(ㄴ/는)다,(아/어)라,니,냐,자 (intimate and plain forms)

In Korean there are different levels of politeness that one needs to be aware of.
We use the polite form usually with strangers (using 요 at the end of every sentence), and also we learned about the deferential form which we use for seniors and elders.
Now it’s time to learn two other forms, the intimate and plain forms.
The intimate form ending (called 반말) is easy. We just take the ‘요’ off of any polite sentence ending and that’s the intimate form!
We use the intimate form with anyone whom we consider either lower in age (like a child), or someone who we are close with (like a close friend or lover).
Now that we got the intimate form out of the way, the rest of this article will talk about the plain form.

1. What is the plain form? The plain form is used mostly in writings, and sometimes when speaking. When writing, the formality doesn’t matter, and when speaking, it is on roughly the same level as the intimate form, and is often used with close friends or family.

V + (ㄴ/는)다
DV + 다

2. The standard way of making a plain form statement is to replace the verb stem with ‘ㄴ/는’ 다 (ㄴ for vowel endings, 는 for consonant endings), but only for action verbs. Adjectives (descriptive verbs) don’t change at all, they use the dictionary 다 form. When speaking, the statement form can be used to draw attention to something.

나는 보통 7시에 아침을 먹는다. – I usually eat breakfast at 7am.

난 집에 가야 된다. – I have to go home.

V + 느냐?
V + 니?
V + 냐?

3. When asking a question in writing with the plain form, the ending is -느냐?, but when speaking in plain form, the question ending is either ‘-니?’ or ‘-냐?’, with the latter slightly more intimate.

커피를 좀 마시고싶니? – Do you want to drink some coffee?

혹시 난 널 사랑하냐? – Perhaps I love you?

AV + (아/어)라!

4. When making a request or imperative statement in plain form, we conjugate with -아라 if the verb’s last vowel ends in ㅏ,ㅗ, and -어라 otherwise.

김치 먹어라! – Eat some Kimchi!

AV + 자!

5. As mentioned before, -자 is the plain/intimate ending for making a suggestion.

같이 가자! – Let’s go together!

것 같다,나 보다,(아/어/여)보이다 (I think, I guess, it seems)

In this lesson we will learn how to say ‘I think’, ‘I assume/suppose/guess’, and ‘it seems like/looks like’.

V + (ㄴ/은,는,ㄹ/을)것 같다

1. To say, ‘I think that…’, you conjugate the verb with past (ㄴ/은), present (는) or future tense (ㄹ/을) (remember how to do that?), and then append 것 같다 as the ending.

내일 비 올 것 같아요. – I think it will rain tomorrow.

누가 한 것 같아요? – Who do you think did it?

V + 나 보다

2. The ending -나 보다 is used when you are assuming, guessing, supposing about something.

재미있나 봐요. – I suppose its interesting.

아무도 없나 봐요? – I guess there’s no one there?

V + 아/어/여 + 보이다
V + ㄹ/을 + 모양이다
N + 듯하다
N + 처럼

3. To say ‘it seems like…’ or ‘it looks like…’, you conjugate the verb into present tense form (아/어/여) (remember how to do that?), then you append 보이다 as the ending. The other endings 모양이다, 듯하다, 처럼 are other ways of saying ‘looks like’ with verbs and nouns.

이 영화는 재미없어 보여요. – This movie seems boring.

외국인 듯한 사람. – A person that looks like a foreigner.

피곤해 보여요. – You seem tired.

V + (으)려나 보다

4. This is a combination of 려고 하다 and 나 보다 which we just learned. This is a way of expressing assumption about a future action that might happen. This is similar to (ㄹ/을)것 같다 except you are less certain.

내일도 날씨가 추우려나 봐요. – It looks like the weather will be cold again tomorrow.

V + (ㄹ/을)거예요

5. This is actually the same form as the future tense, but its meaning is different. Appending (ㄹ/을)거예요 will express assumption, or guessing about something. This is similar to ‘there should be, might be, etc’.

학교 근처에 화장실이 있을거예요. – There should be a bathroom near the school.

할 수 있을거예요. – You should be able to do it.

아/어/여 보다,았었/었었/였었,본 적 있다/없다 (to try, done before)

In this lesson, we will learn how to say how to try something, and to say whether we’ve done something before.

AV + 아/어/여 + 보다

1. There isn’t really a verb for ‘to try’ in Korean, instead we conjugate the verb that we are trying to do into present form (아/어/여) and append 보다 as an ending.

먹어봐요. – Try eating it!

그 책을 공부해보세요. – Try studying that book.

AV + 본 적 있다
AV + 본 적 없다

2. When we ask others whether they’ve tried or done something before, we can do it two ways: We can either use ‘아/어/여 보다’ with a question ending, or we can append ‘본 적 있다’ with a question ending. Using [verb] + 본 적 없다 means you haven’t done something before.

한국에 가봤어요? = 한국에 가 본 적 있어요? – Have you been to Korea before? / Have you ever been to Korea?

난 가 본 적 없어요. – I haven’t gone before.

AV + 았었/었었/였었다

3. There is another way to say you’ve done something before, we can either use ‘아/어/여 보다’ in past tense, or use perfect past tense, which is conjugating the verb into past tense, then conjugating that past tense again. In short, it’s verb + 았었다/었었다/였었다.

서을에서 살았었어요. – I’ve lived in Seoul before.

한국에 가봤어요 = 한국에 갔었어요. – I’ve been to Korea before.