Great Past

Yes, the title wasn’t a typo. It’s not the perfect tense, it is the great past [대과거] in the Korean language. I always thought this term has some dignity itself like great power. Great power… comes with great responsibility. And, the great past… comes with, you know, conjugation as always lol.




Great Past  in Korean Language

To understand the great past tense, you have to understand the past tense in the Korean language first. Do you remember that the Korean past tense can be used as ‘have p.p.’? Then this great past tense is ‘had p.p.’. It happened before and it doesn’t happen anymore.


The term great past is actually Korean. The correct term is the pluperfect tense. The reason why it’s called the great past is because the tense describes the past from the past. (or the past of the past) It’s still confusing. then think like this : ‘The great past happened before the past’. Or, you can think it’s the same as the past perfect tense in English : ‘had p.p.’.


Korean Language Course 22. Great Past 1 img


It starts with the past tense and remove the ending 다 from the word, and add 었다. Bamm, pluperfect tense in Korean language. In the Korean language, past tense was actually similar to the present perfect tense. So, the great past is similar to ‘the past perfect tense’. It describes happening in the past but is not happening anymore.




Key Component

Wait, haven’t we seen this conjugation before? That’s correct, it’s just the same as the past tense conjugation, so the great past is just simply conjugating the past tense 2 times.


Course 22. Great Past 2 img


So, even though it seems meaningless. you can repeat 었 to make more past.




With 하다 Words in Korean Language

With 하다 words, the great past tense often describes ‘used to’. it was something but not anymore. For example, if you say 요리했었어요, it sounds like ‘you used to cook often but not anymore.’ or ‘you have an experience as a cook’.


Korean Language Course 22. Great Past 3 img


If you know how to conjugate the past tense, it’s super easy. remove the ending 다 from the past form and add the conjugation the past tense 었다 one more time. That’s it. It doesn’t have any irregular form or something. HELL YEAH.




With 이다 Words in Korean Language

Do you remember 이다 words often have different meaning than the conjugation? This one is exactly the same, HELL YEAAAAH


Course 22. Great Past 4 img


Again, start with the past form and remove the ending 다. And simply add 었다. I know it looks a bit weird. 었었다 because 었 repeated twice. However, that’s the correct one.


And it’s not weird at all with the pronunciation. When you pronounce it, it soudns like 이어썼다 [ieosseodda].





Now we have learned almost everything about tenses in the Korean language. The next tutorial will be nominalization, do you know what it is? If you aren’t sure, why don’t you check it. just one more tutorial! and also, if you liked this tutorial, join us in Patreon and become our new CEO!



Jun Hamm

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