Verb/adjective conjugation

In this post, I am talking about how to conjugate verbs and adjectives from basic verb forms.

Every Korean verb/adjective ends with ‘— 다’, for example, 가다, 오다, 먹다, 살다, 마시다 etc. When you conjugate verbs/adjectives with endings, first you delete 다 and then add endings like the following below.


And then you have to look at an ending that you want to add. There are three types of endings. The first type is  -아/어/여 ending. For -아/어/여 ending, you have to look at the previous letter’s vowel.

If the vowel is ㅏor ㅗ, then you have to add -아. For example, -아요(present), -았어요(past), -아서(because) etc.

If the vowel is other than ㅏ or ㅗ, you have to add -어. For example, -어요(present), -었어요(past), -어서(because) etc.

If the previous letter ends with ‘하’, you have to add -여. But it changes the form into ‘해’ in conversations. For example, -여요=>해요(present), -였어요=> 했어요(past), -여서=> 해서(because).


The second type is that endings start with -(으) or (스), for example, (으)ㄹ 거예요, (으)ㄹ 수 있어요, -(스)ㅂ니다 etc. In this case, you have to look at whether the previous letter ends with a vowel or a consonant.

If the letter ends with a vowel, you do not use 으 or 스. For example, 가+ㅂ니다 => 갑니다, 자+ㄹ 거예요 => 잘 거예요.

If the letter ends with a consonant, you have to use 으  or 스.  For example, 먹+습니다 => 먹습니다, 읽+습니다 => 읽습니다.


Finally, the third type is that endings start with a consonant. For example, -고, -지, -게 etc. For these endings, you can just simply attach them to a verb/adjective.
가+고 싶어요 => 가고 싶어요,  먹+지 않아요 => 먹지 않아요.


Please reply to this post if you have any questions about conjugation. Thank you!



-은/는커녕 or -기는커녕 don’t even say –

“Noun은/는커녕 B(도) + negative situation”
“Verb기는커녕 + negative situation”

means ‘Don’t even mention A because it is far from —‘.


For example,


A: 만 원만 빌려 주세요.  Please lend me 10,000 Won.
B: 만 원은커녕 천 원 없어요. I don’t have 1,000 Won, let alone 10,000 Won.

A: 파티에서 맛있는 거 많이 드셨어요? Did you enjoy delicious food at the party?
B: 사람이 너무 많아서 음식은커녕 못 마셨어요. There are too many people, so I could not even drink water, let alone food.

A: 이번에 월급이 많이 올랐어요? Have your salary raised a lot this time?
B: 오르기는커녕 잘리지나 않으면 다행이에요. Far from raising, I will be lucky if they do not fire me.

A: 이번 파티에 사람이 한 백 명 넘게 오겠죠? Will there be more than 100 people this party?
B: 백 명은커녕 50명 안 올걸요. I don’t think there will be even 50 people, let alone 100.

A: 여행 재미있게 했어요?  Did you have fun on your trip?
B: 재미는커녕 여권을 도둑 맞아서 고생만 했어요. Far from having fun, I had difficult time because I had my passport stolen.



[Expression]어떻게 해요? vs 어떡해요?

어떻게(adverb) means ‘how’ and ‘해요(verb)‘ means ‘do’, so 어떻게 해요 means ‘what should I(you) do?”. And 어떡해요(adjective) is a short form for 어떻게 해요. Therefore, both mean “what should I do?”. They are used for when some BAD thing happened.

In conversations, it can be translated “Oh, no”, “Oh, my god!” or “Too bad”. I heard that a lot of people say ‘미안해요’ when they hear bad news because in English, they say “I am sorry to hear that.” when they hear a bad thing.

But “미안해요.” means “sorry/apologize”, not ‘feel sorry’.  You can say “아이고, 어떡해요.” or “어머, 정말 안 됐네요.(It is too bad)”.



A: 200만원을 잃어버렸어요. I lost 2,000,000 Won.
B: 아이고, 어떡해요. 그거 등록금이잖아요. Oh, my god! That was your tuition!

B: 왜 울고 있어요? 무슨 일 있어요? Why are you crying? What happened?
A: 어제 우리 집 강아지가 갑자기 죽었어요. My dog suddenly died yesterday.
B: 어머, 어떡해요… 무슨 병이 있었어요?  Oh, no… Was he sick before?

A: 지난 주에 정민 씨가 남자 친구하고 헤어졌어요. Jungmin broke up with her boyfriend last week.
B: 어머, 정말 안 됐네요. 정민 씨가 남자 친구를 많이 좋아했잖아요. That’s too bad, Jungmin really like him, right?