1000 Korean words for everyday use – Basic vocabulary from K-dramas #24

Welcome back. This is the 24th post in the series of 1000 Korean words for everyday use by analyzing the word frequency of more than 1,000 episodes of Korean dramas.

Today, let’s explore the meaning and context of 5 key Korean words “수, 선생, 감사하다, 사장, 처음” with sample sentences.
Click the play button below to listen to all the words and sample sentences in this post.


Basic Korean words : 수, 선생, 감사하다, 사장, 처음


116. 수 [su] – number, several

– 수 [su] can mean “number” or “several”, indicating an approximate count.
– 수 [su] can also function as a dependent noun, meaning its specific interpretation depends on the context.
– 숫자 [sut-ja] specifically means “number”.

Example sentences:

그 도시에는 학교 수가 많아. There are many schools in the town.
어떻게 그럴 수가 있어! How could you do that!
이 숫자를 기억해둬야 해요. You need to remember this number.


117. 선생 [seon-saeng] – teacher (informal), sir, madam

– 선생 [seon-saeng] is used to refer to a teacher in an informal context.
– 선생님 [seon-saeng-nim] is the formal term for a teacher.

Example sentences:

의사 선생 어디 갔어? Where’s the doctor?
선생님, 이해가 안 가요. Teacher, I don’t understand.


118. 감사하다 [gam-sa-ha-da] – to appreciate

– 감사하다 [gam-sa-ha-da] means “to appreciate” or “to be grateful”.
– 감사 [gam-sa] refers to thanks or gratitude.

Example sentences:

감사합니다. Thank you.
마지막으로, 선생님께 감사를 드리고 싶습니다. Finally, I’d like to thank my teacher.


119. 사장 [sa-jang] – company president, boss

– 사장 [sa-jang] refers to the company president or boss.
– 사장님 [sa-jaeng-nim] is the formal term for a boss.
– 사모님 [sa-mo-nim] is used to refer to the president’s wife.
– 사장님 or 사모님 is a polite term used by restaurant or shop staff to address customers. It is similar to calling someone “sir” or “madam” in English. It shows respect and is often used to address customers in a polite and courteous manner.

Example sentences:

사장님을 만나야 해요. I have to meet the president of the company.
사모님도 함께 오셨네요. Madam, you’ve come too.


120. 처음 [cheo-eum] – first, beginning

– 처음 [cheo-eum] means “first” or “beginning”.
– 첫 [cheot] is a shortened form of “처음”.
– 처음 can be used as both a noun and an adverb, with the noun form referring to a starting point or an initial state, and the adverb form emphasizing the beginning of an action or state. Meanwhile, 첫 functions as an adjective and is used to describe the first instance of a noun.

Example sentences:

처음 보는 얼굴이에요. It’s the first time I’ve seen this face.
첫 눈이 와서 설레요. The first snow makes me excited.


Grammar & Study Resources

A dependent noun is a noun that is classified as a noun, but cannot be used alone and must be accompanied by a modifier. These nouns require some form of modifier, such as an adjective or other phrase, to be used in a sentence. Examples of such nouns include ‘것 [geot]’, ‘줄 [jul]’, ‘수 [su]’, ‘대로 [dae-ro]’, ‘뿐 [bbun]’, ‘데 [de]’, ‘리 [ri]’, ‘마리 [ma-ri]’, ‘원 [won]’ and more.

Note that a dependent noun cannot be used alone and must be accompanied by modifiers. You will be able to learn each dependent noun from the example sentence later.
ex) 수가 있어!(X), 그럴 수가 있어!(O), 것 없어.(X), 별 것 없어.(O)

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