Intensifiers and Adverbs (강조어)

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In today’s lesson, we’re going to be taking a look at the different ways of intensifying a sentence in Korean.  There are a lot of tools in your belt when it comes to upping the severity of a sentence.  Just to give you a clear idea of what we’re talking about here, similar words in English would be “really,” “very,” “completely,” “immensely” etc. 

Some of these words also function as standard adverbs (i.e., in front of verbs) and in other capacities as well, but the role we are dealing with here today is that of intensifier.  For example, the role “very” plays when added to “She is beautiful” to make the sentence “She is very beautiful.”  Below are all the intensifiers you will probably ever need in Korean.We could use the same example sentence for all of these, but I thought it would be more helpful to give you a variety of sentences to study with.


  • 매우 – highly, immensely
우리 회사가 매우 위험한 상황에 처해 있어요.
Our firm currently finds itself in a highly dangerous situation. 

  • 아주 – very
이번 신입사원은 아주 높은 경쟁률을 뚫고 합격했어요.
That new hire cut through some very stiff competition to make it here. 

  • 대단히 – greatly
오늘 행사에 참석해주셔서 대단히 감사합니다.
We are greatly appreciative of your attendance at today’s event.

  • 정말 – really, e.g., “He is really good at that.”
이번 시험은 정말 어려웠어요.
The test was really hard this time. 

  • 제일 – the most, to the maximum, to be the best at something
여기가 서울에서 제일 유명한 한식집이에요.
This is the most famous Korean restaurant in Seoul. 

  • 엄청 – “terribly,” “awfully” — as in, she’s awfully good at singing.
엄청 매운 떡볶이를 먹고 배탈이 났어요.
I felt sick to my stomach after eating some terribly spicy ddeokbokki. 

  • 굉장히 – very, remarkably
내일이 설날이라서 그런지 시장에 사람이 굉장히 많았어요.
Maybe it was because tomorrow’s Lunar New Year’s Day, but the market was very crowded today.Informal 

  • 완전 – with a “히” attached to it, this word mean “completely,” but in this informal iteration it means “very” and is akin to “way,” or “super.”
그 남자 완전 멋져.
That guy is super cool. 

  • 되게 – very
여기 음식 되게 맛있다.
The food here is really good.



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