I have a question about -러 가다 grammar. I wanted to write a small text and one sentence sounds 사람들은 바다에 가러 여행을 자주 가요.

Is this possible? or do I need to change the form of 가러 to 가려 and 가요 to 해요?

Thank you! :)

  • You cannot attach -러 to 가다, 오다, 다니다, or other verbs relevant to movement; in other words, forms such as 가러, 오러, and 다니러 are all incorrect. You need to correct the sentence first, and I would say 이곳 사람들은 바다로 여행을 자주 가요.
    – Klmo
    Apr 16, 2020 at 0:10

1 Answer 1


-러 conjugates with verb to specify the intent of certain 'movements'. For example,

형은 공부하러 학교에 갔다. My older brother went to school to study.

철수는 돈을 벌러 외국으로 떠났다. Chulsoo went abroad to make money.

경찰은 범인을 잡으러 대전으로 갔다. The police went to Daejeon to arrest the criminal.

Say that someone asked you, "Where are you going?" and you responded, "to my workplace." If someone asked you back why, you wouldn't answer "well, to go to my workplace", because that would be redundant. People would expect the answer to be something like "I've got my works to do". It's the same for Korean. Since -러 is used only with motion verbs to specify the intention, it doesn't normally conjugate with another motion verb.

Of course, there are certain exceptions, such as when you are going to the airport to go abroad. In this case, using -러 with motion verb 가다 would make sense: 나는 외국으로 떠나러 공항에 갔다. Or, a student living in a countryside town might come to Seoul to go to university, and he/she would say 나는 대학교에 다니러 서울에 왔다. (But even in these cases, I must say that 나는 외국으로 가려고 공항에 갔다 and 대학교에 다니려고 서울에 왔다 would sound more natural.)

Grammatically speaking, the structure of 사람들은 바다에 가러 여행을 자주 가요 is correct; it's only that Koreans don't say it like this. It would be more natural to say 사람들은 바다를 보러 여행을 자주 가요, or simply 사람들은 바다로 여행을 자주 가요.

The interchangeability of -러 with -려(고), or 여행을 가다 with 여행을 하다 is a bit tricky to nail down. I'll just say that in this case, both changes would make the sentence sound unnatural.

  • Thanks a lot! :)
    – Bugsy
    Apr 16, 2020 at 6:59
  • Hello! :) I've got another question regarding your explaination, you said that 나는 외국으로 가려고 공항에 갔다 and 대학교에 다니려고 서울에 왔다 would sound more natural. Are there any rules when you can use -려고 with moving words like 가다 or 오다?
    – Bugsy
    Apr 16, 2020 at 18:31
  • @Bugsy -려고 is almost the same as -러 in the sense that both are used to express intent, but -려고 can be used with verbs other than motion verbs as well. The distinction and interchangability between these two, when used with motion verbs, are not very clear. -러 is generally used to express intent that can be fulfilled by explicit action, while -려고 focuses more on the intent itself. Apr 17, 2020 at 1:38
  • There's no explicit reason why one form is preferred over another in certain circumstances when both are grammatically acceptable. It's just the way it is. :/ Apr 17, 2020 at 1:41
  • Oh, and -려고 cannot be used in imperatives. 책 사러 가라. (○) 책 사려고 가라. (X) Apr 17, 2020 at 1:43

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.