Irregular Korean Verbs With ㅎ (ㅎ 불규칙)
In this lesson, you will learn about ㅎ irregular verbs (ㅎ 불규칙). In Korean, most verbs that end in ㅎ are regular verbs, and as such, they are conjugated according to the regular conjugation rules. However, there are some verbs/adjectives which end in ㅎ which are irregular.
Before we look at the list of irregular verbs with ㅎ and how to conjugate these irregular verbs, it is important to note that ㅎ irregular verbs are all ‘descriptive verbs’, or to be more accurate, they are adjectives.
When you look up an adjective in a Korean dictionary, it is listed in its basic verb form (e.g. 노랗다 = to be yellow). This is why many Korean textbooks refer to adjectives as ‘descriptive verbs’. In this lesson, we will simply refer to them as irregular ㅎ verbs, but please remember they are actually ‘descriptive verbs’/adjectives.
Below you will learn which verbs (adjectives) ending in ㅎ are irregular, and you will learn how to conjugate irregular ㅎ verbs in Korean.
ㅎIrregular Verbs (ㅎ 불규칙)
First, to help you learn which Korean verbs/adjectives ending in ㅎ are irregular, here is a list of irregular ㅎ verbs/adjectives in Korean.
ㅎ Irregular Verbs List
- 노랗다 = to be yellow
- 빨갛다 = to be red
- 파랗다 = to be blue
- 하얗다 = to be white
- 까맣다 = to be black
- 그렇다 = to be like that
- 저렇다 = to be like that
- 이렇다 = to be like this
- 어떻다 = to be such
- 뿌옇다 = to be hazy
How To Conjugate ㅎ Irregular Verbs (ㅎ 불규칙)
Conjugating ㅎ irregular verbs (adjectives) is a little tricky compared to the other irregular verb forms. When conjugating regular verbs that end in ㅎ the verb stem doesn’t change. For example, 좋다 (to be good) + 아요 (present tense ending) becomes 좋아요. However, when conjugating irregular verbs that end in ㅎ, the verb stem does change sometimes.
The first thing to know about conjugating ㅎ irregular verbs is that ㅎ irregular verbs only behave irregularly when attaching an ending that starts in a vowel. When attaching an ending that starts in a consonant, an irregular ㅎ verb is conjugated just the same as regular verbs.
Let’s take a look at how to conjugate ㅎ irregular verbs (adjectives) with endings that start with a vowel. The particular conjugation rule to follow depends on which ending you are attaching to the irregular verb.
Endings Starting With 아/어
When attaching endings which start with 아/어 (for example 아요/어요, 아서/어서,았어요/었어요) to a ㅎ irregular verb, the first thing you must do is drop ㅎ from the verb stem. For example, if you drop the ㅎ from the descriptive verb 빨갛다 (to be red) it becomes 빨가.
Next, look at the last letter in the verb stem and if this letter is 아 or 어, then you must change 아/어 to 애. If the last letter is 야 or 여, then you must change 야/여 to 얘 or 예 (야 changes to 얘 and 여 changes to 예).
So, in the above example, after removing ㅎ from 빨갛다 you are left with the stem 빨가. 빨가 ends in 아 and so this changes to ㅐ.
빨갛다 + 아요 = 빨개요
빨갛다 + 아서 = 빨개서
빨갛다 + 았어요 = 빨갰어요
Here’s another example, this time with 하얗다 (to be white). Again, first, we must drop ㅎ from the verb stem and so you are left with 하야. As you can see, 하야 ends with 야. So, when attaching an ending which starts with 아/어 we must change 야 to 얘.
하얗다 + 아요 = 하얘요
하얗다 + 아서 = 하얘서
하얗다 +았어요 = 하얬어요
Endings Starting With (으)
When attaching endings which start with ~(으), (for example ~(으)면, ~(으)니까, ~(으)ㄹ 거예요), to irregular ㅎ verbs, ㅎ and 으 are dropped. Let’s look at some examples with 그렇다 (to be like that).
그렇다 + ~(으)면 = 그러면
그렇다 + ~(으)니까 = 그러니까
그렇다 + ~(으)ㄹ 거예요 = 그럴 거예요
ㅎ Irregular Conjugation Chart
To help you learn how to conjugate irregular ㅎ verbs, here is a printable ㅎ irregular conjugation chart.
More Korean Irregular Verb Lessons
There are seven types of irregular verbs in Korean. For more lessons on Korean Irregular verbs, click on the links below.