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Lesson 3: Korean Verbs/Adjectives

Click here for a Workbook to go along with this lesson.

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Quick Notes about Korean Verbs and Adjectives
Korean Verbs
Korean Adjectives
Possessive Particle: 의
To Like: 좋다 and 좋아하다
We, Us, and Our (우리)


Click here for a free PDF of this lesson.

The following videos are available to reinforce the concepts taught in this lesson:
Sentence Practice, Dictation, Apply Yourself, Word Listening, Lesson Recap

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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 and example sentences in addition to common usages and specific notes can be found here.

Want to give your brain practice at recognizing these words? Try finding the words in this vocabulary list in a Word Search.

음식 = food

Common Usages:
맛있는 음식 = delicious food
음식을 먹다 = to eat food
음식점 = restaurant, literally “food place”

저는 음식을 많이 먹었어요 = I ate a lot of food
이 많아요 = There is a lot of food
저는 항상 저녁에 음식을 먹어요 = I always eat food in the evening
요즘에 사람들이 매운 음식을 먹지 않아요 = These days, people don’t eat spicy food
저는 한국 음식이 그리워요 = I miss Korean food
저는 음식이 만족스러웠어요 = I was satisfied with the food
저는 내일부터 건강한 음식만 먹을 거예요 = From tomorrow, I am going to eat only healthy food
대부분 사람들은 이런 음식을 좋아해요 = Most people like this kind of food

케이크 = cake

Literally the English pronunciation of “cake” spelled out in Korean

저는 생일에 케이크를 먹고 싶어요 = I want to eat cake on my birthday
저는 저 케이크를 먹고 싶어요 = I want to eat that cake
케이크를 만든 사람은 진짜 잘 만들었어요 = the person who made this cake made it really well
케이크를 만들 때 쿠키도 만들 거예요 = When I make a cake, I will also make cookies

공항 = airport

Common Usages:
인천국제공항 = Incheon International Airport
공항버스 = Airport bus
공항철도 = Airport railroad

저는 인천공항에서 출발했어요 = I departed from Incheon airport
저는 어제 공항에 처음 갔어요 = I went to the airport for the first time yesterday

병원 = hospital

Notes: In English, I would only go to the “hospital” if I was really sick, and I would “go to the doctor” if I had some minor illness. In Korean, they go to the hospital for minor and major problems. This is because even small doctors’ offices are referred to as a “병원.” If you are really sick, you would probably need to go to a “대학병원.”

Common Usages:
병원비 = hospital bills
대학병원 = university hospital
동물병원 = animal hospital (vet)
병원에 입원하다 = to be admitted to a hospital
병원에서 퇴원하다 = to finish treatment and leave a hospital

저는 아파서 병원에 갈 거예요 = I’m going to the hospital because I am sick
저는 저의 친구를 병원에서 봤어요 = I saw my friend at the hospital
저는 먼 병원에 갔어요 = I went to a far away hospital (a hospital that is far away)
엄마가 어디에 있어요? 병원에 갔어요? = Where is mom? Did she go to the hospital?

공원 = park

Common Usages:
놀이공원 = amusement park
국립공원 = national park

친구들이랑 공원에서 놀았어요 = I played in the park with friends
저는 남편을 공원에서 만날 거예요 = I will meet my husband at the park
저는 아버지랑 공원에 갈 거예요 = I will go to the park with my dad
저는 내일 공원에 갈 거예요 = I am going to the park tomorrow
나는 공원에서 친구를 만났어 = I met a friend at the park
우리는 공원에서(/을) 산책했어요 = We went for a walk in the park
이 장소는 공원이 될 것이다 = This place will become a park
일요일이어서 저는 공원에 가고 싶어요 = It is Sunday, so I want to go to the park

한국어 = Korean (language)

The pronunciation of this word is closer to “한구거”

Common Usages:
한국어로 말하다 = to speak in Korean
한국어를 배우다 = to learn Korean
한국어를 공부하다 = to study Korean

Notes: “한국말” is a colloquial way to refer to the Korean language.

Examples: 저는 한국어로 말했어요 = I spoke in Korean
저는 내일 한국어를 공부하겠어요 = I will study Korean tomorrow.
저는 두 달 동안 한국어 수업을 들었어요 = I took a Korean class for two months
저는 10년 동안 한국어를 공부했어요 = I studied Korean for 10 years
저는 한국어를 한국에서 배웠어요 = I learned Korean in Korea
나는 학생들한테 한국어를 가르쳤어 = I taught Korean to the students
언제부터 한국어를 공부했어요? = Since when have you been studying Korean?
한국어를 얼마나 자주 공부해요? = How often do you study Korean?

