Questions tagged [grammar]

Questions about the rules that govern and structure the language, and the composition of clauses, phrases and sentences. Also pertains to the syntax and morphology of the Korean language.

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19
votes
3answers
4k views

When should spaces be used between words?

This was one of our definition questions. The Korean language has different uses for spaces than something like the English language, what are some of the rules for spacing in Korean?
19
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3answers
2k views

Reference frame for come and go

What is the frame of reference for "come" (오다) and "go" (가다)? As in, if I'm outside a house, and a person I'm talking to is between myself and the house, should I tell him to "go" to the house or "...
18
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2answers
621 views

When transliterating English words to Korean, why does the first F become a ㅎ?

This is one of the questions from the definition phase and I would like to get asked in the main site. (It has also be asked and answered in Linguistics.se) When transliterating English words to ...
15
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3answers
25k views

What's the meaning of -아/어 가지고, which I hear a lot in spoken language?

I hear "가지고" used a lot in spoken language (almost never in written language); for example: 고기를 잡아 가지고 찌개를 끓였다. ([He] caught a fish and made jjigae (stew).) It's not hard for me to understand ...
13
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2answers
1k views

Why do we need the repetition in 춤 추다 and 꿈 꾸다?

추다 means the verb 'to dance' and 춤 is the noun 'a dance'. 춤 is actually the noun form of 추다, as it is formed by adding the ending (으)ㅁ to the verb stem. I was told that we should say 춤 추다 'to dance a ...
13
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2answers
684 views

Which do I choose "그" or "그녀"?

In English, we use "he" to indicate a man, and "she" a woman. If we use "he" to indicate women, it is grammatically incorrect. Let John be a male and Anna a female. John did an operation on the ...
13
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2answers
8k views

Difference between negating with 안 and -지 않다

There are two ways to negate Korean verbs: By prepending 안 ("안 춥다") By appending -지 않다 ("춥지 않다") Are there rules for which one to use? Or does the method used change the meaning of the sentence?
12
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4answers
6k views

What does it mean when we add 이/가 on to the object of the verb?

I've seen 그 것이 알고 싶다 translated as 'that's what I want to know', and 사과가 먹고 싶어요 translated as 'It’s the apple (in particular) that I want to eat'. In both of these sentences, it looks like 이/가 is ...
12
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3answers
4k views

ㄹ 수(가) 있다/없다 Problems in the addition of 가

I know that it definitely makes sense to add 가 here because 수 is indeed a pseudo-noun. However will there be any differences between adding 가 and not adding? It would seem that they are the same thing,...
12
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1answer
3k views

Negative form of verbs. -하지 않다 versus -치 않다

In my Korean readings, I occasionally come across the verb ending -치 않다. As I understand it, this is a shortened form of -하지 않다. However, I have never seen this used with action verbs, only ...
10
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6answers
2k views

Books for learning Korean grammar in detail

I have just started learning Korean for about one month. Now I would like to study Korean grammar in detail. Could anyone recommend some books that analyze Korean grammar thoroughly? Maybe books ...
10
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4answers
5k views

Easy Korean Poems for Beginners

I just wonder if anyone could help me find few poems in Korean that are not too hard for a beginner like me. I believe it could help me improving my vocabulary and grammar usage. (I've been learning ...
10
votes
1answer
319 views

Why is this download progress bar worded in the past tense?

This bar, that would be worded as something like '9 seconds remaining' in English, comes up as '9초 남았습니다' - which I would normally translate as something like 'there were 9 seconds left'. Does '았' ...
10
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1answer
2k views

What is the difference between adjectives and verbs?

Since both adjectives and verbs all ends with 다, is there any grammatical differences between them. Is it only a difference that we introduced because in English we both have adjectives and verbs and ...
10
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2answers
8k views

What is the difference between -지 않다, -지 못하다, and -ㄹ/을 수 없다?

One aspect of Korean that seems to cause issues for beginners is how to correctly say they will not/cannot do something. (Personally, I feel I use them correctly, but this is a really common issue I ...
9
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3answers
2k views

Origin of dictionary form (-다)

What is the origin of the basic -다 "dictionary" form for verbs and adjectives? Does it have any meaning on its own? Is it ever used in actual conversations or writing? There are forms that are similar ...
9
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2answers
11k views

Why is 'long time no see' expressed as 오랜만이에요?

This is something that has been puzzling me for a while: 'long time no see' is often expressed by 오랜만이에요. 오랜 means 'a long time' and 이에요 is the present tense form of the verb 이다. So far so good. But ...
9
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3answers
430 views

Two lines of 사랑해 당신을

I came across a song called Sarang hae (I love you). Part of the lyrics go: 멀리 떠나버련 못 잊을 님이여 Meolli tteonabeoryeon Mot ijeul nim i yo It is rather unfortunate that this part of the lyrics only ...
9
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2answers
3k views

What is the meaning of the ㄴ in the V진 않다 structure?

