Question: What’s the difference between 흙, 토양 and 땅? All of these mean soil in Korean.

This question might be tricky for Korean too. It’s like asking what’s the difference between ‘see’ and ‘watch’ in English. We use ‘watch the movie’ more than ‘see the movie’ correct? It just sounds natural.

But we know you won’t accept ‘natural’ as an answer.

So after a minute of thinking, here’s how we differentiate the meaning.

is soil or dirt in small quantity. Maybe a handful.

토양 is soil in a large patch. Enough to plant trees, watermelon and cabbage.

If we want to say to a child “Don’t play with soil” in Korean, we say

으로 장난치지 마

and not

토양으로 장난치지 마

토양 sounds large and unless the child can operator a tractor, it’s impossible to play with 토양.

Lastly, can mean soil too but we usually use it to mean land. A huge surface of floor.

For example, to say “This land is my land”

은 내 땅이요

So that’s the difference between 흙, 토양 and 땅.

We think if you learn from sentence – rather than focus on vocabulary – you’ll learn better.

When you learn from sentences, you’ll immediately know which word to use naturally in the sentence.

Confuse about Korean words?

Leave a comment below and we’ll do a video answer for you.

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