Episode 14
Lesson Recap
Title

Basic Terms to Learn for Korean Grammar Lessons

Key Points &
Highlights
  • We learn a few basic and important terms that set the foundation for learning Korean grammar:


- Korean Verbs in Dictionary Form
- Verb Stem (VS)
- Verb Continuative Stem (VCS)


  • Verb Stems (VS): The verb form that you would get by removing the  ‘다' in the dictionary form (Verbs in Dictionary Form - ‘다' → Verb Stems) 

- 이다  ‘to be’ → 이
- 아니다  ‘to not be’ → 아니
- 있다 ‘to be present’ or ‘to have’ → 있
- 없다 ‘to be absent’ or ‘to not have’ → 없
- 먹다 ‘to eat’ → 먹
- 좋다 ‘to be good’ → 좋
- 괜찮다 ‘to be ok’ → 괜찮


  • Verb Continuative Stem (VCS): The verb form with which many conjugations are created, like the informal-polite style (a.k.a. yo-style), causal clause, etc. (In other words, it is a very important component in the Korean grammar!) >


- RULE 1: The verb continuative stem ( VCS ) is dictated by the vowel in the last syllable of the verb stem.


Example : 괜찮다 [gwen-chan-dah] to be OK; VS=괜찮

Since the vowel in the last syllable 찮  is ㅏ, add  아 to the stem and we get 괜찮아 ( VCS ).


- RULE 2: If the last syllable of the verb stem ( VS ) contains a vowel ㅏor ㅗ, add 아 to the stem to create the verb continuative stem ( VCS )

Example : 좋다 [joh-dah] to be good; VS=좋

Since the vowel in the last (and also the first in the case of single-syllable stem) syllable is ㅗ, ad 아 to the stem and get 좋아 ( VCS ).


- RULE 3: If the last syllable of the verb stem ( VS ) contains a vowel other than ㅏor ㅗ, then add 어 to the stem to create the verb continuative stem (VCS).


Example : 먹다 [muhk-dah] to eat; VS=먹

Since 먹 ( ㅁ + ㅓ + ㄱ ) is a single-syllable verb stem ( VS ) which contains the vowel ㅓ, which is, obviously, not ㅏ or ㅗ, add 어 to the stem 먹 and get 먹어 ( VCS).

Expressions

Verbs in Dictionary Form: The verb form that you would need to look up in the dictionary >


  • 이다 : to be (verb of identification )


  • 아니다 : to not be (verb of identification )


  • 있다 : to be present; to have (verb of existence )


  • 없다 : to be absent; to not have (verb of existence )


  • 먹다 : to eat


  • 좋다 : to be good


  • 괜찮다 : to be ok

Exercises

Directions: Select the correct choices for the given blanks to complete the statements regarding Korean grammar.


1. By removing _______ from the verb in the dictionary form, we get the verb stem (VS).

a) the first syllable

b) the middle syllable

c) the last syllable, 다


2. In order to form the verb continuative stem (VCS), we look at the _______ in the last syllable of the verb stem.

a) vowel

b) consonant


3. If the vowel in the verb stem’s last syllable is either ㅏ or ㅗ, add _____ to the verb stem (VS) to form the verb continuative stem (VCS).

a) 아

b) 어


4. If the vowel in the verb stem’s last syllable is neither ㅏ nor ㅗ, add _____ to the verb stem (VS) to form the verb continuative stem (VCS).

a) 아

b) 어

Episode 14
Transcript

Hello! This is Kay from EssentialKorean.com.


In today’s episode, we’ll learn a few basic terms and concepts that set the foundation for Korean grammar. Mastering these will make learning advanced Korean grammar significantly easier, as the different forms and extensions of Korean words are derived from the few core forms we will cover today, so pay attention closely. Are you ready? Let’s roll!


Preface


To preface,

• In the Korean language, verbs are the only word class that change form depending on tenses, speech styles, and speech levels. (Speech styles and levels, in particular, might be new concepts for some students. 


Don't worry; we will study these in-depth in the next episode.) To learn how changes are marked in the verb, we learn three foundational terms: Verbs in Dictionary Form, Verb Stem ( which is abbreviated to VS ), and Verb Continuative Stem ( or VCS in short).


In today’s episode, we’ll look at 7 verbs, 5 of which have been introduced in the previous lessons and 2 of which are new. Although only 2 are new, today’s lesson will let you see all of the 7 verbs in a new light, as you will see how all the phrases come to have the “yo-ending.”



Verbs in Dictionary Form


First, let’s talk about Verbs in Dictionary Form.


• All Korean verbs in dictionary form end in [dah] 다. Think of this form as representing the bare form of a verb in which no tense or any other linguistic feature is marked, and is the form a verb would appear as in the dictionary. These are the 7 verbs in dictionary form:


이다 / 아니다 / 있다 / 없다 / 먹다 / 좋다 / 괜찮다


The dictionary form for the Korean verb to be is 이다

The dictionary form for the Korean verb to not be is 아니다

The dictionary form for to be present or to have  in Korean  is 있다

The dictionary form for  to be absent or  to not have  in Korean is 없다

The dictionary form for to eat  in Korean is 먹다

The dictionary form for to be good in Korean is 좋다

The dictionary form for to be ok  in Korean is 괜찮다



Verb Stem


Now, let’s move to the next term, “Verb Stem”:


• The Verb Stem ( VS ) is the verb in dictionary form minus 다 [dah] at the end. Simple enough, right? The verb stem can be viewed as the true root and core of a verb, from which different verb forms are derived. 


Using the same verbs from earlier, let’s go through the verb stems:

We have the verb 이다,  to be. Take the 다 away and we have the verb stem, 이.


We have the verb 아니다,  to not be. Take the 다 away and we have the verb stem, 아니.

