In English you could say

Can you give this to your mother? Sorry, I mean your sister?

The listener can then understand that they are to give the item to their mother, not their sister.

In Korean, how can you make it clear that something you are saying is meant as a correction to something you just said?

  • endic.naver.com/…
    – user17915
    Commented Oct 11, 2016 at 10:21
  • May be something like this? 너는 이것은 엄마에게 줄 수 있니? 내 말은 동생에게 줘
    – user17915
    Commented Oct 11, 2016 at 10:27
  • 영어를 몇개월 동안 배웠어요? 아니, 한국어.
    – user237
    Commented Oct 11, 2016 at 13:11
  • @user17915: In general, I'd caution against learning Korean phrases from English-Korean dictionaries written for Koreans. They assume that the reader is fluent in Korean, so they optimize for clearly showing "what this English phrase means," instead of "what a Korean speaker would say in a similar situation." The example sentences are frequently unnatural.
    – jick
    Commented Oct 11, 2016 at 18:46

1 Answer 1


You could use "... 말고 ...":

이거 어머니에게 가져다 드릴래? (아니) (그러니까) (내 말은) 어머니 말고 네 동생.

As mentioned in the comments above, several phrases such as 아니/그러니까/내 말은 can also used to mean "I mean."

However, they all have other uses, so they can be ambiguous.

  • 그러니까/내 말은 can be used where you simply explain your word again. For example:

    그러니까 내 말은 어차피 다섯 시까지 못 끝낼 테니 그만두자는 거지.

    = What I mean is, we'd better quit now as it's clear we won't finish it by 5.

  • 아니 obviously has a zillion other uses. For example:

    이 옷 괜찮아 보여요? 아니 내가 입겠다는 게 아니라.

    = Does this garment look good? No, I don't mean I'm gonna wear it...

So, I would recommend "아니 그러니까" or "아니 내 말은", although they feel a bit verbose. (Even they can be used for something other than "I mean", but I feel they're more likely to be understood as "I mean".) To recap:

이거 어머니에게 가져다 드릴래? 아니 (그러니까/내 말은) 어머니 말고 네 동생.

You can even say all three at once ("아니 그러니까 내 말은") though that may sound too talkative (sort of like "Err, no, I mean...").

If you are aiming for brevity, I think this could work:

이거 어머니에게 가져다 드릴래? 아, 어머니 말고 네 동생.

("아" is commonly used to mean something like "Oh I just realized...")

  • '그러니까' is an interesting one... in a neutral context, I think it means 'so' or 'therefore'... how can that have a sense of correction? Commented Oct 11, 2016 at 19:15
  • Well, when you think about it, "I mean" also just means "I mean", yet it can have a sense of correction. :) But I think your point is valid, let me edit the answer to clarify.
    – jick
    Commented Oct 11, 2016 at 21:27

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