Infinitive Form: The Review

This is sort of a continuation of my post yesterday.  If you can determine the base form of the verb from the dictionary entry then its just proper to learn how to get the infinitive form.  I was talking once with a language exchange partner who is studying Korean but is a native Spanish speaker.  He mentioned that he can easily understand the idea of infinitive in verb as this seems to be the case in Spanish.   From Wikipedia it says in studying Spanish and Portuguese,  infinitives end in -ar, -er, or -ir.  In the case of Korean language, verb in infinitive form can end in eitherㅓ (eo) orㅏ (a).

Learning the infinitive form of the verb in Korean language is important since this form of the verb is where it can already be used in a conversation.   But one must realize that the infinitive form of the verb when used in a sentence without the appropriate style may appear disrespectful when talking to a native Korean.  This is because Korean is spoken in either formal or casual-polite style, verbs normally use a marker to achieve this.  Again this subject may require another post to fully understand.  The style to be used has to be considered with reference to degree of relationship to the person you are talking to.  Likewise there is a concept of honorifics in Korean language.  Aside from the style, verb in honorific form is used if you are talking to someone older or of higher position than you are.  So the infinitive form when used in a conversation without considering the formal or casual-polite style means your relationship to the person is intimate (closer).  This style of speaking is referred to as 반말 (banmal meaning speaking intimately).

There are some rules to follow in deriving the infinitive form and this starts by identifying the base form of the verb.  For vowel ending base verbs these are the things to know:

  • If the base ends with the vowel ㅏ (a), ㅓ(eo) or ㅐ(ae) the infinitive form is equal to the base form.  As such the base form of verb 가 (ka means go),  매 (mae means tie) and 서 (seo means stand) is also it’s infinitive form.
  • For verbs with base form ending inㅣ (i), the infinitive form is made by adding ㅓbut is abbreviated to ㅕ(yeo) so its like ㅣ+ㅓ=ㅕ.  Here are some of the samples under this case, 가르치 (karuchi base form of verb to learn) will become 가르쳐 (karucho) in infinitive form.  Same goes with verb 마시 (mashi – drink) which becomes 마셔 ( masyeo).
  • In the case of base verbs ending in ㅜ (u or oo in some romanization),  the infinitive form is derived by adding ㅓ and abbreviated to ㅝ  (ㅜplusㅓ) .  Here is an example of its application, 주 (ju which means give) becomes 줘 (jwo or jueo). Please note though that verbs ending in ㅝ requires 어 to be added to the base form of the word to get the infinitive form.  This is because there is no abbreviation for ㅝ combined with ㅓ. One sample of this is the word 숴 (sui which means to rest), the infinitive form of this verb is 쉬어 (sui-eo or swi-eo).
  • Applying the same principle for verbs with base ending in ㅗ (o) , ㅏ is added to derived the infinitive form and then abbreviated to ㅘ.  Therefore,  the verb 오 (o) which means to come will become 와 (wa or oa).  Same thing goes for the word 보 (bo which means to see or look), it becomes 봐 (bwa) in the infinitive form.  Just a note that 봐  being one of the mostly used verb can be heard as just 바 (ba) when spoken in Korean.
  • Lastly, for base verbs ending in ㅡ (eu or  short u sound), there is a slight difference in determining the infinitive form.  The ㅡ is dropped and replace by ㅓ. A good example would be the word 쓰 (sseu which means to write), this becomes 써 (seo) in infinitive form.   However when you drop the ㅡ and the ending is a consonant the preceding vowel will be the basis of what will be added to the base to derive the infinitive form.  This means that if the preceding vowel is ㅜ or ㅏ, ㅏ has to be added otherwise its ㅓ.  A example of this case is the word  바쁘  (pappeu which means be busy), it becomes 바빠 (pappa) in infinitive form.

