Predicates and Endings

Today is: 2017 6 8

Today, we’ll be talking about predicates and their endings. Just like verbs in English, verbs and adjectives in Korean have conjugations.


In Korean, a predicate is a verb or adjective that modifies the subject. Korean verbs and adjs resemble one another in inflection, sentence function and structure (adjectives are categorized as “descriptive verbs” in Korean grammar.


Korean predicates are made of stems and endings; the stems are always give conjugations with endings that carry various roles and grammatical information. Verbs/adjectives ending in -다 are base verbs/adjectives. Taking away the -다 leaves the stem.

  • The stem of 가다 (go) is 가; the stem of 배우다 (learn) is 배우


Stems are always used with endings as they cannot stand alone. Korean has many endings that, as mentioned before, carry roles and grammatical information (tense, aspects, sentence type, conjunctions, honorifics/politeness, etc.)

These endings can be categorized as pre-final endings or final endings.

Pre-final Endings

These are inflection elements that come between the stem and final ending of a verb/adjective. They include the honorific suffix -(으)시, past tense marker 었/았, and more.

어제 영화시었어요? = Did you see the movie yesterday?

Final Endings

Final endings are split into two categories as well: non-sentence final endings (which is exactly what it sounds like: they end the predicate but not the sentence.) and sentence-final endings

  • Non-sentence final endings include various clausal conjunctions such as -고 (and then), -어/아서 (because), -으며서 (while), -지만 (although), -도록 (in order to), etc.
  • Sentence-final endings end both the verb and sentence as well as show speech level/poltieness.

커피를 마시 (ends verb),  아이스크림을 어요 (ends sentence). = I drink coffee and then eat ice cream.

Korean has six sentence-final endings that indicate the speaker’s interpersonal relationship/attitude with those being addressed. Each ending has indication of sentence type as well.


Someone on quizlet made flashcards for them! 🙂

The blunt and familiar forms have been declining (especially among younger generations) and those learning Korean as a foreign language must only be familiar with deferential, politce, intimate, and plain.

Saying “Did you eat?”* (먹다 = eat) using the different forms (w/ examples of to whom you’d say them):

  • Deferential – 먹습니까? (in a formal situation)
  • Polite – 먹어요? (to an adult collegue)
  • Intimate/Familiar – 먹어? (to friend)
  • Plain – 먹냐? (to a child)
*Asking “Did you eat?” is very important in Korean culture; it is basically how someone greets someone else every time they see them.

The one that I would say to have the best grasp on (as a beginner) is the polite form. It is the form that is used most widely (for strangers, collegues, at a restaurant, basically in any everyday situation).

That’s it for predicates and endings! Next time, we’ll go into more depth with the deferential and polite forms.

읽어 주셔서 감사합니다! 안녕!

오늘의 노래:

(Get well soon, T.O.P. we’re so glad you finally opened your eyes!)


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