In this lesson, you will learn how to make the present progressive tense in Korean. If you’re not sure what the present progressive tense is, it is a tense which is used to describe a continuous action that is happening now.
In English. the present progressive tense is formed by adding -ing to a verb. For example, ‘He is eating‘, ‘She is reading.’, etc, are examples of present progressive sentences.
Below you will learn how to conjugate Korean verbs to make the present progressive tense and how to make present progressive sentences in Korean.
Present Progressive Tense In Korean
Before we look at the Korean present progressive tense conjugation, there is one important thing you should know. Many people in everyday Korean conversation simply use the present tense form to indicate the present progressive tense, especially if it is clear from the context that you are referring to something happening now.
For example, if you wanted to ask ‘What are you doing now?’ in Korean, you can use the present progressive form (지금 뭐 하고 있어요?), but it is much more common to simply use the present tense form (지금 뭐 해요? = literally ‘Now what do?’).
With that important information out of the way, let’s learn how conjugate the present progressive tense in Korean.
Present Progressive Tense (~고 있어요) – Conjugation
To make the present progressive tense in Korean you simply attach ~고 있어요 to a verb stem. ~고 있어요 comes from the stem ~고 있다 (to be -ing). When ~고 있다 is conjugated into the present tense it becomes ~고 있어요. Let’s look at some examples.
보다 = to see/watch
보고 있다 = to be watching
보고 있어요 = watching
저는 영화를 보고 있어요. = I am watching a movie.
자다 = to sleep
자고 있다 = to be sleeping
자고 있어요 = sleeping
수민이 자고 있어요. = Sumin is sleeping.
Past Progressive Tense (~고 있었어요) – Conjugation
In a previous lesson, we covered how to conjugate verbs in the past tense. To make the past progressive tense, you simply conjugate ~고 있다 (to be -ing) into the past form and then attach it to a verb stem. 고 있다 in the past form is ~고 있었어요, and attaching this to a verb stem changes it into the past progressive form.
Let’s look at some examples.
듣다 = to listen
듣고 있어요 = listening
듣고 있었어요 = was listening
아까 음악을 듣고 있었어요. = I was listening to music earlier.
생각하다 = to think
생각하고 있어요 = thinking
생각하고 있었어요 = was thinking
엄마를 생각하고 있었어요. = I was thinking about my mother.
Future Progressive Tense (~고 있을 거예요) – Conjugation
If you remember how to make the future tense, making the future progressive tense is quite simple.
To make the future progressive tense you simply attach ~고 있을 거예요 to a verb stem. As you can see, this is ~고 있다 conjugated in the future tense. Let’s look at some examples:
공부하다 = to study
공부하고 있어요 = studying
공부하고 있었어요 = was studying
공부하고 있을 거예요 = will be studying
집에 도착할 때 저는 공부하고 있을 거예요. = I’ll be studying when you arrive home.
일하다 = to work
일하고 있어요 = working
일하고 있었어요 = was working
일하고 있을 거예요 = will be working
집에 도착하면 저는 일하고 있을 거예요. = I’ll be working when you arrive home.