있다 Verb

Before the 2rd edition of Core Grammar, I considered 있다 as one of major word types. It’s that important and that’s why I spend a whole tutorial on a single word. This is the vocabulary you really need to make your Korean language really natural and fluent.


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있다 As Location

있다 hsa many functions. But first, we are going to learn 있다 as ‘to be + location’. Don’t worry, It’s really simple, you just need to use it like ‘there is’


Korean Language Course 17. 있다 verb 1 img


Since 있다 is a verb, it’s always placed at the end. The present form in 해요 style is 있어요. By the way, don’t get me wrong, I don’t lock people in a room… often.


100% Natural Korean Language

In English, ‘have’ is very commonly and variously used. For example, you can say ‘my town has a river’. However, if you say it in Korean, it becomes very unnatural and a bit odd.


우리 마을엔 강이 있어요

There is a river in our town




있다 As Have

있다 also describes possession like English word ‘have’. But the way to describe possession is very interesting because it still means ‘there is’.


Course 17. 있다 verb 2 img


If I disassemble the first sentence, it sounds like ‘there is a key on me’. So, it uses postposition 한테 which means ‘to/from somebody’. The second sentence gets weirder, 저는 is a subject and also 차가 is a subject too. (you will learn about multiple subjects in this course later)


There are two subjects because the sentence still means ‘there is’. So, it actually sounds like ‘There is a car for me (of mine)’.




100% Natural Korean Language

Native Koreans don’t usually say ‘I’ll have something’ except for particular situations. So, you need other vocabularies to make the sentence natural for future possession. Native koreans use verbs such as ‘get’, ‘buy’, ‘receive’ or other possessive verbs instead of ‘있다’. This is how native Koreans really say.


저는 내년에 차를 살거예요
I will buy a car next year
= When you have it by buying it


저는 내년에 그 책을 받을거예요
I will receive the book next year
= When you have it for free




있다 As Grammatical Component

있다 is an unique verb in Korean language that you can often find it in other conjugations. It’s just like ‘have’ that makes have p.p. in English.


Korean Language Course 17. 있다 verb 3 img


Do you remember 있다 is similar as ‘to be’? Just like that, you can use the word 있다 to make the progressive tenses.





You will see 있다 very often in another conjugations and grammatical functions. Then, does it keep the meaning every time in other conjugations? Then, the answer is the same as ‘have’. have doesn’t mean anything in ‘have p.p.’ 있다 usually doesn’t mean anything when it’s used as a component. But it’s still very essential. Why don’t you check a couple more tutorials and see how it works? And also, if you liked this tutorial, join us in Patreon. I really hope you see you there.

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