Life in Korea

Best Korean Grammar Books

한글1Nowadays, more and more people from all over the world want to learn Korean language. It may be because of the influence of K-pop and K-drama, or great love for Gong Yoo. Ehem! If you want to learn Korean language the right way, stop buying phrase books and stop relying on romanization. The first big step is to learn how to read and write Korean alphabets. It takes only few hours to learn the concept and rules. It’s okay if you don’t understand the characters at first; just focus on reading the words and pronouncing them correctly. Romanization is sloppy no matter what system you use. Moreover, English alphabets do not accurately correspond to the real sounds in the Korean language. Sometimes 한글 is spelled as Hangeul, other times it’s Hangul. Some people even pronounce the latter as “han-gool” which is incorrect. If you are able to read Korean characters properly, the rest of the lessons (vocabulary and grammar) will be much easier to study.


For self-learners out there, I highly recommend the Korean Grammar in Use series by Darakwon publisher. These are the best Korean grammar books I’ve ever found in Korea. I’ve been learning the language on my own (not diligently though, haha!) for years now and these books have been a big help in improving my sentence construction and language fluency. They’re my personal favorites because the grammar points are explained in a clear and concise manner. Also, the paper quality is pretty good-glossy and colorful! However, it is important to consider that you should have at least basic knowledge on writing, reading and vocabulary to be able to use these grammar books more effectively.

*Learn basic Hangeul online thru: Sogang University Korean Program


The Korean Grammar in Use series is composed of Beginning (1 & 2), Intermediate  (3 & 4) and Advanced (5 & 6) levels. Let’s take a look at each of them.

Book 1: Korean Grammar in Use (Beginning to Early Intermediate)

About This Book
This book is the culmination of educational know-how and systematic grammar organization acquired by the three authors from their experience actually teaching Korean to foreigners in the classroom. In focusing strictly on Korean grammar, this series represents a departure from most current integrated teaching materials, allowing foreign learners to more easily concentrate on grammar in their study of Korean. The authors have included real dialogues and illustrations to make the study of Korean more interesting, especially for those students who have heretofore felt Koran grammar to be difficult. Further, this series equally serves as a general Korean grammar reference that can be used by Korean language instructors both in Korea and abroad who regularly experience the difficulty of teaching Korean grammar first-hand.
– Collects the introductory grammar points normally taught in Levels 1 and 2 at most university affiliated and private language institutes.
– Makes it easy for learners to locate those grammar patterns they find the most confusing by providing comparisons of patterns similar in meaning and usage. This way, learners can not only clarify the differences between similar patterns, but also study how they are used differently depending on the situation.

– Lets the learner confirm the usage of target grammar points by illustrating how they are used in real conversation. The examples presented are not simply sentences constructed for the purpose of illustrating grammar, but rather examples of how the grammar points are actually used in real life.

– Includes special sections on particularly tricky grammar points to allow learners to acquire a more accurate and natural-sounding command of Korean. Further, by presenting a variety of grammatical patterns along with both practice exercises and graphic illustrations, learners can approach the study of Korean grammar with renewed interest.

Are you ready to learn?


How to use this book: Each lesson has six sections. Here are the details for each section.

1. Introductory sentences

At the beginning of each chapter, introductory sentences are presented along with illustrations to give the learner a chance to infer the meaning of the target grammar to be introduced in the chapter. These sentences introduce the target grammar points as they are used in real-life situations, incorporating context through the use of accompanying illustrations and allowing the learner more easily grasp the meaning of the underlying grammar.

2. Grammar Focus

Grammar focus points are included to help the learner decrease the number of grammatical mistakes by providing information on both the general aspects and grammatical restrictions of Korean. These are presented in the table form along with the parts of speech (nouns, verbs, adjectives) for which conjugation rules can be confusing.

3. In Conversation

In this section, the learner can confirm the use of the target grammar points by seeing how they are used in the conversation. These are not simply sentences constructed for the purpose of illustrating grammar but examples of how the grammar points are actually used in real life. They are presented in the form of 2 to 3 short dialogues. A recording of each dialogue is included in the accompanying CD.

