Irregular Verbs in Korean

 

How to Conjugate Irregular Verbs in Korean

This lesson will teach you how to conjugate irregular verbs in Korean. Irregulars are annoying but a part of life. Luckily, Korean irregulars follow a pattern.

All Korean verbs end in 다. Verbs usually are not used in this form and need to be conjugated. The 다 ending is dropped before conjugation.Korean-Verb-Stem-Present-Tense-in-Korean

You need to conjugate verbs based on Korean honorifics. Korean honorifics is a system in which speech changes based on the relationships between people speaking and who they are speaking about. People older than you or in a more senior position get the more honorific forms.

 

The 7 Irregular Verbs in Korean
Table of Contents

Click a link below to learn.
                       

 

ㅂ Irregular in Korean

If
1. The last letter in a verb stem is ㅂ
2. You are adding a verb ending, suffix, that starts with a vowel.
Ex. (~어요, ~아요)

Then
1. Remove ㅂ
2. Add 우 or 오, almost always 우
3. Add your verb ending

Example verb 춥다 = cold
1. 춥 – ㅂ = 추
2. 추 + 우 = 추우
3. 추우 + 어요 = 추워요(present tense polite)

When adding a suffix that starts with a consonant, such as ~습니다,  conjugate as normal.
Example:
춥다 = cold
춥 + 습니다 = 춥습니다

 

ㅂ Irregular Verbs in Korean

Korean Informal Polite Honorific English
고맙다 고마워 고마워요 고맙습니다 thank you
덥다 더워 더워요 덥습니다 hot
맵다 매워 매워요 맵습니다 spicy
쉽다 쉬워 쉬워요 쉽습니다 easy
어렵다 어려워 어려워요 어렵습니다 difficult

These two verb get 오 added instead of 우.

Korean Informal Polite Honorific English
돕다 도와 도와요 돕습니다 help
곱다 고와 고와요 곱습니다 pretty

Here is a list of verbs that do not follow the ㅂ irregular rule.

Korean Informal Polite Honorific English
잡다 잡아 잡아요 잡습니다 catch
입다 입어 입어요 입습니다 wear
넓다 넓어 넓어요 넓습니다 wide
좁다 좁아 좁아요 좁습니다 narrow
씹다 씹어 씹어요 씹습니다 chew
접다 접어 접어요 접습니다 fold
집다 집어 집어요 집습니다 pick up
업다 업어 업어요 업습니다 carry on back
뽑다 뽑아 뽑아요 뽑습니다 extract

 

ㅅ Irregular in Korean

If
1. The last letter in a verb stem is ㅅ
2. You are adding a verb ending, suffix, that starts with a vowel.
Ex. (~어요, ~아요)

Then
1. Remove ㅅ
2. Add your verb ending, but do not combine it with the verb stem.

Example verb 붓다 = swell
1. 붓 – ㅅ = 부
2. 부 + 어요 = 부어요(present tense polite)

When adding a suffix that starts with a consonant, such as ~습니다,  conjugate as normal.
Example:
붓다 = swell
붓 + 습니다 = 붓습니다

 

ㅅ Irregular Verbs in Korean

Korean Informal Polite Honorific English
젓다 저어 저어요 젓습니다 stir
낫다 나아 나아요 낫습니다 recover (from)
짓다 지어 지어요 짓습니다 build
잇다 이어 이어요 잇습니다 connect
긋다 그어 그어요 긋습니다 draw

Here is a list of verbs that do not follow the ㅅ irregular rule.

Korean Informal Polite Honorific English
씻다  씻어 씻어요 씻습니다 wash
웃다 웃어 웃어요 웃습니다 laugh
벗다 벗어 벗어요 벗습니다 take off
빗다 빗어 빗어요 빗습니다 comb
빼앗다 빼앗아 빼앗아요 빼앗습니다 take, steal

 

ㄷ Irregular in Korean

If
1. The last letter in a verb stem is ㄷ
2. You are adding a verb ending, suffix, that starts with a vowel.
Ex. (~어요, ~아요)

Then
1. Remove ㄷ
2. Add ㄹ to the verb stem
3. Add your verb ending

Example verb 걷다 = walk
1. 걷 – ㄷ = 거
2. 거 + ㄹ = 걸
3. 걸 + 어요 = 걸어요(present tense polite)

When adding a suffix that starts with a consonant, such as ~습니다,  conjugate as normal.
Example:
걷다 = cold
걷 + 습니다 = 걷습니다

 

ㄷ Irregular Verbs in Korean

Korean Informal Polite Honorific English
듣다 들어 들어요 듣습니다 listen
묻다 물어 물어요 묻습니다 ask
깨닫다 깨달아 깨달아요 깨닫습니다 realize
싣다 실어 실어요 싣습니다 load

Here is a list of verbs that do not follow the ㄷ irregular rule.

Korean Informal Polite Honorific English
닫다 닫아 닫아요 닫습니다 close
받다 받아 받아요 받습니다 receive
믿다 믿아 믿아요 믿습니다 believe
묻다 묻어 묻어요 묻습니다 bury
얻다 얻어 얻어요 얻습니다 gain

 

ㅡ Irregular in Korean

If
1. The last letter in a verb stem is ㅡ
2. You are adding a verb ending, suffix, that starts with a vowel.
Ex. (~어요, ~아요)

Then
1. Remove ㅡ
2. Add your verb ending

Here are three examples. Pay special attention to how they are conjugated differently.

♦   프다 = sick, hurts

1. 아프  –  ㅡ  =  아ㅍ
2. 아ㅍ + 아요 = 아파요(present tense polite)
The last vowel in 아ㅍ is ㅏ so the ~아요 ending is added.