머리 = head

Common Usages:
머리카락 = hair
머리띠 = hairband
머리핀 = hairpin
머리뼈 = skull
머리가 아프다 = to have a head ache
머리를 감다 = to wash one’s hair
머리를 묶다 = to tie up one’s hair

Notes: This is used to refer to one’s head or the hair on one’s head. For example, if you get a haircut, you can say “머리를 잘랐어요.” Note that this does not mean “I cut my head.” To specifically refer to the hair on your head, you can use “머리카락”

머리가 아파서 학교에 못 가요 = I can’t go to school because my head hurts
저는 머리를 긁었어요 = I scratched my head
를 감을 때마다 눈이 아파요 = Every time I wash my hair, my eyes hurt
여자의 머리 색깔은 자연스러워요 = That girl’s hair color is natural
친구가 머리를 깎은 것을 알아보지 못했어요 = I couldn’t recognize that my friend cut his hair
저의 머리카락을 꼬지 말아 달라고 했어요 = I told her to please stop twisting my hair

다리 = leg

Common Usages:
앞다리 = an animal’s front legs
뒷다리 = an animal’s back (hind) legs
양다리 = a way to refer to a person who has two girlfriends or boyfriends
양반다리를 하다 = to cross one’s legs
다리가 후들거리다 = for one’s legs to shake

Example: 다리가 길었으면 좋겠어요 = I wish my legs were long

다리에 있는 문신을 포함하면 저는 문신 네 개가 있어요
= If you include the tattoo on my leg, I have four tattoos

제가 스트레칭을 안 하고 바로 운동을 하다가 갑자기 다리에 쥐가 났어요
= I suddenly got a cramp in my leg while exercising because I didn’t stretch and exercised right away

손가락 = finger

The pronunciation of this word is closer to “손까락”

Common Usages:
엄지손가락 = thumb
새끼손가락 = pinky finger
손가락을 베다 = to cut one’s finger

Examples: 저의 손가락은 길어요 = My finger is long
손가락으로 버튼을 눌렀어요 = I pressed the button with my finger
제가 어렸을 때 자꾸 손가락을 빠는 버릇이 있어서 엄마에게 많이 혼났어요 = When I was young, I had the habit of sucking my fingers so my mom was mad at me a lot

= ear

Common Usages:
귓밥 = slang for “earwax”
귀걸이 = earring
귀를 막다 = to cover/block one’s ears

Example: 토끼는 큰 가 있어요 = Rabbits have big ears
저는 그녀의 에 속삭였어요 = I whispered into her ear
너무 시끄러워서 를 막았어요 = It was so loud so I covered my ears

= arm

Common Usages:
반팔 = short sleeve shirt
긴팔 long sleeve shirt
팔꿈치 = elbow

Examples: 이 아파요 = My arm is sore
에 문신이 있어요 = I have a tattoo on my arm
저는 을 창문 너머로 내밀었어요 = I stuck my arm through the window
어제 운동을 해서 오늘 저의 이 아파요 = My arms are sore because I exercised yesterday

병원에서 넘어져서 을 다친 아줌마가 약을 무료로 받았어요
= The older lady who fell in the hospital and hurt her arm received free medicine

= eye

Common Usages:
눈물 = tear (literally “eye water”)
눈동자 = pupil
눈썹 = eyebrow
속눈썹 = eyelashes
눈병 = some sort of eye disease
눈이 맵다 = the feeling of one’s eyes burning (usually when cutting onions)
인공눈물 = artificial tears (eye drops)

Examples: 을 뜰 수 없어요 = I can’t open my eyes
저 남자의 이 진짜 파래요 = That man’s eyes are really blue
오늘 너무 피곤해서 이 자꾸 감겨요  = My eyes keep shutting because I’m so tired
너에 있어서 내가 가장 좋아하는 것은 너의 이야 = My favorite part about you is your eyes

= mouth, lips

Common Usages:
입술 = lips
입냄새 = bad breath
입가심으로 먹다 = to eat something to freshen your mouth/breath

Example: 저는 저의 여자 친구의 에 키스했어요 = I kissed my girlfriend on the lips
고무를 에 넣어서는 안 돼요 = You shouldn’t put rubber in your mouth
음식을 에 넣은 채 말해서는 안 돼요 = You shouldn’t talk with food in your mouth
마취를 했지만 입에 아직 감각이 있어요 = I received anesthetic, but there is still feeling in my mouth

= stomach

Common Usages:
배가 아프다 = for one’s stomach to be sore
배가 고프다 = to be hungry
배가 부르다 = to be full

Notes: This word is used for the general area of your abdomen. Medically, the stomach is referred to as “위.”

