Glossary of Korean-grammar structures
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- Verb'이다' : to be
- '이다' is the form which links a subject with its predicate, indicating equality or identification.
If this form is attached to the noun, there can be no pause or space between it and the Noun. It is pronounced like a part of the Noun.
It has two different forms '-예요' and '-이에요'. '-예요' is used when the Noun ends with a vowel, and '-이에요' is used when the Noun ends with a consonant.
안나 + -예요 --> 안나예요.
책상 + -이에요 --> 책상이에요.
- The subjective marker '-이/가'
- The subjective marker `-이/가' is used to indicate that the preceding noun phrase is the subject of the sentence. ‘-가’ is used after a word which ends with a vowel, while `-이’ is used after a consonant.
Here are some examples:
- The topic marker '-은/는'
- While the subjective marker `-이/가' indicates the subject of a sentence, the topic marker `은/는' is used to indicate the comparison of topics. If there is no connotation of comparison with another subject, this marker cannot be used. '-는' is used after words ending in a vowel, `-은' is used after words ending in a consonant.
Here are some examples:
이것이 연필이에요. This is a pencil.
이것은 연필이에요. This (in comparison with other things) is a pencil.
한국말이 재미있어요. Korean is interesting.
한국말은 재미있어요. Korean(in comparison with other languages) is interesting.
- 이,그,저 (demonstrative)+NOUN : this/these ,it/their, that/tho
- 이것+ 이 -> 이게 'this' (close to the speaker)
그것+ 이 -> 그게 'that' (far from the speaker, close to the listener)
저것+ 이 -> 저게 'that over there' (far from both the listener and the speaker
이것+ 은 -> 이건 'this' (close to the speaker)
그것+ 은 -> 그건 'that' (far from the speaker, close to the listener)
저것+ 은 -> 저건 'that over there' (far from both the listener and the speaker
- Verb '아니다' : not to be
- This word is used for making negatives. You have already studied '이다` which indicates equality or identification. The '이다' is attached directly to a noun, and is pronounced as one word with the noun. When you make the negative construction of '이다', the subject marker '-이/가' is attached directly to the noun, and then followed by the negative verb '아니다'.
이것이 의자예요. <---> 이것이 의자가 아니예요.
제가 호주사람이에요. <---> 제가 호주사람이 아니예요.
- Verb '있다/없다' : to be/not to be
- The verb `있다' indicates existence, location or possession. The opposite verb is `없다'.
동생 있어요? 네, 동생이 있어요.
Do you have a younger brother? Yes, I have a younger brother.
아니오, 동생이 없어요. 그런데 언니는 있어요.
No, I don't have a younger brother.
But I have an older sister.
교실에 책상이 있어요? 네, 책상이 있어요.
Is there a desk in the classroom? Yes, there is a desk (in the classroom)
아니오, 책상이 없어요. 의자는 있어요.
No, there is not a desk (in the classroom).
But there is a chair.
- The marker '-에' : at/in
- This locative marker indicates that someone or something is stationary in a place. It is attached to nouns, and followed by '있다'(to be) and '없다'(not to be).
교실에 학생이 있어요. There is a student in the classroom.
교실에 선생님은 없어요. There is not a teacher in the classroom
- The sentence ending '-아(어/여)요'
- (1) `아요' form :
This is used when the last vowel of the verb stem is 'ㅏ' or 'ㅗ
(2) `어요' form :
This is used after any other last vowel of the verb stem except for the '아요' and '여요' cases(3) `여요' form :
This is used after a '하다` verb.
- Adverb '안' : do not
- The abverb '안' is used to express the negative and means 'do not'. '안' is put before the verb.
학교에 안 갔어요.
점심을 안 먹었어요.
- Adverb '못' : want to do but can not
- The adverb '못' is used with action verbs, and means impossibility or strong denial and refusal.
파티에 못 갔어요.
형을 못 만났어요.
- The marker '-에서' : at/in,from
- The marker '-에서' has two meanings. One is 'at' or 'in' indicating the place where an action takes place. Another meaning is 'from', indicating a starting point or cause.
맥도널드에서 점심을 먹었어요.
- The objective marker '-을/를'
- The marker '-을/를' is attached to a Noun to indicate the direct object of a transitive verb. '-를' is used after a vowel while '을' is used after a consonant.
