So similar and yet so different

These are words that I have come across in real life situations and while watching dramas (which should be fairly obvious when looking at the words). I just noticed how similar they are in terms of spelling so pronunciation is key here!

In random order:

충전 charge (electric). If your phone settings are in Korean, the phone will say “충전 중” when charging.
중전 queen

천하 the whole country, state, empire (context specific)
전하 Your royal highness – specific for men (anyone watching 기황후 should know this one cough-cough)

그때 at that time, then
그대 a somewhat poetic way to say “you”. It will often be heard in songs.

I will probably come up with more examples, but this is a start.


4 thoughts on “So similar and yet so different

  1. 소희

    Very useful indeed! One of my big weaknesses appear to be words with the same syllables in different order. I can still get confused over the two words 속상하다 (upset) and 상속 (heir). Plus one of my favorites in this category: 방금 (just/a short while ago) vs. 금방 (just/in a short while) 🙂
    The word 이상 is also intriguing taking on as many meanings as “strange/abnormal”, “ideal”, and “more”.

      1. koreannotebook

        방금 and 금방 used to kill me haha. And you are right about 이상, I remember one time I was watching a variety show clip and the question was on the actors ideal woman I was so confused why they used 이상 여자 ~> like why is the woman strange?! But thats the fun bit about Korean ♥ i really liked the post made me think about a lot of similar words. XD 감사합니다.

      2. koreanlearner Post author

        I remember 방금 because skype on my phone is in Korean so I see it very often, but it was a bit of a revelation to hear 금방 somewhere for the first time 😀

        I think I might have seen the same clip and I wondered what was going on as well 😀 I guess one way to remember it is that if your significant other is the “right kind of strange” that would make the person “ideal” for you? 😉

        Also related to 이상 but still somewhat different, I once read an article late at night and came across a three syllable word where the first two were 이상. I just couldn’t figure it out until I noticed the 씨 after… it was a name! I had just jumped to conclusions based on the first two syllables. I decided it was time to call it a night and just go to bed after that 😀

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