가 아파요 = My stomach is sore
가 너무 아파서 일할 수 없어요 = I can’t work because my stomach hurts
밥을 너무 많이 먹어서 가 터질 것 같아요 = My stomach might explode because I ate too much

버스 = bus

Common Usages:
마을버스 = village bus
좌석 버스 = a bus with more seats
시외버스 = inter-city bus
우등버스 = first class bus
버스운전사/버스기사 = bus driver
버스를 타다 = to ride a bus
버스에서 내리다 = to get off a bus

저는 서울역에서 버스를 탔어요 = I got on the bus at Seoul station
다음 버스는 저 정류장에서 출발할 거예요 = The next bus will depart from that stop
택시는 버스보다 더 빨라요 = The taxi is quicker than the bus
버스는 10분마다 와요 = This bus comes each/every 10 minutes
우리는 이미 버스를 놓쳤을 것 같아요 = We probably already missed the bus
운전사는 승객들을 버스에 서울역에서 태웠어요 = The bus driver took on riders at Seoul Station

= boat

Common Usages:
배를 타다 = to take/ride a boat


Example: 저는 제주도에 로 갔어요 = I went to Jeju by boat
가 선착장에 아직 도착하지 않았어요 = The boat hasn’t arrived at the wharf yet
가 많이 흔들거려서 멀미가 났어요 = The boat rocked a lot so I was seasick

우리 = us/we

Common Usages:
우리의 = our (the 의 is often omitted)
우리말 = “our language” (Korean people often use this to refer to the Korean language)
우리 팀 = our team
우리 집 = our house

우리는 어제 서울에 갔어요 = We went to Seoul yesterday
저는 우리 집을 나무로 지었어요 = I built our house out of wood
우리는 야구를 1시에 할 거예요 = We will play baseball at 1:00
우리는 7시 20분에 시작할 거예요 = We will start at 7:20
우리 둘째 아들은 고등학생이에요 = Our second son is a high school student
우리 셋째 아이는 야구를 좋아해요 = Our third child likes baseball
우리가 지난 번에 계획이 없었어요 = We didn’t have plans last time
우리는 지난 번에 돼지고기를 먹었어요 = We ate pork last time
우리는 6일 동안 만나지 않았어요 = We didn’t meet for 6 days

먹다 = to eat

Notes: The formal version of this word is 들다 (usually said as 드시다)
An even more formal version of this word is 잡수시다

Common Usages:
밥을 먹다 = to eat rice/food
먹기 싫다 = to not want to eat

밥을 먹었어요? = Have you eaten?
저는 아침식사로 밥을 먹었어요 = I ate rice for breakfast
저는 보통 점심식사로 과일만 먹어요 = I usually only eat fruit for lunch
저는 밥을 많이 먹었어요 = I ate a lot of rice
저는 햄버거 두 개를 먹었어요 = I ate two hamburgers
저는 어제 고기를 두 번 먹었어요 = I ate meat twice yesterday
나는 5시에 먹을 거야 = I will eat at 5:00
저는 사흘 동안 밥을 안 먹었어요 = I didn’t eat rice for 3 days
저는 2주일 동안 한식을 안 먹었어요 = I didn’t eat Korean food for two weeks

가다 = to go

Common Usages:
집에 가다 = to go home
가야 되다 = to have to go
가지 마세요 = don’t go

저는 내일 학교에 거예요 = Tomorrow I will go to school
저의 친구는 저 쪽으로 갔어요 = My friend went that way
저는 학교에 서 공부할 거예요 = I will go to school and then study
빨리 집에 서 쉬세요! = Go home quickly and rest!
저는 캐나다에 고 싶어요 = I want to go to Canada
어디 고 싶어요? = Where do you want to go?
어디까지 고 싶어요? = How far/until when do you want to go?
친구는 학교에 고 있어요 = My friend is going to school
공부하러 학교에 고 있어요 = I’m going to school to study
엄마가 어디에 있어요? 병원에 갔어요? = Where is mom? Did she go to the hospital?
엄마가 을 때 저는 울었어요 = When mom left, I cried
선생님은 학생들과 박물관에 갔다 = The teacher went to the museum with the students

만나다 = to meet

Common Usages:
만남 = a meeting
친구를 만나다 = to meet a friend
만나서 반갑습니다 = nice to meet you

저는 어제 친구를 만났어요 = I met a friend yesterday
저는 내일 사람 두 명을 만날 거예요 = I will meet two people tomorrow
저는 내일 사람 두 명 더 만날 거예요 = I will meet two more people tomorrow
그 사람을 만나고 싶습니까? = Do you want to meet that person?
그 여자를 만난 적이 없어요 = I have never met that girl/I haven’t met that girl
선생님은 내일 학생들을 만날 거예요 = The teacher will meet the students tomorrow
저는 남편을 공원에서 만날 거예요 = I will meet my husband at the park
우리는 며칠 전에 만났어요 = We met a few days ago
우리가 마지막으로 언제 만났지? = When was the last time that we met?

