달다 vs 달콤하다 vs 달달하다 (words meaning ‘sweet’)

They all mean ‘sweet’, but they different nuances

달다

used to describe food

This is the most common word that you will see for sweet. It’s also the one that you will most likely be taught in a class or online course. It’s a neutral word, meaning it can be used to indicate that a food’s sweetness is either good or bad.

이 케이크 아주 달아요!

This cake is so sweet!

(in a good way; its sweet and I like it)

이 케이크 너무 달아요!

This cake is too sweet!

(in a bad way; its too sweet so I don’t like it)

달콤하다

used for food

달콤하다 is also used to describe food. However, unlike 달다, 달콤하다 has a positive meaning, so can not be used to indicate that a food is unpleasantly sweet. Other than this, the words are essentially the same.

달달하다

used for food or atmosphere

This word actually used to be considered a dialect but it’s usage has recently become more popular so it’s now a more common word ~

달달하다 is generally used to indicate a lasting sweetness in food. For example, if I wajted to describe chocolate or candy, I would use either 달다 or 달콤하다, but to describe honey I would use 달달하다, as honey has a more lasting, natural sweetness to its flavor.

In addition to being used to describe food, 달달하다 can also be used to describe a situation or person. When used in this context, it takes on a meaning similar to that of ‘romantic’.

분위기가 달달해요

The atmosphere is romantic.

Vocab Review

달다

to be sweet (food)

positive or negative connotation

달콤하다

to be sweet (food)

positive connotation

달달하다

to be sweet (food or atmosphere)

~ Hannah

Published by Hannah & Shelbi

We are just 2 students who wish to share the love and joy of learning language through lesson posts and translations! We are doing this for fun, based on our experience and questions we ask native speakers. We are not fluent! Just passionate  ~ Hannah, Shelbi, and Jordan

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