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가다 vs 오다 | The Difference Between 들어오다, 들어가다, and other similar verbs

안녕 리더님~ Welcome or Welcome back to KoreanStudyJunkie! I'm the person who runs this website and you can call me Junie. Today, we're going to quickly learn the difference between 가다 and 오다, as well as verbs like 들어오다, 들어가다, 돌아오다, 돌아가다.

가다 vs 오다

가다 is translated as "to go". 오다 is translated as "to come". While as English speakers we may feel that these mean the exact same thing, it's a bit different in Korean. The main difference between these two verbs is the DIRECTION of the movement they imply.

오다 (다른 곳에서 현재 있는 곳으로 이동하는 것) is used when the speaker is describing movement TOWARDS the speaker's location, or the location of the listener.

For example:

내일 학교에 올 거예요. - I will come to school tomorrow.

친구가 집에 왔어요. - My friend came to my house.

가다 (현재 있는 곳에서 다른 곳으로 이동하는 것) is used when the speaker is describing movement AWAY from the speaker's location, or the location of the listener.

So let's assume you are the speaker in this scenario, if you and the person you are talking are in the same place you could be giving them directions and say "go left". In this case we use 가다 right? "왼쪽으로 가세요." They need to move AWAY from the current location that you're both at.

What if you and the person you are speaking to are in different locations? Let's say that you (the speaker) are telling them to go to a specific cafe, so that you two can hang out. Because that person has to go AWAY from the location currently are at, we use 가다.

For example:

내일 영화관에 갈 거예요. - I will go to the movie theater tomorrow.

친구가 집에서 나갔어요. - My friend went out of the house.

It's important to note that the direction of movement is relative to the speaker's or listener's location.

For example, if the speaker is at home and the listener is at work, the speaker would use "오다" to describe movement towards the home (the speaker's location) and "가다" to describe movement towards work (the listener's location).

An Interesting Fact!

비가 오다 (to rain) and 눈이 오다 (to snow) use 오다 because the rain / snow is falling towards you or coming towards you.

LIST OF VERBS using 가다/오다 :

올라가다 - to go up (away from me)

올라오다 - to come up (towards me)

내려가다 - to go down (away from me)

내려오다 - to come down (towards me)


나는 내 방에서 책을 가지고 일 층으로 내려갔어. - I went down to the first floor from my room with a book. (I went down AWAY from my original location)

그는 천천히 계단을 내려왔어. - He came down the stairs slowly. (towards the person saying this sentence)

나가다 - to go out

나오다 - to come out


걔는 방에서 나갔어. = He went out of the room. (Away from me who is inside the room)

그녀는 방애서 나오지 않았어. = She didn't come out of her room. (Towards me who is outside that room)

들어가다 - to go in  ("go inside" said from outside)

들어오다 - to come in ("someone comes inside" said from inside)


~ 내 방에 들어오지 마! - don't come in my room! (towards me)

~ 지금 들어가도 돼요. - you can come in / go in now (away from me)

A(outside the room) :

안녕하세요? 들어가도 될까요? = Hello? Can I go in?

B(inside the room) :

네, 들어오세요. = Yes, come in.

돌아가다 - to go back

돌아오다 - to come back


A : 한나 어디있어?= Where's Hanna?

B : 한나는 한국으로 돌아갔어. = She went back to Korea.

(from the speakers location, 한나 went AWAY from B, so we use 돌아가다.)

다녀가다 - to attend and go back (visit somewhere and go to another place)

다녀오다 - to attend and come back (visit somewhere and come back to the original location)


삼촌께서 우리 집에 다녀가셨어. = My uncle visited my house and went (away somewhere).

학교 다녀오겠습니다. = I will go to school and come back (to this same place) later. (This expression is commonly used when saying good bye to your parents when you're heading to school)

갔다 오다 - to go (AWAY from the current location) and come back (to that same location)


갔다 올게요 = I'll come back (I'll go AWAY and then come back to this location)


To sum up, 가다/오다 is a matter of go/come. Always think about whether you are in or out of the place and a final movement is going away from or coming to the speaker.

Another Slightly Complicated Way Of Thinking:

Sometimes he choice between "오다" and "가다" can also depend on the context and the speaker's intention. For example, a speaker might use "오다" to express a sense of closeness or familiarity with the listener or the location, even if the movement is actually away from the speaker. Similarly, a speaker might use "가다" to express a sense of distance or separation, even if the movement is towards the speaker.

That's the end of this lesson! There are many cases like this in Korean where you may feel confused between 2 different things. You can see some other lessons like this below.

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