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Lesson 29: Changing Verbs to Nouns with ~기 and 음/ㅁ

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Changing Verbs to Nouns ~기
~기 시작하다
~기 싫다
Actual Words
Making Lists

Changing Verbs/Adjectives to Nouns ~ㅁ/음




Click on the English word to see information and examples of that word in use. You will probably be able to understand most of the grammar in these example sentences, but some of the sentences might use grammar from later lessons. Use these sentences to give yourself a feel for how each word can be used.

A PDF file neatly presenting these words and extra information can be found here.

싸움 = a fight

The verb form of this word (싸우다) means “to fight.”

Common Usages:
몸싸움 = a physical fight
법정싸움 = a legal fight
진흙탕싸움 = an intense/vicious fight
싸움을 붙이다 = to start/pick a fight with somebody
싸움에서 이기다 = to win a fight
싸움에서 지다 = to lose a fight

나는 형이랑 싸움에서 이겼어 = I won in a fight with my brother
그 싸움은 우리 상황을 나빠지게 했어요 = That fight made our situation worse
몇몇 커플들은 이혼을 하면 법정싸움을 해요 = Some couples fight/battle in court when they get divorced

기쁨 = happiness, gladness

The adjective form of this word (기쁘다) means “to be happy/glad.”

Common Usages:
기쁨에 취하다 = to be overly happy about something
기쁨이 넘치다 = to be overflowing with joy
기쁨을 감추다 = to hide one’s happiness

행복은 작은 것에 기쁨을 찾는 것이에요 = Happiness is finding joy in little things

우리 딸이 애기를 낳을 거라는 소식을 들었을 때 저는 기쁨에 취했어요
= I was filled with joy when I heard the news that my daughter will be having a baby

놀이터에서 놀고 있는 애기의 눈에 기쁨을 볼 수 있어요
= You can see the joy in the eyes of the baby who is playing in the playground

도움 = help

The verb form of this word (돕다) means “to help.”

Notes: 도움을 주다 translates to “to give help,” but this is often said as “도와주다.” For example:
저는 엄마에게 도움을 줬어요 = I gave help to my mom
저는 엄마를 도와줬어요 = I helped my mom

The grammar behind “도와주다” is taught in Lesson 41.

Common Usages:
도움이 되다 = to be helpful
도움을 주다 = to give help
도움을 받다 = to get/receive help
도움을 요청하다 = to ask for help
도움이 필요하다 = to need help

이렇게 주무르면 도움이 되나요? = Is it helpful if I rub it like this?
도움이 필요하면 알려주세요 = If you need help, let me know

친구에게 전단지를 도시 이리저리에 붙이는 것에 대해 도움을 요청했어요
= I asked my friend for help in putting up these flyers around (here and there) the city

이 일을 다 혼자 할 수 있는 게 아니에요. 친구들로부터 도움을 많이 받아야 돼요
= This isn’t a job that you can do by yourself. You will need to get a lot of help from your friends

걸음 = step

The verb form of this word (걷다) means “to walk.”

천 리 길도 한 걸음부터 = You’ve got to start somewhere
(“Even a journey/path of a thousand steps has to start with the first step”)

한 걸음 물러서 주시기 바랍니다 = Please take a step back
저의 다리가 길어서 걸음이 다른 사람보다 조금 더 빨라요  = My steps are a little faster than other people’s because my legs are long

죽음 = death

The verb form of this word (죽다) means “to die.”

Common Usages:
죽음에 직면하다 = to be confronted with death
죽음을 맞다 = to meet death (to die)
죽음을 각오하다 = to prepare for death

나는 아빠의 죽음을 잊지 않았어 = I didn’t forget the death of my father
죽음은 저에게 두렵지 않아요 = Death isn’t scary to me
그의 엄마의 죽음이 그의 성격에 영향을 미쳤어요 = The death of his mother affected his personality

느낌 = a feeling

The verb form of this word (느끼다) means “to feel.”

Common Usages:
느낌표 = exclamation mark
느낌을 주다 = to make an impression
느낌이 좋다 = to feel food, for a feeling to be good

저의 눈에 뭔가 있는 느낌이 나요 = I have a feeling that there is something in my eye
매우 부드럽고도 이상한 느낌이었다 = It had a very soft, but also a very strange feel
오히려 29살에 열심히 일하는 당당한 여자가 될 것 같은 좋은 느낌이 든다 = Contrary to what you think, I have a good feeling that at 29 (years of age) I will become a hard-working, confident woman.

행정 = administration

Notes: 행정 is usually found before another noun to describe it. At this point, the most common place you will find this word is in “행정실,” which refers to the administration office.