 

♦   쁘다 = pretty

1. 쁘  –  ㅡ  =
2. ㅃ + 어요 = 예뻐요(present tense polite)
The last vowel in 예ㅃ is ㅖ so the ~어요 ending is added.

 

♦   크다 = big

1. 크  –  ㅡ  = ㅋ
2. ㅋ + 어요 = 커요(present tense polite)
There is no last vowel in ㅋ so the ~어요 ending is added.

When adding a suffix that starts with a consonant, such as ~ㅂ니다,  conjugate as normal.

Example:
아프다 = sick, hurts
아프 + ㅂ니다 = 아픕니다

 

ㅡ Irregular Verbs in Korean

Korean Informal Polite Honorific English
끄다 꺼요 끕니다 turn off
쓰다 써요 씁니다 use, write
기쁘다 기뻐 기뻐요 기쁩니다 glad
나쁘다 나빠 나빠요 나쁩니다 bad
슬프다 슬퍼 슬퍼요 슬픕니다 sad

 

르 Irregular in Korean

If
1. The last syllable in a verb stem is 르
2. You are adding a verb ending, suffix, that starts with ~어 or ~아

Then
1. Add a ㄹ to the syllable before 르
2. Remove ㅡ
3. Add your verb ending

Example verb 다르다 = different
1. 다르 + ㄹ = 달르
2. 달르  –  ㅡ  =  달ㄹ
3. 달ㄹ + 아요 = 달라요(present tense polite)

The honorific level of the 르 irregular is  conjugated as normal.
Example:
다르다 = different
다르 + ㅂ니다 = 다릅니다

 

르 Irregular Verbs in Korean

Korean Informal Polite Honorific English
자르다 잘라 잘라요 자릅니다 cut
빠르다 빨라 빨라요 빠릅니다 fast
부르다 불러 불러요 부릅니다 sing, call out
고르다 골라 골라요 고릅니다 choose
모르다 몰라 몰라요 모릅니다 not know

The following verbs follow the ㅡ irregular rule, not the 르 irregular rule.

Korean Informal Polite Honorific English
따르다 따라 따라요 따릅니다 follow
다다르다 다다라 다다라요 다다릅니다 arrive at
치르다 치러 치러요 치릅니다 pay off

 

ㄹ Irregular in Korean

If
1. The last letter in a verb stem is ㄹ
2. You are adding a verb ending, suffix, that starts with ㅂ, ㄴ, or ㅅ

Then
1. Remove ㄹ
2. Add your verb ending

Example verb 열다 = open

1. 열 – ㄹ = 여
2. 여 + 니다  =  엽니다(present tense honorific)

1. 여 – ㄹ = 여
2. 여 + = 여는(present tense adjective)

1. 여 – ㄹ = 여
2. 여 + = 연(past tense adjective)

1. 여 – ㄹ = 여
2. 여 + 요 = 여세요(imperative)

 

ㄹ Irregular Action Verbs in Korean

Korean Informal Polite Honorific 세요 English
걸다 걸어 걸어요 겁니다 거는 거세요 hang
만들다 만들어 만들어요 만듭니다 만든 만드는 만드세요 make
놀다 놀아 놀아요 놉니다 노는 노세요 play

ㄹ Irregular Descriptive Verbs in Korean

Korean Informal Polite Honorific 세요 English
달다 달아 달아요 답니다 sweet
질다 질어 질어요 집니다 watery
멀다 멀어 멀어요 멉니다 far

Learn Korean Language Tips

Descriptive verbs do not use the 는 ending.
The 는 ending changes action verbs to present tense adjectives.
This is why descriptive verbs do not use 는.

The imperative ~세요 ending usually isn’t added to descriptive verbs because it is added to words like 만들다 “Make” or 하다 “Do.”
For example:
“Please make it sweet.” O
Not, “Please sweet it.”   X

 

ㅎ Irregular in Korean

If
1. The last letter in a verb stem is ㅎ
2. You are adding a verb ending, suffix, that starts with a vowel.
Ex. (~어요, ~아요)

Then
1. Remove ㅎ
2. Remove the final vowel
3. Add ㅐ
*The verb 하얗다 gets ㅒ added in step 3.

Example verb 파랗다 = blue
1. 파랗 – ㅎ = 파라
2. 파라 – ㅏ = 파ㄹ
3. 파ㄹ + ㅐ = 파래(present tense informal)

When adding a suffix that starts with a consonant, such as ~습니다,  conjugate as normal.
Example:
파랗다 = blue
파랗 + 습니다 = 파랗습니다

The ㅎ irregular rule applies to a few colors and demonstratives. The tables below show the most common ones.

ㅎ Irregular Verbs in Korean

Colors

Korean Informal Polite Honorific English
파랗다 파래 파래요 파랗습니다 blue
빨갛다 빨개 빨개요 빨갛습니다 red
노랗다 노래 노래요 노랗습니다 yellow
꺼맣다 까매 까매요 까맣습니다 black
하얗다 하얘 하얘요 하얗습니다 white

Demonstratives

Korean Informal Polite Honorific English
그렇다 그래 그래요 그렇습니다 like that
이렇다 이래 이래요 이렇습니다 like this
저렇다 저래 저래요 저렇습니다 like that
어떻다 어때 어때요 어떻습니다 be how

Here is a list of verbs that do not follow the ㅎ irregular rule.

Korean Informal Polite Honorific English
좋다 좋아 좋아요 좋습니다 good
넣다 넣어 넣어요 넣습니다 insert
놓다 놓아 놓아요 놓습니다 place
많다 많아 많아요 많습니다 many

 

 

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