As far as I understand, the -ㅁ ending can be added to a verb to make a noun representing a ‘completed’ or ‘embodied’ action. for example:

말하다 means to speak, 말씀 means speech.

만나다 means to meet; 만남 is a meeting.

죽다 is to die; 죽음 is death.

Can -ㅁ be added to descriptive verbs as well, like 예쁘다 → 예쁨? would that mean something like 'prettiness' or beauty? what about 크다 → 큼, meaning 'bigness' or 'having a large size'?

Finally, what about the copula, 이다, and its negative 아니다? can 'ㅁ' be attached to make '임' and '아님'? If so, how could those be used?

3 Answers 3


Yes, virtually all verbs/adjectives, and also 이다 and 아니다, allow -ㅁ, but not all of them are a noun in its own right.

The situation is similar to English -ing: some -ing forms are separate words (a long meeting / a bad feeling) but many are merely "noun-forms" of the corresponding verb and do not act as a separate word. E.g., Arriving at 5 will be difficult., but usually not The train's arriving was late. Instead, we say The train's arrival was late.

Similarly, many words with -ㅁ can be used to build a clause that acts like a noun phrase, but they aren't separate words. Some random examples from the web:

앞길이 매우 멀고도 을 일컫는 고사성어

경찰 출두 시민들 "촛불이 무죄을 밝혀내겠다"

정식 출시 아님에도 불구하고 '포켓몬GO' 구글플레이 게임부문 '4위'

  • However, one might consider 예쁨 as a separate noun inside the idiom 예쁨을 받다, which means to be favored (=~ 귀여움을 받다).

There is a writing style called 개조식(個條式) that uses -ㅁ copula. Example of a 개조식 article:

  1. 주요 특징
    • 말머리표 또는 번호로 구분됨.
    • 서술이 길어지는 문장을 지양하고 요점만 기재함.
    • 문장이 계층화되어 있음.
  2. 일반적 문법 주의사항 (국립국어원의 답변 종합)
    • 개조식의 각 문장이 완성되지 않은 경우 끝에 마침표를 찍어서는 안 됨.
      • "~OOO 등" 과 같이 끝나는 문장 등
    • 그러나 동사의 명사형(OO함 등)으로 끝난 경우 마침표가 필요함.
      • 문장이 완성된 것으로 간주, 구두점이 요구됨.

In theory, yes. That doesn't mean you will see them all, but I have seen 예쁨 and forms ending with 임 and 아님 and many others.

The thing to understand is that nouns made this way have a different nuance than nouns made with 기 or nouns made with (으)ㄴ/는 것... ㅁ-ending nouns are said to indicate static, well-established, extant states and/or abstract, timeless truths. They are found more often with DVs than with AVs.

I don't see how the above responder can say they aren't nouns. If you add (으)ㅁ to a verb root, you create a noun, except in the case of a sentence-ending form which is a different case.

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