3 In Korean learning journey (:/ korean textbook reviews

[Korean Textbook Review] 한국어 유의어 사전


Korean Synonym Dictionary for Korean language learners

It was quite a fun read!

aha, before you stare at me all accusingly that I actually read a dictionary, let me clarify and say that this is not your typical dictionary.

I know you are thinking of thesaurus. Throw that idea out.

This book is kinda misnamed (just like this blog).

I would call it more of a quirky and specialised book that seeks to explain the nuances in two (or more) words with similar meanings and how they are differently used. More linguistic-y and less dictionary.

Did I get your attention?

If so, read on, if not – scroll down to the bottom for a quick summary!

Ever wonder what’s the difference between 구분하다 (區分) and 구별하다 (區別)?

Or confused between 결재하다 and 결제하다?

This book seeks to answer your questions. In Korean (of course).

If you are interested in linguistics / semantics or loves reading books on languages, this book is awesome.

To be honest, I already know the general difference / nuances / usage for most of the entries, but it’s nice to read more in detail from a linguistic point of view.


I won’t really recommend that you learn new words with this book, you are probably gonna end up being very confused. I prefer learning nuances of words (of similar meaning) naturally and not by using textbooks.

That being said, I love how there is at least a page of explanation dedicated to each entry, instead of multiple entries per page. It’s really less of a dictionary but a language book.

I admit that it can be dry to thumb through the book – you are unlikely to be captivated enough to read the book from head to toe.

In that sense, the purpose of the book is kinda vague. Not really used as a dictionary and not really a “fun” book to read from cover to cover.

In some areas this book (the format / general idea) reminds me of 인터넷에서 가장 많이 틀리는 한국어 but that book is more fun and readable.

This one, not so much.

Which is a pity, because there is a wealth of information in here.

What I like:

  • interesting concept, very specialised theme
  • good structure (too well-structured, gets boring if you are reading cover to cover)
  • very informative
  • suitable for those who are interested in semantics / linguistics

What can be improved:

  • be more readable (haha what can I say?)
  • printing it in color + adding graphics?

All in all, I dunno whether to recommend this or not. It’s (quite) fun (for me) and I quite like it … I’m sitting on the fence on this one.

You can buy this over at Twochois! >>>> click here

Find all other textbook reviews here.

You Might Also Like


  • Reply
    6 June, 2014 at 9:58 PM

    I just use google lol. I just cannot make myself spend money on something that’s not made for native korean speakers or native japanese speakers. When google doesn’t work out I use chiebukuro whether it’s a korean question or a japanese question because from my experience korean people are nortorious for ignoring my quesitons when i submit them lol. japanese people are SO KIND!

    I wouldn’t mind checking out this book that you recommend but only if it’s free lol.

  • Reply
    10 June, 2014 at 8:06 AM

    Speaking of nuances have you noticed any differences between the usage of wa and ga in japanese vs the wa ga equivalents in korean ? so one day I notice that most of the times japanese people correct my lang 8 over the wa ga issue is when I use ga when I should e used wa. Later on I realized I do this because I’m using it just like the way it’s used in korean but the thing they’re not used exactly the same in korean and in japanese. I googled around and I got some really good explanations and they’re really well written and helpful but I can’t remember them detail lol. That’s another reason I would never spend money on a book like this. So my tip for japanese output is when in doubt go with wa because I tend to use ga more than I should in japanese because I treat it like the ga in korean if that makes sense. I’m so sure they use wa more japanese than in korean

    • Reply
      14 June, 2014 at 10:52 AM

      Actually I try to keep both languages as separate as possible so as not to confuse myself haha

    Leave a Reply