If you’re learning Korean, one term you are going to come across a lot is Korean conjugation. But what does conjugation mean in Korean? Below we’ll explain in detail the meaning of conjugation in Korean and show you some common Korean conjugations to help you understand what it is and how to conjugate Korean verbs and adjectives.
What Does Korean Conjugation Mean?
Conjugation in Korean is a term that refers to the way verbs and adjectives are changed from their base form. By conjugating a Korean verb or adjective into a new form, you can change the tense, politeness level, and the usage of that verb or adjective.
Conjugation is not just a feature of the Korean language. It also happens in many other languages, too. In English, for example, the verb watch becomes watched when conjugated into the past tense. To help you understand Korean conjugation, let’s take a look at an example.
가다 [ga-da] is the verb ‘to go’ in its base form. When conjugated into the present tense, 가다 becomes 가요 [ga-yo], in the past tense 가다 becomes 갔어요 [ga-sseo-yo], and in the future tense 가다 becomes 갈 거예요 [gal geo-ye-yo].
As you can see, by conjugating a Korean verb you can change the tense of the verb. But that’s not all. You can change the politeness level and usage of a verb or adjective by conjugating it with different endings. Here are some more examples to help you understand what we mean:
- 가다 [ga-da] = to go (base form)
- 가 [ga] = go (informal present tense)
- 가요 [ga-yo] = go (polite present tense)
- 갑니다 [gam-ni-da] = go (formal present tense)
- 가고 싶어요 [ga-go-si-peo-yo] = want to go (polite present tense)
- 갈 수 있어요 [gal su i-sseo-yo] = can go (polite present tense)
- 가지 마세요 [ga-ji ma-se-yo] = don’t go (polite present tense)
- 가기로 했어요 [ga-gi-ro hae-sseo-yo] = decided to go (polite past tense)
How To Conjugate Korean Verbs And Adjectives
To conjugate a Korean verb or adjective, the first thing you need to do is drop 다 from the base verb so you are left with the verb stem. For example, the verb ‘to eat’ in its base form is 먹다 [meok-da]. After dropping 다 you are left with the verb stem 먹.
After dropping 다, the next thing you must do is attach the appropriate verb ending to the verb stem. For example, if you wanted to conjugate 먹다 into the present tense, you would add ~어요 to the stem to get 먹어요.
The tricky thing with Korean verb conjugations is that you must choose the correct form of an ending to attach to a verb or adjective. The one you choose is determined by the last vowel in the verb stem. For example, when conjugating verbs into the Korean present tense, you must choose either 아요, 어요, or 여요. 아요 is attached to verbs with a final vowel of ㅏ or ㅗ, 어요 is attached to verbs with a final vowel that is not ㅏ or ㅗ, and 여요 is attached to verbs ending in 하다.
Although this looks complicated, as you learn more and more Korean, conjugating Korean verbs will become second nature. To help you get started, check out the tables below for some common Korean verb conjugation examples.
Korean Conjugation Examples
Here are some Korean conjugation examples you can use to practice Korean conjugations. We’ll show you some common Korean verbs conjugated into the present, past, and future tenses.
Here are some examples of Korean present tense conjugations using various verbs. You can learn more about these conjugations in our Korean Present Tense Lesson.
|Verb||Present Tense Conjugation||English|
Here are some examples of Korean past tense conjugations using various verbs. You can learn more about these conjugations in our Korean Past Tense Lesson.
|Verb||Past Tense Conjugation||English|
Here are some examples of Korean future tense conjugations using various verbs. You can learn more about these conjugations in our Korean Future Tense Lesson.
|Verb||Future Tense Conjugation||English|
Thanks for reading. I hope you have a better understanding of what Korean conjugation is and how to conjugate Korean verbs. Before you go, check out these related lessons and start practicing conjugating Korean verbs and making your own Korean sentences.