Lesson 57: To make/order: 시키다

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To Make: Attaching ~시키다
To Make, To Order: 시키다 as a Verb



우리 = cage for animals
다람쥐 = squirrel
= snake
실업 = unemployment
실업자 = unemployed person
초인종 = doorbell
포대기 = baby blanket
음주 = the consumption of alcohol
= one’s side
심부름 = errand

시키다 = to order
화해하다 = to reconcile/make up with somebody
흥분하다 = to arouse
자극하다 = to stimulate
안정하다 = to stabilize
응용하다 = to apply (to a situation)
차리다 = to prepare food, to recover one’s spirit
상기시키다 = to remind
옮다 = to catch some sort of infectious disease
옮기다 = to move, to shift, to transfer, to transmit

불확실하다 = to be unclear, uncertain
간지럽다 = to be ticklish

Adverbs and Other Words:
방과 후 = after school
대체로 = generally/overall
당장 = right now, for the time being
마음껏 = as much as one likes

For help memorizing these words, try using our Memrise tool.



In the previous lesson, you learned how to attach ~게 to words followed by ~하다 or other verbs/clauses to indicate that one influences/causes/makes/lets an action happen. In this lesson, we will look at another way you can express this meaning. Let’s get started.

To Make: Attaching ~시키다

In the previous lesson, you learned how to attach ~게 to words, and often followed it with 하다. For example:

공부하다 = to study
공부하게 하다 = to make/let/cause (one to) study

~시키다 can be used to create the same meaning. ~시키다 can be attached to the noun-form of ~하다 verbs and adjectives in replace of ~하게 하다. For example:

공부하다 = to study
공부시키다 = to make (one) study

Here are some other examples of words that ~시키다 is commonly attached to:

이해하다 = to understand
이해시키다 = to make (one) understand

연습하다 = to practice
연습시키다 = to make (one) practice

실망하다 = to be disappointed
실망시키다 = to make (one) disappointed (to disappoint)

만족하다 = to be satisfied
만족시키다 = to make (one) satisfied (to satisfy)

목욕하다 = to take a bath/to bathe
목욕시키다 = to make (one) take a bath

These constructions with ~시키다 are typically used when a subject “makes” a person do the action specified before ~시키다. For example:

선생님은 학생들을 방과 후 수업 시간 동안 공부시켰어요
= The teacher made the students study during the after school class

경찰관은 남자에게 음주운전이 왜 위험한지를 이해시켰어요
= The police officer made the man understand why drunk driving is dangerous

그 할아버지가 저에게 뱀을 어떻게 잡는지를 많이 연습시켰어요
= That old man (grandfather) made me practice how to hold snakes a lot

제가 실업자라는 것이 저의 어머니를 실망시켰어요
= The fact that I am unemployed disappointed my mother

저는 열심히 일해서 부장님을 만족시켰어요
= I worked very hard, so I satisfied my boss

저는 다람쥐를 잡고 목욕시켰어요
= I got the squirrel and gave it a bath (made it have a bath)

The main difference we can see with the words being used with ~시키다 (compared to if the word just ended in ~하다) is that the acting agent is causing/ordering/making another person (or thing) to do the action. When the word just ends in ~하다, the subject is typically the acting agent who performs the action specified. For example, compare the usage of each verb in the sentences above (using ~시키다) with the sentence below (using ~하다):

저는 방과 후 수업 시간 동안 한국어를 공부했어요 = I studied Korean during the after school class
“I” am the subject, and “I” am the one who studied

제가 음주운전이 왜 위험한지를 이해해요 = I understand why drunk driving is dangerous
“I” am the subject, and “I” am the one who understands

저는 뱀을 어떻게 잡는지를 많이 연습했어요 = I practiced how to hold snakes a lot
“I” am the subject, and “I” am the one who practiced a lot

저는 실망했어요 = I was disappointed
“I” am the subject, and “I” am the one who was disappointed

저는 만족해요 = I am satisfied
“I” am the subject, and “I” am the one who is satisfied

저는 집에 가서 목욕했어요 = I went home and took a bath
“I” am the subject, and “I” am the one who took a bath

There are many times where the translation of the original verb (containing ~하다) is similar to the meaning that is created when ~시키다 is added. For example:

감동하다 = to (be) impress(ed)
감동하다 usually translates to “to impress.” However, “to impress” in English is used when one person impresses another (ex. She impressed me). When a subject impresses another person like this, 감동시키다 should be used. When a subject is impressed, 감동하다 or 감동받다 can be used. In a way, 감동하다 feels like a passive verb when it’s translated. For example:
나는 감동했어 | 나는 감동받았어 = I was impressed

감동시키다 = to impress
The addition of ~시키다 indicates that you are “making” one impressed

As you can see above, it is difficult to come up with an accurate translation that would allow for an easy distinction between 감동하다 and 감동시키다. You can see this same phenomenon with many other words that ~시키다 is attached to. Below is a list of words (that I chose because you already know them) that ~시키다 is commonly attached to.

