Words and Expressions: This and That

Having to point something or describe location of something is very basic in any language. When a child is learning to speak, adults would tend to say short phrases complemented with gesture or sign language. Like a child who would have difficulty understanding the simplest statement, same goes for someone learning a new language.

Here are some basic words which i would commonly hear in a Korean conversation:

  • 이 (i or ee) – this
  • 그 (geu) – that (nearby)
  • 저 (jeo) – that (remote)
  • 어디 (eodi) – where

The above set of words can transform into a verb expression.  It would be easier to observe the end state pattern than to explain it inductively:

  • 이래요(iraeyo) – does [it] this way / is like this
  • 그래요 (geuraeyo) – does it that way/ is like that
  • 저래요 (jeoraeyo) – does it that [remote] way / is like that [remote] way
  • 어때요 (eottaeyo) – does it how (or why?) / is like what? (is how?)

There is a long explanation on the steps by which this words are formed.  이래요 is from base form 이러 which is instead of making it 이러요 (ireoyo) or 이러해요 (ireohaeyo), by certain rules on abbreviating, the verb ending becomes 래요.  This is the thing with reading books when learning language, questions could pop up in your mind one after another.

Now it made me understand more the common expression 그래요, it sometimes used to mean you agree on something or conclude it was like that.


Expressing Mild Surprise

I am back to reading my Continuing Korean book.  I have been so curious about the -네요 (-neyo) verb ending for the longest time.  I asked about this before from a former Language Exchange Partner (LEP) and I guess there was a different explanation.  Finally there is an answer to this question.

The verb ending -네요 when attached to processive or descriptive verb expresses mild surprise. Its like having ‘oh gee’ or ‘oh my’ in the statement. The verb ending -네요 can be attached to base form of the verb in all tenses – present, past and future.


I don’t usually eat spicy food but having been introduced to Korean food, I learned to like spicy food since pepper paste and red pepper powder are usually added in their dishes. The expression above 맛있네요! (Mashineyo!) can translate to Oh my…its delicious.

Here are more examples on how the verb ending can be used in different tenses:

  • 한국말을 잘 하시네요! (Hangukmareul jal hashineyo) -You speak Korean so well!
  • 동생이 시를 잘 썼네요! (Dongsaengi shireul sseoneyo) – My younger brother/sister wrote the poem so well.
  • 밥을 사야 되겠네요 (Papeul saya dwikeneyo) – Oh my we will have to buy more food.

I always hear this verb ending in Korean conversation.  Now I know why. Btw, the book says it is inappropriate to use this as a reply to a question.  The use of this verb ending is normally like talking to oneself but in such a way that others notice you are surprised.

Modifiers Again

Every time I open my Continuing Korean book, I always end up reading the lesson on modifiers.  I wonder if I would be able to move forward from this lesson.  It looks really easy from the beginning and gets difficult as you build your sentence.

I just reviewed how to turn verbs into a modifier form.   It really is so simple, just add ㄴ to the base of a verb ending in vowel or  은 if the verb ends in consonant.  Here are some examples:

Korean Modifers

This simple verb in modifier forms has two meanings.

  • With a descriptive verb, it means the noun that is –> 좋은 아침 (choeun achim)  good morning or a morning that is good.
  • With a processive verb, it has a past meaning –> 만난 사람 (mannan saram) the person that (i) met.

Vocabulary : To Think

Are you thinking of something or someone?

생각하다 (Saenggakhada)

The verb  생각하다 (saenggakhada) is in dictionary form which means ‘to think’.  The base form is 생각하 (saenggakha) while the infinitive form is 생각해 (saenggakhae).  These are some of its use that I learned to create:

  • 나도 당신을 생각하고 있어요 (Nado dangshineul saenggakhago isseoyo) – I am thinking of you too.  This is in present progressive form, please note that 고 있어요 is added to the base form of the verb.
  • 당신을 생각했어요 (Dangshineul saenggakhaesseoyo) – I thought about you.
  • 나도 너 맞아는 생각해요 (Nado no majaneun saenggakhaeyo) – I (also) think you’re right.

Some tenses are formed using the base form like the future form -겠어요 (-kesseoyo) while some are formed using the infinitive form like past form, in fact 생각해 (saenggakhae) can be used in a sentence for informal (intimate) style.

The Fact of (Verbi)~ing

The use of modifier -는 (neun)  and 은 (eun) is definitely one of the hardest lessons that i have learned and still learning in the study of Korean Language.  I think until now I am only confident in using these as markers for topic.  I am currently reading the advance book for learning Korean which is Continuing Korean (sort of sequel to Elementary Korean) and the lessons are mostly on the use of these modifiers.

The modifier -는 (neun) is used for processive verbs, it turns a phrase into a topic something comparable to a noun phrase in English.  A processive verb with this modifier (verb+는)  followed by 것 (keot) would mean the fact of doing so-and-so or the fact that one does so-and-so.

Same pattern can be used for plain modifier processive or descriptive verb + 은/ㄴ(ㄴif base ends with vowel)  followed by 것.   This would mean the fact that one did (processive verb) or that is (descriptive verb) .

Here are some examples:

  • 자는 것 (chaneun keot) – the fact that someone is sleeping
  • 잔 것 (chan keot) – the fact that someone slept
  • 한국어 책을 읽는  (hangugeo chaekeul ikneun keot) – someone is reading Korean book
  • 비가 오는 것 (biga oneun keot) – the fact that its raining
  • 비가 온 것 ( biga on keot – the fact that it rained

In practical use, 것 is sometimes abbreviated to 거  (keo) and it still would mean the same.  Now, let me practice how to use this modifier into sentence:

  •  엄마가 자는  것을 몰랐어요.  (Ommaga chaneun keoseul mollaseoyo). I did not know that mother is sleeping.
  • 학생이 한국어 책 읽는 것을 봤어요. (Haksaengi hangugeo chaek ikneun koseul bwasseoyo).  I saw a student reading Korean book.
  • 비가 온  것이  싫어요. (Biga on koshi shiroyo) I hate that it rained.

