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Learn Korean Language Lesson 27 – Korean Present Tense

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Learn Korean Lesson 27 - Korean Present TenseContinue from Lesson 26 – Korean Requests, Suggestions, or Commands. Today we come to Lesson Korean Present Tense. In this lesson, we will learn Korean Present Tense. Do you remember that we have learn Korean Informal Polite Sentence Endings in Learn Korean Language Lesson 13? Korean present tense is same as what we have learned before. In English, there are past tense, present tense and future tense. There are past tense, present tense and future tense in Korean too.

Korean Present Tense

-아요/어요 [ a-yo/eo-yo ] are casual but polite sentence endings which are commonly used in everyday life such as shopping, buying tickets, and asking directions etc, etc. It is use to form all present tense verbs (verbs in the present tense). When a verb stem ends with the vowel ㅏ or ㅗ, -아요 is added. See examples below.

  • 가다 [ ga-da ] + -아요 = 가요 [ ga-yo ] – to go
  • 사다 [ sa-da ] + -아요 = 사요 [ sa-yo ] – to buy
  • 자다 [ ja-da ] + -아요 = 자요 [ ja-yo ] – to sleep
  • 오다 [ o -da ] + -아요 = 와요 [ wa-yo ] – to come
  • 보다 [ bo-da ] + -아요 = 봐요 [ bwa-yo ] – to see

When a verb stem ends with a vowel other than ㅏ or ㅗ, -어요 is added. But verb stems ending with a vowel ㅣ,  ㅣ + -어요 results in -여요. For example, 마시다 becomes 마셔요 and 가르치다 becomes 가르쳐요.

  • 주다 [ ju-da ] + -어요 = 줘요 [ jwo-yo ] – to give
  • 먹다 [ meok-da ] + -어요 = 먹어요 [ meo-geo-yo ] – to eat
  • 읽다 [ il-da ] + -어요 = 읽어요 [ il-geo-yo ] – to read
  • 배우다 [ bae-u-da ] + -어요 = 배워요 [ bae-wo-yo ] – to learn
  • 마시다 [ ma-si-da ] + -어요 = 마셔요 [ ma-syeo-yo ] – to drink

When a verb stem ends with -하다 [ ha-da ] becomes -해요 [ hae-yo ]. -하다 is verbs “‘to do”. Many nouns can be made into present tense by adding the verb -해요. See examples below.

  • 일하다 [ il-ha-da ] + -해요 = 일해요 [ il-hae-yo ] – to work
  • 공부하다 [ gong-bu-ha-da ] + -해요 = 공부해요 [ gong-bu-hae-yo ] – to study
  • 운동하다 [ un-dong-ha-da ] + -해요 = 운동해요 [ un-dong-hae-yo ] – to exercise
  • 전화하다 [ jeon-hwa-ha-da ] + -해요 = 전화해요 [ jeon-hwa-hae-yo ] – to make a phone call
  • 요리하다 [ yo-ri-ha-da ] + -해요 = 요리해요 [ yo-ri-hae-yo ] – to cook

The only thing that you need to pay attention is that in Korean, adjectives (Korean Adjectives) act and look like verbs (Korean Verbs). Therefore, it’s much easier to think of Korean as having two types of verbs: action verbs (to run, to sleep, to do, to work, to think, to study, etc.) and descriptive verbs (to be happy, to be sad, to be cheap, to be expensive, to be good, to be bad, etc.). These two types of verbs behave a bit differently when it comes to changing tenses, so you need to keep these two types in mind over the next few Learn Korean lessons. Put the descriptive verbs into the present tense just like action verbs. Descriptive verbs take the Korean Subject Marker 이/가. See examples below and continue to Learn Korean Language Lesson 28 – Korean Past Tense.

  • 옷이 비싸요. [ o-si-bi-ssa-yo ] – The clothes are expensive.
  • 사과가 싸요. [ sa-gwa-ga-bi-ssa-yo ] – The apples are cheap.
  • 날씨가 좋아요. [ nal-ssi-ga-jo-a-yo ] – The weather is good.
  • 날씨가 추워요. [ nal-ssi-ga-chu-wo-yo ] – The weather is cold.
  • 목이 아파요. [ mo-gi-a-pa-yo ] – I have a sore throat.

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