“something blah blah blah” said Jun. This is the typical quotation in English. Simple and easy. However, In the Korean language, it might be complicated because even quotations are conjugations. Yes, it’s really hard to find what is not conjugation 😂 But, how can quotations be like ‘ed’ of the past tense?




Quotation Conjugations

This conjugation gives you a simple grammar rule. It quotes someone else or your previous speech. It has 5 types: question / order / suggest / plain / direct.


Korean Language Course 42. Quotation 1


it’s exactly the same as the sentences that start with ‘I said ~’ / ‘you said ~’ / ‘she/he said that ~’. Conjugating is not so hard, you just remove the sentence closing ending and add these quotation conjugations. That’s all.




Order & Suggestion

Quotations of order and suggestion are what we are going to learn first. The reason is simple, they always use the present tense and the dictionary form as a word root. So, when you conjugate them, they are the easiest ones.


‘-라’ is used for quoting order ‘do -’ and ‘-자’ is used for quoting suggestion ‘shall we’ or ‘let us’. The ending can be various based on situations and tones : ‘라고요’, ‘니까요’, ‘고 했어요’ and so on.


Course 42. Quotation 2


To conjugate them properly, you need to change them into the dictionary form first (하다) and then remove the ending 요 and, finally, add the quoting conjugation.




Question & Plain

냐고 conjugation is about ‘quotating questions’ like ‘I asked what did you just say’. 다고 conjugation describes ‘plain quotation’ which is very similar to ‘I said’.


Korean Language Course 42. Quotation 3


To conjugate them in this case, now you don’t need to change them into the dictionary form first (하다) because question and plain quotation often uses the past tense. so you just need to remove the ending 요/어요 and, add the quoting conjugation.




냐고 vs 냐구

However, 냐고 can be very rude sometimes based on your tone because it can sound like you’re very annoyed. So, native Koreans often change it to 냐구 to make the tone softer.


Course 42. Quotation 4


It’s not just about spelling. Native Koreans actually pronounce them differently. [nyago] and [nyagu]. However, technically, [go] pronounciation is correct with conjugations. TECHNICALLY.




(이)라고 Direct

The last one is, of course, the direct quotation which is the same as using quotation marks. You may notice this one looks very similar to the order quotation. However, conjugation methods are different.


Korean Language Course 42. Quotation 5


This conjugation is very different from other conjugations. While other conjugations are conjugated to a root. This one uses the whole sentence.


When the conjugation follows 받침 then use 이라고, no batchim then 라고. As always, you can see the default consonant ㅇ after 받침. pretty easy now right?




Quotation + Verb

Instead of ‘quotation + sentence closing ending’, you can add a verb after the conjugation such as ‘하다 (do)’, ‘말하다 (say)’, ‘물어보다 (ask)’. it softens your tone a bit more. Interesting thing is ‘-고 하다 (do)’ means the exact same thing as ‘-고 말하다 (say)’


Course 42. Quotation 6


Also in this case, you can drop ‘고’ just like the first sentence you can see on the table.  It doesn’t make a lot of difference but it makes oppressive / serious vibes a bit.



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