저는 행정부장께 서류를 다 드렸어요 = I gave all of the documents to the admin boss
그 도장을 종이에 찍으러 행정실에 갔어요 = In order to get that stamp on the paper, I went to the admin office
행정부가 직원 연봉 모두를 지불하는 책임이 있어요 = The administration department has the responsibility of paying all of the employees’ salary

구역 = zone, area

This word appears in Korean Sign Explanation Video 15.

Common Usages:
흡연구역 = smoking area
금연구역 = non-smoking area
주차금지구역 = no parking area
어린이보호구역 = “children’s protection area” (be careful of children playing)

이곳은 흡연 구역이라서 담배를 피워도 돼요 = This is a smoking area, so you are allowed to smoke
화장실을 금연구역으로 지정했으니 양해와 협조 바랍니다 = We appreciate your cooperation with us designating this bathroom as a non-smoking area

보행자 = pedestrian

Common Usages:
보행자주의 = be careful of pedestrians
보행자신호등 = light (like a traffic light) for pedestrians

이 길은 보행자 전용이에요 = This is a path for only pedestrians
자전거를 타면 보행자를 조심해야 돼요 = When you ride your bike, you must be careful of pedestrians

좌석 = seat

Notes: This word is very similar to the word “자리,” but 자리 is more broad and can be used to refer to any place that is/can be occupied by something/someone. On the other hand, 좌석 is more specific and only refers to a place that one sits in (in a car, a stadium, etc…). It can sometimes be similar to the word “의자” (chair), but 의자 is even more specific and refers to an actual chair itself. For example, a seat to sit on while riding the subway can be referred to as “자리” (because it is a place that can be occupied) or “좌석” (because it refers to a place that one sits in), but not “의자” (because it is not a chair).

Common Usages:
좌석 버스 = a certain type of bus in Korea with little standing room, but a lot of seats
임산부좌석 = a seat for pregnant women
앞 좌석 = a front-row seat

혹시 무대에 더 가까운 좌석이 있어요? = Do you happen to have a seat closer to the stage?
제가 임산부좌석에 앉아 있었는데 임산부가 버스를 타서 자리에 일어나야 되었어요 = I was sitting the seat reserved for pregnant women, but then a pregnant woman got on the bus, so I had to get up

사전 = dictionary

Common Usages:
단어를 사전에서 찾다 = to look up a word in a dictionary
백과사전 = encyclopedia
전자사전 = electronic dictionary
영한사전 = a Korean-English dictionary

그 단어의 뜻을 사전에 찾아야 돼요 = You should look up the meaning of that word in the dictionary

언어 = language

Notes: When referring to a specific foreign language or foreign languages in general, it is more common to use the word “외국어” (foreign language). “언어” usually refers to languages in general.

Common Usages:
언어능력 = language ability
제2언어 = a second language
언어장애 = a speech impediment
언어를 습득하다 = to pick up a language
언어학 = linguistics
국제언어 = international language

그 사람이 특별한 언어 능력이 있어요 = That person has a special ability with languages
애기들이 언어를 어떻게 배우는지에 관심이 있어요 = I am interested in how babies learn languages

국어 = the Korean language

Notes: 국어 refers to the national language of the country. Therefore, in Korean, it typically refers to the Korean language. The word “한국어” is usually used to refer to the Korean language in sentences, but 국어 is more likely to be placed before another noun to describe it.

Common Usages:
국어수업 = Korean class
국어능력시험 = Korean proficiency exam
국어교육학과 = a department of Korean (language) education
모국어 = one’s mother tongue

제가 제일 싫어하는 수업은 국어입니다 = The class I dislike the most is Korean

노동자 = laborer

Notes: The word “근로자” is very similar.

Common Usages:
공장 노동자 = a factory worker
노동자의 권익 = the rights of laborers

5월 1일은 노동자가 쉬는 휴일이에요 = May the 1st is a holiday for laborers
저의 아빠가 그냥 노동자예요 = My dad is just a regular worker/laborer
노동자들은 다 파업 중이에요 = All the workers/laborers are on strike

음악가 = musician

저는 미래에 훌륭한 음악가가 되고 싶어요 = I want to be a great musician in the future

능력 = capabilities

The pronunciation of this word is closer to “능녁”

Common Usages:
언어능력 = language ability
능력을 기르다 = to raise/develop one’s abilities

그 사람이 특별한 언어 능력이 있어요 = That person has a special ability with languages
좋은 회사에서 일자리를 구할 만큼의 능력이 없어요 = I don’t have the ability to find a job at a good company

자료 = data

Notes: I always get confused when to use the words 자료 and 재료, as their meanings are slightly similar. 자료 refers to data that you get from some sort of study or research. 재료 refers to “materials” or “ingredients” that you use to make something.

