Do you know how to pretend to be super good at Korean only with short sentences? In almost all languages, the key is always conjunctions such as ‘and’. What are conjunctions? Yes, ‘and’, ‘but’, ‘so’. Those words are conjunctions and are magical enough to make you look very fluent at languages that you actually suck at because they help you to build a longer sentence.
Conjunctions are the words that connect 2 different phrases or sentences such as ‘and’, ‘but’ and ‘or’. The really interesting thing is that even simple conjunctions can be very different between your language and the Korean language. ‘And’ is a great example for what I’m saying.
In English, the sample sentence makes perfect sense. I’m having dinner and watching TV at the same time. However, in the Korean language, it’s a bit unnatural. But why?
English conjunction ‘and’ connects 2 sentences in the equal state. But Korean ‘and’ has a time parameter. that makes the order of actions. Which action happens first in a sentence. So, it’s more similar to ‘and then’ than just ‘and’.
The sample sentence must seem a bit weird if you remember the sentence-closing ending. Yes, I told you it ends no matter where it’s placed just like a period mark. (If you don’t remember about it or haven’t learned it yet, please check this tutorial, click the link) So, ‘저녁 먹고 있어요 그리고 TV 봐요’. is actually still 2 different sentences. Then, what is ‘그리고’ exactly?
‘그리고’ is a conjunctive adverb. It’s more similar to ‘however’ than ‘and’. It makes a smooth connection between 2 different sentences but it doesn’t connect them into one. (‘However’ always makes a new start of a new sentence) Then, how can we make them into a single sentence?
Yes, now we know we need to remove the sentence-closing ending. But after that, what? we just leave it without ending? That’s another non-sense. I told you every verb must have an ending.
So, we are going to make conjunctions into endings which are conjugations. Korean grammar without conjugations. It sounds weird after a long journey with me, huh? Yeah, even conjunctions are conjugations in the Korean language.
Since they are conjugations, they are attached to the verb. Wait a minute, then why do we need these 2 types of conjunctions for everything?
Adverbs vs Conjugations
What are the differences between conjunctive adverbs and conjunctive conjugations? They basically mean the same things but adverbs can be written alone and conjugations have to be attached to other verbs just like conjugated tenses and other stuff. However, they have some differences.
산책하고 뭐 좀 먹어요
Take a walk and then eat something
= Conjugation and then
산책해요 그리고 뭐 좀 먹어요
Take a walk. And then eat something
= Adverb And then
Conjunctive adverbs are suitable to open a sentence by being placed at the beginning. if you use it at the middle of a sentence, it seems like a new sentence starts without a period.
Also, using a conjunctive adverb at the middle of a sentence isn’t very natural. Normally students are taught that they can use it in the middle. I’m telling you that’s not common or natural at all.
Conjunctive conjugations always come at the end of a verb and connect 2 different sentences or phrases into one but it can not be used alone. And also, conjunctive conjugations are way more common in ordinary situations.
Unlike conjunctive adverbs, conjunctive conjugations can’t be placed at the first of a sentence. 그런데, You can end a sentence with conjunctive conjugations. This is important! Nah, probably this explanation gets you more confused. Let’s see what it is.
Like this, by adding the sentence closing ending (speech style). You can finish the sentence with a conjunction. However, in this case, the meaning is just the same as starting with a conjunction in English sentences.
점심 먼저 먹고요
After I finish my lunch first
= Conjunction ending : 고 + 요
저게 보기 안좋아서요
Because it doesn’t look okay
= Conjunction ending : 서 + 요
이건 아닌거 같은데요
But this doesn’t seem right
= Conjunction ending : 은데 + 요
by adding just 요 to conjunctions, now you’ve learned 3 more conjunctions right now and tens or hundreds of possible conjugations. I keep telling you the Korean language has tooooooooooo many conjugations, so you can’t memorize them all. But if you understand how it works, it’s this easy!
With Tenses & Modal Verbs
English uses past tense for all verbs in a sentence ‘I worked out and then showered’ but the Korean language uses only one tense or modal verb that is placed at the end : 운동하고 샤워했어요 (I work out and then showered). Confusing? Let’s check the examples.
산책하고 잠 잤어요
I take a walk and then slept
= I took a walk and then slept
영화가 슬퍼서 울었어요
The movie is sad so I cried
= The movie was sad so I cried
When more than 2 sentences or phrases or clauses are combined, the sentence often takes only the last tense as you can see. You don’t have to add tense for every verb. Just add it only at the end. mostly it works just fine with that. It’s about relative tense but too advanced. If you want to know more, then google Relative Tense in Korean.
밥 먹었는데 배고파요
I had a meal but I’m hungry
Of course, sometimes you need to use different tenses or conjugations for each verb. 먹었다 (ate) + 는데. You can see 는데 is conjugated to a tense conjugation. You must remember conjugations aren’t always dropped.
What else can be conjugations? Let’s jump to the next tutorial and find out. If you liked this tutorial, please support me on Patreon so I can keep making tutorials!
All tutorials was possible thanks to
- Nadine C
- Chris M
- Emily M
- Carly Sisson
- Lev Izraelit
- Tuoc Phan
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