Common Korean Conjunctions
In this lesson, you will learn the most basic and common Korean conjunctions that you must need to understand and speak Korean. I’m not going to explain them too much because it will slow you down too much but after this lesson, you will have no problem to understand Korean even though making a correct sentence with conjunctions. Let’s do it step by step.
그리고 / -고
그리고 means ‘and’ or ‘and then’ or ‘after’. It’s used to link 2 different words or events. The difference between 그리고 and English ‘and’ is that 그리고 shows the progress of time when it’s used with verbs.
그리고 산책 해요
And let’s walk
= After that, Let’s walk
= 그리고 isn’t used commonly as a conjunctive adverb
청소하고 밖에 나가자
Let’s clean and go out
= Let’s go out after / and then cleaning
= 그리고 shows the progress of time
After I clean
= When a sentence ends or starts with 그리고 or -고, the conjunction only means ‘after’
When it links 2 different words or phrases, It means ‘And’. However, Using 그리고 as a conjunctive adverb often sounds formal or poetic and not so common.
고양이 그리고 사자
Cats and lions
= Links 2 nouns
내가 좋아하는 것 그리고 너가 좋아하는 것
Things I like and things you like
= Links 2 phrases
Teach You Wrong
I saw many students use conjunctive adverbs for Korean conjunctions in sentences. It happens when they are not fully taught about the differences and usages of each conjunction type.
TV 봐요 그리고 문자해요
I’m watching TV
This sentence has 2 problems. First, 그리고 is not same to ‘and’ in English. When it links 2 verbs, 그리고 means ‘after’. So, the correct translation should be ‘Text me after watching TV’
The another is that a conjunctive adverb is used, not a conjunctive conjugation. Foreigners prefer to use conjunctive adverbs because it looks similar to conjunctions that their language has. But, that’s not a Korean way. The correct sentence for ‘I’m watching TV and texting’ should be like the next sentence.
TV 보면서 문자해요
I’m watching TV and texting
그러나 / -나
그러나 has the opposite meaning of 그래서. It’s used to describe ‘A or B’ or the opposite result after. 그러나 and -나 are very formal but when it links 2 nouns or gerund phrases, it becomes pretty common and informal.
Sneaks or breads
= Links 2 nouns
Meats or meats
= Links 2 nouns
노래하는 거나 기타치는 거
Singing or playing guitar
= Link 2 phrases
그래서 / -서
그래서 and -서 means ‘So’ or ‘Because’ in English. A sentence before ‘그래서’ shows the reason. A second sentence after ‘그래서’ shows the result. When a sentence starts with ‘그래서’ or ends with ‘-서’, the conjunction only means ‘so’.
그래서 is often used as a conjunctive adverb at the beginning of a sentence. It’s very natural unlike using ‘그리고’. It’s one of the most common Korean conjunctions. Native Koreans say it really really often. (So do I lol)
방바닥을 굴러서 바닥이 깨끗해졌어요
I rolled on the floor so it got cleaned
The floor is cleaned because I rolled on it
= the sentence with 서 shows the reason
그래서 아무것도 못했어요
So, I couldn’t do anything
= Conjunctive Adverb : So
Because I can’t watch TV
I can’t watch TV
= The sentence ends with ‘서’. It shows a reason only so it’s similar to ‘because’
그러니까 / -니까
그러니까 is used to describe reasons for following actions. It’s very similar to ‘그래서’ but 그래서 is focused on describing a reason and a result, 그러니까 describes a reason and an action (normally) based on the reason.
그러니까 can sound rude sometimes when it’s used for request or order.
Come up because that’s dangerous
= It’s dangerous, Come up.
밥 먹었으니까 이제 가요
We had a meal so let’s go now
= Conjunctive Conjugation
So, stop it
= Conjunctive Adverb. Sounds a bit aggressive
Maybe you are very confused about the difference with 그래서 and 그러니까, I’ll give you some example. You can see what’s a result and a following action that I’m talking about.
You helped me so I’m thankful
= Thank you for helping me
도와줬으니까 고마워요 (wrong)
You helped me so I’m thankful (wrong)
I helped you so you should thank me
Time Passes With Conjunctions
You might notice all these common Korean conjunctions that you learned today shows the time passes. That can be big differences between Korean conjunctions and English conjunctions. For example, English ‘and’ doesn’t imply the time passes like Korean 그리고 does. You must know them correctly to avoid problems.