Lesson 6: Korean Honorifics

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Jump to:
Vocabulary
Conjugating with Korean Honorifics
What are Honorifics in Korean?

Verbs
Present Tense

Past Tense
Future Tense

Adjectives

This Lesson is also available in Español and Русский.

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Vocabulary

The vocabulary is separated into nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs for the purpose of simplicity.

Click on the English word to see information and examples of that word in use (you probably won’t be able to understand the grammar within the sentences at this point, but it is good to see as you progress through your learning).

A PDF file neatly presenting all of these words, example sentences and extra information can be found here.

Nouns:
신발 = shoe

Common Usages:
신발을 신다 = to put on a shoe
신발을 벗다 = to take off a shoe

Notes: The prefix “화” usually denotes a specific type of shoe. For example: 운동화 (exercise shoes), 실내화 (shoes for inside)

Example:
신발은 너무 불편해요 = These shoes are too uncomfortable
저는 신발을 신으려고 잠깐 앉았어요 = I sat down for a minute in order to put on my shoe
한국에서 집에 들어가면 신발을 벗어야 돼요 = When you go into a house in Korea, you must take off your shoes

남방 = shirt

Notes:
The Korean pronunciation of “shirt” (셔츠) is more commonly used

Example:
그녀는 흰 남방을 입었어요 = She put on a white shirt

질문 = question

Common Usages:
질문을 물어보다 = to ask a question
질문이 있어요? = Do you have a question?

Example:
질문이 있어요 = I have a question
저는 점원한테 질문을 물어봤어요 = I asked the clerk a question
이것은 어려운 질문입니다 = This is a difficult question

문제 = question, problem

Common Usages:
문제를 풀다 = to solve a problem/question
큰 문제 = big problem
중요한 문제 = important issue/problem
기출문제 = problems/questions from previous tests (that you can use to practice for an upcoming test)

Notes:
질문 typically means “question,” but “문제” is used more when referring to a problem that somebody may have.

Examples:
그 회사는 문제가 많아요 = That company has a lot of problems
저는 그 수학 문제를 연필과 종이로 풀었어요 = I solved that math problem using a paper and a pencil
또 다른 문제는 그것이 비싸요 = Another problem is that it (that thing) is expensive
그들은 그 문제를 과학적으로 풀었다 = They solved that problem scientifically
나는 개인적 문제로 회사를 그만두었다 = I quit the company due to personal problems
문제에 대해 담임선생님과 함께 얘기했어요 = I talked about that problem with my homeroom teacher
모든 학생들은 그 문제를 쉽게 풀었어요 = All the students easily solved that problem

나이 = age

Common Usages:
나이가 많다 = old

Example:
저의 여자 친구는 저보다 나이가 더 많아요 = My girlfriend is older than me
나이가 많은 사람들은 항상 재채기를 시끄럽게 해요 = Old people always sneeze loudly
그 사람이 나이가 많지만 여전히 똑똑해요 = Although that person is old, he is still very smart

화장실 = bathroom, restroom

Common Usages:
화장실에 가다 = to go to the bathroom

Examples:
화장실은 어디에 있어요? = Where is the bathroom?
화장실에 가도 돼요? = May I go to the bathroom?
만약 화장실에 가야 된다면 우리가 가기 전에 가세요 = If you have to go to the bathroom, go before we leave/go

부장님 = boss

Notes: 부장 literally means “head of some department,” and ~님 is a prefix that is attached to a position to show respect.

Examples:
그것을 하려면 먼저 부장님께 물어봐야 돼요 = In order to do that, you need to ask the boss first
저는 부장님을 위해서 이것을 썼어요 = I wrote this for my boss
부장님
을 만족시키는 것은 어려워요 = Is it is difficult to satisfy our boss
부장님
은 내일까지 출장을 갔어요 = The boss went on a business trip until tomorrow
부장님이 그 일을 이미 다 한 것 같아요 = It seems like the boss already did all that work
이 사실을 부장님께 알려 줘야겠어요 = I guess I should tell the boss (about) that fact

분위기 = the atmosphere of something

The pronunciation of this word is closer to “부뉘기”

