Expressing I was Wrong

When you did something wrong the expressions 미안해요 (mianhaeyo) and 죄송해요 (chwesonghaeyo) come in handy to say sorry.   When you want to admit you did something wrong or if you want to acknowledge that something unfortunate happened and it was your fault the expression would be 잘 못 했어요 (jal mot haesseoyo).  This means I was wrong or sorry it was my fault.

This expression is very common and you can almost always hear it on dramas.  It is normally said the casual way, 잘 못 했어 (jal mot haesseo).  Literally it means ‘I am  not good’.

Expressing ‘How wonderful it would be…’

Another use of the verb in conditional form is for English expression ‘how wonderful it would be if…’   The conditional form of verb followed by phrase 얼마나 좋겠어요 (olmana chokesseoyo) does it.  The pattern would look like this – (었)으면 얼마나 좋겠어요.   Note that the verb formed with -으면 can be in past or present form.

Here are some of its applications:

  • 시간이 더 있었으면 얼마나 좋겠어요 (Shicani deo isseoseumyeon olmana chokesseoyo) – How wonderful it would be if we had more time.
  • 하얀 색이 아니었으면 얼마나 좋겠어요 (Hayan saeki anieosseumyeon olmana chokesseoyo) – How wonderful it would be if it wasn’t white.
  • 가수 휘성씨 만나면 얼마나 좋겠어요 (Kasu Wheesungshi mannamyeon olmana chokesseoyo) – How wonderful it would be to meet Wheesung the singer.

Uses of Conditional Verb form -(으) 면

There are a handful of practical uses of verb  in conditional form.  One of which is in combination with 좋겠어요 (-chokesseoyo).   I have learned that 좋다 (choda) can either mean to like or is good.  However, when it is used with verb in conditional form and the future form  of 좋다  which is 좋겠어 (chokesseo) it then corresponds to English sentence expressing hope or wish.

To simplify, first sentence clause ending in (으)면 plus final verb 좋겠어요  (chokesseyo) or 좋겠습니다 (chokessumnida) creates the expression ‘It would be good if….’ or ‘I hope or … ‘

We know that in English to say something like ‘It would be good if we have a wine’ is an expression that expresses wish to have wine.   Here are examples of verb in conditional form used side by side 좋겠어요.

  • 여름이 가지 않으면 좋겠어요. (Yeoreumi kagi aneumyeon chokesseoyo) – Literally this means, if summer did not go, it would be good.  [= If summer did not go it would be good.]
  • 한국말을 잘 하면 좋겠어요. (Hangukmareul  jal hamyeon chokesseoyo) – I wish I speak Korean well or I hope speak Korean well.
  • 지금 김치를 사면 좋겠어요. (Chigeum kimchireul samyeon chokesseoyo) – It would be good if we buy kimchi now.

Expressing Can and Cannot Do

The expression can or cannot do in Korean is made using the pattern plain base+ (으)ㄹ 수 then 있어요 (isseoyo) or 없어요 (opseoyo).  This verb ending literally means ‘ a means exists’ or ‘a means do not exists’.   Here are examples:

  • 볼 수 있어요 (bol su isseoyo) can [I/we] see
  • 쓸 수 있어요 (seul su isseoyo) can write or can use
  • 걸을 수 없어요 (keoreul su opseoyo) can’t walk
  • 갈 수 없어요 (kal su opseoyo) can’t go

The behavior is the same as that of the verb ending for probable future (으)ㄹ 거에요 (eu0l koeyo) where l-extending verbs remains unextended when the attached as such:

살다 (to live) is transformed to 살 수 없어요 (sal su opseoyo) to mean can’t live.  살 in this form  is actually 사 (unextended form)+ ㄹ (the modifier in the verb ending).

Some Special Use of Infinitive Verb + 도

There are some idiomatic uses of the verb in infinitive form followed by particle 도 (do).  Aside from its usual meaning of eventhough it can have a special meaning of minimum of maximum when used with selective descriptive verb.

  • 늦어도 (nuejeodo) – which means ‘at the latest’ aside from the direct translation meaning of even though it’s late
  • 적어도 (cheokeodo) – would mean ‘at least’  aside from the direct translation even though it’s few or small.

Here are samples of its use in a sentence:

  • 여기서부터 약국까지 적어도 1시간은 걸리겠어요. (Yogiseobuto yakkuk kaji cheokeodo han shikaneun keollikesseoyo) From here to pharmacy it must take at least 1 hour.
  • 늦어도 7시까지는 학교에 들어 가야 하거든요.  (Neujeodo ilgop shikkajineun hakyeoe duero kaya hageodeunyo) We have to return to school by 7 o’clock at the latest.

Expressing Doesn’t Have To

Few days ago I learned how to express ‘ have to’ or ‘ I must do’ which is in the form of  infinitive form of verb+ 야 해요.  This time it’s about saying ‘I don’t have to’.  It was not as simple as using the negative verb + 야 해요, instead for this expression, the negative verb + 도 is used.  Using one of my favorite verbs,  먹다 (meokda – to eat) here are examples:

  • Short negative – 안 먹어도 (an meokeodo)
  • Long negative – 먹지 않아도 (mokji anado)

The above examples both mean even if I don’t eat.  The final verb can be used are  돼요 (dwaeyo), 괜찮아요 (gwaenchanayo) or  좋아요 (choayo)  to complete the thought — it doesn’t matter, it’s alright or it’s okay.  Using the verb above here is a sample sentence construction:

오늘 밤에 먹지 않아도 괜찮아요.  (Oneul bame mokji anado gwaenchanayo). Even if I don’t eat late tonight, it doesn’ t matter.

Other Meaning of 봐요

Before anything else. Today is February 5 and it’s a special day for my favorite Korean artist, no less than the very talented Wheesung.  휘성 씨 생일 축하해요! 행복하세요…

Anyway today another clouded verb which is known to me as to see or looks became clearer on its other meaning.  보다 (dictionary form for this verb) has other uses aside from the act of looking or seeing something.  Surprisingly just like 해요 and 있어요, this verb can be used an auxiliary verb and when it is preceeded by a verb in infinitive form its meaning becomes ‘tries doing’.  It’s not an attempt to but rather tries to. 

In our class my professor would normally say 여기 보세요 (yeogi poseyo). which of course means look here.  Then he would also use 보세요 in expressions like 읽어 보세요 (ilko poseyo).  This time I am wondering why not say 주세요 (juseyo) when he wants us to read something. Now its clear because of this. 

Here are some practical applications of this auxiliary verb:

  • 한국말로 이메일을 써 봐요.  (Hangukmalro imaireul sseo bowayo). I am trying to write email in Korean.
  • 김치를 먹어 봤어요? (Kimchireul meokeo bowasseody?) Have you tried eating kimchi?
  • 서울에 가 보셨어요? (Seoure ka bowasyeosseoyo?) Have you been to Seoul?