Sentence Styles





Understand the difference between English and Korean verbs

In order to understand other languages, I believe, first you need to understand your own language as well. I will give you some information based on English.



In English,

There are mainly two verb types: Be verb and Regular verb.
Be verbsare 'am, is and are'.
The rest of the verbs are basically regular verbs (I am not being technical here on purpose)
such as 'to go','to eat','to study', and 'to travel'.

How verbs change based on subject noun

In English, verbs' form changes depending on the subject nouns.
For be verbs, you use 'am' for subjects like 'I',
'is' is for 'it', 'she', 'he' and 'other singular third parties', and
'are' is for 'we', 'they' and 'other plural third parties'.
The important part is you can use adjective or noun with be verbs.

For example,
when be verb is used with adjective: It's delicious. (is - be verb, delicious - adjective)
when be verb is used with noun: They are friends. (are - be verb, friends - noun)

For regular verbs, you could add s/es or nothing as verb endings
depending on whether the subject nouns are plural or singular.



In Korean,

there are also Be verb and Verb like English.
Korean 'be verb' is only used with a noun.
You will use 'be verb' when subject noun is equal to object noun.
For example, 'I am InYoung' which is that I is InYoung becomes 저는 인영이에요 in Korean.
In this case, 저 is a subject noun, 인영 is an object noun and 이에요 is a be verb.

For verbs, there are two kinds; 'adjective verb' and 'regular verb'.
For 'adjective verb' which is formed as 'to be + adjective' in English, it is one word in Korean.
For example, 'to be happy' which is formed as 'be + happy' is '행복하다' which is a verb in Korean. Verbs that I refer as 'regular verb' in Korean don't have 'be' in English such as 'to study' or 'to clean'.


How verbs change based on situations and formalities

Another main difference between English and Korean is
Korean verbs don't get influenced by subject nouns.
Rather, they get influenced by situations and fomalities.



Different levels of formalities

Korean language has different levels of formalities.
One way to choose a level of formality in the sentences is based on verbs. (frankly..sometimes, nouns as well.. but.. don't worry about that yet! XD)

There are main 2 categories; Written form and Conversation form.
1) Written form: Dictionary/ Textbook
2) Conversation form: Formal/ Polite/ Casual

You don't need to memorize these categories. You can just use them as references.
However, in my personal opinion, you need to know these two categories;
Dictionary form and Conversational polite form.

Here is the why..

Simply, dictionary form of verbs is what you see in the dictionary. If you can try to look up verbs that are not in a dictionary form, it's difficult to find them.
Then.. how do I find out the dictionary form when I only know verbs in other categories?
Great question! I will teach you how to conjugate verbs from dictionary to conversation form and vise versa in conjugation class. For now, let's take a look at the different styles.

Side note:
v - syllable that ends with a vowel
c - syllable that ends with a consonant
s.p - Subject Particle
o.p - Object Particle




Written Form (Dictionary, Textbook)



Here are examples of 5 same sentences in different categories below.

1. Dictionary


Be verb: noun + 다(v) or 이다(c)
Regular verb: verb root + 다

You can add your name and nationality in the parentheses.

Verb Types Korean Direct English Indirect English
Be V 나는 (줄리안)이다. I+subject particle Julien+be. I am Julien.
Be V 나는 (캐나다) 사람이다. I+s.p Canada person+be. I am Canadian.
Reg V 나는 오타와에 살다. I+s.p Ottawa+in live. I live in Ottawa.
Reg V 나는 한국어를 공부하다. I+s.p Korean+o.p study. I study Korean.
Reg V 나는 한국 음식을 좋아하다. I+s.p Korea food+o.p like. I like Korean food.


2. Text book


Be verb: noun + 다(v) or 이다(c)
Regular verb: verb root + ㄴ다

Verb Types Korean Direct English Indirect English
Be V 나는 줄리안이다. I+subject particle Julien+be. I am Julien.
Be V 나는 캐나다 사람이다. I+s.p Canada person+be. I am Canadian.
Reg V 나는 오타와에 산다. I+s.p Ottawa+in live. I live in Ottawa.
Reg V 나는 한국어를 공부한다. I+s.p Korean+o.p study. I study Korean.
Reg V 나는 한국 음식을 좋아한다. I+s.p Korea food+o.p like. I like Korean food.




Conversational Form (Formal, Polite, Casual)



1. Formal speech


Be verb: noun + 입니다(both v, c)
Regular verb: verb root +ㅂ니다 (v), 읍니다 or 습니다(c)

저 is I in formal and polite ways.

Verb Types Korean Direct English Indirect English
Be V 저는 줄리안입니다. I+subject particle Julien+be. I am Julien.
Be V 저는 캐나다 사람입니다. I+s.p Canada person+be. I am Canadian.
Reg V 저는 오타와에 삽니다. I+s.p Ottawa+in live. I live in Ottawa.
Reg V 저는 한국어를 공부합니다. I+s.p Korean+o.p study. I study Korean.
Reg V 저는 한국 음식을 좋아합니다. I+s.p Korea food+o.p like. I like Korean food.


2. Polite speech


Be verb: noun+ 예요(v) or 이에요(c)
Regular verb: conjugated verb stem + 요

Verb Types Korean Direct English Indirect English
Be V 저는 줄리안이에요. I+subject particle Julien+be. I am Julien.
Be V 저는 캐나다 사람이에요. I+s.p Canada person+be. I am Canadian.
Reg V 저는 오타와에 살아요. I+s.p Ottawa+in live. I live in Ottawa.
Reg V 저는 한국어를 공부해요. I+s.p Korean+o.p study. I study Korean.
Reg V 저는 한국 음식을 좋아해요. I+s.p Korea food+o.p like. I like Korean food.


3. Casual speech


Be verb: noun+야(v) or 이야(c)
Regular verb: conjugated verb stem without 요

Verb Types Korean Direct English Indirect English
Be V 나는 줄리안이야. I+subject particle Julien+be. I am Julien.
Be V 나는 캐나다 사람이야. I+s.p Canada person+be. I am Canadian.
Reg V 나는 오타와에 살아. I+s.p Ottawa+in live. I live in Ottawa.
Reg V 나는 한국어를 공부해. I+s.p Korean+o.p study. I study Korean.
Reg V 나는 한국 음식을 좋아해. I+s.p Korea food+o.p like. I like Korean food.