아/어/여 + 요

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This topic is covered at Talktomeinkorean.com: lesson 16

The A/V + 아/어/여 form is probably the most important form to learn in Korean and is probably the most frequently used grammar pattern since it can be used as informal polite and informal friendly style amongst friends and people of equal or lower status (by dropping the 요 at the end). Also many other grammar patterns depend on the basic conjugation rules of this pattern to form other grammar patters, see Category:아/어/여 form for other patterns.

Usages

This basic pattern is probably the most common grammar pattern in Korean.

  1. It is used for making informal present tense sentences, adding to the end 요 makes it become the informal polite form. This can be used to convey your thoughts, a fact or fact to someone else in the present tense. This can also be used for asking a question in the present tense. When asking a question your intonation should go up slightly.
  2. This pattern can also be used to issue a command (similar to V + 아/어 + 라 but not as strong) or give a suggestion. It's best to combine the verb/adjective stem with the honorific suffix to make it more polite.
  3. When combined with the words 같이 or 함께 you are inviting or suggesting to the listener to do something together.

Notes

  • Not adding a 요 is very informal and called 반말, which should only be used with friends, people that are younger than you, and people who are in a lower position than you. This is, however, dependent on the situation, and so may not always be true.
  • To be more polite the honorific suffix is added to the verb/adjective stem in many cases.

Conjugation Rules

There are three types of basic conjugation rules, the first two depend on whether or not a 오 or 아 verb appear in the last syllable of the adj/verb stem. The last rule is simply used for 하다 verbs. Please note that verbs/adjectives are put in the dictionary form (ending in -다, i.e. 가다), the stem is 가 (part without the 다).

Verb/Adj Stem + 아

  • If the last syllable of the stem contains the vowels ㅗ or ㅏ, then 아 is added. If it is a stem with no 받침 like 가다, then an extra 아 isn't added.
  • Please note this rule does not apply for 하다 verbs, see the section below for 하다 adj/verbs.
  • Stems that end in 오 are often contracted to 와 (오 + 아 = 와), especially in colloquial speech.
  • Irregular verbs do exist, see the irregular verbs section below for more details.
Examples for Verb Stem + ㅏ
Verb/Adjective Stem After Conjugation Contracted Form Present Tense Past Tense
가다 (to go) 가아 가(요) 갔어(요)
괜찮다 (to be fine, ok) 괜찮 괜찮아 N/A 괜찮아(요) 괜찮았어(요)
놀다 (to play) 놀아 N/A 놀아(요) 놀았어(요)
맞다 (to be right, correct) 맞아 N/A 맞아(요) 맞았어(요)
보다 (to see) 보아 봐(요) / 보아(요 봤어(요) / 보았어(요)
사다 (to buy) 사아 사(요) 샀어(요)
오다 (to come) 오아 와(요) / 오아(요) 왔어(요) / 오았어(요)
좋다 (to like) 좋아 N/A 좋아(요) 좋았어(요)

Verb/Adj Stem + 어

  • If the last syllable of the stem contains any vowel other than 오, 아, and is not a 하다 verb then it becomes an 어. Note that verb stems with 이 turn into a 여(see next section), it is due to a contraction of 이 + 어 = 여.
  • If the last syllable of the stem contains the vowel 이 and there's no 받침, i.e. 시키다, then it becomes a 여 (시켜). The 여 is a result of the contraction between 이 + 어. The contracted form is almost always used in spoken and written Korean. Also note a separate table of examples has been created below for the adj/verb stems which end in 이.
  • Verbs that end in in the vowel ㅐ don't get anything conjugated to it, i.e. 내다 → 내요.
  • Irregular verbs do exist, see the irregular verbs section below for more details.
Examples for Verb Stem + ㅓ
Verb/Adjective Stem After Conjugation Contracted Form Present Tense Past Tense
먹다 (to eat) 먹어 N/A 먹어(요) 먹었어(요)
신다 (to put on shoes/socks) 신어 N/A 신어(요) 신었어(요)
쓰다 (to write) 쓰어 써(요) 썼어(요)
울다 (to cry) 울어 N/A 울어(요) 울었어(요)
읽다 (to read) 읽어 N/A 읽어(요) 읽었어(요)
재미있다 (to be fun, interesting) 재미있 재미있어 N/A 재미있어(요) 재미있었어(요)
주다 (to give) 주어 줘요 / 주어(요) 줬어(요) / 주었어(요)
크다 (to be big) 크어 커(요) 컸어(요)
필요없다 (to be unnecessary) 필요없 필요없어 N/A 필요없어(요) 필요없었어(요)
힘들다 (to be difficult, tiring) 힘들 힘들어 N/A 힘들어(요) 힘들었어(요)


