Korean Idioms & Proverbs: 가는 말이 고와야 오는 말이 곱다
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Korean Idioms & Proverbs: 가는 말이 고와야 오는 말이 곱다

All languages have idioms, expressions and proverbs to enrich the language. Korean is no exception and we’ve already looked at one them before; 가는 날이 장날. Time to learn a new Korean expression so we can make our Korean language a bit prettier; less dull.

This time the expressions is: 가는 말이 고와야 오는 말이 곱다. This expression means as much as if you other people to treat you nicely, you should encourage them by treating others nicely yourself first. You can use the expression to remind people who don’t treat others nicely; won’t get a a lot of help from others. An English equivalent would be: What goes around, comes around.

Note that unlike the previous expression, 가는 날이 장날, this expression comes with a verb. So, in order to use this expression you just need to use the proper verb ending to fit it in your story.

Example: 할머니는 “가는 말이 고와야 오는 말이 곱습니다” 하고 언제나 말씀하세요.

Translation:  Grandmother always says: If the going words are beautiful, the coming words will be beautiful.

Have you seen this expression before? Or perhaps you’ve used it in a text you’ve written yourself! Please share your experience in the comments. When you see expressions used by others, they become easier to understand.