닫다 = to close

The pronunciation of this word is closer to “닫따”

Common Usages:
문을 닫다 = to close a door
창문을 닫다 = to close a window

Examples: 저는 을 닫았어요 = I closed the door
너무 추워서 문을 닫았어요 = I closed the door because it is too cold
문을 닫아야 돼요 = You have to close the door
이 가게는 몇 시에 닫아요? = What time does this store close?
밖이 갑자기 어두워지고 저는 겁이 나서 커튼을 닫아 놓았어요 = Outside got dark all of a sudden, and I was scared so I closed the curtains

열다 = to open

Notes: 열다 can be used to open up something that can also be closed – like a door or a window. For example:

저는 창문을 열었어요 = I opened the window
저는 아줌마를 위해 문을 열었어요 = I opened the door for an older lady
너무 더워서 창문을 열었어요 = I opened a window because it is too hot

It is also commonly used to indicate that one “holds” an event where many people will gather. For example:

그 친구가 미국에 가기 전에 송별회를 거예요
= We will hold a going away party for that friend before he goes to America

우리는 다음 주에 그 문제에 대한 회의를 거예요
= We are going to hold a meeting next week about that problem

원하다 = to want (an object)

This word can only be used to say that you want a noun. You cannot say that you want to do a verb using 원하다. In order to say “I want to do…” see Lesson 17.

저는 더 큰 집을 원해요 = I want a bigger house
저는 그 책을 원해요 = I want that book
어떤 종류의 차를 원해요? = What type of car do you want?
저의 여자 친구는 제가 사과를 가져오는 것을 원해요 = My girlfriend wants me to bring apples

만들다 = to make

그것을 어떻게 만들었어요? = How did you make that?
저는 그것을 손으로 만들었어요 = I built that with my hands
저는 친구를 위해 빵을 만들었어요 = I made bread for my friend
누가 피자를 만들었어? = Who made the pizza?
이것을 만들어 주세요 = Please, make this for me
케이크를 만들 때 쿠키도 만들 거예요 = When I make a cake, I will also make cookies
그 단어로 완벽한 문장을 만들어 주세요 = Make a perfect/complete sentence using that word, please

하다 = to do

Attaching 하다 to nouns (usually of Chinese origin) changes that noun into a verb. For example:

요리 = cooking
요리하다 = to cook

결혼 = marriage
결혼하다 = to marry

말 = speech/speaking/words
말하다 = to speak

그것을 언제 했어요? = When did you do that?
저는 그것을 지금 하고 있어요 = I am doing that now
저는 그것을 하고 싶어요 = I want to do that

말하다 = to speak

The noun form of this word “말,” translates to speech, or “something that one says.”

Common Usages:
할 말이 있다 = to have something to say

뭐라고 말했어요? = What did you say?
그는 한국어를 자연스럽게 말해요 = he speaks Korean naturally
저는 한국어로 말했어요 = I spoke in Korean
저는 그 문장을 한국어로 말했어요 = I said that sentence (using) in Korean
저는 저의 아버지에 대해 말했어요 = I spoke about my father
아빠는 왜 저렇게 말하고 있어요? = Why is dad talking like that?
제가 밥을 먹었을 때 말하고 싶지 않았어요 = When I ate, I didn’t want to talk
그것은 제가 말하고 싶었던 것이었어요 = That was what I had wanted to say
을 이해했어요? = Did you understand what I said (my speaking?)

이해하다 = to understand

Notes: In order to say that you don’t understand, it is common to use:
저는 이해가 안 돼요 = I don’t understand, or
저는 이해하지 못 하겠어요 = I don’t understand

제 말을 이해했어요? = Did you understand what I said (my speaking?)
학생들은 그것을 이해했어요 = The students understood that
저는 완전히 이해해요 = I completely understand
그 뜻을 이해하려고 책을 두 번 읽었어요 = In order to understand that meaning, I read the book twice
그 학생은 물리의 기본도 이해하지 못해요 = That student doesn’t even understand basic physics

좋아하다 = to like

Notes: 좋다 is an adjective that means “good.” 좋아하다 is a verb that means “like.” For more information, see Lesson 15.

