What's the difference between these 2 verbs:



Could you provide some context as well? Thank you in advance!

  • 배우다=learn. 공부하다 means study, more precisely "to read in detail especially with the intention of learning" as listed in Merriam-Webster. Usually 공부하다 is for serious subjects, such as those taught in schools and universities. 배우다 is for general situation. For example, one can say 자전거 타는 법을 배우다 (learn how to ride a bike). On the other hand, if you say 자전거 타는 법을 공부하다, that sounds weird and people would think you want to learn it in a pro level. Also, you can say ~에게/한테/로부터 배우다(learn from ~), but there is no similar phrase using 공부하다.
    – Absol
    Dec 30, 2020 at 1:06
  • I think 공부하다 implies learning academically, or from a book, while 배우다 can imply learning academically or through any other process in general (eg, you can learn from life experiences [배우다, but not 공부하다; you can learn science in a classroom [both 배우다 and 공부하다])
    – user17915
    Dec 30, 2020 at 5:21

1 Answer 1


1. 공부하다 = to study


  • Study for the exam
  • 시험 공부하다

2. 배우다 = to learn


  • Learn how to read
  • 읽는 법을 배우다
  • Thank you! Could you explain to me 2 things? 1. In Korean, you literally say: "study an exam" instead of "study FOR an exam"? 2. What does "법을" mean?
    – Taman
    Dec 30, 2020 at 10:47
  • 1
    @Taman 법 -> method ==> 읽는 법을 배우다 -> learn the method for reading
    – user17915
    Dec 30, 2020 at 11:27
  • 1
    @Taman 법을-> 법 + 을 => look up how to use ~을/를
    – user17915
    Dec 30, 2020 at 11:28
  • @Taman "시험을 공부하다" = "Study an exam" / "시험 공부하다" = "Study for an exam"
    – Coconut
    Dec 30, 2020 at 13:13

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.