Plain Form -는다/다

I just realized that it’s been over a month since my last post. All I can say is that I’ve been busy studying and traveling he. I’m on the verge of finishing the last Ewha Korean 3-2 (I’m in the last chapter). Once I’m done with the book, I will review all the grammar points I didn’t get and see if I can post them here. I’m also preparing for the writing section in TOPIK II so you will see a lot of posts related to that (some will be long, others short).

Korean, like any other language, has a established format for writing formally. It is usually called the plain form in English. It doesn’t require the usage of any politeness level as it’s not directed at anyone in particular. It is seen in academic writings, novels, newspapers and dictionaries. It is also one of the most important points of the writing portion for TOPIK II. It’s pretty straightforward, but it can be tricky f you confuse action verbs with descriptive verbs. In addition, it uses the plain form pronouns such as 나.

A. Present Tense:

Part 1: Action Verbs

a. Stem ends in a vowel= -ㄴ다.

Ex: 사다–> 사 + ㄴ다= 산다

b. Stem ends in a consonant=  -는다.

Ex: 먹다 –> 먹 + 는다= 먹는다

Important note: If a stem ends with ㄹ, you drop the ㄹ and add -ㄴ다.

Ex: 열다–> 연다.

Part 2: Descriptive Verbs

Stem +다

Note: It doesn’t matter if it ends in a consonant or vowel. The verbs 있다/없다 are treated as descriptive.

Part 3: 이다

If the preceding word (the noun) ends in a consonant: 이다

Ex: 학생이다.

If the preceding word ends in a vowel: -다

Ex: 사과다.


It is something that a lot of people seem to get wrong so I will point it out.

If you’re negating using -지 않다 or even if you’re applying a grammar point at the end, it follows the 3 rules mentioned above.

Action verbs:

Ex: 먹고 싶어 하다 (x)–>먹고 싶어 한다.

Ex: 먹지 않다 (x)–> 먹지 않는다.

Descriptive verbs:

Ex: 예쁘지 않는다 (x)–> 예쁘지 않다

Copula (이다)

Ex: 쉽기 때문인다 (x)–> 쉽기 때문이다.

(even if it’s with an action verb!)

Exception for 있다/없다.

If you use these two verbs, they will always be the focal point of the plain form so it follows their rule.

Ex: 할 수 있는다 (x)–> 할 수 있다.

B. Past tense:

It’s quite simple as every action and descriptive verb are conjugated the same way.

Stem + 았/였다.

a. 이다:

Consonant= 이였다

Vowel= 였다

C. Future tense:

a. Action, descriptive verbs:

Stem +(으)ㄹ 것이다.

note: You have to look out for the exceptions such as the verb 다르다 (it’s conjugated as 다를 것이다).

b. 이다:

Noun +일 것이다


That’s it for today! Until next time~


이화 한국어 3-1 제1과: 유학 생활 part.1 문법: A/V+ (으)ㄹ까 봐(서)

This is the grammar section of the 1st part. There is only one grammar point that honestly is easy to understand. This is also a relatively short post but I hope it’s clear.

A. A/V+ (으)ㄹ까 봐(서): It indicates that the speaker did, or is doing, something in the second clause out of worry or fear that the situation or action in the first clause has happened or will happen. It doesn’t accept the future -ㄹ 거예요.

In other words the sentence that has (으)ㄹ까 봐(서) attached is the result that you worried about and the following sentence is the reason why you did (or will do) in the first sentence. It both sentences require a subject so think of this as a conjunction that connotes worry.

What you worried about+(으)ㄹ까 봐(서)+ What you did about it (action)


1. 시험을 못 볼까 봐 밤을 새워 공부했어요. (I was worried that I would fail in the test so I studied all night long).

2. 대학교에 늦게 도착할까 봐 일찍 일어나요. (I worry about arriving late at my university so I wake up early).

3. 옷이 좀 작을까 봐 걱정했는데 잘 맞는다니 다행이네요.(I was worried the clothes would be a bit small so it’s great that they fit well).

When to Use the Particle (으)로

I’ve been wondering for days what should I write about. I still don’t have it in me to sit a whole hour to study Korean but if I’m posting about Korean and whether it’s about something I already know or not, I don’t mind doing it for hours lol. I wondered how far should I backtrack and whether I should write about only grammar patterns but then I decided to tackle anything that I had found difficult to grasp while I was studying.

After understanding when to use 이/가, 은/는, 을/를 and 에/에서, I had a lot of problems trying to use the particle -(으)로 because while I did understand its function, I couldn’t quite produce it. Also, the books that I owned at that time weren’t good at explaining it either so sometimes I would get it right and other times wrong.

So far this particle has many usages so when it’s translated it takes many forms. However, I’ll be focusing only in its usage  as a particle. N(으)로 can only be used with nouns and it’s (으)로 if the noun ends in any other consonant besides ㄹ and it’s 로 when it ends in a vowel or ㄹ. Many books define it according to the context that takes place but in the end, no matter what, it’s a particle that shows the method (way) by which something is done or accomplished. Therefore, if you are using something or become something then that’s when you use N(으)로.