Example:
이 도시는 분위기가 좋아요 = This city has a good atmosphere
스타벅스의 내부 분위기는 매우 안락해요 = The atmosphere inside Starbucks is very comfortable
오늘 고객이 많고 분위기가 좋아요 = Today there are a lot of customers and the atmosphere is good

= tea

Common Usages:
홍차 = black tea
녹차 = green tea
차를 마시다 = to drink tea

Example:
한 잔 주세요 = Give me one glass of green tea, please

바지 = pants

Common Usages:
바지를 입다 = to put on pants
바지를 벗다 = to take off pants
청바지 = jeans
반바지 = shorts (literally, “half pants”)

Example:
저는 새로운 바지를 사야 돼요 = I need to buy new pants
바지가 너무 작아서 다른 것으로 바꿀 거예요 = I’m going to change these pants to another (a different) pair because they are too small

교실 = classroom

Examples:
학생들은 교실에 들어갔어요 = The students went into the classroom
학생은 교실에서 나왔어요 = The student came out of the classroom
선생님
은 학생들과 함께 교실에 갔어요 = The teacher went to the classroom with the students
교실이 너무 더워서 온도를 내려도 돼요? = Because the classroom is too hot, may I lower the temperature?
교실에서 선생님들을 컴퓨터로 대체할 수 없어요 = You can’t replace teachers with computers in the classroom
교실
이 너무 어두워서 학생들은 칠판을 볼 수 없어요 = The students can’t see the board because the classroom is too dark

급식 = food at school

The pronunciation of this word is closer to “급씩”

Notes: If you work at a school in Korea, you will hear this word every day – otherwise, it will not be as common

Example:
우리는 급식으로 오리고기를 먹었어요 = We had duck for the school lunch
오늘 급식으로 김치찌개를 먹었어요 = We had Kimchi jigae for lunch today at school

교감선생님 = vice principal

Example:
교감선생님은 선생님들을 위해 식사를 살 거예요 = The vice principal will buy a meal for all the teachers
저는 교감선생님에게서 한국어를 배웠어요 = I learned Korean from my vice principal

교장선생님 = principal

Examples:
우리 교장선생님은 영어를 할 수 있습니다 = Our principal can speak English
저는 책을 교장선생님께 줬어요 = I gave the principal a book

= glue

Example:
그 종이를 공책에 로 붙이세요! = Stick that paper to your notebook using glue!

수도 = capital city

Common Usages:
수도권 = metropolitan area around a capital city

Example:
대부분 사람들이 캐나다의 수도가 무엇인지 몰라요 = Most people don’t know what Canada’s capital city is

= bottle

Common Usages:
물병 = water bottle
유리병 = glass bottle

Examples:
맥주 1 주세요! One bottle of beer, please!
병이 탁자에서 떨어졌어요 = The bottle fell from the table
저는 을 탁자에 놓았어요 = I put the bottle on the table

= disease, sickness

Common Usages:
눈병 = eye disease
병에 걸리다 = to catch a disease
불치병 = incurable disease
전염병 = infectious disease

Example:
은 다행히 심하지 않아요 = Thankfully, the disease isn’t serious
이 나았어요 = I’m better (literally – the sickness/disease is better)

생선 = fish

Notes:
The word “물고기” (literally water meat) is used to refer to the animals themselves. “생선” is used to refer to the fish that we eat.

Example:
저는 생선이 별로 안 좋아요 = I don’t really like fish

야채 = vegetable

Examples:
사람들은 야채와 과일을 많이 먹어야 돼요 = People need to eat lots of fruits and vegetables
저는 과일도 좋아하고 야채도 좋아해요 = I like fruit and vegetables too
저는 주로 과일과 야채를 먹어요 = I mainly eat fruits and vegetables
저는 야채를 냉장고에 넣었어요 = I put the vegetables in the fridge