Common Usages:
자료를 수집하다 = to collect data/material
자료를 모으다 = to collect data/material
연구자료 = research data

실험을 하기 전에 자료를 수집해요 = To collect data before doing an experiment
다솜아! 내가 이것저것 자료 모아 왔어! 우리 해리포터 촬영했었던 대학교도 가 보자! = Dasom! I (collected and then) brought lots of (this and that) reference materials! Let’s go to the
University where they filmed Harry Potter, too!

제품 = products

Common Usages:
신제품 = new product
공장에서 만들어진 제품 = products made in a factory

Examples: 제품이 언제 와요? = When will the products come?
우리가 그 제품을 내일 받을 거예요 = We will receive those products tomorrow
제품을 트럭에 다 실었어요? = Did you load all of the products onto the truck?

사업 = business

Notes: This word usually refers to a business that a person owns. Many words in Korean translate to “business” in English and are often confused with the word 사업. Some examples:

작업: usually used to refer to physical work/labor that one does, usually with his or her hands
업무: usually used to refer to administrative work that one does
영업: usually used to refer to business as it relates to buying and selling things
기업: usually used to refer to a company, often with other words placed before 기업  (대기업)

Common Usages:
사업을 운영하다 = to run/manage a business
사업을 확장하다 = to expand one’s business
사업을 벌이다 = to start a business

사업이 잘 되고 있어요? = Is your business going well?
저는 사업을 해요 = I run/have my own business

감정 = emotion

Common Usages:
감정을 감추다 = to hide/conceal one’s emotions
감정을 나타내다 = to show one’s emotions
감정을 표현하다 = to show/express one’s emotions
감정을 (억)누르다 = to suppress one’s emotions
감정적이다 = emotional
감정이 섬세하다 = for one’s emotions to be delicate

그녀는 처음으로 감정을 드러냈어요 = For the first time, she revealed her emotions

저는 남자 친구에게 슬픈 감정을 보여주고 싶지 않았어요
= I didn’t want to show my sad emotions to my boyfriend

제가 지금 느끼는 감정을 설명하기 어려워요
= It is difficult for me to explain the emotions I am feeling now

여자 친구가 다른 남자랑 같이 있는 것을 봤을 때 여러 가지의 감정을 느꼈어요
= I felt many types of emotions when I saw my girlfriend with another man

= uncooked rice

Notes: In English, “rice” could refer to cooked or uncooked rice. If I went to the store, I would tell you to buy “rice,” and I wouldn’t specify that you should buy “uncooked rice.” In Korean, when you go to the store to buy rice, you shouldn’t use “밥” to refer to rice. “밥” in this case would generally refer to food. “쌀” is the word used for uncooked rice – the type of rice you would find in a massive sack at the supermarket.

Common Usages:
쌀을 씻다 = to wash rice (Korean people usually “wash/rinse” their rice before cooking it)
쌀밥 = steamed rice
찹쌀 = a type of gluttonous rice cake

쌀을 씻은 후에 밥솥에 넣으면 됩니다 = After washing the rice, you can put it in the rice-cooker

방송 = broadcast

Common Usages:
방송국 = a broadcasting corporation
생방송 = a live broadcast
방송을 듣다/보다 = to listen to/watch a broadcast

저는 그 경기 생방송을 보고 있어요 = I am watching a live broadcast of that game
그 메시지가 학교전체에 방송되었어요 = That message was broadcasted throughout the whole school
이 프로그램이 열 개의 나라에서 동시에 방송되고 있다 = This program is being broadcasted in 10 countries simultaneously

접시 = plate

The pronunciation of this word is closer to “접씨”

Common Usages:
접시를 깨다 = to break a plate
접시에 음식을 놓다/담다 = to put food on a plate

들고 있던 접시를 거의 떨어뜨릴 뻔 했어요 = I almost dropped the plate I was holding

역할 = role

The pronunciation of this word is closer to “여칼”

Common Usages:
역할을 맡다 = to take on a role

저는 연극에서 마법사역할을 맡을 거예요 = I will play the role of the witch in the play
선생님들은 학생들에게 큰 영향을 주는 역할을 해요 = Teachers have/play a role that greatly influences students

정보 = information

Common Usages:
개인정보 = personal information
정보를 모으다/수집하다 = to collect information
정보과학 = information sciences (a class in some high schools. Typically just “computer” class)

그것은 개인적인 정보예요 = That is personal information
저는 그 정보를 공유하고 싶지 않아요 = I don’t want to share that information
우리가 통화할 때마다 정부는 우리 개인적인 정보를 다 듣고 있어요 = Every time we talk on the phone, the government is listening to our personal information

모양 = shape

Notes: 모양 is generally used to mean “shape.” For example:
종이를 이런 모양으로 접어 보세요 = try folding the paper into this type of shape

네모 모양 안경을 쓰는 사람이 점점 많아지고 있어요
= There are more and more people wearing square (shaped) glasses

나무 모양 버튼을 누르면 그 나무에 대한 정보가 나올 것이다
= If you press the tree-shaped button, you can hear information about that tree

