Korean Irregular ㄷ - ㄷ 불규칙

In this lesson, you will learn about irregular Korean verbs with ㄷ (ㄷ 불규칙). Most verbs and adjectives which end in ㄷ are not irregular and so they follow the normal conjugation rules. However, there are some irregular ㄷ verbs that are conjugated differently.

Below you will find a list of irregular ㄷ verbs in Korean and you will learn how to conjugate irregular ㄷ verbs. You’ll also find a list of regular ㄷ verbs.

ㄷ Irregular (ㄷ 불규칙)

There is no particular way to tell whether a ㄷ verb is regular or irregular, and so it is best to simply memorize these verbs/adjectives.

Here is a list of ㄷ irregular verbs followed by a list of regular ㄷ verbs:

Irregular ㄷ Verbs

  • 걷다 – to walk
  • 듣다 – to listen
  • 묻다 – to ask
  • 싣다 – to load
  • 깨닫다 – to realize
  • 붇다 – to swell up (with water)
  • 긷다 – to draw water

Regular ㄷ Verbs

  • 닫다 – to close
  • 믿다 – to believe
  • 받다 – to receive
  • 얻다 – to get
  • 묻다 – to bury
  • 쏟다 – to pour
  • 돋다 – to rise
  • 곧다 – to be straight
  • 굳다 – to harden
  • 딛다 – to step
  • 내딛다 – to step forward

Download and print this list of irregular ㄷ verbs.

Irregular Verbs List - ㄷ

How To Conjugate Irregular ㄷ Verbs (ㄷ 불규칙)

As was mentioned above, most verbs which end in ㄷ are regular verbs and so they are conjugated just like any other verbs. For example, when conjugating a verb into the present tense, with regular verbs you simply add 아요 or 어요. 닫다 is a regular verb and so in the present tense 닫다 becomes 닫아요. As you can see, the verb stem doesn’t change as this is a regular verb.

Irregular ㄷ verbs do not follow the normal conjugation rules. Here are the key things to remember when conjugating irregular ㄷ verbs.

1. Irregular verbs ending in ㄷ only behave irregularly when an ending which starts with a vowel is attached.

For example, endings such as 아요/어요 (present tense), 아서/어서 (so), -(으)면 (if), etc, start with a vowel, and so when these endings are attached to an irregular ㄷ verb, these verbs behave irregularly.

When irregular ㄷ verbs are conjugated with endings starting with a consonant, they do not behave irregularly. That is to say, they are conjugated just the same as regular verbs.

2. When conjugating irregular ㄷ verbs with endings that start with a vowel, ㄷ is replaced by ㄹ before adding the ending.

For example, the verb 듣다 (to listen) is an irregular ㄷ verb. So, if we want to conjugate this verb in the present tense (아요/어요) we must replace ㄷ with ㄹ before adding the ending 어요. 듣다 becomes 들어요 in the present tense.

3. With endings starting with 아 or 어, the vowel that comes before ㄷ determines whether 아 or 어 is used in the ending.

For example, when you want to conjugate an irregular ㄷ verb in the present tense (아요/어요) you must choose either 아요 or 어요 to add. The one you choose is determined by the vowel which comes before ㄷ in the verb stem.

If the vowel before ㄷ is 아 or 오, then the ending starting with 아 should be used.

For example, the vowel before ㄷ in 깨닫다 (to realize) is ㅏ. So, the ending starting with 아 should be used.

깨닫다 = to realize
깨달아요 = realize (present tense)
깨달았어요 = realized (past tense)

If the vowel before ㄷ is NOT 아 or 오, then the ending starting with 어 should be used.

For example, the vowel before ㄷ in the verb 듣다 (to listen) is not ㅏ or ㅓ. So, we must choose the ending starting with 어.

듣다 = to listen
들어요 = listen (present tense)
들었어요 = listened (past tense)

Irregular ㄷ Examples

Here are some examples of irregular ㄷ verbs conjugated with some common endings.

Irregular Verb아요/어요았어요/었어요(으)면
걷다
(to walk)
걸어요걸었어요걸으면
듣다
(to listen)
들어요들었어요들으면
묻다
(to ask)
물어요물었어요물으면
싣다
(to load)
실어요실었어요실으면
깨닫다
(to realize)
깨달아요깨달았어요깨달으면
붇다
(to swell up)
불어요불었어요불으면
긷다
(to draw water)
길어요길었어요길으면

Irregular ㄷ Example Sentences

Here are some useful irregular ㄷ example sentences.

  • 저는 클래식 음악을 자주 들어요. (듣다) = I often listen to classical music.
  • 저는 아침마다 집에서 학교까지 걸러요. (걷다) = I walk from my house to school every morning.
  • 궁금한 거 있으면 물어보세요. (묻다) = If there is something you are curious about, please ask.

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.