Just like I did earlier in the lesson, I have provided an example sentence for both the ~하다 and ~시키다 usage of each word. When looking at each example sentence, notice how the acting agent in the sentences using ~하다 is performing the action, but the acting agent in the sentences using ~시키다 is commanding the action.

감동하다 = to impress (to be impressed)
저는 엄마의 말을 듣고 아주 감동했어요
= I listened to my mom’s words and was very impressed

감동시키다 = to impress
저는 하루 종일 열심히 일해서 엄마를 감동시켰어요
= I impressed mom because I worked hard all day


소개하다 = to introduce
우리가 오늘 무엇에 대해 배울지 잠깐 소개해 주겠습니다
= I will briefly introduce what we will be learning about today

소개시키다 = to introduce
저는 저의 여자 친구를 저의 부장님께 소개시켰어요
= I introduced my girlfriend to my boss


진정하다 = to relax
말을 그만하고 진정하세요
= Stop talking and calm down

진정시키다 = to relax
저는 시험 전에 긴장하는 학생을 진정시켰어요
= Before the exam, I relaxed a nervous student (I made him relaxed)


훈련하다 = to train
그런 것을 하고 싶으면 특별한 훈련을 해야 돼요
= If you want to do that sort of thing, you need to do special training

훈련시키다 = to train
저의 이웃사람이 제 강아지를 잘 훈련시켰어요
= My neighbor trained my dog very well


흥분하다 = to arouse
새로운 스타워즈 영화가 곧 나올 거라는 것을 듣고 아주 흥분했어요
= I heard that the near Star Wars movie is coming out soon and got very excited

흥분시키다 = to arouse
그 뉴스는 시민들을 흥분시켰어요
= That news excited the public/citizens


화해하다 = to reconcile
우리는 지난 10년 동안 서로 싫어했지만 드디어 화해했어요
= We didn’t like each other for the last 10 years, but we finally reconciled

화해시키다 = to reconcile
저는 우리 아버지와 우리 어머니를 화해시켰어요
= I made my mother and father reconcile


I’ve also noticed that it is difficult to pinpoint a difference between the ~하다 and ~시키다 forms of some verbs. For example:

저는 신입사원들을 주말에 교육했어요 = I educated the new workers on the weekend
저는 신입사원들을 주말에 교육시켰어요 = I educated the new workers on the weekend

저의 남자 친구가 저를 자꾸 자극했어요 = My boyfriend kept irritating me
저의 남자 친구가 저를 자꾸 자극시켰어요 = My boyfriend kept irritating me

The only difference I can feel (and I’ve discussed this with Korean people) is that the usage of ~시키다 makes the sentences sound stronger – almost as if the subject is “forcing” the people to do something.


Another peculiar word is 안정하다. 안정하다 has two meanings, and it is hard to come up with a translation for either word when written as “안정하다.” In general, their translations are:

안정하다 = to be calm (to calm down)
안정하다 = to be stable (to stabilize)

These verbs remind me of 감동하다, where they look like active verbs but their translations make you think they’re a passive verb. The active form of these verbs (“to calm down” and “to stabilize”) can be created by replacing ~하다 with ~시키다. For example:

그 의사는 고통으로 울고 있는 환자를 안정시켰어요
= The doctor calmed down the patient who was crying from pain

노동자들이 무너질 것 같은 벽을 안정시켰어요
= The workers stabilized the wall that was probably going to collapse


Another good example of ~시키다 being used is 상기시키다. “상기하다” means “to recall/to remember” – therefore, by saying “상기시키다,” the meaning changes to “to make somebody recall.” This is usually more naturally translated to “to remind.”

상기하다 is a difficult word in Korean and isn’t used very often. Nonetheless, it can be used to have this meaning of “recalling” or “remembering,” even if it may be an uncommon way to express this meaning:

다시 한번 작년 사고를 상기하고 철저히 준비해 주세요
= Recall/remember the accident from last year again, and prepare thoroughly

~시키다 can be used instead of ~하다 in 상기하다 to indicate that one “reminds” somebody else of something. For example:

저는 매일 저의 여자친구에게 제가 그녀를 사랑하는 것을 상기시켜요
= I remind my girlfriend that I love her every day

선생님은 학생들에게 숙제를 해야 하는 것을 상기시켰어요
= The teacher reminded the students that they have to do their homework

In the examples so far, you have seen ~시키다 used only when attached to a noun. It is possible to use it as a standalone verb. I would like to talk about this next.



