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The difference between 공부하다 and 배우다



As a Korean learner newbie, one of the first few sentences that we learn would be 저는 한국어를 공부합니다. At least for me, that was one of the first sentences I have learned.


And then along the way, I learn more vocabs and I came across 배우다 which could be used in that same sentence and mean somewhat the same thing: 저는 한국어를 배웁니다. Then, I got a little confused. Is there a difference between 공부하다 and 배우다?


First things first, we shall look at the meaning of both of these verbs:

공부하다 - to study

배우다 - to learn


So, here are the definitions from the dictionary "to study" means "to read, memorize facts or attend school in order to learn about a subject."

Whereas, "to learn" means "to gain knowledge or skill by studying." Both definitions have "study" and "learn" in them...


In a nutshell, you have to learn something from someone or somewhere. Hence


선생님께 그 노래를 배웠어요. I learned that song from the teacher.


요즘 친구에게서 수영을 배우고 있어요. I am learning to swim from a friend recently.


요리 학원에서* 요리를 배웁니다. I learn cooking from the culinary school.

*In this sentence 에서 means "from" rather than "at".

There will always be an object for 배우다. You learn something or a skill.


You can just study without a source.


동생은 방에서 공부하고 있어요. Little brother is studying in the room.


내일 시험이 있으니까 공부해야 해요. There is a test tomorrow so I have to study.


저는 학교에서 공부합니다. I study at school.


In certain situations, both 공부하다 and 배우다 can be applied and the meaning is more or less the same.


한국어를 공부해요. I study Korean.

한국어를 배워요. I learn Korean.


문법을 공부하고 있어요. I am studying grammar.

문법을 배우고 있어요. I am learning grammar.


In conclusion, you learn to gain knowledge, experience, and skill from a source (eg. school, teacher, the internet); you study to enhance or improve.

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Thanks for the clear explanation 👍

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Kannan Sharma
Kannan Sharma
06 abr 2022

In one line I would say that you just answered a question i had-very well thanks a lot!

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pgohqn
pgohqn
06 abr 2022

I usually use those 2 interchangeably but now I know the difference better:)

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I really like how clearly you have explained!!

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Remember I was confused between learning and studying 10 vocabulary? Well, this clears it! 감사합니다!

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