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Korean Irregular Verbs

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Korean Irregular VerbsKorean Irregular Verbs are the “Gangster Group” in Korean Hangeul system. There are a total of five Korean Irregular Verbs: ㄷ, ㅂ, ㄹ, 으 and 르. This post is just an introduction of the Korean Irregular verbs, I’ll cover them more details in Learn Korean Language lessons. Why I called them the “Gangster Group”? Because they will change accordingly when they meet with certain consonants or vowels. We will look at them in the Korean Informal Polite Sentence Endings. Let’s learn the rules below.

Korean Irregular Verbs – ㄷ

The first irregular verbs we learn today is “ㄷirregular verbs”. When a verb stem ends in “ㄷ”, this “ㄷ” becomes “ㄹ” whenever the verb tense ending begin with a vowel (such as the Korean Present Tense 아/어요). Then add the normal present tense ending to this new stem. See examples below.

  • 듣다 [ deut-da ] → 들어요 [ deu-reo-yo ] (듣→들) – to listen
  • 걷다 [ geot-da ] → 걸어요 [ geo-reo-yo ] (걷→걸) – to walk

However, there are few exceptions which mean that the “ㄷ” ending verbs that do not change the stems whether the suffix begins with a vowel or a consonant. See examples below.

  • 받다 [ bat-da ] →  받아요 [ ba-da-yo ] – to receive
  • 쏟다 [ ssot-da ] → 쏟아요 [ sso-da-yo ] – to pour
  • 닫다 [ dat-da ] → 닫아요 [ da-da-yo ] – to close
  • 믿다 [ mit-da ] → 믿어요 [ mi-deo-yo ] – to believe

Examples:

  • 음악을 들었어요. [ eum-a-geul-deu-reo-sseo-yo ] – I listened to music.
  • 빨리 걸으세요. [ bbal-li-geo-reu-se-yo ] – Please walk quickly.
  • 문을 닫으세요. [ mu-neul-da-deu-se-yo ] – Close the door, please.
  • 선물을 받았어요. [ seon-mu-reul-ba-da-sseo-yo ] – I got a present.

Korean Irregular Verbs – ㅂ

The “ㅂ irregular verbs” can be changed to either “우” or “오” for some cases. When a verb stem ends in “ㅂ”, this “ㅂ” becomes “우” or “오” whenever the verb tense ending begins with a vowel (such as the Korean Present Tense 아/어요). When a verb stem ends with a vowel other than “ㅏ or ㅗ”,  this “ㅂ” becomes “우”. Then combined the “우” with the present tense ending 어요 to form the ending 워요. See examples below.

  • 줍다 [ jup-da ] → 주워요 [ ju-wo-yo ] (줍→주우)+어요) – to pick up
  • 굽다 [ gup-da ] → 구워요 [ gu-wo-yo ] (굽→구우)+어요) – to roast
  • 쉽다 [ swip-da ] → 쉬워요 [ swi-wo-yo ] (쉽→쉬우)+어요) – to be easy
  • 귀엽다 [ gwi-yeop-da ] → 귀여워요 [ gwi-yeo-wo-yo ] (귀엽→귀여우)+어요) – to be cute
  • 부럽다 [ bu-reop-da ] → 부러워요 [ bu-reo-wo-yo ] (부럽→부러우)+어요) – to be jealous

When a verb stem ends with “ㅏ or ㅗ”,  this “ㅂ” becomes “오” rather than “우”. Then combined the “오” with the present tense ending 아요 to form the ending 와요. See examples below.

  • 돕다 [ dop-da ] → 도와요 [ do-wa-yo ] (돕→도오)+아요) – to help
  • 곱다 [ gop-da ] → 고와요 [ go-wa-yo ] (곱→고오)+아요) –  to be beautiful

However, there are few exceptions which mean that the “ㅂ” ending verbs that do not change the stems whether the suffix begins with a vowel or a consonant. See examples below.

  • 잡다 [ jap-da ] → 잡아요 [ ja-ba-yo ] – to catch
  • 집다 [ jip-da ] → 집어요 [ ji-beo-yo ] – to pick up
  • 씹다 [ ssip-da ] → 씹어요 [ ssi-beo-yo ] – to chew

Korean Irregular Verbs – 으

When the verb stem ends with the vowel “으”, this “으” is dropped whenever the verb tense ending begins with a vowel (such as the Korean Present Tense 아/어요). Then add the normal present tense ending to this new stem. See examples below.

