In this lesson we will learn how to form the Present Tense in Korean.
The present Tense is very easily formed by adding -ayo/øyo to the end.
Rules for which to use are quite simple, if the preceding vowel is ‘a’ or ‘o’ add -ayo
If the vowel is anything else (e, ø) then add -øyo
Remember that -o is pronounced -oh like in ‘orange’
ø is pronounced -aw like in ‘saw’
Take the -ta/da ending (the dictionary form) and take away the -ta/da part.
e.g. ilkda – to read
Now follow the rules above to add either -ayo or -øyo
ilgøyo – I read, you read, he/she reads, etc. [k > g when a vowel follows it]
If the verb already ends in ‘a’, just add the -yo part.
Kada – to go = ka
Kayo – I go / you go / he/she goes / we go / you (plural) goes / they go
There are several peculiarities, as you’d expect.
Work through these slowly, I would recommend that you don’t try to learn them all at once but one at a time so not to become overwhelmed.
A) If it ends in ‘û’ take that away and add either -ayo or -øyo
To decide which one, think about which vowel is left. If no vowel is left use -øyo
ssû – to use / to write > ssøyo – I write, you write, etc. [no vowel so it takes øyo]
BUT: pappûda – to be busy > pappayo – I am busy, etc. [a takes ayo]
AND: yeppûda – to be pretty > yeppøyo – I am pretty, etc. [e takes øyo]
B) If the dictionary form ends in ‘ae’ then this is kept.
Chinaeda – to spend days (used in unit 2 for ‘how are things?’)
chinaeyo – I spend days / you spend days, etc.
C) If the dictionary form ends in -o we change it to -wa
poda – to see/watch > pwayo – I see / you see, etc.
oda – to come > wayo – I come / you come, etc.
D) The most used verb in the language is ‘hada’ = to do
Hada > haeyo – I do, you do, he/she does, etc.
The next unit will explain Hada in full
E) If a verb ends in -i then it takes a strange form -yøyo regardless of what the last vowel is
kidarida – to wait > kidaryøyo
F) If the verb ends in -pta then a strange -wø is inserted:
chupta – to be cold > chuwøyo – I am cold / it is cold, etc.
shwipta – to be easy > shwiwøyo – it is easy, etc.
Try these for yourself: (answers at the bottom of the page)
1) chada – to sleep
2) møkta – to eat
3) mashida – to drink
4) alta – to know (NB l changes to r in between 2 vowels)
5) kûda – to be big
6) chøkta – to be small
7) kongbu hada – to study
8 ) tûtta – to hear / listen OR to take a class (NB t changes to r in these verb types)
9) mal hada – to speak
10) øryøpta – to be difficult
11) pi-ga oda – to rain (literally: rain comes)
Phew! This unit was a lot more complicated wasn’t it?
Don’t worry about memorising it all right away, just come back to it from time to time and it will stick in your brain.
Answers to the above:
1) chada – to sleep > chayo
2) møkta – to eat > møgoyo
3) mashida – to drink > mashyøyo
4) alta – to know (NB l changes to r in between 2 vowels) arayo
5) k’ûda – to be big > k’øyo
6) chøkta – to be small > chøgoyo (k > g)
7) kongbu hada – to study > kongbu haeyo
8 ) tûtta – to hear / listen OR to take a class (NB t changes to r in these verb types) tûrøyo
9) mal hada – to speak > mal haeyo
10) øryøpta – to be difficult > øryøwøyo
11) pi-ga oda – to rain > pi-ga wayo
If you didn’t get it right this time, don’t worry. I’ll also do a separate unit to revise this and give more questions for practice in the future.