Korean Lesson 8: Verbs in the Present Tense


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
e.g.
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.

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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.

Annyonghi kaseyo!!!

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