언덕 = hill

Common Usages:
언덕을 올라가다 = to go up a hill

Example:
우리 집은 언덕 위에 있어요 = Our house is on top of the hill

선물 = present

Common Usages:
선물을 주다 = to give a present
선물을 받다 = to receive a present

Example:
저는 저의 여자 친구를 위해 선물을 샀어요 = I bought a present for my girlfriend
저는 저의 여자 친구에게 선물을 많이 줬어요 = I gave my girlfriend a lot of presents
저는 친구들에게 선물을 돌렸어요 = I distributed/handed out presents to my friends
아들은 할아버지께 선물을 줬어요 = The son gave a present to his grandfather
할아버지께 선물을 드리고 싶어요 = I want to give my grandfather a present
저는 그 사람이 저에게 줄 선물을 받고 싶지 않아요 = I don’t want to accept the gift that that person will give me

기타 = guitar

Common Usages:
기타를 치다 = to play guitar

Example:
저의 남자친구는 기타를 잘 쳐요 = My boyfriend plays the guitar well

종이 = paper

Notes: The counter for pieces of paper, and other things like it is “장”

Common Usages:
종이 1장 = one piece of paper

Examples:
전화번호를 종이에 써 주세요 = Write your phone number on a piece of paper please
저는 그 수학 문제를 연필과 종이로 풀었어요 = I solved that math problem using a paper and a pencil
종이를 공책에 풀로 붙이세요! = Stick that paper to your notebook using glue!
수업시간 동안 종이를 던지지 마세요 = During class, don’t throw paper please

우유 = milk

Common Usages:
우유를 마시다 = to drink milk

Example:
저는 슈퍼에서 우유를 샀어요 = I bought milk at the supermarket
저는 애기에게 우유를 마시라고 했어요 = I told the baby to drink his milk
애기는 우유 대신에 물만 마시고 싶어요 = Instead of milk, the baby wants to drink only water
저는 우유 두 잔을 샀어요 = I bought two glasses of milk

손목 = wrist

Common Usages:
손목시계 = wristwatch

Example:
저는 저의 손목을 다쳤어요 = I hurt my wrist

시계 = clock/watch

Common Usages:
손목시계 = wristwatch

Example:
시간을 몰라서 시계를 봤어요 = I didn’t know what time it was so I looked at the clock

손목시계 = wristwatch

The pronunciation of this word is closer to “손목씨꼐”

Common Usages:
손목시계를 차다 = to wear a watch

Example:
손목시계를 어디 샀어요? = Where did you buy that watch?

영화 = movie

Common Usages:
영화를 보다 = to watch a movie
영화를 촬영하다 = to film a movie

Notes: In English, we use the words “watch,” “see” and “looking at” in different situations depending on what our eyes are focused on. In Korean, all of those translate to “보다.” Therefore, to “watch” a movie in Korean is “영화를 보다”.

Examples:
저는 무서운 영화를 보고 싶어요 = I want to see a scary movie
저는 그 영화를 다섯 번 봤어요 = I saw that movie five times
저는 어제 영화를 봤어요 = I saw a movie yesterday
배우들은 그들의 영화를 보통 좋아하지 않아 = Actors usually don’t like their movies
좋은 영화를 추천해 주세요 = Recommend a good movie, please!
저는 이 영화를 더 이상 보고 싶지 않아요 = I don’t want to watch this movie anymore
아이들은 만화영화를 매우 좋아해요 = Children really like animated movies
학생들은 짧은 영화를 보고 있어요 = The students are watching a short film
어떤 영화를 보고 싶어요? = What movie do you want to see?

Verbs:
노력하다 = to try

The pronunciation of this word is closer to “노려카다”

Common Usages:
~려고 노력하다 (to try to do). See Lesson 32 for more information.

Example:
저는 한국어를 배우려고 노력하고 있어요 = I am trying to learn Korean
그 친구를 매 주말 만나려고 노력해요 = I try to meet that friend every weekend
한국 정부는 교통사고를 방지하려고 노력하고 있어요 = The Korean government is trying to prevent traffic accidents

앉다 = to sit

The pronunciation of this word is closer to “안따”

Common Usages: 앉으세요! = have a seat!

Notes:
To say that one was sitting while doing something, you should attach “~아/어서” to 앉다. For example: 저는 앉아서 먹었어요 = I sat down and ate. The grammar for this is introduced in Lesson 17.

