Lesson 12

There was no lesson this week because of Christmas and New Year's, but since I was a post behind, I still have something to post. Plus, this also serves as revision.

This lesson was where we learnt two main things:

  1. Conjugation for the informal polite present tense
  2. Direct object marker

Conjugation (Informal Polite Present Tense)

The teacher emphasised how this is the most important thing for the entire Beginner level. I'm not sure if she meant the entire Beginner level, as in the set of 8 lessons (just Beginner 1A), or Beginner 1 (which has 1A & 1B, 16 lessons), or even... Beginner 1-4. Regardless, it's important.

This conjugation is for the informal-polite present tense, but it can also be used for an action planned to occur in the near future. This "near future" part was not mentioned in class, but it's in the handout that I have.

I'm not sure if it's similar to the future proche in French in that it's really near future events and not far future (since that conjugation is different from the présent de l'indicatif), or more like how in German (and... Italian too?) where you simply use the present tense also to sometimes mean something in the future. I'll have to look it up to figure out how it is actually used.

There are 3 ways verbs are conjugated:

  1. V-아요
  2. V-해요
  3. V-어요


This is used when the verb has the vowelㅏ or ㅗ. This refers to the character before 다. You remove 다 and add on 아요.

An example with 만나다: You remove the 다 and add 아요, so it becomes 만나아요, but since 나아 and 나 are the same, you remove the 아 and are left with 만나요.

A second example with 보다: You remove the 다 and add 아요, making 봐요. Notice that the vowels combine where possible.

A final example with 앉다: You remove 다 and add 아요, resulting in 앉아요 (pronounced [안자요]).


This is for all the ~하다 verbs. Simply remove 하다 and add 해요. It's very straightforward. In fact, it's the most straightforward of the 3.

A single example with 일하다: 일해요.

I don't think another example is necessary.


This is the catch-all: used for all other verbs. Remove 다 and add 어요. Let's look at a few examples.

배우다: You remove 다 and add 어요, but 우 and 어 can combine, so you have 배워요 as the conjugated form.

읽다: 읽어요. Since there's already 4 letters, you can't push the 어 on to combine. (You can't combine also when there are already 2 vowels.)

Finally, something rather interesting, 마시다. When combined, you end up with 마셔요. The teacher mentioned that the reason for this is by the sound. After thinking about it some more, I realise I don't understand what that means. This is also something else that I have to go look up on my own.

Direct Object Marker: N을/를

The direct object marker is 을/를. They are used to indicate the direct object in a sentence.

The rules follow the usual:

  1. 을 is used when the preceding noun has batchim.
    • 받침 O + 을: 밥을
    • Sentence: 저는 밥을 먹어요. (I am eating rice/a meal.)
  2. 를 is used when the preceding noun has no batchim.
    • 받침 X + 를: 친구를
    • Sentence: 저는 친구를 만나요. (I am meeting a friend.)

Direct Objects and Word Order

I'll include something about direct objects because it's good to articulate everything, even if I think that I know it well enough.

The teacher likes to use the example sentences (she used it twice, in this lesson and the previous one):

  1. Tom loves Jane
  2. Jane loves Tom

These two sentences are not the same. In English, the position of the nouns tell us the function that they serve: subject or object. The object in English appears after the verb (except in a passive sentence).

The object is the thing in the sentence that the verb is being performed on. In the first sentence, Jane is the one being loved, so she is the object of the sentence.

By contrast, the subject is the one that performs the action. In the first sentence, it is Tom.

(The difference between direct and indirect objects is another topic altogether, but it also sometimes has to do with the verb itself. I know in English, French and German, some verbs can have both direct and indirect objects, while some verbs naturally take indirect objects... I wonder if it'll be the same for Korean?)

In Korean, the two example sentences can be the same if you attach the correct markers. The word order doesn't matter.

This is, of course, much like how the declension of German nouns (and articles, and adjectives) allows a fluid word order that does not exist in English or French. In particular, the case of a noun tells us the function that it serves in a sentence.

A completely random fact is that Latin allows for a flexible word order too.

Transitive Verbs

A transitive verb is one that must take a direct object, or it is not grammatically correct.

Korean - at least for the verbs that I have seen - seems to have a few verbs that are transitive, where its English equivalent is not.

For example, for 읽다 (to read), you have to specify what you are reading, as in 책을 읽어요 (I'm reading a book). You cannot simply say 읽어요, although in English it's perfectly acceptable to say "I'm reading."

These are language-specific quirks for certain verbs that just have to be learnt.


Korean English Chinese
좋아하다 to like
싫어하다 to hate
김치 kimchi
피자 pizza
케이크 cake
초콜릿 chocolate

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