Korean Grammar: Expressing "The First Time" with 처음 and 처음으로

In Korean, the idea of a “first-time experience” is commonly expressed through the use of 처음 and 처음으로. These grammar points are essential for narrating past experiences, sharing personal stories, or simply recounting events. By understanding their usage, you can convey sentiments associated with beginnings, first-time encounters, or inaugural events with precision.

Grammar Rule: Use 처음 to indicate a first-time event, and 처음으로 to add emphasis to the initial experience of an action.

Examples of Using “처음 (으로)”

언제 그를 처음 만났어요?
When did you first meet him?
대학교에서 처음 만났어요.
We first met in university.
우리는 처음 만나자마자 좋은 친구 이었어요.
As soon as we (first) met, we were good friends.
한국에 방문이 처음이에요?
Is this your first time visiting Korea?
처음으로 저 식당에 갔을때 서비스가 나빴어요.
The first time I went to that restaurant the service was poor.


Understanding how to express the concept of “first time” in Korean using 처음 and 처음으로 is an important step in enhancing your narrative skills in the language. By mastering this, you can relay your personal stories, share memories, and connect more deeply with native speakers.

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