- The pre-ending '-았/었/였-'
- (1) -았-
When the final vowel of the verb stem is 'ㅏ,ㅗ', it takes '-았-'
When the final vowel of the verb stem is any other vowel like 'ㅓ, ㅜ, ㅡ, ㅣ', it takes '-었-'.
When the verb is a '하다' verb, it takes '-였-'.
- The pattern '-고 싶다' : would like to (do)/want to (do)
- The pattern ‘-고 싶다’ is used to indicate the desire of the subject and is used with action verbs and ‘있다.’ This pattern ‘-고 싶다’ is used with first person statements and second person questions.
Tense and negation are expressed in the verb '싶다'.
피자를 먹고 싶어요. (I) wanted to eat pizza.
피자를먹고 싶지 않아요. (I) don't want to eat pizza.
- -세요' : imperative Sentence ending
- -세요' is one of the sentence endings which can be used for indicating polite questioning in the Interrogative(-세요?) and polite order(command) in the Imperatives(-세요). This ending is more polite than the sententce ending '-어요.'
- The marker '-에' : per,for,by,at,in
- 저는 안나씨를 한 시에 만나요. I meet Anna at 1 o'clock.
저는 월요일에 등산을 가요. I go climbing on Monday.
그 책을 1,000원에 샀어요. I bought that book for 1,000won.
이 사과 한 개에 얼마예요? How much is this apple for one?
- Irregular verbs '으'
- (2) '-아요' is used if the vowel before '으' is 'ㅏ' or 'ㅗ', '-어요' is used if the vowel before '으' is other vowel except '아' and '오'. 바쁘(다) + -아요 : 바ㅃ + ㅏ요 => 바빠요 : To be busy
예쁘(다) + -어요 : 예ㅃ ㅓ요 => 예뻐요 (To be pretty)
- The pattern '-아(어/여) 보다'
- (1) On it's own, '보다' means 'to see.' The pattern '-아(어/여)보다' is used to convey meanings such as 'someone tries doing something ( to see how it will turn out) or 'someone does something to see (how it will turn out).'
이 구두를 신어 보세요. Please try on these shoes.
전화해 보세요. Please try to call.
여기서 기다려 보세요. Please wait here.
(2) With past tense form. it can be used to express experience as well as the meanings mentioned in (1)
저는 한국에 가 봤어요. I have been to Korea.
저는 멜라니를 만나 봤어요. I have met Melanie.
- The pattern '-아/어/여 보이다'
: someone(or something) looks (appears, seems...)
- This pattern conveys meanings such as likeness, resemblance, or similarity. when attached directly to the stems of adjectives.
The past tense form of this pattern is '-아/어/여 보였다.'
-아 보이다 is after verb stems having '아/오'
-어 보이다 is after verb stems having other vowel '아/오'
-여 보이다 is after verb stems having '-하다'
옷이 작아 보여요. The clothes look small.
한국음식이 맛있어 보여요. Korean food looks delicious.
그분이 행복해 보여요. He looks happy.
- The marker '-보다' : more than
- the second noun) when both items of comparison are mentioned. It is often accompanied by '-더' which means 'more'.
한국말이 영어보다 (더) 어려워요. Korean is more difficult than English.
개가 고양이보다 (더) 커요. Dogs are bigger than cats.
오늘은 어제보다 (더) 시원해요. Today is cooler than yesterday.
When the standard of comparison is omitted, '더'('more) is used.
이게 더 좋아요. This is better.
한국말이 더 어려워요. Korean is more difficult.
나는 사과가 더 좋아요. I like apples more.
- 제일/가장 : the most
- While the comparative marker is attached to nouns, superlative sentences are made by putting the word '가장/제일' before adjectives, noun modifiers or adverbs.
그게 제일 예뻐요. That one is the prettiest.
이게 제일 작은 연필이에요. This is the smallest pencil.
그분이 제일 잘 가르쳐요. He teaches best of all.
(He is the best teacher.)
안나가 제일 커요. Anna is the biggest.
- The pattern '-(으)ㄹ 거예요' : will
- (1) -ㄹ 거예요 : If the verb stem ends in a vowel.