I know that if V is a verb stem, then V지 않다 is one way to express the negation of V. For example, 먹다: to eat --> 저는 먹어요: I eat 먹지 않다: to not eat --> 저는 먹지 않아요: I don't eat I came across ...
9
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3answers
1k views

How is 들어가다 used as a farewell greeting?

From what I understand 들어가다 means "to go inside" (with 들어오다 meaning come inside) But I have seen conversations like this is basic Korean books: 가: 먼저 들어가겠습니다. 안녕히 계세요. 나: 안녕히 가세요. 조심히 들어가세요....
9
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4answers
1k views

What is the meaning of 까 in the song Gangnam Style?

"Gangnam style" is a famous Korean song. At a certain point, the lyrics go: 지금부터 갈데까지 가볼 까? Jigeum buteo gal-de-kkaji gabol kka? I have managed to analyse this as follows: Jigeum means &...
9
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1answer
295 views

How can -ㄹ래 be used to express my intentions, and also to ask someone else about their intentions?

I came across the sentence below in Naver which serves as a definition to the '-ㄹ래' 어미. 해할 자리에 쓰여, 장차 어떤 일을 하려고 하는 스스로의 의사를 나타내거나 상대편의 의사를 묻는 데 쓰이는 종결 어미. I broke the definition into 4 simple ...
9
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3answers
393 views

Is it possible to make a list of the (12+?) different meanings of the 이/가 particle (and what would that list be)?

I think learners tend to get obsessed with the subject particle, and I'm no different! This answer mentions that there are 12 or more different meanings to the 이/가 particle, but I don't recall ...
9
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2answers
5k views

Is there a difference between 가지고 오다/가다 and 가져가다/가져오다?

As far as I am aware, these forms all mean take/bring (depending on the frame of reference). Is there any difference in meaning or usage between 가지고 오다/가다 and 가져가다/가져오다? Or are they entirely ...
9
votes
1answer
885 views

What filler words can be used in Korean to buy time in the conversation/show you are thinking?

This was one of our definition questions. Words like English 'er...', 'well...', 'hmm...', 'like...', examples of some of the words with their definition and use will suffice.
9
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2answers
188 views

Two lines from Bibara bibara (Japanese song): do they even make sense?

Bibara bibara is a Japanese song, so you might be wondering why I am asking on Korean SE. At a certain point, the lyrics go: ヨボセヨペゴパヨチキンピリョヘヨ Yoboseyopegopayochikinpiryoheyo And further on, a slight ...
9
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1answer
436 views

When to use -세요 and when -(으)ㅂ니다?

This is one the questions from the definition phase and I would like to get it discussed in the main site. (으)세요 and (으)ㅂ니다 are both honorific ending. When should we use one over the other?
8
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3answers
897 views

two subjects in 당신은 이름이 뭐예요?

I have just studied Korean for a short time. I am having problem with the sentence below. 당신은 이름이 뭐예요? = What is your name? My friend told me that there are two subjects in that sentence (당신 marked ...
8
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4answers
990 views

Korean sentence ending that implies "Be careful! <X> might happen"?

I would like to express "Be careful. < Something > might happen" in Korean. Is there a sentence ending or any special construct in Korean grammar that implies this? I am sorry if the question ...
8
votes
2answers
3k views

Problems in 에게서, 한테서 and (으)로부터

These three words are equivalent to "from" in English, and can be applied to anything which the one benefited got benefit from. The difference of 에게서 and 한테서 are quite easy to be grasped: 에게서 used ...
8
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4answers
3k views

What is the difference between 쇠고기 and 소고기 (both 'beef') - both are correct, but when would I hear one over the other?

This is a question from the proposal phase. What is the difference between 소고기and 쇠고기 ?
8
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3answers
2k views

How can I use the form X + 답다?

남자답다 was translated in another answer as 'manly'. What is the underlying construction here? Can I use any noun + 답다? If I want to describe someone as 'like a snake', can I say '그는 뱀다워요'?
8
votes
1answer
235 views

Difference between 앉으세요 and 앉으실게요

I hear very often an office (bank) clerk or a nurse say 손님 / 환자분, 여기 앉으실게요. (Literally) Customer / Patient, please sit here. Even if it sounds more polite than '앉으세요', I am not sure if it is ...
8
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1answer
1k views

Understanding "-ㄹ 정도면"

네가 작아보일 정도면 친구들이 걸리버야 A family member wrote this sentence to me after seeing a photo of me with some friends. From the 'Gulliver' reference I think the sentence means something like 'your friends ...
8
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2answers
3k views

What is the difference between 때 and 에?