A. It serves as a particle that denotes the method, instrument or means by which something is accomplished. Thus, N(으)로 in this particular context marks what is being used in order to do something. In this case, it can be translated as “using”, “by” or “with”.


a. 한국에 비행기 왔어요 (I came to Korea by airplane).

b. 이 책상은 나무 만들었어요 (This desk is made of wood).

In this second example, the word “using” is omitted but still retains the sense of what was used to build the desk.

c. 한국어 말씀하세요 (Please say it in Korean).

Although it says “in” if you can substitute it for “using” you understand it as the mean in which communication can be achieved.

d. 붓으로 그림을 그립니다 (I’m painting a picture with a brush).

Note: If you can substitute in English with “using” then you are mostly correct in using the particle in these types of contexts

B. In the case of motion verbs (가다, 오다, 떠나다, etc.) it signifies heading somewhere. In this context, places or directional nouns assume the N(으)로 so it means the direction in which someone is going to a determined place.


a. 저는 남쪽으로 여행을 가겠어요 (I’m going to travel south).

b. 그 버스는 종로 가지 않아요 (That bus doesn’t go to Jogno).

c. 어디 가요? (Where are you going?)

It’d be more accurate to say instead: In which direction are you headed?

C. It can also be attached to nouns to express status, capacity, position or qualifications (this is for humans). It usually translates as “as”.


a. 저는 학생으로 한국에 왔어요. (I came to Korea as a student).

b. 제 오빠는 의사 병원에서 일해요. (My older brother works in the hospital as a physician).

That’s it for now! If you have any questions or comments feel free to comment (kind of redundant but oh, well). I hope my explanation is clear and easy to understand but it’s kind of hard trying to explain is simple words. It’s also far from comprehensive post of all its usages as it only covers the most basic and used ones.

Back to Korean~

I had been in a slump recently but that’s no longer the case. I think it took my Contrastive Phonology class to make it happen. My final research project is going to be about the difficulties of Korean students to learn English and master its pronunciation. In order to start writing I need to refresh all those phonological rules that I learnt early and now are just a natural part of me, and that’s how I’ve moved to more complicated things of Korean. I’m quite certain that it was what I needed to stop moping and actually start learning Korean again by myself. Right now, I’m just reviewing the basics (the 받침 more specifically) along with more advanced stuff. I’ve also started a new project for compiling common grammar in Kpop songs (that will not be forthcoming till a couple of weeks cause I have to seat down and create a criteria).

That’s it for now ^^

PS if anyone knows about compound verbs, please let me know of your resources to understand them.

내 이상형

I wrote this short essay (if you want to call it that) during my semester at Ewha so it’s already corrected by my professors. While it is a personal reflection and taste, I exaggerated a bit so I could write as much as I could. I also noticed that as the semester kept going my writings became more cohesive and longer (as well as fewer grammar mistakes and misspellings).

나는 내 이상형 남자에 대해서 생각하지 않았다. 그렇지만 명확하게 아무 것도 없다고 말하면 그것은 거짓말이 된다. 그래서 지금부터 나의 이상형에 대해서 쓸 것이다.

나는 필요한 것은 많이 없다. 내 이상형은 키가 크고 멋있는 사람이다. 그가 검은 머리면 너무 좋을 것 같다. 그리고 강한 사람이면 좋겠고 귀엽게 생인 이면 좋겠다. 또한 얼글의 수염이 싫기 때문에 그는 그것이 없어야 되고 옷을 멋있게 입으면 좋을 것 같다. 그 사람이 재미있고 똑똑한 사람이면 좋겠다. 그가 나랑 뭔가에 대해서 말할 때 말이 잘 통하는 사람이어야 된다. 하지만 사회에서 인정받는 직업이면 크게 상관없다. 그리고 어느 나라 사람 인지 상관없다. 나는 요리를 잘 못해서 요리를 잘하는 남자가 필요하다. 그는 꿈이 있으면 아주 좋다. 내 이상형인 배우를 선택하면 이종석이나 톰 히들스턴이다.

나는 눈이 높은 사람인 것을 안다. 그리고 그것 때문에 계속 실망하지만 나는 사람과 사랑에 빠질 때 이상형인지 아닌지 상관 없을 것이다. 그래서 내가 남자를 처음 만날 때 모토는 “기대하지 않으면 실망하지 않는다”이다.


When to use 이/가, 은/는, 을/를 and 에/에서

I’m finally back!~ Well, this post is mainly about when to use 이/가, 은/는, 을/를 and 에/에서. Also, is more like a tip you should memorize because it will reduce your grammar mistakes. While this post may be kind of basic, it’s not only an important one but also contains some information that it’s not explicitly taught in books. Likewise, there’s these small nuances that can change the particle into another so I thought that it might be useful to actually write about them here.

I. 이/가, 은/는 vs. 을/를

There are ways to know which kind of particle you should use. However, it must be also taken into account that it’s not foolproof (or more accurately mistake-proof).

