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!

고 있다 (Present Progressive Tense)

AV + 고 있다

Present Progressive tense is the tense you use when you are saying you are currently doing something.
In English the equivalent ending is ‘-ing’.
In Korean, we remove the ‘다’ part of the verb, and replace it with 고 있어요, which is the usual polite form.

Note that the honorific version of 있다 is 계시다, so the honorific form of this structure is -고 계십니다.

Examples

저는 자고 있어요. = I’m sleeping right now.

지금 당신을 생각하고 있어요. = I’m thinking about you right now.

(ㄹ/을)게요 (promise to do, decision based on event)

AV + (ㄹ/을)게요

This is a slightly complicated ending.
This ending is a future form ending similar to (ㄹ/을)거예요 except in this case, we are making a decision based on an event, such as what someone else said, or a change of plans, or a promise to do something.
To make this ending, we conjugate the verb with ㄹ if the ending is a vowel and 을 if the ending is a consonant and add 게요 to the end.
With verbs ending in ㄹ already, we don’t need to add ㄹ/을.

1. This ending is used when we are promising another person we will do something, or resolving to do something.

2. This ending is used when we are changing our plans or decide to do something as a result of what someone else said or another event, or looking for a reaction from someone.

3. The 반말 ending is (ㄹ/을)게.

Examples

저도 갈게요. – Well in that case, I’ll go too.

공부할게요. – I promise to study.