저는 우리 학교를 좋아해요 = I like our school
저는 그 선생님을 좋아해요 = I like that teacher
저는 수학을 제일 좋아해요 = I like math most (math is my favorite)
아이들은 만화영화를 매우 좋아해요 = Children really like animated movies
몇몇 사람들은 밥을 좋아하지 않아요 = Some people don’t like rice
학생들은 그 선생님을 특히 좋아해요 = Students especially like that teacher
제가 가장 좋아하는 색깔은 초록색이에요 = My favorite color is green
저는 저런 여자를 좋아하지 않아요 = I don’t like that kind of girl

크다 = to be big

Notes: For more information on how to conjugate adjectives, see Lesson 4 and Lesson 5.

크다 follows the ㅡ irregular. See Lesson 7 for more information.

Common Usages:
키가 크다 = to be tall
키가 몇 센티예요? = How tall are you?
키가 얼마나 돼요? = How tall are you?

그 집은 아주 커요 = That house is very big
저는 남동생보다 키가 더 커요 = I am taller (my height is bigger) than my brother

작다 = to be small

The pronunciation of this word is closer to “작따”

Common Usages:
키가 작다 = to be short

저는 작은 집에서 살아요 = I live in a small house
이것은 너무 작은가요? = Is this too small?
당근을 작은 조각으로 자르세요 = Cut the carrots into small pieces, please
이 셔츠가 너무 작아서 못 입어요 = I can’t put this shirt on because it is too small
이 바지가 너무 작아서 다른 것으로 바꿀 거예요 I’m going to change these pants to another (a different) pair because they are too small

새롭다 = to be new

The pronunciation of this word is closer to “새롭따”

새롭다  follows the ㅂ irregular. See Lesson 7 for more information.

저는 새로운 차를 샀어요 = I bought a new car
그 병원은 새로워요 = That hospital is new
저는 새로운 차를 사고 싶어요 = I want to buy a new car
저는 새로운 안경을 샀어요 = I bought new glasses
저는 새로운 바지를 사야 돼요 = I need to buy new pants
우리 회사는 새로운 회사원을 찾고 있어요 = Our company is looking for new workers
새로운 핸드폰을 사고 전화번호를 바꿨어요 = After buying a new phone, I changed my phone number

낡다 = to be old (not age)

The pronunciation of this word is closer to “낙따”

Notes: This word is not used to describe a person, only an object. Instead, it describes that something is old/worn down. To describe a person you should use 늙다. To describe something that is old (but still nice, like a historical building), you should use 오래되다.

이 학교 건물은 매우 낡아요 = This school’s building is very old
이 집은 너무 낡아요 = This house is very old

비싸다 = to be expensive

이것은 너무 비싸요 = This (thing) is too expensive
집 값은 비싸지고 있어 = House prices are getting expensive

싸다 = to not be expensive, to be cheap

이 가게는 음식을 팔아요 = this store sells cheap/inexpensive food

아름답다 = to be beautiful

The pronunciation of this word is closer to “아름답따”

아름답다 follows the ㅂ irregular. See Lesson 7 for more information.

Common Usages:
아름다운 여자 = beautiful girl

그 여자가 너무 아름다워요 = That girl is very beautiful
그 선생님은 아름다워요 = That teacher is beautiful
저의 아내는 아름답다 = My wife is beautiful
Lyrics from ‘강남스타일’: “아름다워 사랑스러워 그래 너 hey 그래 바로 너 hey”

뚱뚱하다 = to be fat, to be chubby

그 사람은 너무 뚱뚱해요 = That person is very fat
형은 아버지보다 더 뚱뚱해요 = My older brother is fatter than my dad

길다 = to be long

길다 follows the ㄹ irregular. See Lesson 7 for more information.

저 여자의 머리는 길어요 = That girl’s hair is long
저의 손가락은 길어요 = My finger is long
줄이 왜 이렇게 길어요? = Why is the line so big/long?
한국에서는 겨울 방학이 여름 방학보다 더 길어요 = In Korea, winter vacation is longer than summer vacation

좋다 = to be good

The pronunciation of this word is closer to “조타”

Notes: Although this translates to “good,” it is often used to say that one “likes” something. The grammar for this is taught in Lesson 15.