A. 이/가: The first thing about this particle is that you will always use it if the verb is a descriptive one (also known as adjectives) or negations. They also are used to introduce new information. It is always used with 있다.


1. 그 치마 너무 예뻐서 샀어요.

2. 이 사람은 한국 사람 아닙니다.

note: Be careful of the negations because if the noun you use is followed by a verb is not used with 이/가 (ex. 저는 식사를 하지 않아요).

B. 은/는: This is usually the bane of Korean language learners at first. Usually, it is used when the speaker is providing already known information to the listener. Personally, what I do is that when I’m writing long sentences, I use it to mark the topic (the thing the sentence is about). In addition, you will always use 은/는 with 이다.


1. 이번 학기 매주 목요일에 수업이 많이 있어서 목요일에 만나는 것 힘들겠습니다.

2. 저 미국 사람이다.

C. 을/를: You will always use it with with action verbs like 보다, 읽다, 쓰다, etc.

1. 아침을 먹었어요.

2. 어떤 음식을 먹지 못해요?

Advise: Always remember which are the descriptive verbs and the action verbs and don’t be fooled by 하다 because it can be both. Also, your safest bet is to use 은/는 when you’re not sure if you should use 이/가.

II. 에 vs. 에서

Both particles are used to mark a place or time but they connote different things. Also, in the case of places, they are always used with directional verbs such as 가다, 오다, 다니다, etc.

A. 에: It is a particle to denote a place or time. It is always used with the verbs 가다 and its derivations (there are other verbs as well). It is meant to indicate an static place where the subject is headed. Also, it can be used only once in the sentence (it can only mark one time and place). However, if can be used more than once if it’s marking a place and a time.


1. 작년 제주도 갔어요.

B. 에서: It is a particle that marks a dynamic location in which something is done. It is always used with 오다 (it’s derivations as well), 내리다, etc. It can also be used with non-directional verbs but it is mainly with 하다.

1. 제주도에서 삼일 동안 여행을 했어요.

2. 저는 미국에서 왔어요.

3. 버스에서 내렸어요.

Note: 에서 will always be used with 오다 and it’s compounds verbs. However, there are particular cases in which you use 에 with 오다 (sadly, I can’t remember right now when it was).

Well, that’s pretty much it. I hope it is useful to you all and if there’s something you think I should add, please let me know ^^. Questions and comments are welcome as well.

30일간의 연인 소설 part 2

Finally the long overdue second part! However, I did have it written in my notebook for a while and have even started on the third part. It usually takes some time in order to look up what I don’t know or keeps appearing so frequently that  I write it down too. This one cover from pages 14 to 27 (13 pages).

I. Most Frequently Seen Words:

1. 그러나- However, nonetheless.

2. 내려앉다- Collapse, fall in, cave in (on). It can also mean to be surprised but I believe in the context I read it is the first.

3. 소리치다- shout, yell, cry out, call out.

4.개강-Lecture (as in class).

5. 속이 쓰리다- to have a burning feeling in the stomach. 

6. 평소- usual.

7. 느낌표- exclamation mark (!). (I thought at first that it had to do with something different XD)

8. 장소- place

9. 유령처럼- Like a ghost

II. Grammar Patterns Frequently Used:

*1. V+듯(이): It means ‘like’ (something) or ‘as if’ in English. It can act like a post-modifier meaning that it admits past tense, future tense, etc. i.e  누구나 그렇듯이….If there’s a modifier such as -던, it would be V+던 듯(이).

2. V+아/어라: Plain form of Imperative sentences. It works for emphasizing an action. i.e 하늘이 울려라 고함을 쳤다 ( He/she shouted to the high heavens).

3. V+자마자: It indicates that something occurs immediately following the end of some event or action. The subjects of the clauses can either be the same or different. i.e 우산 사자마자 잃어버렸어요.

*4. A/V + (으)ㄴ 채(로): It indicates a state in which an action or situation takes place. It can be translated as “just as it is”,”[while] doing”  or “being in the state of” in English. i.e 차 속에 앉은 채로 3시간을 보냈다 (I spent three hours [while] sitting in the car).

**5. V+(으)려(고): It expresses the intention or plan of the speaker. It indicates that the speaker will do what is stated in the second clause to accomplish what is stated in the first one. This expression shouldn’t be used in imperative sentences. i.e 한국인과 이야기하려고 한국말 배워요.

6. V+던: This expression is used when remembering a behavior or habitual act but it is no longer done in the present. i.e 어머니께서 다니시던 대학교에 저도 다니고 있어요. (I attend the same university my mother used to attend).

*It is very common to see very frequently in literary texts so it’s best to understand it.

**For reference: a clause is a  is the smallest grammar unit that can express a complete proposition and it has a subject and predicate.

I don’t think I can quite wrap my head around number 4…so I may start practicing that grammar pattern in a future but as I keep reading the novel I get what is but not enough to be able to incorporate it into my writing just yet. At least, I hope the explanations are clear enough for everyone else.