We have the verb 있다,  to be present or to have. Take the 다 away and we have the verb stem, 있.

We have the verb 없다,  to be absent or to not have. Take the 다 away and we have the verb stem, 없.

We have the verb 먹다,  to eat. Take the 다 away and we have its verb stem, 먹.

We have the verb 좋다,  to be good. Take the 다 away and we have its verb stem, 좋.

We have the verb 괜찮다,  to be ok. Take the 다 away and we have its verb stem, 괜찮.



Verb Continuative Stem


• So far, so good, right? Straight forward and nothing complicated. Now, here comes our third topic which requires a little more work to make our lesson more interesting :-) : verb continuative stem ( VCS ), a.k.a the ‘아/어 form’


• One of the forms derived from the verb stem is this verb continuative stem ( VCS ). Learning how to form the VCS is important because it is embedded in many verb conjunctions and patterns we will learn in our future lessons. For example, the speech style of most of the phrases we learned in the previous episodes is informal-polite style, which is formed by simply adding "요" [yo] to the VCS. The past tense form also requires the VCS.


• Now, here comes the three basic rules for creating the VCS from dictionary form:


RULE 1: The verb continuative stem ( VCS ) is dictated by the vowel in the last syllable of the verb stem.


Example: Let’s use the verb

• 괜찮다 [gwen-chan-dah] to be OK


The verb stem of 괜찮다 is 괜찮, and the vowel in the last syllable ( 찮:ㅏ ) dictates what the VCS is. If the verb stem is single-syllable, then the VCS is simply dictated by the vowel in the one syllable.


RULE 2: If the last syllable of the verb stem ( VS ) contains a vowel ㅏor ㅗ, add 아 to the stem to create the verb continuative stem ( VCS ).


Example: Let’s used the verb

• 좋다 [joh-dah] to be good


좋 ( ㅈ + ㅗ + ㅎ ) is a single syllable verb stem ( VS ) which contains the vowel, ㅗ. Therefore, add 아 to the stem 좋 to create 좋아, which is pronounced [조아 ];


좋아 is the VCS of the verb 좋다 to be good. Add -요 to this and we have 좋아요 which is pronounced [조아요].  Repeat after me: 좋아요 좋아요 좋아요 -- You just said something is good Korean. If you think Essential Korean Podcast is good? You can simply say, Essential Korean Podcast 좋아요 :-)


RULE 3: If the last syllable of the verb stem ( VS ) contains a vowel other than ㅏor ㅗ, then add 어 to the stem to create the verb continuative stem (VCS).


Example: Let’s use the verb 먹다 which means ‘to eat.’

• 먹다 [muhk-dah] to eat


먹 ( ㅁ + ㅓ + ㄱ ) is a single-syllable verb stem ( VS ) which contains the vowel ㅓ, which is, obviously, not ㅏ or ㅗ. Therefore, add 어 to the stem 먹 to create 먹어;


먹어 is the VCS of the verb 먹다 to eat. Add -요 to this and we have 먹어요, which is pronounced [머거요]. Please repeat after me: 먹어요 먹어요 먹어요


You just said you eat something. Do you eat 김치? Say 김치 먹어요. Do you 비빔밥? Say 비빔밥 먹어요. Do you eat breakfast? Say 아침 먹어요.


Now let’s walk back and take a look at the phrases introduced in previous episodes:


The two verbs we learned in Episode 13: 있어요 and 없어요. With today’s lesson, we now know how they came about:


For the verb 있다 to be present or to have, the VCS is 있어; and we get the polite-informal speech style by adding 요 to the VCS; so we have 있어요, which is pronounced [이써요].;


For the verb 없다 to be absent or to not have, the VCS is 없어; and we get the polite-informal speech style by adding 요 to the VCS so we have 없어요, which is pronounced [업써요].


In Episode 4, we learned to say the phrase 괜찮아요 as a response to an apology, It’s ok. The dictionary form is 괜찮다 and its VS is 괜찮. The vowel in the last syllable of the stem, 찮, is ㅏ, so we add 아  to the stem and we have 괜찮아. Add 요 and we have the informal-polite style 괜찮아요


____


Now, Let’s talk about the verbs to be 이다 and to not be 아니다. With the rules learned earlier, we can extract their VCSs 이어 and 아니어 respectively. Their informal-polite style should then be 이어요 and 아니어요. But, wait. Didn’t we learn 예요 and 이에요 to be the informal-polite form for the verb 이다 to be in Episode 2; and 아니에요 to be the informal-polite style form for the verb 아니다 to not be in Episode 9?  -- Why are they not 이어요 and 아니어요; bur rather, 예요/이에요  for be and 아니에요 for not be?


--  These are called irregular verbs because they do not follow the general conjugation rules. Many basic verbs in Korean fall into this category, and we will learn them as they come.


The VCS rules may seem a little complicated at first, but we will practice more, so don't worry if any parts are confusing. With more verbs, we’ll get them, I guarantee.


As you have seen, the VCS is wonderful because you can start communicating in Korean with one of the most widely used speech styles by knowing the VCS. The VS and VCS are the basis for much of the grammar we tackle in the future and will be elaborated on in future episodes.


If you would like to have a written explanation of the lessons covered in today’s episode, Go to essentilakorean.com, click the Course menu, sign up for Course 1, and look for Grammar 1-1-2. If any of you don’t know how to read Korean, we have a course for you to start as well: Course 0 to learn how to read and write 한글. They’re all free, so please use the resources and start learning Korean in the structured curriculum if you’d like.


Ok. That’s it for today’s episode. I’ll be back with more lessons on grammar and fun Korean, along with some cultural notes. Until then, be well, and see you soon!


고맙습니다. 안녕히 계세요 ~