우리 학교는 매우 좋아요 = Our school is very good
저는 우리 학교가 좋아요 = I like our school
그 선생님은 좋아요 = that teacher is good
아무 때나 좋아요 = Anytime is good
날씨가 좋아서 산책하는 것은 즐거워요 = It is pleasant to go to for a walk because the weather is so good

아주 = very

날씨는 아주 더워요 = The weather is very hot

매우 = very

이 음식은 매우 맛있어요 = This food is very delicious
저는 매우 빨리 달렸어요 = I ran really quickly
우리 집은 지금 매우 더러워요 = Our house is really dirty right now
화학은 매우 흥미로워요 = Chemistry is very interesting
그 가수는 한국에서 매우 유명해요 = That singer is very famous in Korea
그 그림은 매우 드물어요 = That painting is really rare

너무 = too (often used to mean ‘very’)

Notes: Though 너무 means “too,” it has gotten to the point in society where Korean people use “너무” to mean “very” as well (especially with the younger generation). Whereas “too” should indicate a negative meaning, 너무 can indicate both a positive and negative meaning. For example, saying “이것은 너무 맛있어요” would not translate to “this is too delicious” but instead “this is very/so delicious.”

저는 가끔 너무 많이 먹어요 = I eat too much sometimes
저는 어제 너무 아팠어요 = I was really sick yesterday
한식은 너무 맛있어요 = Korean food is very delicious
그 남자가 키가 너무 커요 = That man is very tall
이 길이 너무 좁아서 저는 못 들어가요 = I can’t go onto this road because it is too narrow
제가 너무 부끄러워서 발표를 못해요 = I can’t do presentations (well) because I am too shy
선생님은 우리를 너무 잘 가르치셨어요 = Our teacher taught us really well
너무 빨리 먹었어요? = Why did you eat so fast?
이 셔츠가 너무 작아서 못 입어요 = I can’t put this shirt on because it is too small

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 mobile app.

You might also want to try listening to all of the words on loop with this Vocabulary Practice video.


Some Quick Notes about Korean Verbs and Adjectives

Okay, now it is time to get serious. Now it is time to start learning things that you can apply to any verb or any adjective. There are a few things you need to know about Korean verbs and adjectives:

  1.  I said this before (twice) but I’m going to say it again. Every Korean sentence must end in either a verb or an adjective (this includes 이다 and 있다). Every sentence absolutely must have a verb or adjective at the end of the sentence.
  2. You should notice (it took me months to notice) that every Korean verb and adjective ends with the syllable ‘다.’ 100% of the time, the last syllable in a verb or adjective must be ‘다.’ Look up at the vocabulary from this lesson if you don’t believe me.
  3. In addition to ending in ‘다’ many verbs and adjectives end with the two syllables ‘하다.’ ‘하다’ means ‘do.’ Verbs ending in 하다 are amazing, because you can simply eliminate the ‘하다’ to make the noun form of that verb/adjective.
    Confused? I was at first too. In fact, I don’t think I knew this until 3 months after I started studying Korean – but it is something so essential to learning the language. It is confusing to English speakers because we don’t realize that words can have a verb/adjective form AND a noun form.

For example:
행복하다 = happy
행복 = happiness

성공하다 = succeed
성공 = success

말하다 = speak
말 = speech/words

성취하다 = achieve
성취 = achievement

취득하다 = acquire
취득 = acquisition

You don’t need to memorize those words yet (they are difficult), but it is important for you to realize that ‘하다’ can be removed from words in order to create nouns.

Verbs/adjectives that end in “~하다” are typically of Chinese origin and have an equivalent Hanja (한자) form. Verbs that do not end in “~하다” are of Korean origin and do not have a Hanja form. If you can speak Chinese, you will probably have an advantage at learning more difficult Korean vocabulary, as a lot of difficult Korean words have a Chinese origin.


Korean Verbs

We have already talked about verbs a little bit in previous lessons, but nothing has been formally taught. You learned the basic verb sentence structure in Lesson 1. Let’s look at this again. If you want to say “I eat food” you should know how to use the particles 는/은 and 를/을:

I eat food
I는 food를 eat
To make a sentence, you simply need to substitute the English words with Korean words:
저는 + 음식을 + 먹다
저는 음식을 먹다 = I eat food

*Note – Although the structure of the sentences presented in this lesson is perfect, the verbs are not conjugated, and thus, not perfect. You will learn about conjugating in Lesson 5 and Lesson 6. Before learning how to conjugate, however, it is essential that you understand the word-order of these sentences. However, because of some strange Korean grammatical rules, the sentences provided in the “Adjectives” section are technically perfect but are presented in an uncommon (but simplest) conjugation pattern.

