How to say A LITTLE in Korean


The Korean word of the week is 좀 (jom), which means “a little, a bit, some.” JOM is the shortened version of 조금 (JOGEUM).

Example phrases using 좀 (jom):

  • 좀 있다가 전화할께요.
    Jom itdaga junhwa halggeyo.
    I’ll call you a little later.
    (formal)
     
  • 이것 좀 먹어 봐! 진짜 맛있어!
    Egut jom muguh bwa! Jinjja mashissuh!
    Try some of this! It’s really delicious!
    (informal)
     
  • 좀 싱겁다. 소금 좀 넣어.
    Jom shingubda. Sogeum jom nuhuh.
    It’s a little bland. Put in a little salt.
    (informal) 
     
  • 좀 더 기다려 주세요.
    Jom duh geedaryuh juseyo.
    Please wait a little more.
    (formal)
     
  • 좀 서둘러야돼요.
    Jom suhdooluhya dweyo.
    We have to hurry a bit.
    (formal)

Did your friend order something delicious at the restaurant and you want to have a bite? Ask them…

좀 먹어 봐도 돼?
Jom muguh bwado dwe?
Can I eat some?
(informal)

Busy doing something? Simply reply:

좀 있다가.
Jom itdaga.
A little later.
(informal)

Add a 요 (yo) at the previous statement to make it formal:

좀 있다가요.
Jom itdagayo.
A little later.

Here are example conversations that use 좀 (jom):

미나야, 숙제 언제 할거야?
Minaya, sukje unje halguhya?
Mina, when are you going to do homework?
(informal)

좀 있다가요. 좀 쉬구요.
Jom itdagayo. Jom shweeguyo.
A little later. After I rest a bit.
(formal)

우리 밥 언제 먹어?
Oori bap unje muguh?
When are we going to eat?
(informal)

좀 있다가. 여섯시 어때?
Jom itdaga. Yuhsusshi uhddae?
A little later. How does 6 o’clock sound?
(informal)

Here are some super simple phrases that you can use on daily basis:

  • 좀 걷자.
    Jom gutja.
    Let’s walk a little.
    (informal)
     
  • 좀 쉬자.
    Jom shweeja.
    Let’s rest a little.
    (informal)
     
  • 좀 먹자.
    Jom mukja.
    Let’s eat a little.
    (informal)
     
  • 좀 자자.
    Jom jaja.
    Let’s sleep a little.
    (informal)
     
  • 좀 있다봐!
    Jom itdabwa!
    See you a little later!

Here are some phrases you might hear in a Korean drama:

  • 난 좀 달라.
    Nan jom dallah.
    I’m a little different.
    (informal)
     
  • 나도 좀 살자.
    Nado jom salja.
    Just let me live a little.
    (informal)
     

Here's a Kpop music video using the previous phrase!

  • 왜 그래? 말 좀 해봐.
    Wae geurae? Mal jom haebwa.
    What’s wrong? Say a little something.
    (informal)
     
  • 좀 비켜 줄래?
    Jom beekyuh joolae?
    Can you move out of the way?
    (informal)
     
  • 벌써 또 나가? 아~ 좀 쉬자.
    Bulssuh ddo naga? Ah~ Jom shweeja.
    Are we going back out again? Ah, let’s rest a little.
    (informal)

Have you been home ALL DAY LONG? Or feeling frustrated about something? Maybe you need to blow off some steam. Go get a little fresh air.

  • 바람 좀 쐐자.
    Baram jom sswaeja.
    Let’s get some fresh air.
    (informal)
     
  • 바람이나 좀 쐐.
    Baramena jom sswae.
    Go get some fresh air.
    (informal)
     
  • 바람 좀 쐘가?
    Baram jom sswaelgga?
    Shall we get some fresh air?
    (informal)

I love these fresh air phrases. Growing up, adults in my family would use these phrases often. If they want to go out for a walk after dinner as a light exercise, they’d invite me by asking: 바람 좀 쐘가?

Surprise! JOM can also mean “please” in certain situations. Here are some examples:

  • 핸드폰 좀 꺼주시겠어요?
    Hendeupon jom gguhjushi gessuhyo?
    Would you please turn off your cell phone?
    (formal)
     
  • 차 좀 빼주실래요?
    Cha jom bbaejulshillaeyo?
    Would you please move your car out?
    (formal)

Now that you know the word 좀 (jom), I will teach you a bonus word: 좀비 (jombie)! 좀비 means “zombie.” In Korea, there is no Z consonant, so we use the J consonant instead. Thus "jombie" instead of "zombie."

Attention Kpop fans! Here are some of your fave celebs using the word 좀 (jom) in the following music videos. Can you find where SHINee sings 좀?

What?! Girls' Generation also uses 좀 in their song, too? You bet! Listen closely. Can you find where?

Hope you enjoyed this lesson! See you next week on my YouTube channel.

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