I wonder why some verbs display its dictionary form as XX-X다 (hyphen in the center). For example, enter in English can be looked up as 들어-오다.

At first I thought these verbs should be used in split in a sentence, such as 들어 와요. However, the same dictionary has an example sentence, which doesn't split the verb at a hyphen, like:

희의장으로 들어오다

So I wonder what is the point of splitting the verb via a hyphen.

The dictionary I use is Monokakido's Japanese-Korean dictionary available at iOS App Store.

  • '들어 오해요' is misspelled. Please check it again and edit your question. I can't edit the question because I don't know what you want to mean by it.
    – user7
    Commented Sep 22, 2016 at 10:53
  • '들어 와요' should be '들어와요' without a space.
    – user7
    Commented Sep 22, 2016 at 11:34
  • @Rathony If it is a response to my edit, there should be a space there as it is what I thought at first.
    – Blaszard
    Commented Sep 23, 2016 at 2:26
  • No, it is not a response to the edit. I just wanted to let you know it is wrong to write "들어 와요" with a space (that's why I didn't correct it when I edited your question) and I edited my answer based on your edit.
    – user7
    Commented Sep 23, 2016 at 15:18

3 Answers 3


Naver Korean dictionary also uses the hyphen as indicated in this link '들어오다'. The reasons must be

(1) the verb '들어오다' is a compound word with '들다 (enter)' + '오다 (come)'.

(2) to separate the two parts so that it can be pronounced ['들어' pause '오다'], not ['들어오' pause '다'] nor ['들' pause '어오다'].

You should not use a space between '들어' and '오다' as '들어오다' is considered as one word and '들어 와요' should be '들어와요'.

  • 1
    Your link used the hyphen, shown as 들어-오다.
    – Blaszard
    Commented Sep 22, 2016 at 10:31

I guess it indicates being a compound word. Because it is made of two compounds "들어"+"오다", sometimes you can even split the word and add something in between!

어서 들어들 와요. = 어서들 들어와요. = Please come in, you all.

나사가 (들어는 갔지만/들어가긴 했지만) 여전히 흔들흔들한다. = The screw did go in, but it's still moving a bit (i.e., it's still loose).


To echo jick's and Rathony님's answers, I believe that the dash is an indicator of 들어오다 being a compound of the verbs 들다 (to enter) and 오다 (to come).

The dash is of course not used in actual written Korean. It is just there as a matter of linguistic indication as far as the dictionary is concerned. Similar lexicographical marks are commonly found in English dictionaries I believe.

As for the spacing, (들어오다 versus 들어 오다) it is a question of time period. Modernly, you will usually see this as a single word. However, in older texts, as well as in the cases excellently spoken of by jick of inserting something else between the two pieces, you will see the two pieces as separate entities. This is done as a reflection of the origin of the compound verb.

  • Your first sentence is an exact duplicate of my answer. The OP didn't ask if '들어오다' can be separated and if so, under what circumstances. And I don't think the OP is capable of understanding why they can be separated based on such short answers of @jick and yours. It might require a doctoral dissertation to explain it. The most important thing is as follows: I don't think a hyphen is that broadly used in English dictionaries. Even if it is, it doesn't have the same function as Korean dictionary as English dictionaries use it to separate for syllabication.
    – user7
    Commented Sep 22, 2016 at 17:08

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