As with the previous lessons, we have attached audio recordings only to sentences that are grammatically correct. Incorrect sentences (due to not being conjugated) do not have audio recordings. Again, you will learn about these conjugations in Lesson 5 and Lesson 6. For now, try to understand the word order of the sentences and how the verbs/adjectives are being used.

As with previous lessons, conjugated examples (one formal and one informal) are provided beneath the un-conjugated examples. Use these only for reference at this point.

Let’s look at some examples:

나는 케이크를 만들다 = I make a cake
(나는 케이크를 만들어 / 저는 케이크를 만들어요)

나는 배를 원하다 = I want a boat
(나는 배를 원해 / 저는 배를 원해요)

나는 한국어를 말하다 = I speak Korean
(나는 한국어를 말해 / 저는 한국어를 말해요)

나는 공원에 가다 = I go to the park (notice the particle 에)
(나는 공원에 가 / 저는 공원에 가요)

나는 문을 닫다 = I close the door
(나는 문을 닫아 / 저는 문을 닫아요)

나는 창문을 열다 = I open the window
(나는 창문을 열어 / 저는 창문을 열어요)

Remember that sentences with verbs don’t necessarily need to have an object in them if the context allows for it.

나는 이해하다 = I understand
(나는 이해해 / 저는 이해해요)

Some verbs by default cannot act on an object. Words like: sleep, go, die, etc. You cannot say something like “I slept home”, or “I went restaurant”, or “I died her.” You can use nouns in sentences with those verbs, but only with the use of other particles – some of which you have learned already (~에) and some that you will learn in later lessons. With the use of other particles you can say things like:

I slept at home
I went to the restaurant
I died with her

We will get into more complicated particles in later lessons, but here I want to focus on the purpose of ~를/을 and its function as an object particle. 


Korean Adjectives

Korean adjectives, just like Korean verbs are placed at the end of a sentence. The main difference between verbs and adjectives is that an adjective can never act on an object. Notice, in the sentences below that there is no object being acted on.
Adjectives are very easy to use. Just put them into the sentence with your subject.  (Remember that the examples in parentheses show sentences that have been conjugated which you have not learned yet.)

Note that due to weird Korean grammatical rules regarding adjectives, the un-conjugated sentences below are actually grammatically correct as they are. Therefore, we provided audio examples for the un-conjugated sentences and not the conjugated sentences (although all are correct). You will learn about this weird rule and how to conjugate adjectives in Lesson 5.

나는 아름답다 = I am beautiful
(나는 아름다워 / 저는 아름다워요)

나는 작다 = I am small
(나는 작아 / 저는 작아요)

이 버스는 크다 = This bus is big
(이 버스는 커 / 이 버스는 커요)

그 병원은 새롭다 = That hospital is new
(그 병원은 새로워 / 그 병원은 새로워요)

이 공원은 매우 작다 = This park is very small
(이 공원은 매우 작아 / 이 공원은 매우 작아요)

그 사람은 뚱뚱하다 = That person is fat
(그 사람은 뚱뚱해 / 그 사람은 뚱뚱해요)

There is one confusing thing about translating sentences with Korean adjectives to English. Notice that in all examples above, the words “am/is/are/etc…” are used. In English, these words need to be used when using an adjective:

I am fat
He is fat
They are fat

Remember, the translation for “am/is/are” to Korean is “이다.” However, you do not use “이다” when writing a sentence like this in Korean. Within the meaning of Korean adjective is “is/am/are.” Early learners are always confused by this. The confusion stems from the fact that it is done differently in English and Korean. Please, from here on, abandon what you know of grammar based on English – it will only hold you back.

의 Possessive Particle

Note: The pronunciation of the letter “” can change depending on how and when it is used. You might want to check out the section where I discuss the pronunciation of in the Pronunciation Guide

You already know that ‘I’ in Korean is 저/나. You also know the translation for various objects in Korean.

“의” is a particle that indicates that one is the owner/possessor of another object. It has the same role as putting an apostrophe followed by an “s” in English. For example:

Note: ~’s is not added to pronouns like I, you, he, she and they. Instead, the words my, your, his, her and their are used. The change from “I” to “my” is also accomplished by in Korean.

