Turning Descriptive Verb to Processive

This post is sort of a review on one of the most important part of Korean sentence — verb that is.   Korean sentences usually ends with a verb.  There are two types of verb in Korean, processive and descriptive verbs.  The processive verb is the typical action word as we know in English while the descriptive type is actually adjective.

One main difference of a processive verb with a descriptive one is that it can take direct object.  It can take nouns marked with 을 or 를 (eul or reul) unlike descriptive verbs which can only take subjects and topics, these are nouns marked by either 이/가 (i/ga) or 은 는 (eun/neun) respectively.  This thing is very important in turning descriptive verb to processive type.

How is it done?  this is by simply adding 해요 (haeyo) or 합니다 (hamnida) to the verb.  Here are some examples:

  • 좋아요 (choayo) –> 좋아해요 (choahaeyo) means is good, is liked or likes
  • 싫어요 (shireoyo) –>  싫어해요 (shireohaeyo) means is dislikes or dislikes
  • 기뻐요 (gippeoyo) –>기뻐해요 (gippeohaeyo) means is happy or glad

The practical use of descriptive verbs turned into processive is mainly to express what another person feels or thinks.  This is because in Korean, the speaker ordinarily is not allowed to state flatly what other people thinks or feels.  Such transformation makes the indirect pattern.  Here is an example:

  • 제인이 와서 좋아요 (Jeini waseo choayo).  It’s good that Jane has come or I am glad Jane has come.
  • 제인이 와서 좋아해요 (Jeini waseo choahaeyo). Someone is glad that Jane is here or Jane is glad to be here.

Turning Descriptive Verbs into Processive Verbs

I previously learned that verbs are classified as descriptive and processive in Korean (well we call descriptive verbs as adjectives in English).  I have learned a handful of descriptive verbs like 좋아 (choa- good or  like), 쉬워 (swiwo – be easy),  우려워  (uryeowo – be difficult), 예뻐 (yeppeo – to be pretty) to name a few.

These type of verbs are normally used in first person sentences or second person questions.  In most of my readings, I have always been reminded to never speak of what another people feels or thinks. The Korean language does not ordinarily allow speaker to state directly what another person feels or thinks.  So when you hear this line:

이것이 좋아요 (Ikeoti chuayo) It means ‘I like this’ .  While the language allows subject to be dropped in a sentence, this will unlikely mean ‘He or She likes this’. ‘

To turn a descriptive verb into processive, 해요 is normally added to it.  This externalizes the emotion and feelings allowing the descriptive verb to be used to refer to someone else’s thoughts.  See example below:

Own emotion – 어머니가 와서 좋아요. (Eomeonika waseo chuayo).  I am happy mother is here.

Someone else’s emotion –  어머니가 와서 좋아해요. (Eomeonika waseo chuahaeyo). [Someone else] is happy that mother is here or Mother is glad to be here.

Note that 해요 is added on the infinitive form of the descriptive verb. This way, the verb becomes processive and can therefore take direct objects see example below where both sentence means ‘I don’t like kimchi’ :

  • 나는 김치싫어요 (Naneun kimchika shireoyo)
  • 나는 깈치 싫어요 (Naneun kimchireul chireohaeyo)

To make this statement as ‘Brother doesn’t like kimchi’ then it would be:

어빠는 김치 싫어요 (Oppaneun kimchireul shireohaeyo)

The expressions are made honorific by adding (으)시 after 하  and not within the base of descriptive verb.  So the last example above can be said this way:

오빠는 김치를 싫어하요. ( Oppaneun kimchireul shirehaseyo).

Something Good or Liked with 좋아요

It’s good to be back blogging, it’s been a while since I last posted.  This verb is something that I learned first even before I studied about 한국어 (Hangug-o) and 한글 (Hangeul) further.  I like this word because its about expressing one’s appreciation of something that is good or something that is liked.

The word is 좋아 (choh.a) it is a descriptive verb which means ‘good or fine’ as such this verb takes a subject.  The subject of the sentence is usually marked with particles -이/-가 (-i/-ga) or -은/는 (-eun/-nun) there are previous posting about this particle.  There can only be one noun involved as subject of this verb.  Example:

  • 이것이 좋아요 (I koti choh.ayo) or ‘This is good’ when translated in English.
  • 그 사람이 좋아요 (Ku sarami choh.ayo) or That person is good

When it is used in this form 좋아해요 (choh.ahaeyo) it becomes a processive verb and can now take direct objects marked with particle -을/-를 (-eul/-reul).  There is likewise an earlier posting about this particle. In this form this verb means to like an <object>. Example:

  • 이것을 좋아해요 (I koteul choh.ahaeyo) or ‘This is liked’ if transferred literally but it can also mean ‘I like this’ since subject of sentence is usually dropped in Korean sentences. 
  • 그 사람을 좋아해요 (Ku sarameul choh.ahaeyo) or ‘That person is liked’ but can also mean I like that person.

So if you can be bold (that was a strong word hmm maybe strong?) enough to say you like someone, you can simply say 너를 좋아해요 (Noreul choh.ahaeyo) or you can actually drop 너를  and just look straight to the eyes of the person that you like 🙂

한국어를 너무 좋해요! (Hangugeoreul neomu chohahaeyo!) I like the Korean Language so much.

Ways to say ‘Like’

This post is all about ways to say ‘like’ or similar to make it clear.  Like as in ‘I like you’ is expressed as 좋아해요 (choahaeyo).  There are two way to say like<something>, where something pertains to a noun actually in the Korean structure the order is <something>like or <noun>like.

The two new words for today is 처럼 (cheoreom) and 같이 (kati). So the formula is <noun>처럼 or 같이.  So when you want to say like a man, this phrase can be said two ways 남자처럼 or  남자같이. 

Now that is easy, however to express ‘be like a noun’ the word used is 같아 (kata) or 같아요 (katayo).  Here is an example:  Our teacher Ms.Lee is like a singer.  이 선생님은 가수을 같아요 (Lee Seonsaengnim is like a singer)


The wonders of Korean language.   As you know in English verbs are supposedly action words and adjectives are words used to describe — in short descriptive words.  In Korean,  verb as I have always been mentioning is the most important part of the statement and is usually placed at the end. 

Adjectives in Korean are formed by manipulating the form of a descriptive verb.  An example is the word 예쁘 (yeppu which means pretty) the infinitive form of this descriptive verb is 예뻐 (yeppo).  As discussed previously on creating the infinitive form of words, if it ends in ㅡ, the letter is dropped and ㅏ or ㅓ is added depending on the vowel before ㅡ, so in the case of yeppu its ㅖ by rule the infinitive form should end with ㅓ.  So how is the adjective derived from this word?  simply add ㄴ so its 예쁘+ㄴ = 예쁜 (yeppun or romanized as yeppeun in some cases).

The same thing is applied when transforming the word 기쁘 (gippu) to an adjective, it becomes 기쁜 (gippun or gippeun).

I have a feeling that there are other ways to transform words into adjective in Korean… maybe in the future lessons of the book I’d be able to find this out.