This simple phrase is a really useful thing to know but it can easily trip non-Korean speakers up! You might mean the same thing in English but there are a few different ways to express that you like something in Korean.

좋다

(joh-ta)

This verb is very easy to use and can be used in isolation without a massive sentence – perfect if we’re not fluent in Korean yet! In the polite present tense it becomes, 좋아요 (joh-a-yo). You can say 좋네요 (joh-ne-yo) to indicate a little more surprise but the best way to do this is to leave the verb in it’s original form and just shout, “좋다!”

However, this word is often mixed up with verb ‘to like’, which in Korean is…

좋아하다

(joh-a-ha-da)

It is almost entirely interchangeable with 좋다 because it means to like something in general, that something is good and you like it. In the polite present tense it becomes, 좋아해요 (joh-a-hey-yo).

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But you can’t this all the time! It gives the impression that you like it and have liked it for a while which means you can’t use it if you see something for the first time and you like it, for example, a present. If your friend gives you a present, you can’t have 좋아하다’d it, so to speak, because you didn’t know about it before. So we use…

마음에 듣다

(ma-eum-e deut-da)

This literally means that your heart listens to whatever it is that you like. This is an irregular verb, and in the polite present tense it becomes, 마음에 들어요 (ma-eum-e deu-reo-yo). So when you open that present, you can say, “마음에 들어!” and don’t forget to thank them!

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