Mis-spelled/mis-pronunced by Koreans

전화할(x) -> 전화할(o) : Actually (으)ㄹ게’s pronunciation is 을께, but the writing is still 을게.

야(X) -> 내 야(ㅇ) : 거 is often pronounced as ‘꺼’ as in ‘(으)ㄹ 거 [을 꺼]’ or ‘noun 거 [noun 꺼]’, but the writing is still 거. 

되요(x) -> 돼요 (o) :  A lot of Korean can’t recognize the difference between ‘ㅚ’ and ‘ㅙ’, so they often mis-spell these. The infinitive form for ‘to become’ is ‘되다’, so when we conjugate with 아/어/해, it should become ‘돼(되+어)’ like  되 + 어요/었어요 should be written 돼요 and 됐어요. However when 되다 conjugate with (으) or consonants, it remains as 되. For example, 게요(되+(으)ㄹ게요), 수 있어요(되+(으)ㄹ 수 어요), 되면 (되+(으)면), 되고, 되지 되게

뵈요(X)-> 봬요 (O): This is also the same as 돼요.  The writing is 봬요, 뵀어요, 봬서… and 뵐게요, 뵐 거예요, 뵈면, 뵙고, 뵙지, 뵙게 (뵈다 is changed into 뵙 when it is in front of consonant endings like 고, 지, 게) 

않 돼요(x) -> 안 돼요(o) : 안 is an adverb, it locates in front of verbs and adjectives to negate verbs and adjectives. 않 is in  –지 않아요, which is a long negation. 

잠궈요. (X) -> 잠가요 (O) : The infinitive form for ‘to lock’ is ‘잠그다’, but a lot of Koreans read this as ‘잠구다’. Therefore they mis-conjugate 잠구+어요, but the accurate one is 잠그+아/어요(으 irregular) => 잠가요. 

사겨요 (X) -> 사귀어요.(O) : The infinitive form for ‘to make friend’ is ‘사귀다’, many Koreans read this as ‘사기다’. Therefore they mis-conjugate ‘사기+어요=> 사겨요(X)’, but the correct one is ‘사귀+어요 => 사귀어요”. 

Let me know if you hear or see something that Koreans mis-spell or mis-pronounce!

#사겨요 #잠궈요 #담궈요 #돼요vs되요 #봬요vs뵈요 #봴게요 #뵈요 #되요 #않다 #않 #을께 #꺼

[Q&A] 이에요 vs 있어요

Many of my students are confused 이에요 and 있어요, so I am writing this post to make sure you understand 이에요 and 있어요.
이에요means “something/someone is/are/am a noun”. For example,
저는 한국 사람이에요. I am Korean.
(이 분이) 제 선생님이에요. This person is my teacher.
한국어 책이에요. It is a Korean book.
여기가 도서관이에요. Here is the library.
이게 제 가방이에요. This is my bag.

On the other hand, 있어요 has two different meanings. The first meaning is “have(possession)“, and the other one is “is/am/are at/in/on somewhere(existence)“. It is not just ‘is’, it means ‘is at/in/on somewhere(existence)‘.

Let’s look at some examples.
(저는) 한국 친구가 있어요. I have Korean friends. (possession)
시간이 많이 있어요. I have a lot of time. (possession)
앤디 씨는 가방이 많이 있어요. Andy has a lot of bags. (possession)
앤디 씨 집 가방이 많이 있어요. At Andy’s house, there are lots of bags. (existence)
미나 씨가 집에 있어요. Mina is at home. (existence)
마이크 씨가 한국에 있어요. Mike is in Korea. (existence)
제 집이 도서관 앞에 있어요. My house is in front of the library. (existence)
책상 책이 있어요. There is a book on the desk.(existence)
교실 옆 화장실이 있어요. There is a bathroom next to the classroom. (existence)

As you can see, when 있어요 means “be at some place“, 있어요 follows after “-에” which is a place particle.

