[Grammar] -기, -는 것, -음 : Nominalization

When you make a noun or noun clause from a verb, there are three ways to make, which are -기, -는 것, -음.

-기 is used for unfinished action or idioms; it often used with emotion adjectives or some action verbs.  These are the adjectives and verbs that are often used with -기. 
좋다(good) 이곳은 보석을 보관하기에 좋습니다.  This place is good for storage jewelry.
싫다(hate) 혼자 있기 싫어요. I don’t like being alone.
쉽다(easy) 집 찾기가 쉬웠어요. It was easy to find the house
어렵다(difficult) 이 일은 혼자 하기 어려운 일이에요. This work is difficult to do alone.
힘들다(difficult) 참기가 정말 힘들어요. It is very hard to bear.
즐기다(enjoy) 운동을 즐기는 사람들 People who enjoy working out.
좋아하다(like) 식물 기르기를 좋아해요. I like growing plants.

싫어하다(hate) 청소하기를 싫어합니다. I don’t like cleaning.
두려워하다(scare) 학교 가기를 두려워합니다. He was afraid of going to school.
바라다(hope) 모두 무사하기를 바랍니다. I hope everyone is fine.
희망하다(hope) 다시 뵙기를 희망합니다. I wish we can see each other again.
기원하다(hope) 사업이 잘 되시기를 기원합니다. I wish your company’s prosperity.

시작하다(start) 눈이 아프기 시작했습니다. My eyes started aching.

As you can see, it is often used with these adjectives and verbs which are mostly related to ‘Emotion’ or ‘Unfinished’.  It is also used for idioms, for example,

– 식은 죽 먹기.  Piece of cake! (Eat cold porridge.)
– 하늘의 별 따기.  Impossible! (Catch a star in the sky.)

-(으)ㅁ is used for finished action or an action that has already happened, so you can add the past tense in front of -음.   These are the adjectives and verbs that are often used with -음.

분명하다(clear) 뭔가를 숨기고 있음이 분명하다. He is definitely hiding something.
틀림없다(must be true) 그 사람도 거짓말을 하고 있음이 틀림없다. She/he must also be lying.
드러나다(be exposed) 민수의 이야기가 거짓임이 드러났다. Minsu’s story is revealed in a lie.
알려지다(come out) 그 사람이 몰래 다른 사람들을 돕고 있음이 알려졌다. It became known that the person was secretly helping others.
밝혀지다(be found) 그 사람이 돈을 몰래 쓰고 있었음이 밝혀졌다. It turned out that the person was secretly using the money.

깨닫다(realize) 이미 늦었음을 깨달았다. I realized it is too late.
알다(know) 범죄를 저질렀음을 알고 있었다. I knew he commit a crime.
알리다(tell) 비가 가을이 왔음을 알려주고 있다. The rain tells us the Fall already has come.
주장하다(claim) 환경보호의 중요함을 주장했다. He claimed the importance of environmental protection.

As you can see, it is often used with adjectives or verbs that mostly mean ‘judgement, knowledge, fact, report or finished action’.  We also use 음 to shorten the final sentence of documents, for example,

– 사실과 다르지 않음을 증명합니다. I certify that is authentic.
– 사람을 찾음. Missing! (Looking for a person)

-는 것(-는 거) is more flexible than -기 or -음.  You can use -는 것 instead of -기 or -음 except for fixed grammar like -기에 좋다, -기를 바라다/희망하다/기원하다, -기 시작하다, -기로 (약속)하다, -기만 하다, -기도 하다 etc.

– 집에 혼자 는 것이 싫어요. = 집에 혼자 있기 싫어요.
– 집 찾는 것이 쉬웠어요. = 집 찾기가 쉬웠어요.
– 청소하는 것을 싫어해요. = 청소하기를 싫어해요.
– 뭔가 숨기고 있는 것이 분명해요. = 뭔가 숨기고 있음이 분명해요.
– 범죄를 저지른 것을 알고 있었다. = 범죄를 저질렀음을 알고 있었다.

11 thoughts on “[Grammar] -기, -는 것, -음 : Nominalization

  1. hello
    what’s the difference between -는 것 and -는 거 ? for example what’s the difference between 웃는거 and 웃는것? I see the first one is more used than the second.

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