4. Check It Out!

In this section, learners can check grammar points that are often used incorrectly in real life depending on the situation or context. This section is therefore useful for helping learners understand the various cultural contexts, idiomatic expressions, and appropriate usage of the target grammar points in their typical situational contexts.

5. What’s the Difference?

This section compares the differences between grammatical patterns with similar or easily confused meanings, usages, or forms. Going beyond simply listing grammar points to be learned, this section compares 2 to 3 confusing patterns to help the student learn them in an integrated manner. Subtle differences in meaning and usage that are often hard for non-native speakers to grasp are presented to assist students in developing a more natural-sounding command of Korean.

6. On Your Own

This section confirms whether students understand the target grammar points introduced in the lesson through self-study exercises. Rather than simply test grammar knowledge, the exercises require students to actively use the target grammar points on their own.



Before the grammar lesson proper, there is a comprehensive explanation on Korean sentence structure, conjugation of verbs and adjectives, rules in connecting sentences, sentence types and honorific expressions.





Here’s the lesson about V-고 싶다.



Audio CD

Book 2: Korean Grammar in Use (Intermediate)

Level up!

About This Book

This is the second volume in the Korean Grammar in Use series which is best selling book for the learners of Korean, one of the most effective texts for learning Korean grammar. Along with the first volume, Beginning to Early Intermediate, which covered the major grammar points learned in most introductory (Levels 1 and 2) Korean courses, this Intermediate volume covers the major grammar points learned in intermediate (Levels 3 and 4) Korean courses. Together, they form a full-scale, comprehensive Korean reference grammar. Realizing that most other Korean grammar books target beginning learners only, the authors have answered the needs of intermediate level students who want a more systematic way to focus on grammar. In addition, this series serves as a general Korean reference grammar that can be used by Korean language instructors both in Korea and abroad who experience first-hand the difficulty of teaching Korean grammar.                     

Go beyond the basics to ‘Intermediate’!

-TOPIK Levels 3 & 4 Grammar!
Collects the introductory grammar points normally taught in Levels 3 and 4 at most  university affiliated and private language institutes. In addition, this volume includes  practice pattern exercises to help students prepare for the TOPIK Intermediate level.   

-Target Grammar Primary and Secondary Meanings At a Glance!
Organizes grammar points not as a list that simply must be learned, but as integrated groups of grammar points with similar meanings, usages, and written forms to better illustrate their differences and provide learners with the various meanings, restrictions, and other things to keep in mind when learning them. 

-Dialogues Full of Real-Life Uses of Grammar!
Students will learn to make their own dialogues that use the target grammar points in ways most commonly used in real Korean conversation. The dialogues used are not simply sentences constructed for the purpose of illustrating grammar, but rather examples that reflect practical, real-life Korean conversations.  

-Easy Individualized Use by Both Students and Teachers!
Not only can students more easily master a variety of difficult Korean grammar points, instructors can also benefit by having an accessible, easy-to-use reference for explaining such difficult aspects of Korean grammar in class.



How to use this book: Each lesson has six sections with one review section after each unit. Here are the details for each section.

1. Introduction

Before learning the target grammar, we provide learners with drawings and short dialogues as a way to start the process of brainstorming about the current unit. The dialogues illustrates the most common situations in which the target grammar is used, and the drawings also provide a clear visual representation of the situations.

2. Let’s Investigate the Grammar

We explain the target grammar in a meaningful way and then provide examples and tables to illustrate how it is used in relation to parts of speech and tense, etc. Note that “A” refers to adjectives, “V” refers to verbs, and “N” refers to nouns.

3. Let’s Learn a Bit More

We look at some additional aspects of the grammar points introduced in the “Let’s Investigate the Grammar” section, such as any morphological restrictions or things to keep in mind when using the patterns.

4. Let’s Compare

We compare the target grammar with other grammatical patterns that have similar forms or meanings so that learners can gain a better understanding of the target grammar.

