Verbs: Infinitive Form – Part 2

Verbs ending in vowel seems to be more complicated (as it has more rules and variation in making the infinitive form) than the consonant ending one.  These so far are the ways i have learned out of the 8 possibilities mentioned in the book:

  • Verbs with base form ending in 아,어 or 애 has the same infinitive form as its base form.  No wonder I always hear in Korean movies and dramas 가 and 자, which means go and sleep respectively.  Other example would be 서 (stand) and  매 (tie). These verbs have the same base and infinitive form.
  • Verbs ending in 이 is suppose to be added with 어 to have the infinitive form but the ending is abbreviated to 여 instead of -이어. Example is 가르치 (teach) which becomes 가르쳐 instead of  가르치어.
  • Another abbreviation happens for verbs ending in 우, to form the infinitive 어 should be added.  However, instead of yielding a -우어 ending, it will become . As such, 주 is 줘 in infinitive form.
  • The next rule is similar to principle mentioned in consonant ending verbs where the last vowel is ㅗ.  Verbs ending in ㅗ will have its infinitive form by adding 아 BUT this should be shortened to 와. Classic example is the Korean word ‘come’ and ‘look’ which is 오 and 보 respectively.  To get the infinitive form this words become 와 and 봐.
  • For verb ending in 으, either 아 or 어 is added but ㅡ has to be dropped.  So for the verb 쓰 which means write, instead of 쓰어 the infinitive form becomes 써.  The principle of last vowel after dropping ㅡ  will apply. So if the last vowel is either ㅜ or  ㅏ after ㅡ is dropped then should be added instead of 어. An example of this would be the word 바쁘 which means busy.  Since the last vowel when ㅡ is dropped will beㅏ then the infinitive form of this word would be 바빠.

The 3 other ways to form infinitive are a bit complicated.  Its really more of an exception.  This will require more time for me to fully understand.  So far these 5 ways are easy to remember.


Verbs: Infinitive Form

Few months ago I only know that Korean words have dictionary form and there is a base word something that I associate with rootword in English however it seems base word is not necessarily used in conversation or usual communication.  This holds true for dictionary form of the word.  Still on lesson 7 of Elementary Korean, I have learned that Korean verbs have infinitive form.  I really didn’t get why it is called infinitive but readers of the book have been cautioned on taking the term infinitive into English language context. 

What I clearly understood is that the infinitive form can actually stand as the statement or expression already.  In most use, it ends with 요 (yo) to make it polite so dropping this ending and other honorific marker will translate the communication in the intimate form (communication in Korean has various degree or level depending on who you are talking too).

Briefly verb’s infinitive form usually ends in ~ㅏor ~ㅓ depending on the last character of the base word if its consonant or vowel ending.   This lesson reminds me of the particles which is added on noun.

Consonant ending verbs normally will add ~ㅓ to make the infinitive form but with exceptions.  If the last vowel of the verb is or, instead of ㅓ, the letter to be added will beㅏ. Here is a sample:

작 (to be small in size) –> 작아

좋 (to be good) –>  좋아

In most cases 어 will be added like in the verb 없 (indicate non existence) will turn to 없어 and so is for 있 (indicate existence) which will turn to 있어.

There are other exemptions to these specifically for special consonant ending verb which I am about to discover in my further reading.

Verbs and its Dictionary Form

Learning 한글 is getting exciting day by day.  Some of the questions I have in mind when I was reading various websites explaining basics of the language are made clear by the ever reliable book Elementary Korean.

The chapter I am reading now deals with verbs.  Previous readings say this is the most important word in a Korean sentence.  It can sometimes stand on its own as a complete statement.  Reminds me of how we were thought that ‘Run!’ or ‘Sit!’ can be considered a statement in English during my primary learning years.

The first book I had in learning Korean is my thin dictionary which I think is more of a thesaurus (English-Korean and Korean-English).  I was too proud to think that I would be able to create a statement after learning how to decrypt their script.  Using my dictionary I read the characters in Hangul and corresponding English translation.  The only thing I know is that they have a different word order compared to English.  I just realized that it was foolish to assume I can be competent this way. 

I remember one of my language exchange partners saying that the word I used is not meant to be said that way when communicating in Korean.  There was no further explanation so I thought it was probably a wrong grammar until one of my Korean friends online told me to replace 다 (-da)  with 게.  Obviously this is not always the case. 

Chapter 7 of Elementary Korean deals with this.  Verbs in Korea have a dictionary entry or form.  This explains why most words I read ends with 다. This is because the base form of the word will have its dictionary form by simply adding -다.  This is a classic example:

가 (base form) + 다 = 가다 which means ‘go’.  When using this verb 다 should be removed.  So you can hear 가요 or 가세요 (honorrific due to addition of 세–se), these can already mean You can go now or Go now or Let’s go now.

The next form is pretty exciting too… the infinitive form.

Verb of Existence (없어요 ~ 있어요)

I am yet to learn more about verbs in 한극.   The verb indicating existence or non-existence have been introduced first,  these are -있어요 and -없어요 respectively.  The dash before the verb indicates it cannot stand alone it should be preceeded by a word usually a noun.

This word ending is very striking as I usually hear them on songs and conversations in dramas and movies.


책이 있어요 –> there is a book 

펜이 없어요 –> there is no pen