top of page

What’s the difference between 작다 and 짧다 | Small vs Short in Korean

안녕 친구들~ Koreanstudyjunkie here to clear up a small misunderstanding that some people have often when studying Korean. It is yet again 2 words that in some situations have the same meaning. The main instance of this in Korean is when talking about height. Let's get into it!

Quick Explanation :

작다 = Small

짧다 = Short

However, both of these words have several meanings so let’s look at them now:

작다 = Small

  1. Small; little [lower than others or average in length, area, volume, etc.]

Ex: 키가 작아요 = I’m short (have a small height)

2. Small (fit) [Not fitting since the size is smaller than required.]

Ex: 새 구두가 너무 작아요 = These new shoes are too small.

3. Small; Little [Lower than others or average in magnitude, scope, degree, importance, etc.]

Ex: 작은 문제 = A small problem

  1. Low; Weak [for volume - Low or weak.]

Ex: 작은 목소리 = A small voice

4. Narrow-minded [(for character, thoughts, etc.) Narrow and not great.]

Ex: 그는 마음이 매우 작아 = He’s so narrow minded.

5. Small (amount) [Low in amount or denomination.]

Ex: 예날에 천원도 작은 돈이 아니었어요.

= In the old days, even 1,000 won was not a small amount of money.

짧다 = Short

  1. Short [The distance between the two ends of a space or object being close]

Ex: 지수는 긴 머리를 남자처럼 짧게 잘랐어

= Jisoo cut her long hair short like a guys (hair).

2. Short [The time period between two points in time being brief.]

Ex: 우유는 유통 기간이 짧으니까 얼른 먹어야 해

= The milk expiration date is short, we have to finish it quickly

3. Short [The length or number of a text or words being short or small.]

Ex: 나 시간 없으니까 짧게 말해 = I don’t have time, so keep it brief [speak briefly]

4. Deficient [Inadequate in the amount or level of capital, ideas, ability, etc.]

Ex: 저는 영어가 짧습니다 = My English is not good.



Number One: Use To Describe Nouns

작다 → 작 + 은 = 작은 [Noun] = A small [Noun]

짧다 → 짧 + 은 = 짧은 [Noun] = A short [Noun]


키가 작은 여자 = A woman who is short (who was a small height)

짧은 치마를 입다 = to wear a short skirt

Number Two: Add -게

-게 is used to turn verbs and adjectives into adverbs. It can be like adding an ‘ly’ to some words. Or you can think of it as meaning ‘In a manner that is…’

작게 - In a manner that is small

짧게 - briefly, in a manner that is short


글씨를 아주 작게 쓰세요. = Please write the letters very small

1(일)인치 더 짧게 해 주세요. = Make it an inch shorter.

Number Three: At The Very End Of A Sentence

Regular conjugations


새로운 생각이 짧아요 = I’m short on Ideas.

그녀의 목소리는 너무 작아요 = She has such a tiny voice.


We have reached the conclusion of this lesson and hopefully now you have a better understand of how each of them is used and their differences in usage. Honestly, it's almost the same as English.

Anyways, if you scroll down to underneath this post you'll see posts related to this! Leave a like on this blog so I can create more things like this and a comment if you're feeling bold! why not? Haha

Recent Posts

See All

1 Comment

Very very helpful content

Post: Blog2_Post
bottom of page