It can also be used to refer to one’s general feelings or dignity – usually after they have been damaged to some extent. For example:
얼굴이 이 모양이면 밖에 나가기 싫어요 = I don’t want to go outside with my face in this state

It is also used as a noun after the future ~는 것 principle to indicate that some situation “looks like” something. This is often seen as a separate grammatical principle, and hasn’t been covered in our Lessons yet. For example:
학교에서 재미있는 것을 많이 배울 모양이에요 = It looks like you are learning lots of fun things at school

마을 = village/town

Common Usages:
마을버스 = village bus

이 마을의 이름이 뭐예요? = What is the name of this town?
우리가 다음 마을에서 멈출 거예요 = Shall we stop in the next town?
어느 마을에서 쌍둥이가 태어났어요 = Twins were born in some town

합법 = legal

Common Usages:
합법화 = legalization

한국에서는 길거리에서 술을 마시는 것은 합법이다 = It is legal to drink alcohol on the streets in Korea
미국에서는 총을 가지고 있는 것은 합법이다 = It is legal to have a gun in America

불법 = illegal

This word appears in Korean Sign Explanation Video 11.

Common Usages:
불법화 = illegalization
불법행위 = some form of illegal act

슬기는 불법인 일을 하고 있어요 = Seulgi is doing something illegal
우리학교 안에 담배를 피우거나 술을 마시는 것은 불법이에요 = It is illegal to smoke cigarettes or drink alcohol inside the school

효과 = effects

This word appears in Korean Sign Explanation Video 14.

Common Usages:
효과적이다 = effective
효과음 = sound effects
효과가 있다 = to have an effect

이 약은 우울증에 효과가 있다 = This medicine has an effect on depression
피부에 이 로션의 효과는 매우 좋아요 = The effect this lotion has on your skin is really good
스포츠 마사지를 받은 그 다음 날에 효과를 느낄 수 있다 = You can feel the effects of a sports massage the day after you get it

순간 = moment, second

This word appears in Korean Sign Explanation Video 12.

Common Usages:
어느 순간 = at some point
바로 그 순간 = at that exact moment

그 순간은 아주 소중했어요 = That moment was very precious

저는 그 순간에 교실에 잘못 들어온 것을 깨달았어요
= I realized at that moment that I came in the wrong class

애기가 기어 다니기 시작하자마자 그 순간을 놓치지 않게 카메라로 찍었어요
= As soon as the baby started crawling, we started taking pictures with the camera to not miss the moment

확대하다 = to expand, to enlarge

The pronunciation of this word is closer to “확때하다”
The noun form of this word (“확대”) translates to something like “magnification”

Notes: In addition to “expanding” things like a business or sales, this word is also used to enlarge something on a computer. In this sense, it often translates to “zoom”

Common Usages:
확대경 = magnification
확대율 = The amount (level of ) magnification

사진을 잘 안 보여서 조금만 확대해 주세요 = I can’t see the picture, so please zoom in a bit
2014년부터 그 제품을 수입해서 사업을 확대했어요 = Our business has expanded since 2014 because we imported that product

검색하다 = to search for, to surf the internet

The pronunciation of this word is closer to “검새카다”
You will commonly see the noun form of this word (검색) on clickable buttons on the internet allowing you to “search”

Common Usages:
인터넷에 검색하다 = to search on the internet

그 단어를 네이버에 검색했어요 = I looked up that word on “Naver”
(Naver is a popular Korean search engine)

훔치다 = to steal

Common Usages:
지갑을 훔치다 = to steal a purse/wallet
마음을 훔치다 = to steal somebody’s heart
돈을 훔치다 = to steal money

저는 그가 음식을 훔치는 것을 봤어요 = I saw him steal food

강타는 멋진 노래로 소녀들의 마음을 훔쳤어요
= Kangta (a popular K-Pop idol in the 90s) stole the hearts of girls with the cool song

저의 돈을 훔치고 범죄자들은 어둠으로 사라졌어요
= The criminals disappeared into the darkness after stealing my money

즐기다 = to enjoy oneself

우리가 이 파티를 즐긴 만큼 너도 즐겼으면 좋겠어
= I hope you enjoyed the party to the extent that we enjoyed it

청소를 하고 나는 내가 제일 즐겨 읽는 잡지 한 권을 챙겨 길을 나섰다
= After cleaning, I grabbed the magazine that I enjoy reading the most and left my house

변하다 = to have changed

Notes: This word is not used to say that one changed something. Rather, it is used to say that something changed in the passive sense. Therefore, you will not see this word used with an object (something with ~을/를 attached). It is common to use ~(으)로 to indicate what the thing changed to.

