Korean Present Tense Conjugation Part 2 – Korean Tense #3

In the last episode, we've learned how to use colloquial Korean 반말 ending 아/어. In written Korean, the verbs should be ended in "-다" form. So, the conjugation becomes different for adjectives(descriptive verbs) and verbs.

Actually, -ㄴ다/-는다 form doesn't have the friendliness in 아/어 form. When you are writing, you don't know who will read your article. So, this form is frequently used.


In books, newspaper articles, documents, verbs should be conjugated to "-ㄴ다", "-는다" forms. "-ㄴ다" form is for the verbs whose stem ends with vowels like 보다, 가다, 오다, etc. "-는다" form is for verbs whose stem ends with consonants like 먹다, 입다, 맡다, etc.

나는 뉴욕에 산다.
I live in New York.

그는 매주 토요일 6시에 무한도전을 본다.
He watches 무한도전 every Saturday 6 p.m.

나는 매일 아침 닭가슴살을 먹는다.
I eat chicken breasts every morning.

As for 산다, it's the conjugation of 살다. Its stem is ended with ㄹ, but ㄹ is an exception. I've covered it in the irregular verbs series. So, check it out.

Descriptive Verbs

In Korean, the original form of adjectives(descriptive verbs) and verbs ends with the same character, "다". So, some of you might have wondered why there are "descriptive verbs" in Korean.

There are several differences. One of them is the conjugation for present tense.

Descriptive verbs cannot be used in -ㄴ다 or -는다 form. They are used in their original form.

그녀는 예쁘다.
She's pretty.

날씨가 맑다.
The weather is good today.

우리 집은 학교에서 가깝다.
My house is near from the school.

As you can see, there is no conjugation. You should just use their original forms.

Question Forms

Before we start, you should know that this form is not frequently used, because, as we all know, it's hard to find questions in the written documents.

In this form, -는가 is added after the verbs.

그는 매일 아침 무엇을 하는가?
What does he do every morning?

사람은 무엇으로 사는가?
What Men Live by

This is the book title of Leo Tolstoy.

무엇 때문에 괴로운가?
Why do you feel pain?

As usual, there are exceptions. In -ㄹ verbs, you should get read of ㄹ and conjugate the verb in -ㄴ다 form like 사는가(살다, live), 노는가(놀다, play). In ㅂ irregular, the conjugation of verbs is normal like 돕는가(돕다, help), 잡는가(잡다, grab). However, as for the descriptive verbs, you should eliminate ㅂ and add -운가 like 괴로운가(괴롭다, painful), 자연스러운가(자연스럽다, natural), etc.