I've been learning both English and Korean, and as I know, we can use "to" to link two verbs in English. Ex:

Alex is lost. We must go to find her.

I would like to invite Kim professor to teach English

In this sentence, "to" is the linking word between "go" and "find", "invite" and "teach", so it's easy for me to understand or write English sentences. But it's hard for me to understand and write Korean sentences, because I cannot find any linking word like "to" in Korean.

I know some words that have a related purpose in Korean, like "기 위해서" or "도록", but I think they only can be used in some situations, not every situation like "to" in English.

Alex를 찾기 위해 가야 해요


나는 김 교수님가 영어 수업을 가르쳐 주시도록 초대하고 싶습니다"

seem strange. Can you help me find such a linking word (link two verbs) in Korean?

  • 초대” slightly implies an invitation to a gathering, such as party. “초빙하다” would be great here. – Константин Ван Oct 6 '18 at 10:03
  • And you misused “-도록 (in order to)”: “김 교수님이 영어 수업을 가르쳐 주시도록 초빙하고 싶습니다. (I would like to invite Prof. Kim in order (as a means) for him to teach English.)” sounds off because it's just an expression in a descriptive ⓐ([additional] purpose)-도록-ⓑ([primary] means) form, while “I would like to invite Prof. Kim to teach English.” is in a ⓑ([primary] practice)-to-ⓐ([additional] reason) form. The most Korean way to say this is “김 교수님을 영어 강사로 초빙하고 싶습니다. (I would like to invite Prof. Kim as an English lecturer.).” – Константин Ван Oct 6 '18 at 10:03
  • Just a quick note on your English - the two usages of "to" you have mentioned are different. The first is used as a preposition that expresses a sense of "purpose" (i.e. we must go because we want to find her). Usually, it would make more sense to say "We must go find her" instead. The second is used as what we call an infinitive form of the verb. Here, "to" bears no significance beyond pure grammar. – spicypumpkin Oct 6 '18 at 22:15

The word "to" in English is a preposition with many, many uses. Translating "to" into Korean thus has many, many variants. We must remember that Korean is not just an encoding of English, and all that one need do is find a one-to-one mapping between each Korean word to an English word.

The question at hand specifically asks about a form in Korean which can be used to connect two verbs. I will address only two forms in Korean that are used to express the concept of a transitive verb admitting a gerund (verb being used as a noun).

As you have mentioned, there is the form Verb+기 위해. This form roughly is used when we want to say "in order to."

난 차를 사기 위해서 운전면허증을 땄어.

I got a driver's license in order to buy a car.


그는 한국어를 공부기 위해서 일주일에 3번 학원에 가요.

He goes to an academy three times a week (in order) to study Korean.

Many times, the (in order) part of the form is removed when used in English.

V + 기 위해 is usually a more general form for "(in order) to"

On the other hand, the form V + 도록 provides more a feeling of purpose, suggestion, or extent. It can also be used to mean "in order to" or just "to do" in relation to the

그 여자에게 말하지 않도록 주의하라

Be careful not to speak with that lady.


아빠한테서 칭찬을 받을 수 있도록 방을 깨끗이 청소했어요.

I cleaned my room (in order) to receive praise from my father.

There is also the form V + (으)려고 하다, meaning "to intend (to do)."

내일 도사관에 가려고 한다.

I intend to go to the library tomorrow.

잘 공부하려고 음악을 껐어요.

In order to study well, I turned off the music.

All told, the way to say "to" in Korean leads to numerous options, each of which have their uses.

  • thank you. So if i translate the sentence "I would like to invite Kim professor to teach English" into "나는 김 교수님가 영어 수업을 가르쳐 주시도록 초대하고 싶습니다" , it will be not correct, right? Can you help me to translate it? – Thai Trinh Oct 6 '18 at 0:52
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    @ThaiTrinh It's tricky because the phrase "I'd like to invite" in this context shouldn't be directly translated into Korean. If I were you, I'd translate it to something along the lines of, "저는 김 교수님을 영어 강사로 초청하고 싶습니다" – spicypumpkin Oct 6 '18 at 22:18

In addition to Vladhagen's great answer, I want to emphasize that English "to (verb)" is a very versatile expression, and its meaning is frequently inferred from context. (I know, because every Korean students in the 80s suffered through exam problems like "Out of these five sentences, find the one to that has different meaning.")

So, frequently, English sentences with "to" is better expressed in Korean by paraphrasing. I would translate your sentence as:

I would like to invite Kim professor to teach English

김 교수님을 초청해서 영어 강의를 부탁드리고 싶습니다.

  • I think spicypumpkin's suggestion above ("김 교수님을 영어 강사로 초청하고 싶습니다") is also fine.

Other examples with paraphrasing:

He left the country, to never return.

그는 나라를 떠나서 다시는 돌아오지 않았다.

She ran up to the boarding gate, only to find that the plane has left.

그녀는 탑승구까지 달려갔지만 비행기는 이미 떠난 후였다.

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