Example:
발이 아파서 고 싶어요 = I want to sit down because my feet are sore
저는 신발을 신으러 잠깐 앉았어요 = I sat down for a minute in order to put on my shoe
그는 소파에 앉아 있어요 = He is sitting on the couch
여기에 앉아도 돼요? = May I sit here?
오빠는 바닥에 앉아서 점심을 먹었어요 = My brother ate lunch sitting on the floor

만지다 = to touch

Common Usages:
만지지 마세요! = don’t touch!

Example:
그것이 비싸서 만지지 마세요! = That is very expensive, so please don’t touch it!
저는 저의 머리를 부드럽게 만졌어요 = I touched my hair softly

자다 = to sleep

Common Usages:
낮잠 자다 = to take a nap
늦잠 자다 = to sleep in

Examples:
너무 피곤해서 고 싶어요 = I want to sleep because I am so tired
저는 세 시간 동안 잤어요 = I slept for three hours
저는 지금 고 싶어요 = I want to sleep now
애기는 침대에서 고 있어요 = The baby is sleeping in the bed
우리는 집에 와서 바로 잤어요 = We came home and went to sleep immediately
저는 어젯밤에 잘 잤어요 = I slept well last night
저는 오늘 오후에 낮잠을 잤어요 = I took a nap in the afternoon today

보다 = to see

Common Usages:
보고 싶다 = to want to see, or to “miss”

Notes:
In English, there are many different ways to say that you are looking at something (to watch, to see, to look at). In Korean, “보다” takes on all of these meanings.

Example:
저는 어제 영화를 봤어요 = I saw a movie yesterday
저는 마지막 것을 안 봤어요 = I didn’t see the last thing (I didn’t see that last one)
저는 그 영화를 다섯 번 봤어요 = I saw that movie five times
저는 어제 두 시간 동안 TV를 봤어요 = I watched TV for two hours yesterday
저는 방금 뭔가(를) 봤어요 = I just saw something a minute ago
원숭이가 벽을 고 있어요 = The monkey is looking at the wall
저는 저의 친구를 병원에서 봤어요 = I saw my friend at the hospital
형하고 아버지는 영화를 봤어요 = My brother and dad saw a movie
교실이 너무 어두워서 학생들은 칠판을 수 없어요 = The students can’t see the board because the classroom is too dark

기다리다 = to wait

Common Usages:
버스를 기다리다 = to wait for the bus
기다리고 있다 = to be waiting

Notes:
In English, we say that one waits “for” something. In Korean, the common translation for “for” is ~기 위해. However, in Korean the particle “~을/를” is attached to the person/thing that one is waiting for. For example: 저는 친구를 기다리고 있어요 = I am waiting for my friend.

Example:
저는 30분 동안 기다렸어요 = I waited for 30 minutes
3시까지 기다릴 거예요 = I will wait until 3:00
저는 줄에 서서 순수를 기다렸어요 = I stood in line and waited for my turn
저는 아직 기다리고 있어요 = I am still waiting
엄마는 기다리고 있을 것 같아요 = Mom is probably waiting (It seems like mom is waiting)
모든 사람들은 교수님이 말씀하기 시작하는 것을 기다렸다 = Everybody was waiting for the professor to start talking

청소하다 = to clean

Common Usages:
방을 청소하다 = to clean a room
집을 청소하다 = to clean a house
청소기 = vacuum cleaner (literally, “cleaning machine”)

Example:
밖에 나가기 전에 집을 청소해야 돼요! = Before I go out, I need to clean the house
저는 집을 청소기로 청소했어요 = I cleaned the house with a vacuum cleaner

약속하다 = to promise

The pronunciation of this word is closer to “약소카다”

Notes: The noun form of this verb (약속) translates to “a promise,” and is often used to refer to plans that somebody has. For example: 저는 오늘 약속이 있어요 = I have a promise, or “I made a promise with somebody today, which means I have plans to meet him/her.”

Example:
그는 올 거라고 약속했어요 = He promised that he would come

듣다 = to hear

The pronunciation of this word is closer to “듣따”

듣다 follows the ㄷ irregular. See Lesson 7 for more information.