안나씨, 내일 뭐 할 거예요? Anna, what will you do tomorrow?
저는 내일 이사를 할 거예요. I will move tomorrow.
(2) -을 거예요 : If the verb stem ends in a consonant.
지금 점심 먹을 거예요? Will you have lunch now?
아니오, 30분 후에 먹을 거예요. No, I will have it in 30 minutes.
If the subject of the sentence is the 3rd person pronoun, this pattern indicates likelihood or probability.
- The Marker '-까지' : all the way up to
- This marker '-까지' indicates goal of the time and place, attaching to nouns of place or time.
어디까지 가세요? How far are you going?
시청까지 가요. I am going as far as City Hall.
아홉시까지 오세요. Please come by
- The Marker '-부터' : from (when)
- The marker '-부터' indicates a movement away from a certain place or time.
It is much more commonly used for time than place.
For place, the marker '-에서' is better.
9시부터 12시까지 한국어를 공부해요. I study Korean from nine to twelve.
몇 시부터 수업을 시작해요? What time does class begin?
(From what time do you begin class?)
이것부터 하세요. Do this first.
여기부터 읽으세요. Read from here.
- The Marker '-에서' : from
- The marker '-에서' is attached to place nouns and indicates a starting point of movement.
안나는 호주에서 왔어요. Anna came from Australia.
LA에서 New York 까지 멀어요? Is it far from LA to New York ?
You have studied this marker '-에서' denoting dynamic location. If someone does something at a certain place. this marker designates the location. Let's review it.
서강 대학교에서 공부해요. I study at Sogang University.
한국식당에서 한국 음식을 먹어요. I eat Korean food at a korean restaurant.
- '-ㄷ' Irregular verbs
- The final consonant '-ㄷ' of the verb stem changes '-ㄹ' when followed by a vowel, but it does not change when followed by a consonant.
듣다(to listen): 듣 + 어요 ---> 들어요.
묻다(to ask): 묻 + 어 보다 ---> 물어 보다.
걷다(to walk): 걷 + 었어요 ---> 걸었어요.
- '-ㅂ' Irregular verbs
- Some verbs of which the verb stems ends in the final consonant '-ㅂ' are irregular. When the final consonant '-ㅂ' of the verb stem is followed by a vowel, it changes into '우'. The vowel which follows the verb stem is usually '어요' except for some verbs like '돕다' and '곱다'. When the final consonant '-ㅂ' of the verb stem is followed by a consonant, it does not change.
즐겁다 (to be pleasant) 즐거우 + 어요 -> 즐거우어요 -> 즐거워요
반갑다 (to be glad) 반가우 + 어요 -> 반가우어요 -> 반가워요.
춥다 (to be cold) 추우 + 었어요 -> 추우었어요 -> 추웠어요.
어렵다 (to be difficult) 어려우 + ㄹ거예요 -> 어려울 거예요.
덥다 (to be hot) 더우 + 어 보여요 -> 더우어 보여요 -> 더워 보여요.
돕다 (to help) 도우 + 아요 -> 도우아요 -> 도와요.
곱다 (to be pretty) 고우 + 아요 -> 고우아요 -> 고와요
- The pattern' -(으)ㄹ까요?' Shall we(I) ~ ?/Will it be ~ ?
- The pattern '-(으)ㄹ까요?' is used to express inquiring about someone's opinion, view or appraisal on a certain matter or fact with the action verb.
In this case, the subject of the sentence is always the first person, singular or plural.
우리 거기에서 만날까요? Shall we meet there?
무엇을 할까요? What shall I do?
늦었으니까 비행기로 갈까요? Because we are late, shall we go by airplane?
When used with the adjectives, or with '있다(to exist)' or '이다(to be)', the subject of the sentence is the third person, and it express doubt or polite denial.
한국어가 가 재미있을까요? Will Korean be interesting?
(or You say Korean is interesting ?)
이게 더 나을까요? Will this one be better?
도서관이 저기에 있을까요? Will the library be over there?
(Do you think the library is over there?)
- The Propositive '-(으)ㅂ시다' : let's --(propositive)
- This form is used to expressing the subject's suggestion with the action verbs and the verb of existence '있다'. It cannot be used with '이다' nor with adjectives.