  • 끄다 [ ggeu-da ] → 꺼요 [ ggeo-yo ] (ㄲ+어요) – to put out/turn off
  • 쓰다 [ sseu-da ] → 써요 [ sseo-yo ] (ㅆ+어요) – to write
  • 크다 [ keu-da ] → 커요 [ keo-yo ] (ㅋ+어요) – to be big
  • 바쁘다 [ ba-bbeu-da ] → 바빠요 [ ba-bba-yo ] (ㅃ+아요) – to be busy

Korean Irregular Verbs – 르

When a verb stem ends in “ㄹ”, before 아/어요 the “ㅡ” is dropped and one more “ㄹ” is added to the syllable preceding the original “ㄹ”. In other word, two “ㄹ” is produced. Then add the normal present tense ending to this new stem. See examples below.

  • 나르다 [ na-reu-da ] → 날라요 [ nal-la-yo ] (나르+아요 = 날+(ㄹ)+아요 = 날라요) – to carry
  • 부르다 [ bu-reu-da ] → 불러요 [ bul-leo-yo ] (부르+어요 = 불+(ㄹ)+어요 = 불러요) – to sing/call out
  • 흐르다 [ heu-reu-da ] → 흘러요 [ heul-leo-yo ] (흐르+어요 = 흘+(ㄹ)+어요 = 흘러요) – to flow
  • 가르다 [ ga-reu-da ] → 갈라요 [ gal-la-yo ] (가르+아요 = 갈+(ㄹ)+아요 = 갈라요) – to divide
  • 지르다 [ ji-reu-da ] → 질러요 [ jil-leo-yo ] (지르+어요 = 질+(ㄹ)+어요 = 질러요) – to yell/set fire to

Korean Irregular Verbs – ㄹ

Here comes our last Korean Irregular Verbs, the “ㄹ irregular verbs”, the most difficult irregular verbs. When a verb stem ends in “ㄹ”, this  “ㄹ” is dropped whenever the consonants such as “ㄴ, ㅂ, ㅅ” come next. Then add the normal ending to this new stem. There will be no changes when the verb tense ending begins with a vowel (such as the Korean Present Tense 아/어요). See the table below.

Verb/ Adjective -는 -ㅂ니다 -세요 -어/아요
길다 [ gil-da ] – to be long 긴 [ gin ] (길+는→기+ㄴ) not “기는” 깁니다 [ gim-ni-da ] (길+ㅂ니다→기+ㅂ니다) 기세요 [ gi-se-yo ] (길+세요→기+세요) 길어요 [ gi-reo-yo ] (길+어요)
살다 [ sal-da ] – to live/buy 사는 [ sa-neun ] (살+는→사+는) 삽니다 [ sam-ni-da ] (삽+ㅂ니다→사+ㅂ니다) 사세요 [ sa-se-yo ]  (살+세요→사+세요) 살아요 [ sa-ra-yo ] (살+아요)
울다 [ ul-da ] – to cry 우는 [ u-neun ] (울+는→우+는) 웁니다 [ um-ni-da ] (울+ㅂ니다→우+ㅂ니다) 우세요 [ u-se-yo ] (울+세요→우+세요) 울어요 [ u-reo-yo ] (울+어요)
팔다 [ pal-da ] – to sell 파는 [ pa-neun ] (팔+는→파+는) 팝니다 [ pam-mi-da ] (팔+ㅂ니다→파+ㅂ니다) 파세요 [ pa-se-yo ]  (팔+세요→파+세요) 팔아요 [ pa-ra-yo ] (팔+아요)
밀다 [ mil-da ] – to push 미는 [ mi-neun ] (밀+는→미+는) 밉니다 [ mim-ni-da ] (밀+ㅂ니다→미+ㅂ니다) 미세요 [ mi-se-yo ] (밀+세요→미+세요) 밀어요 [ mi-reo-yo ] (밀+어요)
빌다 [ bil-da ] – to beg 비는 [ bi-neun ] (빌+는→비+는) 빕니다 [ bim-ni-da ] (빌+ㅂ니다→비+ㅂ니다) 비세요 [ bi-se-yo ] (빌+세요→비+세요) 빌어요 [ bi-reo-yo ] (빌+어요)
열다 [ yeol-da ] – to open 여는 [ yeo-neun ] (열+는→여+는) 엽니다 [ yeom-ni-da ] (열+ㅂ니다→여+ㅂ니다) 여세요 [ yeo-se-yo ] (열+세요→여+세요) 열어요 [ yeo-reo-yo ] (열+어요)

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