More Tips on Use of Future Marker

Still on use of future,  verbs of knowing is usually expressed uisng -겠- or the future presumptive.  Like when you say  I know or I don’t know one may expect this in Korean as 알아요 (arayo) 몰라요 (mollayo) respectively.  They are both in present form but you will hear people use 알겠어요 (algesseoyo) to say I know.  The -겠- marker gives a hint of tentativeness.  You will often hear 알겠어요 when asking do you know? or do you understand?  Again this is because the marker makes it tentative and it sound more polite when used for second person question.

For future statement expressing willingness to or wants to, the future presumptive verb is preferred.  When making questions or suggestions that is indicative of the future, never ever use the probable future or immedaite future style.  The future presumptive style -겠- is often used.  Check this example:

  • 신보하시겠어요? (shinbohashikesseoyo?) Would you like to walk?
  • 신보하실거에요? (shinboshilkeoeyo?) Are you going to take a walk

Note the difference in meaning the second one which is the one in probable future form is a question that is not meant to be answered but rather just a matter-of-fact question. 

Also when speaking about intention of other people, never ever use the immediate future -(으)ㄹ께요 as Koreans don’t allow others to speak about their intention with certainty.  In such cases use the presumptive or probable future 🙂



Wrap up Types of Future

Its very interesting to note that there are several ways to express future in Korean.  Unlike in English where the word will and shall are your key to the future, the choice of marker for the verb indicates more than the future but the urgency and intention as well. 

Probable Future distinguished by -(으)ㄹ 거에요 / -(eu)l koeyo is the most common way to to refer future events in Korean.  It can be used in all persons (1st, 2nd or 3rd person point of view).  It can also be attached to all types of verbs, descriptive or processive.

Future Presumptive is the more popular marker.  Most refers -겠-  (-kket-) as the marker that indicates future.  While this true, the future presumptive is a matter of fact statement of personal intention.  It can only be used for first person statements and second person questions.

Immediate Future on the other hand can be distinguished by -(으)ㄹ 께요/ -(eu)l kkeyo.  It is always first person and the action is usually beneficial to the hearer.  This marker can only be used in a processive verb or verb that takes a direct object.

Here are example to show you how the meaning differs using the 3 types of future:

  • 읽껬어요 (ilkkesseoyo) means I will read, am going to read.  This is a strong statement of the speaker’s intention to read.
  • 읽을거에요 (ilkeulkeoeyo) will read, am/is going to read.  Statement in this form is less certain than the first.
  • 읽을께요 (ilkeulkkeyo) I’ll read it/ I promise to read it.  This makes the statement more immediate and gives a hint of promise or even assurance that the speaker is actually going to read.

Past-Future using -겠-

When expressing ‘would have done’  or ‘probably has done’ in English, this more or less corresponds to the Korean Past-Future using -겠- (-kett-) attached to a past base reagrdless if plain past or honorific past.  Below shows the progression of verb ‘go’  from plain base to past base to past future base while the next one is the progression in honorific form:

  • 가 (ka) -> 갔 (katt) -> 갔겠 (kattkett)
  • 가시  (kashi) -> 가셨 (kasyeott) -> 가셨겠 (kasyeottkett)

Here are some uses in a sentence:

  • 돈이 만히  들었겠어요.  (Doni manhi deureottkesseoyo) It must have cost a lot.
  • 어빠가 벌써 했겠어요. (Oppaga beolsseo haettkesseoyo) Brother will have already done it

In this sentence, the past marker gives the meaning as the English verb has or have while the future marker gives it a meaning of probably. 

This may sound a bit confusing for non native speaker of Korean when you compare the future form versus the past-future.  The only difference is probably on how  ‘ㄱ’  will sound.  Lile in the example 가,  in simple future this is 가겠어요 would be pronounced more like kagesseoyo (ㄱis more on the g sound since it is sandwich between 2 vowel sounds). For the past-future this is 갔겠어요 which is pronounced as katkesseoyo where t in most cases will be swallowed so you would only hear kakesseoyo.

Meaning and Use of -겠-

Yesterday,  my post is about making the future presumptive form.  Now it’s time to know its uses.   As mentioned before this is what is normally referred to as future in Korean but according to the authors of Elementary Korean, this may correspond to English expressions but does not exactly corresponds to the future tense in English (as i am still reading there are 3 ways to express future).

So how is then -겠- used? There are basically 2 meanings, one is inferential similar to ‘I’ll bet’ and the other one is intentional ‘I will’ .   Let me give example first on the inferential use. 

  • 내일은 덥겠어요. (Naeireun  deopkesseoyo) Tomorrow will likely be hot
  • 그 영화는 재미 있겠어요. (Ku yonghwaneun chaemi ittkesseoyo) I’ll bet that film is interesting (or fun). 
  • 아프겠어요. (Apeugesseoyo) That must hurt. [expression when you see someone trip off or fall)

The inferential -겠- carries the meaning I’ll bet that, I have reasons to infer that or From what I know, it is highly likely that.   As in the third example above, the inferential -겠- likewise occurs mostly on verbs in second or third person (like referring to you, her, she, he, it , they).

The second use as mentioned is the intentional -겠- which declares strong intent to do something (I will, I am going to etc.).  It usually occurs in first person or second-person question.  When used in second-person question, it actually becomes a polite way of asking someone to perform something. See examples below:

  • 집 앞에서 기다리겠어요.  (Chip apeso kidarigesseoyo) I will wait for you in front of the house.
  • 다음 주말 다시 오겠어요. (Daum chumal dashi ogesseoyo) I will come again next weekend.
  • 여기 앉으시겠어요? (Yogi anjeushigesseoyo?)  Why not sit here?
  • 이 카트를  제인씨께  드리겠어요? (I kadureul janeshike deurlgesseoyo?) Would you give this card to Jane?