Common Usages:
마음이 변하다 = for one’s mind to change
시대가 변하다 = for times to change
색깔이 변하다 = for a color to change

가을에 잎의 색깔은 변해요  = The color of the leaves changes in the fall
해질녘에 하늘 전체는 아름다운 색깔로 변했다 = At sunset, the entire sky turned a beautiful color

붙이다 = to stick/stamp/label/attach

The pronunciation of this word is closer to “부치다”
The passive form of this word is “붙다” (to be stuck onto/attached)

Common Usages:
편지에 우표를 붙이다 = to put a stamp on a letter
스티커를 붙이다 = to stick a sticker (on something)
덧붙이다 = to add something else (on top of something already)

그 종이를 공책에 풀로 붙이세요 = Stick that paper to your notebook using glue

사람들이 모두 볼 수 있게 안내문을 벽에 붙였다
= (I) posted (attached) an information sign on the wall so that all the people (can) see it

친구에게 전단지를 도시 이리저리에 붙이는 것에 대해 도움을 요청했어요
= I asked my friend for help in putting up these flyers around (here and there) the city

쳐다보다 = to stare

Common Usages:
쳐다보지 마세요 = Don’t stare

저를 쳐다보지 말아 주세요! = Please don’t stare at me!
그녀는 저를 쳐다보면서 그냥 앉아 있었어요 = She sat there while just staring at me
제가 밥을 먹는 동안 그는 저를 계속 쳐다봤어요 = While I was eating, he kept staring at me
저의 여자친구는 운동하면서 운동하고 있는 다른 남자들을 항상 쳐다봐요 = My girlfriend always stares at other guys when she is exercising

모이다 = to gather, to congregate

Notes: The word “모으다” is used when a subject is collecting some sort of objects. “모이다” is used when the subjects themselves are gathering.

Common Usages:
모임 = a meeting

새들이 작은 떼로 모여서 다 같이 날아갔어요
= The birds gathered in a small group and then all flew away together

그 식품을 파는 회사의 대표가 다 서울에서 모였어요
= The representative from companies who sell this food product all met in Seoul

그 결정을 항의하고 싶은 사람들은 모여서 정부에게 불평했다
= The people who wanted to protest that decision all met and complained to the government

낳다to give birth

The pronunciation of this word is closer to “나타”

Common Usages:
애기를 낳다 = to give birth to a baby
아들을 낳다 = to give birth to a son
딸을 낳다 = to give birth to a daughter

애기를 몇 명 낳고 싶어요? = How many babies do you want to (have?) give birth too?
그녀는 이번 달에 애기를 낳을 예정이에요 = She is scheduled to give birth this month
우리 딸이 애기를 낳을 거라는 소식을 들었을 때 저는 기쁨에 취했어요 = I was filled with joy when I heard the news that my daughter will be having a baby

넘다 = to cross over, to climb over

The pronunciation of this word is closer to “넘따”

Common Usages:
줄넘기 = skipping rope
뛰어 넘다 = to run over something
한도를 넘다 = to go over (exceed) a limit

우리는 6시 조금 넘게 도착할 거예요 = We will arrive a little bit past 6:00
우리는 서울역 조금 넘게 갈 거예요 = We are going to go a little bit past Seoul Station
우리가 하루에 쓸 수 있는 한도를 넘었어요 = We went over/exceeded the limit we can spend in a day

Person 1: 숙소비가 얼마예요? 10만원? = How much is the lodging fee? 100,000 won?
Person 2: 아니요. 10만원 조금 넘어요 = No. A little more than 100,000 won

주차하다 = to park a car

This word appears in Korean Sign Explanation Video 11.

The noun form of this word (주차) translates to “parking”

Common Usages:
주차장 = parking lot
주차금지 = no parking
주차금지구역 = no parking area
지하 주차장 = underground parking lot

차를 스스로 주차했어요? = Did you park the car by yourself?
백화점에 외부에도 주차장이 있어요 = There is a parking lot outside the department store as well

보호하다 = to protect

The noun form of this word (보호) translates to “protection”

Common Usages:
보호자 = a protector/guardian
자연을 보호하다 = to protect nature
환경을 보호하다 = to protect the environment
어린이보호구역 = Children’s protection area (child safety zone)

그 연약한 청소년은 자기 부모로부터 보호가 필요해요
= That vulnerable child needs protection from her parents

미국은 피난들에게 적당한 보호를 제공하지 않아요
= America doesn’t provide adequate protection to refugees

표현하다 = to express

The noun form of this word (표현) translates to “expression”

Examples: 남자가 여자에게 자기 마음을 표현했어요
= The man expressed his feelings to the girl
제가 표현할 수 없을 만큼 학생들에게 감동을 받았어요 = I’m impressed from the students to the point that I can’t express myself (I can’t express how much I am impressed by my students)

Passive Verbs:
붙다 = to be stuck

The pronunciation of this word is closer to “붇따”

