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I’m learning to conjugate into past tense in formal language (합쇼체). From what I’ve learned, if a stem ends in a consonant, you add “았습니다” or “있습니다” after it depending on the vowel before.

However, I’ve seen 춥다 conjugated into 추었습니다 , dropping the ㅂ altogether.

My question is: - is 춥다 an anomaly for doing this or is there another rule during conjugation that I need to know (for when to drop ending consonants)?

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    A bit of spelling checks: “있습니다” → “-습니다,” “추었습니다” → “추습니다.” – Константин Ван Nov 15 '18 at 12:25
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    Just an off-topic note: 춥다 is an irregular Korean adjective meaning "to be cold." – Klmo May 24 '19 at 11:43
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Hoping someone else would explain it in detail, let me just give you a tiny bit of info about this phenomenon.

Is “춥다” an irregular adjective?

Yes, along with other “-ㅂ” stem adjectives/verbs except for some. We can't say every such adjective/verb is, but a bunch are.

ㅂ irregular conjugation

It's called “ㅂ irregular conjugation (ㅂ 불규칙 활용).” A conjugation where a stem's final “,” as in “” in “춥-,” becomes an “” or “” before a conjugation with no initial consonant, such as “-었-.” E.g. “춥다” → “추웠다” (“” + (“ㅂ-”→“ㅜ-”) + “-었-” + “-다”).

Why does this happen?

Such a “” was originally a “” (unused nowaday), which likely had the /v/ sound in initial and the /ㅂ/ sound in final. Later, the /v/ sound shifted to the /w/ sound.

(“추ᇦ-” + “-어”) → “추ᄫᅥ” (Since “-어” has no initial consonant, the “” takes the initial position here.) → “추워


Fun fact: some dialects still have this sound.

The Kyungsang dialect. They say “추ᄫᅳ라 /choovɾa/” for the standard equivalent “추워라 /choowoɾa/.”

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    Thank you very much for your reply. This answers my question perfectly and in so much detail! I shall be sure to remember this phenomenon in future. :) – Amethyst Nov 16 '18 at 0:22
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    I think this is a perfect answer for language learners. I would just add that these verbs and adjectives have the same phenomenon: 굽다, 눕다, 덥다, 돕다, 괴롭다, 가렵다, 그립다, 아름답다, 무섭다, 아니꼽다, -스럽다. – Klmo May 24 '19 at 11:50

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