Are '고맙습니다' or '감사합니다' interchangeable, or is there a difference in meaning or politeness?

  • 1
    감사=感謝 is from Chinese, while '고맙다' is pure Korean.
    – Memming
    Commented Jun 22, 2016 at 2:26

1 Answer 1


감사합니다 is slightly more polite/respectful than 고맙습니다. As far as I understand, this is mostly just because "that's how it is" and not the direct consequence of the literal meanings.

That said, there are differences in the actual meaning of the words.

  • 감사하다 is an action verb (동사), which literally implies the speaker doing the action of thanking.

  • 고맙다 is an adjective (형용사), which describes the state of being thankful/grateful.

    • 고마워하다 is the action verb (동사) version of 고맙다.
  • 1
    Also: 감사함니다 is based on Chinese characters, while 고맙습니다 is pure Korean. Generally, Chinese characters are used in more formal situations (newspaper, TV news, written form) while pure Korean is used for more casual situations like (light) conversation.
    – Leftium
    Commented Jun 22, 2016 at 8:29

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