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새 vs 새로운 vs 새로 | How to say “New” in Korean

안녕하세요! Koreanstudyjunkie입니다. Today I'll quickly tell you the difference between 새 and 새롭다. This is actually a bit more "complicated" than I thought it would be. But the quickest answer is to say that 새 is new + never used before and 새롭다 is also new, but has the feeling that it was used at least once or a few times.

새 and 새롭다

새 is a determiner

새롭다/ 새로운 is an adjective

They both mean NEW

새 책- new book

새로운 책- new book

HOWEVER, there is a VERY subtle difference.

새- “brand new”

새로운- “freshly new” - maybe like an updated/new version


새 책을 샀어요- I bought a new book (that was never used by anyone- “brand new”)

새로운 책 샀어요- I bought a new book (since I finished the old one- “fresh new”)


새 신발 - New shoes

새 책 - New book

새 컴퓨터 - New computer

These are used when you bought something NEW (imagine you walk into an electronics store and buy a new computer), but if you bought a second hand item (used items, but still could be considerednew), you SHOULD NOT use 새 because 새 ONLY means NEW. It can NEVER mean 'used once or a few times'.

If you want to say something is used, almost new, or second-hand item, will just say '중고' or '거의 새 거 (almost new. but it looks like new stuff)'.

Ex: 중고 차 - Used car

새로운 / 새롭다

새롭다 means freshly new (meaning it is 'refreshed' or 'renewed' for example), but it can never mean 'never used before'. It means something that has been used at least once.

A big difference is that 새롭다 is used for ABSTRACT things (like I mentioned above) that aren't necessarily "physical", like in terms of thinking, ways, methods, etc.

새로운 방법 - New method

새로운 생각 - New idea, New thought

새로운 시대 - New period (of time), New age

새로운 세계 - New world

They are all the abstract. (and are freshly new)

새로운 컴퓨터 - New computer

새로운 휴대폰 - New phone

These 2 mean I've never seen it before, so the computer/cell phone are freshly new to me. But 새롭다 gives it a feeling that they may have been used before or refurbished previous to you seeing or having it.


That's all for this post! Leave a heart on this post if you learned something new.

Below you'll see a few posts that are related to this. You may find something interesting down there! I've made a ton of posts about the difference between words like: 안 vs 속, 작다 vs 짧다, 달걀 vs 계란, 아니다 vs 아니요, and much more.

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Marcia Lewis
Marcia Lewis
Nov 27, 2023

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Unknown member
Dec 03, 2023
Replying to

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