Choayo 좋아요 vs Choahaeyo 좋아해요

The word 좋다 (choda) is something you always hear in a Korean conversation.  In fact, in this blog of mine the phrase I like you in Korean is one of the most visited posts i have.  좋다 is the base form of the word like.  it’s a verb which can mean is good, like or in some case  it is also used to express wish.

One of the variations in the use of this verb is the expression 좋아요 (choayo) and 좋아해요 (choahaeyo).  It both means the same the only difference is that for clarity of use in the sentence, the verb 좋아요 cannot take an object meaning to say you cannot pertain the use of this verb to something that is marked -을 (eul) or -를 (-reul) which are actually object markers in a Korean statement.  For clarity, 좋아요 is used with a subject marked with either -가 (-ga) or 이 (-i).   Here is an example–  비빔밥이 좋아요 (bibimbap choayo~ I like bibimbap).   The sentence 비빔밥 좋아해요 (Bibimbapeul choahaeyo) would mean the same but this time the object is marked and the verb became compound with the addition of 해 (from 하다 – hada which mean to do or happen).

So i learned for simple sentence you can drop the markers but for complex ones the role of the marker becomes very important to put across the right meaning of a sentence.  Hmmm… I am truly like the  Korean Language.  정말 한국어를 좋아해요!

Want vs. Like

A year ago when I started the difficult battle of learning Korean Language, i seek refuge with websites that offer Language Exchange Partners which I fondly called my LEPs.   I had a few and they come and go.  One of the earliest question I asked was how to express ‘i would like to…’   At that time I learned about -고 싶다 (-go shipda) verb which is used to express wish, desire or want.  But one of my LEPs told me to use the verb 좋겠어  (jokesso).   He told me this is commonly used because -go shipda can only be used to express one’s (first person sentence).  I was confused then.

One’s desires, wants  and wishes are expressed by using the auxiliary verb -고 싶어요 (-go shipeoyeo).   To say someone other than you desires, wants and wishes  to… -고 싶어해요 (-go shipeohaeyo)  is used.  However to say someone likes something, one can use 좋아세요 (choaseyo) or 좋아해요 (choahaeyo).

Here are some sample application:

  • 비빔밥을 먹고 싶어요.  ( Bibimbapeul mokko shipeoyeo) – I want to eat bibimbap.
  • 친구는 비빔밥을 먹고 싶어해요. ( Chinguneun bibimbapeul mokko shipeohaeyo) – My friend wants to eat bibimbap.
  • 친구는 비빔밥을 좋아해요.  (Chinguneun bibimbap choahaeyo) – My friend likes bibimbap.

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.

Another Use of 기 with 전에

I am getting pretty excited each day reading my Continuing Korean although i am beginning to think there are some wrong references probably due to some proofreading errors, I find the new lessons very enriching.

I have been using this word 전에 (chone) which I know means before but little did I realize it can be used with plain base in 기 form to mean before [someone] does or did or will do.  The format is absolute its plain base in 기 + 전에.  I said it’s absolute because the tenses are handled at the end of the sentence or the final verb.

Here are some examples:

  • 노래방에 가기 전에 수업을 공부했어요. (Noraebange kagi chone sueopeul kongbuhaesseoyo)  I studied my lesson before going to karaoke.
  • 노래방에 가기 전에 수업을 공부할 거에요. (Noraebange kagi chone sueopeul kongbuhal keoeyo).  I will probably study my lesson [first] before going to karaoke.
  • 조안이 자기 전에 우유를 마셔요. (Joan.i chagi chone uyureul masyeoyo) Joan drink you milk before sleeping.

Verbs in Nominalizer Form 기

Sometimes it pains to understand the terms used in the book to describe certain parts of speech as a result of adding certain particles or post-positioning.  Today is one of them as the lesson 17.5 of the book (Continuing Korean) is about verb in nominalizer form by adding -기 (ki).

First of all I have never heard of term nominalizer in my English subject but judging by the word it self taken from the root word nominal, it is an adjective that means ‘supposed’.  The explanation of nominalizer form in the lesson is that, it results to a noun-like word that means ‘the act of doing’ if added after a processive verb and ‘state of being’ if added after a descriptive verb.

How does it work?  -기 is added on plain, past or future bases form of verb just like -고 (-ko).  For -ㄹ extending verb like 살 (to live) and 팔 (sell), it is attached to the extended form so these verbs become 살기 (salki) and  팔기 (palki) respectively.

So when it is added on past form the meaning becomes ‘the act of having done’ or ‘state of having been’.  For example  놀다 (nolda) which means to play becomes 놀았기 (norattki), this now translates to having played.

Similarly when -기 is attached to future base form of the verb, the meaning becomes ‘the act of going to do’ or ‘the state of going to be’.  So in the case of our example above , play in future form becomes 놀겠기 – the act of going to play.

Here are more examples in various tenses of the where 기 is added on base form:

Plain Base Past Base
Future Base
마시기 (mashigi) 마셨기 (masyeottki) 마시겠기 (mashikettki)
가기 (kagi) 갔기 (kattki) 가겠기 (kakettki)
하기 (hagi) 했기 (haegi) 하겠기 (hakettki)
잘하기 (jalhagi) 잘했기 (jalhaetki) 잘하겠기 (jalhakettki)