저 = I
책 = book
저의 책 = my book

저의 차 = My car
그 사람의 차 = That person’s car
의사의 탁자 = The doctor’s table
선생님의 차 = the teacher’s car
저의 손가락 = my finger

You can use these words in sentences you are familiar with (with verbs and adjectives):
선생님의 차는 크다 = The teacher’s car is big
(선생님의 차는 커 / 선생님의 차는 커요)

나는 선생님의 차를 원하다 = I want the teacher’s car
(나는 선생님의 차를 원해 / 저는 선생님의 차를 원해요)

나의 손가락은 길다 = My finger is long
(나의 손가락은 길어 / 저의 손가락은 길어요)

그 여자의 눈은 아름답다 = That woman’s eyes are beautiful
(그 여자의 눈은 아름다워 / 그 여자의 눈은 아름다워요)

You will find that words like “my/our/their/his/her” are often omitted from sentences. As you will learn continuously throughout your Korean studies, Korean people love shortening their sentences wherever possible. Whenever something can be assumed by context, words are often omitted from sentences to make them more simple. For example:

나는 나의 친구를 만나다 = I meet my friend
(나는 나의 친구를 만나 / 저는 저의 친구를 만나요)

Can be written as the following:

나는 친구를 만나다 = I meet (my/a) friend
(나는 친구를 만나 / 저는 친구를 만나요)

In this case (and many others like it) you are clearly meeting “your” friend, so the word “my” can be omitted from the sentence.

Always try to stay away from translating sentences directly, and try to focus more on translating sentences based on context as done above.


좋다 and 좋아하다

The word 좋다 in Korean is an adjective that means “good.” Because 좋다 is an adjective we can use it just like any other adjective:

이 음식은 좋다 = this food is good
(이 음식은 좋아 / 이 음식은 좋아요)

그 선생님은 좋다 = that teacher is good
(그 선생님은 좋아 / 그 선생님은 좋아요)

이 학교는 좋다 = This school is good
(이 학교는 좋아 / 이 학교는 좋아요)

There is also 좋아하다 which is a verb meaning ‘to like.’ Because 좋아하다 is a verb, can use it just like any other verb:

나는 이 음식을 좋아하다 = I like this food
(나는 이 음식을 좋아해 / 저는 이 음식을 좋아해요)

나는 그 선생님을 좋아하다 = I like that teacher
(나는 그 선생님을 좋아해 / 저는 그 선생님을 좋아해요)

좋아하다 gets formed by removing ‘다’ from 좋다 and adding 아 + 하다. There is a reason for why this is done, and there is an explanation for how it is done – but you do not need to know this yet. For now, just understand that:

좋다 is an adjective which cannot act on an object
좋아하다 is a verb which can act on an object



We, Us, and Our (우리)

At this point I would also like to introduce you to the word “우리” which you can see from the vocabulary list of this lesson translates to “us” or “we.” In English, even though they are technically the same word, the usage of “us” or “we” depends on its location within the sentence it is used in. Just like “I” and “me”, if the word is the subject of a sentence, “we” is used. For example:

I like you
We like you

However, if the word is the object in a sentence, the word “us” is used. For example:

He likes me
He likes us

In Korean, they do not make this distinction, and “우리” is used in both situations. For example:

우리는 너를 좋아하다 = We like you
(우리는 너를 좋아해)
I deliberately didn’t include a formal version of the conjugated sentence above because it is usually awkward to say the word “you” politely in Korean. We’ll get to this in a later lesson.

선생님은 우리를 좋아하다 = The teacher likes us
(선생님은 우리를 좋아해 / 선생님은 우리를 좋아해요)

By placing the possessive particle “의” after “우리” we can create the meaning of “our”. While this can be done, I feel it is much more common to omit this particle when it is used with “우리.” In fact, the particle “의” is very commonly omitted from words other than “우리” as well. However, I don’t suggest thinking about doing this until you have a better grasp of the language. At this point, I only suggest that you do this with “우리.” For example:

우리 선생님은 남자이다 = Our teacher is a man
(우리 선생님은 남자야 | 우리 선생님은 남자예요)

우리 집은 크다 = Our house is big
(우리 집은 커 | 우리 집은 커요)

A formal version of “우리” is “저희”. However, even in formal situations it is acceptable to use “우리”. At this point, you haven’t even begun to learn about the different levels of formality of Korean, so I don’t want you to get too worried about this word.

Okay, I got it! Take me to the next lesson! Or,
Click here for a workbook to go along with this lesson.

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.

Want to try to create some sentences using the vocabulary and grammar from this lesson?

This YouTube video will prompt you to translate English sentences into Korean using the concepts from this lesson.



Want to practice your listening skills?

This YouTube video will prompt you with Korean sentences to dictate using the concepts from this lesson.



Want to apply what you learned in this lesson?

This YouTube video will prompt you with English sentences using the grammar from this lesson, but vocabulary you haven’t been exposed to yet!



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