Earlier this week I introduced you to your first 10 Korean verbs. Did you learn them? Or perhaps the bigger question, do you still remember them?
Today we'll be looking at how to conjugate them into the polite present tense.
When you look up verbs in the dictionary, they will look like this:
가다 = to go
먹다 = to eat
자다 = to sleep
You'll notice that they all end in -다.
The first stage of conjugation is to drop the -다. This gives you the verb stem. You'll use the verb stem and the appropriate verb ending to conjugate the verb correctly.
In order to conjugate a verb into the present tense, you take the verb stem, and add one of these endings:
-아요 / -어요 / -여요
** Note that we are introducing the endings in the polite language. Do not worry about learning to use different politeness levels for the moment.
If the verb stem’s last vowel is ㅏ or ᅩ , it is followed by 아요.
If the last vowel is NOT ᅡor ᅩ, it is followed by 어요.
And only one verb stem, which is 하, is followed by 여요.
가다 = to go
The verb stem is 가 and its last vowel is ᅡ so you add 아요.
So it first becomes 가 + 아요, and then more naturally, it becomes 가요 for ease of pronunciation.
하다 = to do
Verb stem? 하
What is it followed by? 여요
하 + 여요 ---> 하여요
Over time, 하여요 became 해요