Common Usages:
들어보다 = to listen
수업을 듣다 = to take a class (literally, to “listen to” a class)

Examples:
그 말을 못 들었어요 = I didn’t hear that thing that you just said
저는 쥐를 들었어요 = I heard a mouse
저는 2달 동안 한국어 수업을 들었어요 = I took a Korean class for 2 months
저는 선생님의 목소리를 못 들었어요 = I couldn’t hear the teacher’s voice
그 말을 들었더니 기분이 상했어요 = My feelings were hurt after hearing that

들어보다 = to listen

The pronunciation of this word is closer to “드러보다”

Notes: Although there is sometimes overlap in their usages, 듣다 is used when one hears something. However, by adding ~아/어보다 (the grammar of this is taught in Lesson 32) changes the verb into “to try/attempt to hear.” In English, the act of trying/attempting to hear something is “listening.”

Example: 선생님의 말을 잘 들어보세요! = listen carefully to what the teacher says!

그만하다 = to stop

Notes:
This is usually used when you are stopping an action. When you are stopping a machine, the word 멈추다 is usually used.

Example:
빨리 그만하세요! = stop quickly!
다음 달에 한국어를 배우는 것을 그만할 거예요 = I will stop learning Korean next month

운동하다 = to exercise

Examples:
저는 매일 운동해요 = I exercise everyday
저는 오늘 두 번 운동할 것입니다 = I will exercise twice (two times) today
어제 운동을 해서 오늘 저의 팔이 아파요 = my arms are sore because I exercised yesterday
저는 운동을 열심히 하고 숨을 빨리 쉬었어요 = After I exercised I was breathing really fast
저는 요즘에 운동을 많이 해요 = I am exercising a lot these days
운동은 스트레스를 풀어요 = exercise relieves stress
운동할 때 알맞은 자세로 해야 돼요 = When you exercise, you need to do so with the correct posture

Adjectives:
놀라다 = to be surprised

Notes:
There are many adverbs in Korean that are used in very specific situations to add feeling to the meaning in the sentence. The word “깜짝” is used in sentences where one is surprised. By putting the word “깜짝” before “놀라다,” it will make your Korean sound very good!

Example:
저는 그 사람을 보고 깜짝 놀랐어요! = I looked at that man and I was really surprised!

빠르다 = to be fast

빠르다  follows the 르 irregular. See Lesson 7 for more information.

Notes: The adverb form of this word is 빨리

Example:
그 차는 너무 빨라요 = That car is too fast
택시는 버스보다 더 빨라요 = The taxi is quicker than the bus

느리다 = to be slow

Notes:
느리다 is used when “slow” has a negative meaning, usually from moving too slow. For the positive meaning, the adverb “천천히” is used. For example: 천천히 먹어 = eat slowly

Example:
이 인터넷은 왜 이렇게 느려요? = Why is this internet so slow?

착하다 = to be nice

The pronunciation of this word is closer to “차카다”

Notes: Another common way to say “nice” is “친절하다”

Examples:
한국 사람들은 보통 아주 착해요 = Korean people are usually very nice
저의 첫 번째 친구는 착했어요 = My first friend was nice

Adverbs and Other Words:
= soon

Example:
우리가 가야 돼요 = We have to go soon
저는 선생님이 될 것입니다 = I will be a teacher soon
시험공부를 할 필요가 있어요 = I need to study soon
우리는 중국에 갈 거예요 = We are going to China soon
우리가 3주 후에 미국에 갈 예정이라서 준비를 해야 돼요 = We need to plan soon because we are scheduled to go to the US in three weeks

항상 = always

Examples:
그 여자는 항상 그렇게 걸어요 = That girl always walks like that
저는 항상 아침에 운동해요 = I always exercise in the morning
우리 아버지는 차를 항상 안전하게 운전해요= Our dad always drives his car safely
저는 항상 저녁에 음식을 먹어요 = I always eat food in the evening
제가 수업을 하면 항상 영어로 해요 = When I teach, I always do so in English
저는 항상 일요일에 낮잠 자요 = I always sleep in on Sundays
저의 아버지는 모자를 항상 써요 = My father always wears a hat