Examples for Verb Stem ending with ㅣ + 어
Verb/Adjective Stem After Conjugation Contracted Form(이 + 어 = 여) Present Tense Past Tense
내리다 (to descend) 내리 내리어 내려 내려(요) 내렸어(요)
놀리다 (to tease, make fun of) 놀리 놀리어 놀려 놀려(요) 놀렸어(요)
떨어지다(to fall) 떨어지 떨어지어 떨어져 떨어져(요) 떨어졌어(요)
먹이다 (to feed) 먹이 먹이어 먹여 먹여(요) 먹였어(요)
보이다 (to be seen, visible) 보이 보이어 보여 보여(요) 보였어(요)
붙이다 (to attach, stick) 붙이 붙이어 붙여 붙여(요) 붙였어(요)
빠지다 (to drown) 빠지 빠지어 빠져 빠져(요) 빠졌어(요)
사라지다 (to disappear) 사라지 사라지어 사라져 사라져(요) 사라졌어(요)
시키다 (to order) 시키 시키어 시켜 시켜(요) 시켰어(요)
웃기다 (to make a person laugh) 웃기 웃기어 웃겨 웃겨(요) 웃겨어(요)

여 Verbs/Adjectives (하다)

  • Any verb or adjective that ends in 하다 falls under this category.
  • The 하 becomes 해 due to a contraction with 하 and 여.
  • The contracted form is used most of the time, especially in colloquial speech. However, 하여 is used mostly in very formal situations.
Examples for 하다 Verbs
Verb/Adjective Stem After Conjugation Contracted Form Present Tense Past Tense
건강하다 (to be healthy) 건강하 건강하여 건강해 건강해(요) 건강했어(요)
공부하다 (to study) 공부하 공부하여 공부해 공부해(요) 공부했어(요)
궁금하다 (to be curious) 궁금하 궁금하여 궁금해 궁금해(요) 궁금했어(요)
설명하다 (to explain) 설명하 설명하여 설명해 설명해(요) 설명했어(요)
연락하다 (to contact someone) 연락하 연락하여 연락해 연락해(요) 연락했어(요)
연습하다 (to practice) 연습하 연습하여 연습해 연습해(요) 연습했어(요)
예약하다 (to make a reservation) 예약하 예약하여 예약해 예약해(요) 예약했어(요)
좋아하다 (to like) 좋아하 좋아하여 좋아해 좋아해(요) 좋아했어(요)
필요하다 (to need) 필요하 필요하여 필요해 필요해(요) 필요했어(요)
행복하다 (to be happy) 행복하 행복하여 행복해 행복해(요) 행복했어(요)

Sentence Examples

Informal and informal polite present tense:

Korean English Notes
집에 가요? Are you going home? Informal polite
돈 있어요? Do you have money? Informal polite
그 여자는 진짜 예뻐요. That girl is really pretty. Informal polite, 예쁘다 is an irregular ㅅ adj/verb.
시간 있으면 점심 같이 먹어요. If you have time, let's eat lunch together. Polite informal
이 책은 재미없어. This book is boring. Low form (반말)
철수는 건강해요. Chul Su is healthy. Informal polite
우리 아버지는 정말 부지런해요. My father is really diligent. Informal polite.
우리 엄마를 사랑해. I love my mom Low form (반말)
중간고사가 어려워요. The midterm exam is difficult. Informal polite, 어렵다 is an irregular ㅂ adj/verb.
지금 뭐 해? What are you doing right now? Low form 반말


Irregular Forms

Many irregular conjugations exist. See:


Irregular Sentence Examples

Exceptions

  • Many people say 맞어 instead of 맞아 and 아퍼 instead of 아파.

Sentence Examples Using Commands

As a command or suggestion:

Korean English Notes
나 배고파. 빨리 시켜! I'm hungry. Hurry up and order! Low form (반말)
야 빨리 가! Hey hurry up and leave. Low form (반말)
물 좀 줘. Give me some water. Low form (반말)
조용히 해. Be quiet. Low form (반말)
앉으세요 Please sit. 앉다 + honorific suffix to make it more polite.


Grammars Which Also use 아/어/여 Conjugation

See Category:아/어/여 form for more patterns.

See Also


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