빨리 갑시다. Let's go quickly.
한국어를 공부합시다. Let's study Korean.
여기에 있읍시다. Let's stay here.
기차로 갑시다. Let's go by train.
이번 주말에 만납시다. Let's meet this weekend.
'- 읍시다.' is used after verb stems ending in a consonant.
먹(다) + -읍시다 ; 먹읍시다.
'- ㅂ시다.' is used after verb stems ending in a vowel.
가(다) + ㅂ 시다 ; 갑시다.
- The Connective '-(으)러' : in order to
- The connective '-(으)러' is used to express the purpose of the subject's action and is followed by either '가다'(to go), '오다'(to come) or their compounds, or any verb which indicates movement, such as '다니다'(to go and come regularly).
저는 어제 책을 사러 서점에 갔어요. I went to a bookstore (in order) to buy a book yesterday.
(저는) 공원에 운동하러 왔어요. I came to the park (in order) to exercise.
수영하러 갈까요? Shall we go for a swim?
탐이 놀러 올 거예요. Tom will come (in order) to play.
As you see the above examples, '-러' is used after verb stems ending in a vowel or the consonant 'ㄹ'. On the other hand, '-으러' is used after verb stems ending in all consonants except 'ㄹ'.
Tense and negation are expressed with the verbs 가다 or 오다, but not in the verb connected to '-(으)러'.
안나씨는 책을 사러 갔어요 Anna went to buy a book.
안나씨는 밥을 먹으러 가지 않았어요. Anna didn't go to eat.
- The pattern '-(으)ㄹ게요' : I will do --
- This form is used for expressing the speaker's intention or plan or promise. It is used with action verbs as well as with the verb 있다, but not with adjectives.
제가 할게요. I will do it.
거기에서 기다릴게요. I will wait (for you) over there.
내일 갈게요. I will go tomorrow.
제가 도와 드릴게요. I will help you.
- The pattern' -고 싶어하다' : want to do -, would like to -
- This pattern `-고 싶어 하다' is used to express desires in third person subject statements and questions with all verbs and `있다'.
Tense is expressed in the verb `싶어 하다', such as `싶어 했어요'
Negation is expressed in the verb `싶어 하다' with `-지 않다', such as `싶어 하지 않아요'
- The pattern '-ㄹ 줄 알다/모르다' : One knows (doesn't know) how to do sth
- This pattern is used to express the knowledge or lack of knowledge of a technique or process of doing something.
자동차 운전할 줄 알아요(아세요) ? Do you know how to drive ?
네, 운전할 줄 알아요. Yes, I know how to drive.
아니오, 운전할 줄 몰라요. No, I don't know how to drive.
피아노를 칠 줄 알아요(아세요) ? Do you know how to play the piano ?
네, 칠 줄 알아요. Yes, I know how to play.
아니오, 칠 줄 몰라요. No, I don't know how to play.
The Tense is expressed with the verb '알다/모르다`.
- The pattern '아/어/여 주다(드리다)'
- When the verb '주다' and its respectful counterpart '드리다'(to give) are used in the pattern '-아/어/여 주다(드리다)', it expresses the speaker's request for something or offer to do something for someone else. '주다' is used for a request or offer to a social equal or inferior.
저를 도와 주시겠어요 ? Would you be kind enough to help me ? (Will you help me ?)
이것을 읽어 주세요. Please read this for me.
내가 도와 줄게. I will help you.(to an inferior)
'드리다' is used when the speaker makes an offer or request to a social superior, or in any situation when the speaker wants to be polite.
도와 드릴까요 ? Shall I help you ?
제가 도와 드리겠어요. I will help you.
안나한테 읽어 드리세요. Please read it for Anna.
- '-르' irregular verbs
- 1. When '르' of the verb stem is followed by the vowel '-어' and preceded by the vowels '-아-' or '-오-', it is changed into '라'. And the consonant '-ㄹ' is added to the preceding syllable.
모르다 ( not to know) --> 몰라요
빠르다 ( to be fast) --> 빨라요
다르다 ( to be different) --> 달라요
저는 영어를 몰라요. I don't know English well.
비행기는 빨라요. The plane is fast.
전화번호가 달라요. The phone number is different.