What is the difference between these two sentences? 1 저녁에 봐요. 2 저녁때 봐요. Are 때 and 에 interchangeable?
8
votes
1answer
554 views

How to distinguish between unavoidable obligations and strong recommendations?

In English, have to is used for strong obligations. For example, I have the obligation (by the rules of the house) to study when my mother says "You have to study". See here for example. On the other ...
8
votes
1answer
978 views

Usage of the plural -들 on adverbs and verbs

I've noticed that the plural form -들 is sometimes used in surprising places, i.e. following adverbs and verbs. For example: 어서들 와! (Come quickly [to more than one person]) 잘들 했다. (Everyone did ...
8
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2answers
3k views

What are the differences between 그러나, 그런데 and 그렇지만?

All three words can be translated by "but" or "however" but how do they differ in meaning and in use? My question applies also to the shortened form of them used to merge two sentences in one: -러나, -...
8
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1answer
10k views

The particle (이)야 and its exact meaning

I am new to this particle and I found that its meaning varies. Currently, here is my interpretation: Emphasizing a difference (Please explain this one, I don't quite get it) Ex. 남이야 하나 마나 우린 꼭 합시다. -...
8
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2answers
4k views

필요하다, 필요 있다, 필요로 하다 : what's the difference in meaning and usage?

I was aware of '필요하다' '필요 있다' both meaning 'to be necessary', and on Naver Dictionary saw that the first translation of 'need' is '필요로 하다'. What is the difference in meaning and usage, if any, ...
8
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3answers
1k views

Can 있다 and 없다 be negated (with 안 or -지 않다)?

Clearly, if something is not present or does not exist, it's usually natural to say 없다, and likewise, it's usually natural to use 있다 when something exists or is there. But my question is — is it ...
8
votes
2answers
681 views

Do we use honorifics when talking about seniors in the third person?

This is a question from the definition stage and I would like to get it discussed in the main site. What are the rules for using honorifis when we are talking about someone in the third person? For ...
7
votes
4answers
795 views

"Don't be" in Korean

지 마세요 is used with a verb V to mean "Don't do V". For example 이거를 먹지 마세요! 맛 없어요. Don't eat this! It is not good. Or 가위를 들고 뛰지 마세요 Don't run with scissors With an adjective A, the ...
7
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3answers
1k views

Why do I need the 이/가 particle when negating the sentence, but not when just stating it?

My textbook ( "Elementary Korean", Tuttle) features the question (where N is a noun) 이것은 N 입니까? along with the following two answers: 네, (그것은) N 입니다 as the translation of "Yes, that is N", as well ...
7
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3answers
952 views

Distinguishing meanings of A/V + (으)ㄹ 줄 알았다

Consider the sentence 그사람은/저는 운전할 줄 알았어요. I have heard that translated as "I/he/she know/knows how to drive". However, this explanation seems to translate it as "I thought I/he/she would drive". ...
6
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3answers
2k views

How is 니까 used in this sentence?

I stumbled on this question: 집에 __________ 비가 내리기 시작했다. (1) 도착하거나 (2) 도착하니까 (3) 도착하거든 (4) 도착하려고 The right answer is (2). But I don't understand the reason. What is the meaning of '니까' in this ...
6
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4answers
164 views

제가 김밥을 준비할까요? 그럼 부탁해요 or 준비합시다

This question below is from my Korean textbook. A 제가 김밥을 준비할까요? B 네,_________________ a) 그럼 부탁해요. b) 준비합시다. The answer is the option a. However, I am wondering why b doesn't work here? Thanks.
6
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3answers
4k views

When to use single (ㅅ) or double (ㅆ) consonants?

Is there a rule generally to help remember when we would write double consonants like ㅆ, ㄲ, ㄸ, ㅃ, ㅉ instead of single consonants like ㅅ? For example, remembering to write 땀 for sweat, and not 담. Is ...
6
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3answers
8k views

What is the difference between V(으)ㄴ 적이 있다 and V(아/어) 보다?

Both seems to express past experience. For example, 막걸리 마셔 봤어요? Have you tried to drink maggeolli?/Have you ever drunk maggeolli? 서울에 가 봤어요? Have you ever been to Seoul? 생낙지 안 먹어 봤어요 I never never ...
6
votes
2answers
375 views

What is the meaning (or meanings) of the double past construction '-었/았+었-'?

I've read that 었/았+었 is often used to talk about a state or action that was true, but is no longer true: 이모 이름을 잊었었다. 그런데 지금은 생각이 난다. I had forgotten my aunt's name. But now I remember. But ...

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