Common Usages:
면접에 붙었다 = to pass an interview
시험에 붙다 = to pass an exam

벽에 붙어 있는 광고를 봤어요? = Did you see the advertisement that is attached to the wall?
이 스티커가 저의 셔츠에 하루 종일 붙어 있었어요 = This sticker was attached to my shirt all day

Adverbs and Other words:
현대 = modern times

Notes: 현대 is the Korean name for the company “Hyundai.” Although famous for cars in North America, 현대 is a massive conglomerate that has many areas of business (construction, apartments, department stores, etc…)

Common Usages:
현대인 = a modern man
현대화 = modernization
현대사 = modern history

현대 사람들은 전보다 고기를 덜 먹어요 = Modern people don’t eat as much meat as they used to
현대는 새로운 기술이 사람들에게 바로 받아들이는 시대예요 = Present days are a time when new technology is adopted/accepted by people right away

직접 = directly

The pronunciation of this word is closer to “직쩝”

Common Usages:
직접 번역하다 = to translate directly
직접 주다/받다 = to receive/give something in person
직접 보다 = to see something in person

주소를 바꾸려면 직접 와야 돼요 = if you intend to change your address, you must come in person

제가 집에서 커피를 직접 만들 수 있도록 원두를 샀어요
= I bought coffee beans so that I can make coffee at home

직접 해본 실험을 통해 과학에 관심이 생기기 시작했다
= I started to be interested in science through (from) doing experiments in person

장모님께 선물을 직접 드리고 싶었는데 우리가 만나지 못하기 때문에 택배로 보내야겠어요
= I wanted to give my mother in law a present in person, but we didn’t meet, so I have to mail it to her

스스로 = for oneself/by oneself

저는 한국어를 스스로 배웠어요 = I learned Korean by myself
저는 그 일을 누구의 도움도 없이 스스로 하고 싶어요  = I want to do this work by myself, without the help of anybody else

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In the past few lessons, you have learned a lot about adding ~는 (or ㄴ/은 for past tense and ㄹ/을 for future tense) to verb stems to turn them into descriptive words that can describe nouns. One more time, for example:

밥을 먹다 = to eat rice
밥을 먹는 사람 = the person who eats rice

빨리 가다 = to go fast
내가 빨리 가는 곳 = the place I am going to fast

A lot of times, the noun following the descriptive verb is 것, which allows an entire sentence to be turned into a noun:

나는 사과를 가져온다 = I bring apples – is a sentence
내가 사과를 가져오는 것 – is the same sentence as above, but in noun form. This noun can now be placed in other sentences just like other nouns:

나의 여자 친구는 내가 사과를 가져오는 것을 원했다 = My girlfriend wanted me to bring apples

So that’s what you already know. What you don’t know is that in addition to the ~는 것 principle, there are other ways that you can modify verbs to change them into nouns. We will look at this today.



Changing Verbs to Nouns ~

Adding ~기 to the stem of a verb changes that verb into a noun. The noun can technically be used like any other noun:

가다 = to go
가기 = the noun form of “to go”

읽다 = to read
읽기 = the noun form of “to read”

먹다 = to eat
먹기 = the noun form of “to eat”

So… the million dollar question is, “what is the difference between ‘~는 것’ and ‘~기’?”

Well, first, notice exactly what ~는 것 is. Adding ~는 to a verb stem allows you to describe nouns (것, 사람, 음식, etc…). Adding ~기 to a verb stem does not allow you to describe anything. It just turns verbs into nouns.

But, turning verbs into nouns is one of the functions of ~는 것. Remember, there are two main functions of ~는 것:

1) To change verbs into things that can describe nouns:
밥을 먹고 있는 사람 = the person who is eating rice

2) To change a clause into a noun
사과를 가져오는 것 = the noun form of “to bring apples” – “bringing apples”

Adding ~기 is essentially the same as the second function described above. That is, you can use ~기 to turn a clause into a noun – but you cannot use ~기 to describe nouns. So this:

내가 사과를 가져오는 것 and 내가 사과를 가져오기 essentially have the same meaning, being “the noun form of “to bring apples.”

Which means you can use ~기 in sentences like:

나의 여자 친구는 내가 사과를 가져오기를 원해 = My girlfriend wants me to bring apples

Technically you can say it that way, but I very rarely hear verbs turned into nouns using ~기 in that way. If you ask a Korean person, they will say that sentence sounds fine, but somebody like me who analyzes grammar will notice that it is not used as much as “나의 여자 친구는 내가 사과를 가져오 을 원해.”

However, there are certain cases where using ~기 is more natural than using ~는 것. In later lessons, you will see ~기 used in various grammatical principles. For example:

~기 때문에 (Lesson 38)
~기도 하고 (Lesson 51)
~기 바라다 (Lesson 61)
~기로 하다 (Lesson 87)

Before you see ~기 being applied in those grammatical principles, I would like to introduce some simple, practical uses of ~기 that you can use right away.


