뭐 먹을래요?
뭐 먹을까요?

I have been told that I can use both questions to ask the same thing. Is it exactly the same?

When should I use one or the other? How would you translate this exactly?

  • 1
    My gut feeling, as a non-native speaker, is that ㄹ까요 is a bit more formal than ㄹ래요. That is how use them. I use ㄹ까요 when speaking to a superior I am familiar with, while I use ㄹ래요 to peers I do not know well, but am able to use a less formal register with. – Vladhagen Jun 21 '16 at 21:21

Both have a range of different possible meanings in English - there is some overlap but they are not necessarily the same.

(으)ㄹ래요 is an ending meaning 'want to', which can be used as a question.

뭐 먹을래요? could mean "what would you like to eat?". It could also be, in a group context, 'what shall we eat?'. It wouldn't usually be used to mean 'what shall I eat?'.

ㄹ/을까(요) has a range of meanings including 'shall I..?', or 'shall we..?'.

So again, it could (in a group) mean 'what shall we eat?', or you could be wondering to yourself, 'what shall I eat?'. You could also be wondering to yourself, 'what will they eat?', but you wouldn't use ㄹ/을까(요) to ask someone what they want to eat if you are not eating with them.

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