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Learn Korean Language Lesson 28 – Korean Past Tense

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Learn Korean Lesson 28 - Korean Past TenseContinue from Learn Korean Language Lesson 27 – Korean Present Tense. Today we come to Learn Korean Lesson 28 – Korean Past Tense. In this Learn Korean Language Lesson, You will learn how to answer Korean question like “what did you do yesterday?” and ask them to your Korean friends. To put action verbs (Korean Verbs) and descriptive verbs (Korean Adjectives) into the past tense, first think of the present tense or Korean Informal Polite Sentence Endings, and replace “요” with “ㅆ어요”.

Korean Past Tense

The rule above works with all verbs, including Korean irregular verbs (we will learn this in the future). Do you remember that we added 아요/어요/해요 behind a verb to make sentences in Korean? Korean past tense is very easy, just adding 았어요/었어요/했어요 to a verb or adjective stem makes it past tense. When a verb or adjective stem ends with ㅏ or ㅗ, -았어요 is added. See examples below.

  • 가다 [ ga-da ] + -았어요 = 갔어요 [ ga-sseo-yo ] – to go
  • 사다 [ sa-da ] + -았어요 = 샀어요 [ sa-sseo-yo ] – to buy
  • 자다 [ ja-da ] +  -았어요 = 잤어요 [ ja-sseo-yo ] – to sleep
  • 오다 [ o-da ] + -았어요 = 왔어요 [ wa-sseo-yo ] – to come
  • 보다 [ bo-da ] + -았어요 = 봤어요 [ bwa-sseo-yo ] – to see
  • 살다 [ sal-da ] + -았어요  = 살았어요 [ sa-ra-sseo-yo ] – to live
  • 만나다 [ man-na-da ] + -았어요 = 만났어요 [ man-na-sseo-yo ] – to meet
  • 비싸다 [ bi-ssa-da ] + -았어요 = 비쌌어요 [ bi-ssa-sseo-yo ] – to be expensive

Korean sentences in past tense -았어요.

  • 한국에 갔어요. [ han-guk-e-ga-sseo-yo ] – I went to Korea.
  • 친구를 만났어요. [ chin-gu-reul-man-na-sseo-yo ] – I met (my) friend.
  • 영화를 봤어요. [ yeong-hwa-reul-bwa-sseo-yo ] – I watched a movie.
  • 사과가 비쌌어요. [ sa-gwa-ga0bi-ssa-sseo-yo ] – Apples were expensive.
  • 지난주에 조금 바빴어요. [ ji-nan-ju-e-jo-geum-ba-bba-sseo-yo ] – I was a little busy last week.

When a verb or adjective stem ends with any other vowel, other thanㅏ or ㅗ, -었어요 is added.

  • 주다 [ ju-da ] + -었어요 = 줬어요 [ jwo-sseo-yo ] – to give
  • 먹다 [ meok-da ] + -었어요 = 먹었어요 [ meo-geo-sseo-yo ] – to eat
  • 읽다 [ il-da ] + -었어요 = 읽었어요 [ il-geo-sseo-yo ] – to read
  • 배우다 [ bae-u-da ] + -었어요 = 배웠어요 [ bae-wo-sseo-yo ] – to learn
  • 만들다 [ man-deul-da ] + -었어요 = 만들었어요 [ man-deu-reo-sseo-yo ] – to make

Korean sentences in past tense -었어요.

  • 밥을 먹었어요. [ bap-eul-meo-geo-sseo-yo ] – I ate (my) meal.
  • 책을 읽었어요. [ chaek-eul-il-geo-sseo-yo ] – I read a book.
  • 음식을 만들었어요. [ eum-sik-eul-man-deu-reo-sseo-yo ] – I cooked (some) food.

We have learned that when verb stems ending with a vowel ㅣ,  ㅣ + -어요 results in -여요. For example, 마시다 becomes 마셔요 and 가르치다 becomes 가르쳐요. Adding -었어요 to a verb or adjective stem ending with vowel ㅣ results in -였어요.

  • 가르치다 [ ga-reu-chi-da ] + -었어요 = 가르쳤어요 [ ga-reu-chyeo-sseo-yo ] – to teach
  • 마시다 [ ma-si-da ] + -었어요 = 마셨어요 [ ma-syeo-sseo-yo ] – to drink

Korean sentences in past tense -였어요.

  • 일본어를 가르쳤어요. [ il-bon-eo-reul-ga-reu-chyeo-sseo-yo ] – I taught Japanese.
  • 물을 마셨어요. [ mu-reul-ma-syeo-sseo-yo ] – I drank water.

When a verb or adjective ends with -하다 [ ha-da ], change 하다 to -했어요. -하다 is verbs “to do”. Many nouns can be made into past tense by adding the verb -했어요. See examples below and continue to Learn Korean Language Lesson 29 – Korean Time.

  • 일하다 [ il-ha-da ] + -했어요 = 일했어요 [ il-hae-sseo-yo ] – to work
  • 공부하다 [ gong-bu-ha-da ] + -했어요 = 공부했어요 [ gong-bu-hae-sseo-yo ] – to study
  • 운동하다 [ un-dong-ha-da ] + -했어요 = 운동했어요 [ un-dong-hae-sseo-yo ] – to exercise
  • 전화하다 [ jeon-hwa-ha-da ] + -했어요 = 전화했어요 [ jeon-hwa-hae-sseo-yo ] – to make a phone call
  • 요리하다 [ yo-ri-ha-da ] + -했어요 = 요리했어요 [ yo-ri-hae-sseo-yo ] – to cook
  • 운전하다 [ un-jeon-ha-da ] + -했어요 = 운전했어요 [ un-jeon-hae-sseo-yo ] – to drive
  • 수영하다 [ su-yeong-ha-da ] + -했어요 = 수영했어요 [ su-yeong-hae-sseo-yo ] – to swim
  • 청소하다 [ cheong-so-ha-da ] + -했어요 = 청소했어요 [ cheong-so-hae-sseo-yo ] – to clean
  • 빨래하다 [ bbal-lae-ha-da ] + -했어요 = 빨래했어요 [ bbal-lae-hae-sseo-yo ] – to do laundry
  • 복잡하다 [ bok-jap-ha-da ] + -했어요 = 복잡했어요 [ bok-jap-hae-sseo-yo ] – to be crowded

Korean sentences in past tense -했어요.

  • 방을 청소했어요. [ bang-eul-cheong-so-hae-sseo-yo ] – I cleaned my room.
  • 친구가 전화했어요. [ chin-gu-ga-jeon-hwa-hae-sseo-yo ] – A friend of mine called.
  • 어제 빨래했어요. [ eo-je-bbal-lae-hae-sseo-yo ] – I did laundry yesterday.
  • 어제 공원에서 운동했어요. [ eo-je-gong-won-e-seo-un-dong-hae-sseo-yo ] – I exercised at the park yesterday.
  • 길이 복잡했어요. [ gil-i-bok-jap-hae-sseo-yo ] – The road was crowded.

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