I know that (아/어)하다 is used for other people’s desires (3rd person). For 1st and 2nd, you would just use the regular form. However, it is acceptable to use (아/어)하다 in 1st person if you are referring to an object, such as in “제가 친구의 성공을 너무 기뻐했어요.”

However, I have also seen that 좋다/좋아하다 is sort of an exception to this rule since it can be also used in 1st person. Or is it just following the last rule I said?

What I’m trying to ask is, is my perception of how (아/어)하다 is used correct? If not, then can someone clarify? And does (아/어)하다 make descriptive verbs/adjectives into action verbs? Or is it something else?

Thank you in advance!

1 Answer 1


However, it is acceptable to use (아/어)하다 in 1st person if you are referring to an object, such as in “제가 친구의 성공을 너무 기뻐했어요.”

This is new to me. I don't think the expression is affected by what the speaker is referring to. 저는 친구의 성공이 너무 기뻤어요 or 저는 친구가 성공해서 너무 기뻤어요 would be much more natural than your sentence.

좋아하다 and 싫어하다 are special cases that are used for first person. In this case, the two expressions mean slightly different things. You say 좋아해요/싫어해요 to describe your taste, and 좋아요/싫어요 what you feel about something as a reaction at the moment.

  • 저는 고기를 좋아해요 = I like meat (in general).
  • 저는 고기가 좋아요 = 1) I like meat, 2) I'd prefer meat (as a choice now).

These 'emotion' words are specialized for the first person to make the expression more impactful. It is because relating your own feeling is so much more compelling and doesn't involve any guessing or judging like when you describe what another person feels.

If you use these adjectives for a third person, the meaning can get confusing. They also change the subject, object, and the particle involved. For example, 나는 음악 좋아요 has 음악 as a subject (이 is subject marker), whereas 그는 음악 좋아해요 has it as an object (을 is object marker). It takes some practice to master all these details.

  • Thank you! So 좋아하다 and 좋다 (and the 싫다 equivalent) can be used for first person but only the 하다 form can be used in third, right? And I’m not sure where I got this idea from, but it seems like these don’t change descriptive verbs to action verbs. Is there anything that can do this, or is this a concept that doesn’t exist? Commented Jun 17, 2022 at 16:42
  • Yes, your first statement is correct. As for the other one, 좋다 is a descriptive verb (another name for adjective) and 좋아하다 is an action verb (true verb). You use them as appropriate depending on the context, as was described above (this might be called 'changing'). For another example, 기쁘다 is an adjective (descriptive verb, used for first person), whereas 기뻐하다 is a verb (or 'action verb', used for third person. 기쁘다 is changed to 기뻐하다 which is 기쁘다 + -어 하다 (ㅡ + ㅓ -> ㅓ).
    – Tony
    Commented Jun 17, 2022 at 19:15

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