When one “starts” an action, you can attach ~기 to the verb that starts to occur followed by 시작하다. For example:

가다 = to go
가기 시작하다 = to start to go

먹다 = to eat
먹기 시작하다 = to start to eat

These types of constructions can then be placed in sentences. For example:

나는 밥을 벌써 먹기 시작했어 = I already started to eat
다음 달에 한국어를 배우기 시작할 거야 = I will start learning Korean next month

어제부터 사람들이 거기서 모이기 시작했어요
= People started gathering there from yesterday

쌀을 물에 넣은 후에 쌀의 색깔이 변하기 시작했어요
= After I put the rice in the water, the color of the rice started to change

이상한 행동을 한 다음에 사람들이 저를 쳐다보기 시작했어요
= After acting strangely, people started staring at me

When you want to say that you stop something, it is more common to use the ~는 것 form:

다음 달에 한국어를 배우기 시작할 거야 = I will start learning Korean next month
다음 달에 한국어를 배우는 것을 그만할 거야 = I will stop learning Korean next month



It is also very common to put verbs before ~기 싫다 to indicate that you don’t want to do something. Literally, this translates to “I don’t like _____”

밥을 먹기 싫어 = I don’t want to eat
가기 싫어 = I don’t want to go
쌀을 씻기 싫어요 = I don’t want to wash the rice

It is possible to use this with the word 좋다 (the opposite of 싫다), however, it is not that common in Korean. Instead, it sounds more natural to use ~고 싶다.


Actual Words

There are also a handful of words where it is common to use the ~기 form as an actual word.

For example, if you are going for a run, I could use the word “달리기”
저는 달리기를 할 거예요 = I will go for a run

The word for skipping (jump-rope skipping) is the word 줄 (rope) combined with the word 넘다 (going over) with ~기:
저는 줄넘기를 못해요 = I’m bad at skipping

When writing a language test, there will often be many sections. For example, there might be a “writing” section, a “reading” section and a “listening” section:

Writing = 쓰기
Reading = 읽기
Listening = 듣기

Here’s an example of these actually being used in a sentence:

Person 1: 시험은 어땠어?
Person 2: 쓰기랑 듣기는 너무 어려웠어. 하지만 읽기는 너무 쉬웠어.

Person 1: How was the exam?
Person 2: The writing and listening (parts) were really hard. But the reading (part) was really easy.




Making Lists
When making a list of things that you are going to do, it is also common to end the phrase by using ~기. This essentially makes the entire phrase a noun, which is similar to what we do in English. For example, if I made a to-do list, I could write:

커피를 만들기 = Make coffee
책상을 정리하기 = Organize my desk
방 청소하기 = Clean my room
쌀을 사기 = Buy rice
인터넷에 자료를 검색하기 = Look for data on the internet

Another example; if I made a list of goals for myself for the year, I could write:

매일매일을 즐기기 = Enjoy every day
집 청소를 매일 하기 = Clean the house every day
숙제를 매일 하기 = Do my homework every day
감정을 표현하기 = Show my emotions
책을 매일 읽기 = Read books every day
운동을 등록하기 = Register at a gym (to exercise)

Here’s a list that appears on a Korean street sign. You can see that ~기 is used. Watch me break this down, along with all of the other grammar and vocabulary in the sign.




On a computer, if you wanted to “zoom” in on a picture, you would press the “zoom” button. In Korean, the verb “zoom” is “확대하다.” On Korean computers, they usually don’t put verbs on buttons on the screen – instead they put the noun form of the verb. For ~하다 verbs, the noun form is easy to find. The noun form of 확대하다 is 확대. Simple.

But, what is the noun form of 보다? (to see)

What about 열다? (to open)

If you wanted to see something on a Korean screen, or click on the “view” button at the top of every screen, you would have to press “보기.”

If you wanted to open something, you could press the “열기” button.

Want to close something? Press “닫기.”

Want to search? You might see a “찾기” button or “검색” – which is the noun form of 검색하다 also meaning “search/find.”

Want to send an e-mail? You would have to press “보내기.”

There are a lot of applications for ~기, they just might not seem apparent at the moment. As you learn more and more Korean grammar, you will see that there will be more applications where you can use ~기. In later lessons, you will see ~기 paired up with other grammatical principals.

Up to now, the applications you should be aware of are:

1) Turning any verb into a noun: 사과를 가져오기, 달리기
2) Put before 시작하다: 먹기 시작했다
3) Put before 싫다: 먹기 싫어
4) Making Lists: 쌀을 사기
5) On buttons: 보내기

Before we go any further, let’s look at another way you can turn verbs (or even adjectives) into nouns.