5. Let’s Make a Dialogue 

This activity allows learners to practice the target grammar by creating a dialogue which illustrates the way the grammar point is actually used in Korean conversation. First, a model dialogue is provided, with the parts illustrating the target grammar highlighted in different colors. Then, below the model dialogue a box with possible substitutions is provided, with each set of possible substitutions colored to match the highlighted part of the dialogue to which it corresponds.

6. Let’s Practice

This sections allows the learner to practice using the newly learned target grammar. To illustrate the variety of situations in which the grammar can be used, a number of formats are used, including dialogue completion and exercises in conjugation to match specific situations. Each exercise has a clear example showing how to complete the exercise.

* Let’s Double-Check

This section is included at the end of each chapter with the aim of reviewing the easily confused grammar points learned throughout the chapter. The review questions are in a format used in the TOPIK to help learners better prepare for the test.



Here’s the lesson about –아/어 보이다






Audio CD

Book 3: Korean Grammar in Use (Advanced)

Pretty in pink!

About This Book

This book marks the third volume in the Korean Grammar in Use series, which presents Korean grammar in the most effective manner available for learning. This Advancedvolume contains all of the major grammar points covered by the TOPIK Advanced exam (Levels 5-6). To the extent that it is designed for advanced students of Korean, we have made the example sentences to reflect an equally advanced level. Moreover, to make it easier to understand the situations in which the target grammar should be used, we have provided vivid situational illustrations. Finally, we have described grammar points in clear and concise English to help English-speaking learners of Korean better understand the complexities of Korean grammar.     

  • Full Summary of TOPIK Advanced (Levels 5-6) Grammar! 

All the major grammar points introduced in the textbooks used at Korean university and language institutes, in addition to all the grammar points that appear on Levels 5 and 6 of the TOPIK, are summarized in an easy, at-a-glance format. We have also included practice exercises for TOPIK grammar patterns as additional preparation for taking the TOPIK exam.   

  • Understand at a Glance both the Primary & Additional Meanings of the Target Grammar! 

 Going beyond simply listing grammar points to be learned, the differences between grammar forms that have similar meanings and usages are highlighted, and any additional meanings and form restrictions that should be kept in mind when using the grammar are noted, thereby achieving the goal of an integrated method of grammar study.  

  • Realistic Dialogue Creation that Incorporates the Target Grammar!

Learners can directly create dialogues to better understand how the target grammar is actually used in real life. Realistic dialogues that represent the actual use of the target grammar are used in place of conventional simple sentences, thus helping students to learn how to actually use Korean.   

  • Customized Solutions for both Students and Teachers! 

Students can understand Korean more easily while also learning how to master a wide variety of advanced-level Korean phrases, and teachers can benefit by being able to more easily organize grammar points when planning their class curriculums.




How to use this book:

Each lesson has 6 sections with 1 review section after each unit. The sections are similar to Intermediate level except the 5th one-it’s changed to “How Do You Express It?”. This section provides dialogue practice that illustrates how the target grammar is actually used to communicate effectively in particular situations. The target grammar point is shown in red font in the example dialogue, and learners can practice making similar dialogues by replacing the green and blue highlighted parts of the dialogue with the vocabulary words and phrases provided in the respective green and blue box areas below the example dialogue.


Answer key for self-check
Audio script: You can play the audio and do some shadowing practices.
Words and expressions for each unit
Audio CD

By the way, Korean Grammar in Use series is available in three different languages: English, Japanese and Chinese. What I really like about this series is the translation for the explanation of the grammar points. Intermediate and advanced Korean grammar books with translation is pretty rare. Even though they’re called “grammar books”, they’re not merely grammar reference books, but legit textbooks with exercises to master grammar skills. I love the structure of the series- the lessons are easy to understand and follow. Moreover, this series is self-learner friendly so you can practice all the exercises without feeling like you’re missing something even though you’re not learning in a classroom setting. If you are interested in learning Korean grammar, consider getting a copy of these books! 🙂


For those who are asking, I am not selling books. You can get a copy at Korean bookstores  or purchase one online. For those who are outside Korea, you can order books from G-Market (International shipment is available). Check out the following links.

Tip: The books are much cheaper online. 🙂

Thank you for dropping by! Have a great day!