Let’s look at these two sentences.
1. 여기가 도서관이에요. Here is the library.
2. 제 집이 도서관 앞에 있어요. My house is in front of the library.

In these two sentences, 이에요 and 있어요 are used with a noun(place), however, 이에요 means “is a noun” while 있어요 means “is at a place

Do you know what the opposite word of 이에요? It is 아니에요(is not a noun). You can learn 아니에요 by clicking here.

How about the opposite word for 있어요? It is 없어요. For more examples of -에 있어요/없어요 by clicking here. For more examples of 있어요(possession) by clicking here.


[Grammar] -요 vs 습니다

-요 and 습니다 are both polite sentence endings, but they are used for different situations.

-요 is used for friendly/informal situations. Koreans use -요 for normal/daily conversations, you can use this to anyone who are older than you or you want to express respect.

On the other hand, 습니다 is used more for formal situations like work meetings, conferences, writing, army base, and TV news etc.

Basic form Friendly/informal Formal
Noun이다 이에요/예요 입니다
Verb/adjective다 아요/어요/해요 습니다/ㅂ니다


For example,

Friendly/informal Formal
저는 이미나예요. 저는 이미나입니다.
진주는 제 친구예요. 진주는 제 친구입니다.
이건 가방이에요. 이것은 가방입니다.
이 학교는 좋아요. 이 학교는 좋습니다.
컴퓨터가 있어요. 컴퓨터가 있습니다.
피자가 맛있어요. 피자가 맛있습니다.

If you want to learn more about 이에요, please click here.

If you want to learn more about 아요/어요/해요, please click here.

If you want to learn more about 습니다/ㅂ니다, please click here.

If you want to learn more about the honorific speech, please click here.

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!



[expression] 웬 or 왠

or are so confusing even to Koreans. 웬 means ‘what happened’ and it is used with a lot of words or phrases such as 웬일, 웬만하다, 웬만큼, 웬 떡. However 왠 is only used for 왠지which is the short from for 왜인지.

웬일이에요? What brought you here?

제 친구는 코가 높아서 웬만한 남자는 눈에 안 차요. My friend is very picky, so she is not satisfied with normal guys.

웬만하면 참으세요. If it is okay, please bear with it.

공부를 웬만큼 잘해서는 서울대학교에 갈 수 없어요. You cannot go to Seoul National University if your score is just okay.

그 사람은 웬만해서는 잘 안 웃어요. That person doesn’t usually smile.

웬떡이니? How lucky am I!


On the other hand, 왠지 is the short form for 왜인지 which is indirect question sentence ,so it means ‘I don’t know why’. (You can learn indirect question by clicking here.)

오늘은 왠지 기분이 안 좋아요. I don’t know why but I am not a good mood today.

왠지 안 좋은 일이 생길 것 같아요. I don’t know why but I feel that something bad will happen.

왠지 좀 걷고 싶어요. I don’t know why but I want to walk a little bit.

왠지 좀 추운데 감기에 걸렸나? I don’t know why but I am little bit cold. Do I have a cold?

What is the difference between 좋은 and 좋아요?

좋은 and 좋아요 both mean ‘good’ however uses are different. A basic form of 좋은 and 좋아요 is 좋다. All of basic form for verb and adjective in Korean ends with -다. When you make a conversation, you should delete -다 and then add some endings such as -아요 or 았어요.

좋은 is 좋다 + 은 which is a modifier. It modifies nouns. For example, 좋은  사람, 좋은 책, 좋은 영화. Therefore 좋은 needs a noun after that, so  좋은이에요 or 좋은 있습니다 are wrong.  So do other verbs and adjectives. You can click here to learn more about -은.

On the other hand, 좋아요 is 좋다 + 아요 which is a present/polite ending. For example, 한국이 좋아요 or 날씨가 좋아요. You can click here to learn more about -아요.

