Introduction to Verb in -고 Form

The first lesson introduced in the Continuing Korean book is a verb ending which I have encountered twice from Elementary Korean, this is the -고 (-ko) verb ending. 

In my earlier posts, I have discussed a verb ending that expresses one’s desires and wishes, this is -고 싶어 (-ko shipo).  Few weeks ago I also made a post on another verb ending that features 고 again which is -고 있어 (-ko isseo).  This verb gives the regular polite ending verb a meaning that the action in progress.

This time, the topic is all about the one shape verb ending -고.  Just like the verb ending -지 (ji) and -겠-  (kett), this verb ending is attached to a word regardless if it ends in vowel or consonant.  Before I post on the things  I learned on its uses,  let’s refresh our minds with the pronunciation rules with respect to this ending added in various words.  Here are some of the rules in pronunction :

  • Consonant ending verbs like 들 (deul) that ends in ㄹ change the final consonant to ㄷ before another consonant.  It is pronunced as ㄱ if the following ending starts with ㄱ and ㅈ for word ending starts with ㅈ.  들 which means listen becomes 듣 –> 듣고 (deukko) .
  • Bases that ends in consonants ㅅ, ㅆ, ㅈ and ㅊ transforms to  a final consonant ㄷ before -고 is added see sample below:
    • 있 –> 있고 –> means ‘there is’ pronounced as 읻고. This sample tells me that past base will always take this pronunciation rule into consideration as – ㅆ is to be added in plain base form.
    • 벗 –> 벗고 —> means ‘remove’ is pronounced as 벋고
    • 찾 –> 찾고 –> means ‘seek’ is pronounced as 찯고For bases that ends with more than 2 consonant, only 1 will be pronounced like in the case below:
    • 읽–> 읽고 –> means ‘read’ will be pronounced as 일고 (ilko)
    • 없–> 없고–> means ‘lack of’ will be pronounced as 업고 (opko)
  • For bases that normally ends in ㅎ the ㄱsound of  the ending 고 becomes aspirated as in ㅋ.  Here is an example 좋–> 좋고 –>  means to like becomes  조코 only in pronunciation.
  • L extending bases adds 고 with the ㄹon the base.  Example would be 살고 (salkko – means to live) 팔고 (palko – means to sell)

This topic somehow made me review the  pronunciation guides learned from book one (Elementary Korean).


2 Replies to “Introduction to Verb in -고 Form”

  1. Since this was posted 5 years ago, you’ve probably learned by now that its 듣고 instead of 들고 because 듣 is the original word. It changes to ㄹ when met with a vowel.

  2. I’d bet that you also learned this since 2009 was 8 years ago, but just for anyone looking for tips on Korean grammar, 읽고 from 읽다 (to read) should be pronounced [익고] and [익다] not [일고] or [일다]. Likewise, 읽습니다 “read [formal high]” is pronounced [익습니다] = [익슴니다] (ㅂ in front of ㄴ goes to ㅁ). If the verb stem of 읽다 (읽) is followed by a vowel, the following happens: Verb Stem + 어 “read [present tense]” = 읽 + 어 = 읽어 = [일거].

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