

‘이름이 뭐예요’ is a standard polite phrase for asking someone’s name, you can be less formal (이름이 뭐야) but given that you usually ask people their names upon first meeting, it’s likely you wouldn’t use the informal version – though it is good to know.

So now you know what ‘이름이 뭐예요‘ means, let’s break it down.

(이름)() ()(예요)

이름 (i-reum) = ‘name’

(i/ee) = topical marker, to indicate ‘이름‘ is the sentences topic. i.e. the question is about the listener’s name

(mwo) = ‘what’, is a contraction of ‘무엇‘ (mueot).

예요 (ye-yo) = formality marker, indicates polite form – in this case is used because ends in a vowel. If it ended in a consonant, it would be ‘이에요‘ rather than ‘예요‘.


We know what each part of ‘이름이 뭐예요?‘ means now, but if someone asks you what your name is, how will you reply?

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You can tell people your name in a number of ways;

저는 (#) 입니다 (jeo-neun (#) im-ni-da) // I am (#).

당신의 이름이 (#) 입니다 (na-ui i-reum-i (#) im-ni-da) // My name is (#). (formal)

(#)이야 (# i-ya) // I’m (#) (informal)

(note: the ‘b’ in ‘입니다‘ is not pronounced)

To return the question and ask someone’s name back, you can reply ‘당신은요?‘ (dang-shin-eun-yo). It translates literally as ‘You are?’ but is used formally as ‘And you?’. You can use ‘당신은요?‘ any time formally returning a question. However if you would like to ask casually (i.e. to a friend) you can use ‘‘ (nuhn) and ‘너는‘ (nuh-neun).


To recap:

Person A: 이름이 뭐예요? // What is your name?

Person B:   나의 이름이 조예슬 입니다. 당신은요? // My name is Jo Ye-Seul, and you?

Person A: 저는 이다혜 입니다. // I’m Lee Da-hye.


And that’s all for this week’s WOTW, we hope it helped!

If you have any questions, let us know and we’ll be happy to answer them, and if you have any suggestions for next weeks edition, leave your requests in the comments section below.

To finish off, here’s 4Minute and ‘이름이 뭐예요?’!

[youtube id=”H-IJWqIHioA”]

SEE ALSO: MV Break Down: 4Minute – What’s Your Name?


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Freya is the founder of UnitedKpop, steering the ship since 2011. She is a full time graphic designer with lots of love for her two cats. You can see Freya's portfolio at