= week

Common Usages
일주일 동안 = for one week
다음 주 = next week
이번 주 = this week
지난 주 = last week

Example:
우리는 다음 에 캐나다에 갈 거예요 = We are going to Canada next week
저는 지난 에 영화를 봤어요 = I saw a movie last week
저는 지난 에 캐나다에 갔어요 = I went to Canada last week.
지난 에 저는 계획이 많았어요 = I had a lot of plans last week
저는 이번 에 계획이 없어요 = I have no plans this week
저의 여동생은 지난 에 책 2권을 읽었어요 = My sister read two books last week
저는 2 동안 열심히 일했어요 = I worked hard for 2 weeks
저는 4 동안 여자친구를 안 만났어요 = I didn’t meet my girlfriend for four weeks

아래 = bottom

Example: 여기 아래에 사인해 주세요 = Please sign below, here

There are 1050 vocabulary entries in Unit 1. All entries are linked to an audio file.
You can download all of these files in one package here.

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

 

Conjugating with Honorifics

In Lesson 5, you learned how to conjugate verbs and adjectives into the past, present and future forms. You also learned that those conjugations are hardly ever used in speech and are most often used when writing a book, test, article or diary. In this lesson, you will learn the basic word conjugations that are more commonly used in speech.

 

What are Honorifics in Korean?

To this point, you haven’t learned anything about Honorifics (from this website, at least). In Korean, depending on who you are speaking to, you must use different conjugations of the same word. The different conjugations imply respect and politeness to the person you are speaking to. Depending on that person’s age and/or seniority in relation to yours, you must speak differently to that person.

The reason this is so hard for English speakers to understand is that we have nothing like this in English. We can make some sentences sound polite by adding ‘please’ and ‘thank you,’ but you can only use those words in a limited amount of sentences. For example, if somebody asked you “where did you go yesterday?” You could respond:

I went to school yesterday.

In English, regardless of whether you were speaking to your girlfriend’s grandfather or your best friend, that sentence would look and sound exactly the same. In Korean, you must use a higher respect form when speaking to somebody older or higher in position. Unless you are literally just starting to learn Korean (in which case, some Korean people would let it pass) you must always do this.

I can share a really funny experience that happened to me. I started learning Korean a few months before I moved to Korea. I was not studying very hard or often, so my Korean was extremely basic. When I arrived at the airport in Seoul, was driven directly to my school and introduced to my principal immediately. My principal said “I am happy you are working at my school,” to which I replied:

나도 (the lower respect form of saying “me too”)

Instead of being impressed that I at least knew some words in Korean, the look on his face was as if somebody had just kidnapped his daughter.

Never, never underestimate the importance of honorific endings in Korean.

Keep in mind that all these conjugations with different honorific endings have exactly the same meaning. You will learn how to conjugate using honorifics in the following ways:

  1. Informal low respect
    Used when talking to your friends, people you are close with, people younger than you and your family.
  2. Informal high respect
    This can be used in most situations, even in formal situations despite the name being “informal.” This is usually the way most people speak when they are trying to show respect to the person they are talking to.
  3. Formal high respect
    This is a very high respect form that is used when addressing people who deserve a lot of respect from you. It is hard to describe perfectly, but honestly, the difference between ‘Informal high respect’ and ‘Formal high respect’ is not very big. As long as you speak in either of these two ways, you will not offend anyone.

The names of each form of speech might be different in every source, but I have chosen the words above to describe each form. In addition, you learned the “Plain form” in the previous lesson.

Before you start! Remember the rule you learned in Lesson 5: When adding something to a word stem, if the last vowel in the stem is ㅏ or ㅗ, you must add 아 plus whatever you are adding. If the last vowel is anything other than ㅏ or ㅗ, you must add 어 plus whatever you are adding. If the syllable of the stem is 하, you add 하여 which can be shortened to 해.

Also, in the previous lesson, you learned that if a stem of a word ends in a vowel, “~았/었다” gets merged to the actual stem itself when conjugating into the past tense.

