[Grammar] Present tense 아요/어요/여요



In Korean, the infinitive form of verbs and adjectives is -다.  For instance, 가(to go), 좋(be good), 먹(to eat) and 마시(to drink).

When you say these verbs and adjective as a present tense, you should add the present tense verb/adjective ending -아요/어요/여요.

The form is depending on the last letter’s vowel on the stem. The stem is the last letter after you take off ‘다’.


The steps are

1) Take off ‘다’

2) Look at the last letter’s vowel on the stem

3) If the vowel is ‘ㅏ’or ‘ㅗ’, add 아요.  If the vowel is not ‘ㅏ’or ‘ㅗ’, add 어요. If the verb stem is 하, add 여요.


1. verb / adjective(the stem’s vowel is ‘ㅏ’ or ‘ㅗ’ ) + 아요

ex) 다 (‘가’ is the stem -> the vowel is ‘ㅏ’ )                                   + 아요 => 가아요 => 가요(combine 가and 아 )

다(‘오’ is the stem -> the vowel is ‘ㅗ’)                                     + 아요 => 오아요 => 와요(combine 오and 아 )

다(‘살’ is the stem ->the vowel is ‘ㅏ’)                                      + 아요 => 살아요


2. verb / adjective(the stem’s vowel is not ‘ㅏ’ or ‘ㅗ’ ) + 어요

ex)  다(‘주’ is the stem -> the vowel is ‘ㅜ’)                                     +어요  => 주어요      => 줘요(combine 주and 어 )

다 (‘시’ is the last letter of the stem -> the vowel is ‘ㅣ’ ) +어요  => 마시어요 => 마셔요(combine 시and 어)

다(‘먹’is the stem -> the vowel is ‘ㅓ’)                                      +어요  => 먹어요


3. verb/adjecitve ends with ‘하다’ + 여요  => 하(take off 다) + 여요

ex) 공부다 -> 공부하(take off 다)+ 여요 => 공부하여요(‘하여요’ is old form or writing expression)  => 공부해요(verbal expression)

피곤다 -> 피곤하(take off 다) + 여요 => 피곤하여요                                                                              => 피곤해요



가다 : to go

오다 : to come

살다 : to live

먹다 : to eat

마시다 : to drink

주다 : to give

공부하다 : to study

피곤하다 : be tired



만나다 (to meet)

좋다(be good)

보다(to see)

자다(to sleep)

웃다(to smile)

울다(to cry)

운동하다(to exercise)

수영하다(to swim)


Click here for more verbs/adjectives