What is the difference between 나 and 저?

and both mean ‘I’ or ‘me’. is a humble way to say. When you talk to a person who is older or higher position than you or stranger, you have to use . On the other hand, is used for friends(the same age) or a person who is younger than you. Therefore is often used with casual endings which is 아/어/여 or ㄴ/는다 while is often used with polite endings such as -아/어/여요 or -(스)ㅂ니다.

and are often used with particles like 이/가(subject particles), 을/를(object particles), 한테(to), 하고(with/and). For example,

+가 =>가(it is not 나가)
+가 => 가 (it is not 저가)

+를 =>
+를 =>

+한테 => 한테
+한테 =>한테

+하고 =>하고
+하고 =>하고



가 먹었어.
가 먹었어요.

그 사람이 를 좋아한다.
그 사람이 를 좋아합니다.

한테 줘.
한테 주세요.

하고 가자.
하고 가요.

What is Kakaotalk? 카카오톡이 뭐예요?

카카오톡 (Kakaotalk) is a chatting app that most Koreans use, so Koreans often say “카카오톡 주세요.” (please send me a Kakaotalk message.) Sometimes we also say 카톡 which is a short from for 카카오톡.

You can send messages or pictures and you can even make a free video phone call  through 카카오톡.

  • 카톡 있어요? Do you have Kakaotalk? (click here to learn 있어요/없어요)
  • 카톡 주세요. Please send me a Kakaotalk message.
  • 카톡으로 보내 주세요. Please send it through Kakaotalk.
  • 카톡으로 얘기할까요? Shall we talk with Kakaotalk? (click here to learn -을까요?)
  • 지금 카톡할 수 없어요. I cannot use Kakaotalk now. (click here to learn -을 수 있다/없다)


How to say “You” in Korean


I saw a lot of mistakes from my students’ conversations and writings about ‘you in Korean.
I normally tell my students not to use ‘you’ if you are a beginner because ‘you‘ in Korean is very complicated.

Before I tell you how to say ‘you‘ in Korean, I want to tell you how Koreans become friends. Because it is very important for you to understand Koreans’ relationships.

When Koreans meet someone and we want to get to know more(personal relationship) about that person, we normally ask their age. It is very rude in a lot of cultures, but it is very normal thing in Korea.
After we figure it out, then we talk about what we should call each other. If someone is older than me, we don’t call them ‘a friend’, we call them “오빠/언니(if you are a woman)” or “형/누나(if you are a man)“, even if they are “one year” older than me. If someone is the same age as me, then we can call that person ‘a friend’ after we discuss “Let’s be friends!”

I know it is very complicated, but it is the KEY to know when you use ‘You’ in Korean. Now I can tell you the use of ‘You’ in Korean.

If you search for “you” in a dictionary, you can find ‘너’, ‘당신’, ‘그대’ .

1. : You might hear this word in TV shows or songs. We use this to a person who is very close friend(the same age) or a person who is younger than you. You should not use this to your parents, teacher, boss, a person who you meet for the first time or you don’t know well.
If you use this, you also can use casual ending(반말 e.g: 먹어, 해, 가) instead of -요or -습니다.

2. 당신 : We use this to our spouse. Sometimes we also use this to someone you are fighting against 🙂 or in a song or poem that is very formal ‘you’.

3. 그대 : You can hear this only from a song or a poem. This is a poetic word, we don’t use it in normal conversations.

For all those reasons, Koreans usually DROP ‘subject’. For example,

1) A: 오늘 뭐 해요? What are (you) doing today?
B: 영화 봐요. (I) am going to watch a movie.

2) A: 사랑해.   (I) love (you).

As you can see, there are no subjects in this conversation, but we know who is the subject and the object.

So, the good way to avoid making mistakes about ‘You’ is “DO NOT SAY IT” until you totally understand, and use ‘their names‘ or ‘their occupation names like 선생님(teacher), ㅇㅇ 씨(polite name part)’.