To Make, to Order: 시키다 as a Verb

So far, you have only seen ~시키다 used when attached to a noun that would otherwise have ~하다 attached to it. 시키다 can also exist as a verb by itself, acting on a noun that it is not attached to. For example:

저는 회사원들에게 일을 시켰어요

The meaning of the verb “시키다” in this example is essentially the same as the meaning of ~시키다 when it was attached to a noun. In addition, it is also essentially the same as the meaning of ~게 하다, which you learned in the previous lesson.

When used like this, the acting agent orders/makes a person do some kind of task or work. Therefore, the sentence above would translate to:

저는 회사원들에게 일을 시켰어요 = I made/ordered the workers to do the job

Notice that 시키다 is separate from the noun “일.” It is usually unnatural to change an action into a noun by using ~는 것 and placing 시키다 after it. For example, this would be unnatural:

저는 학생들이 교실을 청소하는 것을 시켰어요

Instead, it would be more natural to simply use the noun form of the verb:
저는 학생들에게 교실 청소를 시켰어요 = I made the students clean the classroom

Or, to use the imperative quoted addition ~(으)라고 (introduced in Lesson 54) to indicate that the order was spoken:
저는 학생들에게 교실을 청소하라고 시켰어요 = I made the students clean the classroom

Or, to use ~게 (introduced in the previous lesson) on the action that should be completed:
저는 학생들이 교실을 청소하게 시켰어요 = I made the students clean the classroom

Below are many other examples:

그 정보가 불확실해서 직원에게 확인을 시켰어요
그 정보가 불확실해서 직원에게 확인하라고 시켰어요
그 정보가 불확실해서 직원이 확인하게 시켰어요
= That information isn’t certain, so I made the worker check

저는 아들과 아들 친구들이 소파를 저 방으로 옮기라고 시켰어요
저는 아들과 아들 친구들이 소파를 저 방으로 옮기게 시켰어요
= I made my son and my son’s friend move the sofa to that room

지금 안 하면 내가 너에게 당장 노래를 시킬 거야
지금 안 하면 내가 너에게 당장 노래하라고 시킬 거야
지금 안 하면 내가 너에게 당장 노래하게 시킬 거야
= If you don’t do it now, I will make you sing now/right away

저는 학생들에게 영어 공부를 시킬 거예요
저는 학생들에게 영어를 공부하라고 시킬 거예요
저는 학생들에게 영어를 공부하게 시킬 거예요
= I’m going to make the students study English

Here are a couple of other examples using ~(으)라고:

저는 남편에게 쌀을 사라고 심부름을 시켰어요
= I made my husband do an errand of buying rice

다람쥐를 우리에 넣으라고 시켰어요
= I made him put the squirrel in the cage

애기를 포대기로 싸라고 시켰어요
= I made him wrap the baby in a blanket

Finally, 시키다 can also be used when “ordering” food or drinks when at a restaurant or other places that sever food. For example:

밥을 시켰어요? = Did you order food?
뭐 시키고 싶어요? = What do you want to order?
저는 삼겹살을 시켰어요 = I ordered 삼겹살


Just one quick thing that I want to point out. I have introduced different ways 시키다 can be used. Look at the following three sentences:

1) 공부시켰다
2) 공부 시켰다
3) 공부를 시켰다

If you showed those three constructions to Korean people, it would be hard for most people to tell you which usage(s) is/are correct. In the first example, we see ~시키다 not used as a verb, but attached to 공부. This was the first usage I taught you in this lesson. In the third example, you see 시키다 used as a verb acting on the noun “공부.” In the second example, 시키다 is not attached to 공부, and ~를/을 is not used on 공부. This usage is technically incorrect, although most people (especially in speech) might omit the object particle.

As a foreign learner of Korean, you will probably never need to make the distinction of which one is correct and which one is incorrect. However, this is something that Korean high school students study in their Korean language classes, and I thought it would be good to mention here. A significant amount of time in Korean language classes in Korean high schools goes into the correct spacing of words (and the grammatical principles surrounding words). This spacing is called “띄어쓰기” and has now gotten me off on a tangent in this lesson. Time to wrap it up!


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