Conjugation Core

One of your friends came to you and said ‘I punch you in your face’. However, now your world doesn’t use tenses at all so you have no way to find out if he is going to punch me in future or he is talking about the past event he punched me yesterday (yes, this guy regularly punches you). Maybe you can figure things out based on the context but it would still be confusing. That sad world actually can exist when students focus on only vocabulary without learning the Korean language. Language is for communication. And you always need more than vocabulary to make a clear message. In this tutorial, we will make our communication very clear for time with conjugations.




What Is Conjugation Exactly?

Conjugation is a verb form that you can use / change for grammatical functions such as ‘tense’, ‘modal verb’ and etc. Although English doesn’t use conjugations much, it still has conjugation.


Korean Language Course 29. Conjugation Core 1 img


The English past tense uses the conjugation ‘ed’. Just like that, the Korean language also uses conjugations. But, it uses conjugations all the time, not only for the past tense. It uses conjugations even for the present tense and the basic form!


So, you actually can’t speak the Korean language before learning conjugations and how the Korean language handles it. (Some students insist they can learn anything by memorizing vocabs, but I strongly disagree about the Korean language because of conjugations)




50% of Korean Language

Conjugations are 50% of the Korean language. As you learned so far, tenses are conjugations, combinations of tenses are also conjugations. Even nominalization works as conjugations. If you know all of them perfectly, then probably you are better than any native Korean. Conjugations are that important in the Korean language.


Course 29. Conjugation Core 2 img


We’ve learned the past progressive tense, The tense was a combination of 4 different words. We just didn’t notice it and it wasn’t so hard. Can’t We just memorize all conjugations?




The Problem in Korean Language

The problem is that the Korean language has hundreds of conjugations and thousands of combinations of conjugations. And of course, it can be much more complicated. It’s almost impossible to memorize them all in a short time. You should have to spend maybe years only to memorize conjugations, not even words.


Korean Language Course 29. Conjugation Core 3 img


This example sentence has 4 different conjugations in it and yes, native Koreans actually say it. I’m not making a just awful example to show. It’s almost impossible to memorize them all. So, what do we have to do?




Simple Answer in Korean Language

The answer is quite simple. Just like how we learned how to conjugate, we just need to learn to combine conjugations. Then by having a Korean language mindset and only memorizing a few conjugations, you would be able to make all conjugations quite easily.


Course 29. Conjugation Core 4 img


Let me explain this conjugation first. The word root of the main vocabulary comes first. And then modal verb conjugations such as ‘can’, ‘might’, and then the tense verb comes and then the sentence-closing ending finishes the conjugation. Every combination of conjugations follows this rule.




The Rule of The Combination

So, I’m going to organize how to do it in detail. If you memorize just this rule, then you don’t have to memorize all conjugations separately because you will know how to make them naturally and you can even make conjugations that you haven’t learned.


  1. Main vocabulary
  2. Modal verb such as ‘can’ ‘might’
  3. Postpositional conjugation such as ‘only’, ‘also’, ‘but’.
  4. Tense
  5. + tense (to make progressive tense or the great past)
  6. Honorific conjugation
  7. Ending


All combinations of conjugations follow the rule. There is no exception. Sometimes conjugations look too complicated so it’s hard to see the rule right away but yes, they must follow the rule.





We learned how to combine conjugations. Then, we have to use what we learned here. Why don’t you jump into the next tutorial and try a combination of conjugations in practice? Also, if you like the tutorial, join us in Patreon! I really hope I can see you there!



Jun Hamm

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