5 In Korean learning journey (:/ korean textbook reviews

[Review] Everyday Korean Idiomatic Expressions

Another great book from the TTMIK team!

I love learning proverbs (속담) and other idiomatic expressions (관용어). It’s one of the areas where you can clearly see the linkage between language and culture. Some idiomatic expressions are easily translatable between languages, and there are some with similar expressions expressed using different concepts. Or those that are unique to a certain language/culture.

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Most Korean textbooks don’t really focus on such idiomatic expressions and they are usually scattered all over. When I first started learning such expressions (like 6 years ago? HAHA), there wasn’t a book focused on it so I mainly learn via reading loads and loads. I don’t quite remember how I learn my idioms. When I first started doing old TOPIK papers, I’ll learn the different idioms presented in each MCQ option and for some, I just seem to know it from ‘somewhere’. For proverbs, I use my KBS 한국능력시험 prep book(s) to study! It’s not TOPIK, but rather the Korean proficiency exam taken by Koreans themselves. There’s a whole list/chapter devoted to proverbs and I still use that as my regular go-to book. But it’s really just a listing of expressions and meanings so it’s not really for newbies. Proverbs are also usually longer and more difficult compared to idioms and not as commonly used in daily lives.

Now comes this TTMIK book!

1. 100 common idiomatic expressions

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I love how the book focuses on the more commonly used ones so it’s super relevant and having them all consolidated in one book makes it a fun read and learning resource.

2. Expression broken down and explained in details

I love how the book actually helps to introduce vocabulary too by breaking down the expressions for you. It’s good for beginners / low intermediate students who are keen to learn more expressions but may still have difficulty with individual words.

The book includes both a literal translation and actual meaning in English, followed by a longer paragraph explaining the expression. Most textbooks would only give a one sentence explanation, which might not be enough.

3. 2 sample dialogues including the expression

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THIS IS THE BEST. I usually rely on both the Eng-Kor and Kor-Kor dictionary for example sentences and usually the Kor-Kor provides more. But I love how instead of sample sentences, the TTMIK book shows you how to use these expressions in daily dialogue. Which is a bonus in my opinion. By seeing how such expressions can be incorporated in natural daily conversation, it makes applying and using them easier.

For those who are still new to the language, there are also English translations.

4. The visual aids

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Organised in such a way that it feels like a fun read instead of a “listing”, the book introduces one idiom per chapter. Feels good that you manage to cover say 10 chapters a day 😛 Most idioms come with a picture and hahaha I love the art style. It kinda sticks in your brain and helps you remember the idiom better.


All in all, the idea behind the book is a simple one – to introduce 100 everyday Korean idiomatic expressions. And it does the job well.

A good book to have on your bookshelf. Even though I have been learning Korean for 8 years, I learn quite a number of new expressions here as well. So I would say it’s suitable for beginners to advanced learners!

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(more books to be reviewed!)

What I like:

  • Well structured
  • Good use of visual aids
  • Simple and effective explanations
  • Good use of dialogues to teach application and usage

What can be improved:

  • Remove the romanisation
  • There needs to be a book 2! 😛

** To look at sample pages in the book in more details, go to the link below (:

Purchase it at My Korean Store (TTMIK)

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5 Comments

  • Reply
    Anwar
    14 August, 2016 at 10:47 PM

    Hello! Im glad that I found your site, it really motivates me to study more.
    I need a tip on my listening practice. Im currently self studying Korean using the Tuttle books (now at the third volume of the series). I don’t think I’m anywhere near the advance level because I feel like my vocabulary knowledge is still very limited.. Plus it’s still hard for me to digest the Korean language by listening alone because all I did in my studying was just reading and VERY minimal listening practice. Is there any resources or textbook that have listening practice with Korean transcript as well as translation and exercises/quizzes (that people will actually do).

    • Reply
      Hangukdrama
      15 August, 2016 at 11:58 AM

      Thanks for liking the blog! (: Mmm most textbooks such as Ewha and SNU series offer quite a bit of listening practice via dialogues and passages! I don’t actually use textbooks for 듣기 practices, usually I’ll watch dramas / listen to songs / radio podcasts etc.

  • Reply
    Lauren
    29 August, 2016 at 7:39 AM

    Hey shana. I feel so silly since I just learned another word “and” in Korean even though I started studying it since 2012 though half-assed. I’m sure you get those moments too where you’re like why the hell don’t I know this… it’s so useful/common etc etc.

  • Reply
    Lauren
    29 August, 2016 at 7:40 AM

    another for “and”***

  • Reply
    Leilah
    7 September, 2016 at 6:05 AM

    please try/review Korean From Zero 1 0r 2
    they’re pretty good and can be printed out on pdf for free! except you know, lots of ink and paper

  • Leave a Reply to Lauren Cancel Reply