Changing Verbs/Adjectives to Nouns ~/

Adding ㅁ/음 to verbs or adjectives to turn them into nouns. ㅁ gets added to stems ending in a vowel, and 음 gets added after stems that end in a consonant.

This form can be used to change entire sentences into noun forms, just like with ~는 것:

나는 네가 먹고 있는 것을 알았어 = I knew you were eating
나는 네가 먹고 있기를 알았어 – sounds wrong to a Korean person, but would look correct to a foreign learner of Korean
나는 네가 먹고 있음을 알았어 = I knew you were eating

Like I said earlier. You can use ㅁ/음 to turn entire sentences into nouns, but this is rarely done in speech. It is done much more commonly in books/poems (for whatever reason).

The main usage of ㅁ/음 is to turn single words (verbs or adjectives) into nouns, and not full sentences. Some of these you may have already come across:

싸우다 = to fight
싸움 = a fight

꾸다 = to dream
꿈 = a dream

아프다 = to be sore/sick
아픔 = pain

기쁘다 = to be happy/glad
기쁨 = happiness/gladness

돕다 = to help
도움 = help

죽다 = to die
죽음 = death

걷다 = to walk
걸음 = a step

느끼다 = to feel
느낌 = a feeling

Adding ㅁ/음 to verbs/adjectives is usually done to words that don’t end in 하다. The reason for this is because there is already a very simple way to make a 하다 verb/adjective a noun – by removing the 하다 from the rest of the word (설명하다 = to explain – 설명 = an explanation).

These noun form words can then be added to sentences as usual:
나는 형이랑 싸움에서 이겼어 = I won in a fight with my brother
나는 아빠의 죽음을 잊지 않았어 = I didn’t forget the death of my father


In Lesson 7, you learned how irregular words change as a result of adding different additions. This is the first time you have been introduced to adding ~ㅁ/음. Let’s look at how irregulars change as a result of adding this grammatical principle.

  • The ㅅ irregular, ㄷ irregular and ㅂ irregular all follow the same rules that were introduced in Lesson 7. The addition of the vowel causes a change (or elimination) of the last letter of the stem.
  • The ㅡ and 르 irregular are not affected by this addition.
  • Adding ~ㅁ/음 to a word that follows the ㄹ irregular brings about a change you are not familiar with. Normally, you would add ~ㅁto the stem of a word ending in a vowel, and ~음 to the stem of a word ending in a consonant. For example:
    • 싸우다 + ~ㅁ/음 = 싸움
    • 죽다 + ~ㅁ/음 = 죽음
  • However, when you add ~ㅁ/음 to a stem of a word that ends in ㄹ, ㅁ is added beside the ㄹ and a double consonant is created. Korean people often don’t even know this rule.In fact, this is how some common nouns are created in Korean. The verb 살다 means “to live.” The addition of ㅁ to the stem of the verb creates the noun “삶,” meaning “life” or “living.”
  • Adding ~ㅁ/음 causes a change to ㅎ irregular words. The ㅎ is removed, and ~ㅁ is added to the stem. For example:
    • 그렇다 + ~ㅁ/음 = 그럼

Below is a table showing the changes that result from adding ~ㅁ/음 to a word.

Irregular Word + ~ㅁ/음
ㅅ Irregular 짓다 (to build) 지음
ㄷ Irregular 걷다 (to walk) 걸음
ㅂ Irregular 쉽다 (to be easy) 쉬움
ㅂ Irregular 돕다 (to help) 도움
ㅡ Irregular 잠그다 (to lock) 잠금
르 Irregular 다르다 (to be different) 다름
ㄹIrregular 살다 (to live)
ㅎ Irregular 그렇다 (to be like that) 그럼

Notice that I also included the word 돕다. As you learned in Lesson 7 – ㅂ changes to 오 when ~아/어 (or any derivative) is added. When any other vowel is added, ㅂ changes to 우 as you can see above.

You will see these same changes to irregulars anytime you add something that begins in ~ㅁ/음. For example:

~ㅁ/음에도 (Lesson 74)


In Lesson 23, you learned about the word 그렇다. ~ㅁ/음 is commonly added to this word when somebody asks a question and you just say “yeah, of course.” This is basically the same as saying “yes,” but it would be more like “Yes, it is like that.” For example:

운동을 매일 해요? = Do you exercise every day?
그럼요 = Yes (it is like that)

차를 스스로 주차했어요? = Did you park the car by yourself?
그럼요 = Yes (it is like that)

Notice that you can add “요” to make the response formal. In informal situations, this can be removed.

This is one of the usages of 그럼. 그럼 actually has other usages, but these are actually a contraction of a grammatical principal that you haven’t learned yet, so I will not introduce you to these here.

Here’s a Korean sign that uses ~ㅁ/음. Watch me break this down, along with all of the other grammar and vocabulary in the sign.

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