2. When '르' of the verb stem is followed by the vowel '-어' and preceded by any other vowel than '-아-' or '-오', it is changed into '-러'. Then the consonant '-ㄹ' is added to the preceding syllabel.
부르다( to sing): 노래를 부르세요. Sing a song.
기르다( to bring up): 저는 어렸을 때, 강아지를 길렀습니다
- The ending '-ㅂ/습니다'
- People use this formal polite speech style when they speak to strangers, casual acquaintances, superiors, their elders, and social inferiors in formal situations
1.1 The formation of present tense
The declarative verb form is made by attaching '-ㅂ/습니다' to the verb stem and '-ㅂ/습니까?' must be attached to the verb stem to make the interrogative verb form. '-ㅂ니다/-ㅂ니까?' is used after verb stems (or the honorific infix -시-) ending in a vowel and '습니다/습니까?' after verb stems ending in a consonant.
가다: 가 + ㅂ니다/ㅂ니다 갑니다/갑니까?
묻다: 묻 + 습니다/ 묻습니다/ 묻습니까?
감사합니다 Thank you
기분이 좋습니다 I feel good
1.2 The formation of past tense
The declarative form is formed by attaching '-았(었/였)습니다' to the verb stem and the interrogative form is made by adding '-았(었/였)습니까? to the verb stem. The declarative form is made the same way as the past tense of the informal polite speech style. '습니다/습니까?' is attached to '-았/었/였' instead of '-어요'.
만나다: 만나 + 았습니다/았습니까? 만났습니다/만났습니까? (contraction)
주다: 주 + 었습니다/었습니까? 주었습니다/주었습니까? 줬습니다/줬습니까? (contraction)
하다: 하 + 였습니다/였습니까? 했습니다/했습니까? (contraction)
어제 음악회가 좋았습니다. The music concert was good yesterday
수업이 언제 끝났습니까? When did the class end?
어제 피곤했습니다. I was tired yesterday.
1.3 The formation of future tense
The declarative form is formed by attaching '(으)ㄹ 겁니다' to the verb stem and the interrogative form is made by adding '(으)ㄹ 겁니까?' to the verb stem.
보다: 보 + ㄹ 겁니다 볼 겁니다.
먹다 :먹 + 을 겁니다 먹을 겁니다
저는 내일 일찍 일어날 겁니다. I will wake up early tomorrow.
그냥 두세요. 괜찮을 겁니다. Just leave it. It will be O.K.
1.4 The formation of the imperative form
The imperative verb form is made by attaching '-(으)십시오' to the verb stem. '-십시오' is used after verb stems ending in a vowel and '으십시오' after verb stems ending in a consonant
오다 : 오 + 십시오 오십시오.
입다 : 입 + 으십시오. 입으십시오.
어서 오십시오. Come on in.
다음 장을 읽으십시오. Read the next chapter.
- The pattern '-(으)ㄹ 수 있다/없다'
: can/cannot do, be able to do/not be able to do
- The pattern -ㄹ/을 수 있다/없다 is used with verbs and indicates ability,capability,possibility or permission.
(1) - ㄹ 수 있다 ; It is used when the verb stem ends in a vowel:
Infinitive Form Formation Inflected Form
가(다) 가 + -ㄹ 수 있다/없다 갈 수 있어요/없어요
사(다) 사 + -ㄹ 수 있다/없다 살 수 있어요/없어요
주(다) 주 + -ㄹ 수 있다/없다 줄 수 있어요/없어요
(2) -을 수 있다 ; It is used when the verb stem ends in a consonant:
Infinitive Form Formation Inflected Form
먹(다) 먹 + -을 수 있다/없다 먹을 수 있어요/없어요
입(다) 입 + -을 수 있다/없다 입을 수 있어요/없어요
잡(다) 잡 + -을 수 있다/없다 잡을 수 있어요/없어요
The past tense form `-았/었/였-' and the future tense form `-ㄹ/을 거에요' are combined with the final verb `있다/없다'
갈 수 있었어요 먹을 수 있었어요
갈 수 있을 거에요 먹을 수 있을 거에요
- The connective '-(으)면' : 'if, when ...'