The last rule is something applicable for vowel ending base verbs.  The preceding vowel is indicative whether ㅓorㅏ will be added to form the infinitive.  All consonant ending base verbs ends with  어 (eo) the only exception is if the preceding vowel is 오 or 아 the ending would be 아 instead of 어.  Here are some of the examples the order of the word is dictionary form followed by base form and then the infinitive form:

  • 앉다 –> 앉  –> 앉아 (anja) means sit
  • 읽다 –> 읽 –> 읽어 (ilko pronounced as iko) means read
  • 좋다–>  좋 –> 좋아 (choa or chowa) means like
  • 물다 –> 물 –> 물어  (muleo) means ask

Of course as to any rules there are exceptions.  I may have to make another post for the exceptions but the highlight  is, since verbs in infinitive form can be used in conversation you may hear these verbs as if its a complete sentence when Koreans are engaged  in a conversation.  As simple as 좋아 (choa) would mean something is liked or good  or when you hear 앉아 (anja) it means someone is telling you to take your seat.   This goes the same for a very common verb 괜찮아 (kwaenchna) or expression in Korean.  This means i am okay, it’s okay or are you okay if used with rising tone at the end.

Use of Verb+도 to Ask and Give Permission

Yesterday I get to learn a sister of the verb+지만 construction which means but or although.  This is verb+도 which also means even though, despite or inspite.  They are the same in meaning but verb+도 means a little stronger than verb+지만.

One use of verb+도 is to ask and give permission.  In English we normally ask or give permission by using the word ‘may I’ or ‘you may’.  However in Korean its expressed literally as — even if I do this is it okay?  This is how verb+도 play arole, the final verb can be a choice among these three:

  • 돼요(dweyo – can)
  • 좋아요 (choayo – is good or right) and  
  • 괜찮아요 (gwaenchanayo – is okay)

Here are some examples:

  • 오늘 새 옷을 입어도 좋아요? (Oneul sae oseul ipeodo choayo?) Literally this means, is it okay for me to wear my new clothes today?  However this simply means may I wear my new clother today?
  • 오늘 새 옷을 입어도 괜찬아요? (Oneul sae oseul ipeodo gwaenchanayo?)  Is it okay for me to wear my new clothes?
  • 오늘 새  옷을 입어도 돼요? (Oneul sae oseul ipeodo dweyo?) Can i wear my new clothes today?

Infinitive + 도

Happy Valentines! I know Koreans have White and Black day instead. I was not able to read yesterday and was too tired to get on-line after, so I only got the chance to read once again today.

Infinitive form of the verb followed by the particle 도 (do) means ‘even though such and such happens’. I met this particle back when I was reading Elementary Korean. It’s particle attached nouns to mean too. This time its attached to a verb and produces contrast in two phrases.

Here are some sample of its use when attached to verb in infinitive form:

  • 내가 너무 일로 바뻐도, 가만히 나의 한국어 책을 읽어요 (Naega nomo ilro pappodo, naoui kamanhi hangugeo chaekeul ilkoyo). Eventhoug I am busy with work, I still read my Korean books.
  • 가방이 비싸 있어도, 그것은 살 거에요 (Kabangi bissa isseodo, kukoseun sal koeyo). Even if the bag is expensive, I will probably buy it.

In using this particle with the first phrase of the sentence, there is no need to worry about the tense of the verb.  The final verb of the sentence will handle it.

Compound Verbs

So there is something called compound verbs in the Korean Language.  I am guessing that there is such as I have encountered some verbs which seems to be a formation of 2 stand alone verbs.  The versatile 하 (ha) verb which carries a meaning of does it or  thinks turns some descriptive verb into a processive one,  similar to what I have posted yesterday.

When 하 or 해요 is added to verbs like 좋아 (choa)  and 고마워 (komawo) these becomes a compound verb expressions which means  likes and grateful for respectively.  The infinitive verb + the verb 해 equals to a compound verb.

The 하 in this way becomes as auxiliary verb which completes the expression whether to make it negative or positive.  It is also in the auxiliary verb that the honorific marker is attached. Tenses likewise happens in the auxiliary verb.  Here are some examples:

  • 부러워해요 (bureowohaeyo) to be envious
  • 부러워 안 해요 (bureowo anhaeyo) is not envious
  • 부러워했어요  (bureowohaesseoyo) envied

Same can be applied to verb 행복요 (haengbokhaeyo) which means to be happy.  Manipulation happens in the auxiliary verb 해요.

Verbs in Infinitive and Particle 서

When I was attending formal classes in learning Korean, I once dropped the term ‘verb in infinitive form’ in our class.  Our teacher is not using this term but rather emphasized on the base form of verb which cannot be used in a conversation unless transformed to end in ㅓ or ㅏ.