In this lesson, two of the conjugations you will learn will require the addition of ~아/어. When adding ~아/어 to the stem of a word, the same rule applies from previous lesson. That is, if ~아/어 gets added to a stem that ends in a vowel, ~아/어 will be merged to the stem itself. For example:

가다 + ~아/어 = 가 (가 + 아)
오다 + ~아/어 = 와 (오 + 아)
배우다 + ~아/어 = 배워 (배우 + 어)
끼다 + ~아/어 = 껴 (끼 + 어)
나서다 + ~아/어 = 나서 (나서 + 어)
켜다 + ~아/어 = 켜 (켜 + 어)
하다 + ~아/어 = 해 (하 + 여)

Conversely, if a stem ends in a consonant, ~아/어 is attached to the stem, but not merged to it. For example:

먹다 + ~아/어 = 먹어 (먹 + 어)
앉다 + ~아/어 = 앉아 (앉 + 아)

There are many situations when you will have to add ~아/어 (or other vowels and consonants) to stems. Conjugating is just one of these situations. Always keep this rule in mind, as you will see it throughout this lesson, and throughout your studies.

 

Verbs
Present Tense

You learned in Lesson 5 how to conjugate verbs to the present tense by adding ㄴ/는다 to the stem of the word. To review:

먹다 = to eat (not conjugated)
나는 먹는다 = I eat (conjugated – present tense)

배우다 = to learn (not conjugated)
나는 배운다 = I learn (conjugated – present tense)

There are three more conjugations in the present tense that you should know:

1) Informal low respect
All you need to do is add ~어/아/여 to the stem of the verb:

나는 항상 저녁에 음식을 먹어 = I always eat food in the evening (먹 + 어)

나는 나의 선생님을 항상 봐 = I always see my teacher (보 + 아)

나는 항상 아침에 운동해 = I always exercise in the morning (운동하 + 여)

In Lesson 1, you were introduced to the function of ~에 as a particle which identifies a location or a time in which something occurs in a sentence. Since then, you have seen many cases of ~에 being used to indicate a place, but you have yet to see any examples of it being used to indicate a time. This is just a quick reminder that ~에 is (in addition to other things) attached to the part of sentence to indicate a time.

Also notice in the examples above that “항상” (always) is placed in two different places within a sentence. Adverbs are usually able to be placed wherever the speaker desires. The usage and placement of adverbs is discussed in Lesson 8

 

2) Informal high respect
This is done the exact same way as ‘Informal low respect’ but you also add ‘~요’ to the end of the word. Adding ~요 to the end of anything in Korean makes it more respectful:

저는 항상 저녁에 음식을 먹어요 = I always eat food in the evening (먹 + 어요)

저는 저의 선생님을 항상 봐요 = I always see my teacher (보 + 아요)

저는 항상 아침에 운동해요 = I always exercise in the morning (운동하 + 여요)

3) Formal high respect
This is done very similar to the conjugation you learned in Lesson 5 – that is, adding ~ㄴ/는다 to the stem of the word. To conjugate using the Formal high respect honorific ending, you add ~ㅂ니다/습니다 to the end of the word stem. If a word stem ends in a vowel, you add ~ㅂ to the last syllable and 니다 follows. If a word stem ends in a consonant, you add ~습니다 to the word stem.

저는 항상 저녁에 음식을 먹습니다 = I always eat food in the evening (먹 + 습니다)

저는 저의 선생님을 항상 봅니다 = I always see my teacher (보 + ㅂ니다)

저는 항상 아침에 운동합니다 = I always exercise in the morning (운동하 + ㅂ니다)

.

.

