아/어/여 (present tense)

V + 아/어/여

When we want to speak in present tense, we conjugate korean verbs by removing the verb stem ‘다’ and replacing it with either 아,어 or 여.

1. When the verb’s last vowel ends in ㅏ or ㅗ, we replace the stem with ‘아’.

2. When the verb’s last vowel does not end in ㅏ or ㅗ, we replace the stem with ‘어’.

3. When the verb ends in 하다 or 이다, we replace it with ‘여’.

4. There are a few exceptions to this rule, but we’ll cover those later on.

5. We add 요 to the end for the polite marker (we’ll cover this more later), which is most often used.

Examples

가다 + + 요 = 가요 – go

먹다 + + 요 = 먹어요 – eat

좋아하다 + + 요 = 좋아해요 – like

어디 요? = Where are you going?

지금 뭐요? = What are you doing?

먹어요! = Eat!

았/었/였 (past tense)

V + 았/었/였다

When we want to speak in past tense, we conjugate korean verbs by removing the verb stem ‘다’ and replacing it with either 았다,었다 or 였다.

1. When the verb’s last vowel ends in ㅏ or ㅗ, we replace the stem with ‘았어’.

2. When the verb’s last vowel does not end in ㅏ or ㅗ, we replace the stem with ‘었어’.

3. When the verb ends in 하다 or 이다, we replace it with ‘였어’.

Examples

가다 + 았 + 어 + 요 = 갔어요 – went

먹다 + 었 + 어 + 요 = 먹었어요 – ate

좋아하다 + 였 + 어 + 요 = 좋아했어요 – liked

오늘은 시장에 갔어요. = I went to the supermarket today.

친구랑 놀았어요. = I played with a friend.

이/가 (subject particle)

N + 이/가

Appending 이/가 to a noun denotes the subject of the sentence.
When the noun ends in a consonant, the ending 이 is used.
When the noun ends in a vowel, 가 is used.

The subject particle is used to indicate the subject of the sentence. This is a more general usage than the topic particle (which is used more specifically), and is often omitted when talking when the subject is obvious. That is why in Korean, you don’t need to say ‘I/me’ or re-iterate the subject all the time, unless its not obvious.

Examples

좋아요? = What is good?

오늘은 날씨 좋네요. = I’m working tomorrow.

시간 없어요. = I don’t have any time.