- The connective `-(으)면' can be used with any verb or adjective and indicates condition and/or stipulation. While in English a dependent clause which is introduced with 'if' can either precede or follow the main clause, in Korean the dependent clause precedes the main clause. '-면' is used when verb stem ends in a vowel or the consonant '-ㄹ' and '-으면' is used when verb stem ends in all consonant except '-ㄹ'.
그 영화가 재미있으면 보겠어요. If the movie is interesting, I will see it.
비가 오면 가지 맙시다. If it rains, let's not go.
Sometimes, the word `만일/만약' is used at the beginning of a conditional clause as a signal of the condition.
만약 그분을 만나면, 안부 전해 주세요. If you meet him, give him my regards.
- The pattern '-지 말다' : don't do
- On it's own, the verb `말다' means 'to stop, to cease, to quit.' So the pattern
'-지 말다` preceded by an action verb expresses prohibition or dissuasion. This pattern is always used as a negative imperative sentence or a negative propositive sentence.
학교에 가지 마세요. Please don't go to school.
늦게 주무시지 마십시오. Please don't go to bed late.
지금 떠나지 마세요. Please don't leave now.
울지 마세요. Don't cry.
버스는 타지 맙시다. Let's not take a bus.
오늘은 그분을 만나지 맙시다. Let's not meet him today.
- The connective -(아/어/여)서: so, because
- The connective `-(아/어/여)서' is used to indicate cause or reason. In this case, it is mostly used with adjectives and '가다'(to go), '오다'(to come), '없다'(don't have) etc. in declarative and interrogative sentences. That is, `-(아/어/여)서' cannot be used in imperative and propositive sentence, where another connective '-(으)니까' is used. (This connective will be explained later.)
피곤해서 집에서 쉬었어요. I was tired, so I took a rest at home.
바빠서 못 갔어요. I was busy, so I couldn't go.
- Honorific system
- Korean has two types of honorifics.
(1) One type is expressed by combining `-시-' with verbs, indicating and respect on the part of the speaker for the person spoken to. The honorific form is made by inserting '-(으)시-' between the verb stem and the endings like -아(어/여)요, 었어요, -ㅂ니다, 었습니다, -ㅂ니까? or 었습니까? '-시-' is used when verb stem ends in a vowel and '-으시-' is used when verb stem ends in a consonant.
가다 가 + 시 + 어요 가 + 시어요 가세요
받다 받 + 으시 + 어요 받 + 으시어요 받으세요
오다 오 + 시 + 었어요 오 + 시었어요 오셨어요
읽다 읽 + 으시 + 었어요 읽 + 으시었어요 읽으셨어요.
하다 하 + 시 + ㅂ니다 하십니다
찾다 찾 + 으시 + 었습니다 찾 + 으시었습니다 찾으셨습니다
There are also special honorific verbs indicating respect for the person spoken to. These honorifics are used when the person deserving respect is the subject of the sentence.
Plain Form Honorific Form Meaning
먹다 잡수시다 to eat
자다 주무시다 to sleep
있다 계시다 to exist, to be
아프다 편찮다 to be sick
많이 잡수세요. Help yourself.
김선생님 계세요 ? Is Mr.Kim there?
어머님께서 많이 편찮으세요 ? Is your mother seriously sick ?
(2) The other way is to use respectful verbs. They are special words used by the speaker to express his own humility and, simultaneously, show his respect for the person with whom he is speaking. These honorifics are used when the person deserving respect is the object of the sentence.
Plain Form Honorific Form Meaning
주다 드리다 to give
묻다(말하다) 여쭈다/여쭙다 to ask/to tell
보다 뵙다 to see/to meet
데리고 가다/오다 모시고 가다/오다 to take/bring someone to somewhere
If you learn these honorific/respectful forms, you can handle most of the honorific/respectful expressions
- '-ㄹ' irregular verbs
- The final consonant 'ㄹ' of the verb stem is dropped when it is followed by the endings which begins with the consonants '-ㄴ,-ㅂ,-ㅅ'.
살다(to live) 어디에서 사세요? Where do you live?
알다(to know) 저는 그 사람을 잘 압니다. I know the person well.
팔다(to sell) 그 가게에서 무엇을 파니? What they sell at the store?
말다(don't) 들어오지 마세요. Don't come in.
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