 

Past Tense

You learned in Lesson 5 how to conjugate verbs to the past tense by adding 었다/았다/였다 to the stem of the word. To review:

먹다 = to eat (not conjugated)
나는 먹었다 = I ate (conjugated – past tense)

배우다 = to learn (not conjugated)
나는 배웠다 = I learned (conjugated – past tense)

The three new conjugations should be very simple for you now:

1) Informal low respect
Instead of adding 었다/았다/였다 to a stem, remove 다 and add 어 after 었/았/였:

나는 먹었어 = I ate (먹 + 었어)
나는 들어봤어 = I listened (들어보 + 았어)
나는 운동했어 = I exercised (운동하 + 였어)

2) Informal high respect
Just add 요 to the end of the Informal low respect conjugations:

저는 먹었어요 = I ate (먹 + 었어요)
저는 들어봤어요 = I listened (들어보 + 았어요)
저는 운동했어요 = I exercised (운동하 + 였어요)

3) Formal high respect
After adding 었/았/였 instead of adding 다 add 습니다:

저는 먹었습니다 = I ate (먹 + 었습니다)
저는 들어봤습니다 = I listened (들어보 + 았습니다)
저는 운동했습니다 = I exercised (운동하 + 였습니다)

 

Future Tense

You learned in Lesson 5 how to conjugate verbs to the future tense by adding 겠다to the stem of the word. To review:

먹다 = to eat (not conjugated)
나는 먹겠다 = I will eat (conjugated – future tense)

배우다 = to learn (not conjugated)
나는 배우겠다 = I will learn (conjugated – future tense)

The three new conjugations should be very simple for you now:

1) Informal low respect
Instead of adding 겠다 to a word stem, remove 다 and add 어 after 겠:

나는 먹겠어 = I will eat (먹 + 겠어)
나는 배우겠어 = I will learn (배우 + 겠어)

 

2) Informal high respect
Just add 요 to the end of the Informal low respect conjugations:

저는 먹겠어요 = I will eat (먹 + 겠어요)
저는 배우겠어요 = I will learn (배우 + 겠어요)

 

3) Formal high respect
After 겠 instead of adding 다 add 습니다:

저는 먹겠습니다 = I will eat (먹 + 겠습니다)
저는 배우겠습니다 = I will learn (배우 + 겠습니다)

Lets try looking at all the verb conjugations you know together in one table. This table will include the conjugation you learned in Lesson 5, often called “Formal low respect,” “plain form,” or “diary form.”

먹다 Past Present Future
Informal low 먹었어 먹어 먹겠어
Informal high 먹었어요 먹어요 먹겠어요
Plain form 먹었다 먹는다 먹겠다
Formal high 먹었습니다 먹습니다 먹겠습니다

 

자다 Past Present Future
Informal low 잤어 자겠어
Informal high 잤어요 자요 자겠어요
Plain form 잤다 잔다 자겠다
Formal high 잤습니다 잡니다 자겠습니다

 

이해하다 Past Present Future
Informal low 이해했어 이해해 이해하겠어
Informal high 이해했어요 이해해요 이해하겠어요
Plain form 이해했다 이해한다 이해하겠다
Formal high 이해했습니다 이해합니다 이해하겠습니다

.

Adjectives

Thankfully, adjectives are conjugated the exact same way as verbs are when doing to with these three honorific endings. The major difference in conjugating adjectives and verbs is when conjugating in the most basic form (which we did in Lesson 5). To conjugate adjectives with ‘Informal low respect,’ Informal high respect’ and Formal high respect,’ follow the same rules as verbs:

비싸다 Past Present Future
Informal low 비쌌어 비싸 비싸겠어
Informal high 비쌌어요 비싸요 비싸겠어요
Plain form 비쌌다 비싸다 비싸겠다
Formal high 비쌌습니다 비쌉니다 비싸겠습니다

 

길다 Past Present Future
Informal low 길었어 길어 길겠어
Informal high 길었어요 길어요 길겠어요
Plain form 길었다 길다 길겠다
Formal high 길었습니다 깁니다 * 길겠습니다

*Irregular conjugation. You will learn about irregulars in the next lesson.

착하다 Past Present Future
Informal low 착했어 착해 착하겠어
Informal high 착했어요 착해요 착하겠어요
Plain form 착했다 착하다 착하겠다
Formal high 착했습니다 착합니다 착하겠습니다

There are 1250 example sentences in Unit 1.
All entries are linked to an audio file. You can download all of these files in one package here.

That’s it for this lesson! You are progressing really well in Korean! There are a few irregulars that you need to learn before anything else, so we will cover that in our next lesson.

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