This post deals with particle that is attached to a verb in the infinitive form.  I made a post about this, more than a year ago perhaps , when I was starting to learn Korean.  The rule is base form of the verb + either ㅏ or ㅓ.  Verb in the infinitive form can only end in these two hangul character, of course if the base form ends in ㅏ or ㅓ then there is no need to add another one.

The particle 서 (seo) is attached to the infinitive form of the verb.  As I always keep on mentioning particles are pronounced without pause.  It is as if the particle is part of the original word.  

So how is this particle used?  Most of the particles I learned functions as grammatical marker in the sentence like the subject particle 가/이 (ka/i) and object particle 을/를 (eul/reul).   This time around, 서 added in a verb in the infinitive form denotes two meanings:

First is to show cause and result similar to English word so (incidentally the particle is 서 romanized as seo but pronounced as so just like the English word).  Here is an example:

시간이 없어서 아침을 먹지 않았어요.   (Shigani opseoseo achimeul meokji anasseoyo).  시간이 없어서  I did not have time so  먹지 않았어요 i skipped eating breakfast.  Although  the sentence direct translation is time i don’t have so breakfast i did not eat, the lack of time made me skip my breakfast.  The lack of time being the cause and the result would be not eating breakfast.

The second use of this particle is to show sequence similar to ‘so as to’ or ‘did and then’.  This way the sequence of event is emphasized.  The 1st and 2nd clause usually has the same subject. Here is an example:

서울에 가서 한강을 봤어어요.  (Seoure kaso hangangeul bowasseoyo).  서울에 가서 I did went to Seoul so as  한강을 봤어어요 to see Han River.  The purpose is to go to Seoul and the result is being able to see Han River.

Note that in the two sentences, verbs  to which 서 is attached are in the present infinitive form, its the verb at the end of the sentence that drives the tense.   This is the same case as that of verb in -고 form the verbs to which it  is attached is not tensed.   So what I learned is that 서 is never compatible with past-infinitive or future-infinitive form of the verb.

Base Words of Verbs – A Review

For the past months, i gained better understanding of Korean words. From my confusion in using the English-Korean Dictionary to how words are used in the different styles or manner of speaking in Korean, i think I have better appreciation now.

I am almost done reading my Elementary Korean book.  After nearly a year and half, I am finally seeing last part of the book’s pages and now looking forward to read Continuing Korean (sequel to Elementary Korean). Since the last portion of the book deals with the more advance verb ending and expressing future events, I decided to make a review of the word formation.  This would likewise give preview on changing verbs into future tense.

Just to recap when looking for words in a dictionary specifically for verbs, you will notice a pattern.  Verbs normally ends in -다 (da). So Korean words for verbs like eat and drink can be found as  먹다 (meokda – pronounced as meoktta) and 마시다 (mashida – pronounced as mashitta).   Removing the 다 leaves you with the regular or plain base of the verb, 먹 and 마시 (meok and mashi).  The plain base form of verb is important, a lot of verb endings are attached to this form.

Infinitive form of the word is derived using some rules but basically verb in its infinitive form either ends in ㅏ (a) or ㅓ (eo).  Consonant ending verbs follows rules on which to add.  For the example above the infinitive form of 먹다 is 먹어 (meogeo).  This is covered by rule that last  vowel of a consonant ending verb will determine which character to add to form the infinitive form. Except for ㅗ andㅏthe rest of vowel takes ㅓ as verb ending.  Now for the other word, 마시다 becomes 마셔 (masyo).  Verb ending in ㅣ takes ㅓ in infinitive ㅣ(ee)+ㅓ(eo) = ㅕ(yeo).   Search for my post on infinitives for the complete rules.  Just remember that the infinitive verb is alreay usable in a conversation on intimate style.  It is also in this form that the polite casual style verb ending 요 (yo)  is attached.

The other base form is the ‘past base’.  This is formed by taking the plain infinitive of the verb plus -ㅆ (ss). Just like the regular infinitive, past infinitive is achieved by adding ㅓsuch that 먹었 (meogeott – past base) becomes 먹었어 (meogeotteo).

The last base word form is the ‘future base’ which is formed by adding 겠 to the plain infinitive form of a verb.  Using our previous example 먹어 (infinitive form)  becomes 먹어겠 (meogeokett) and by adding ㅓ makes the future infinitive for the verb, that is 먹어겠어 (meogeokesseo).

It’s going to be all about the future on the succeeding post.

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.