32. Conditional Sentence (if / When)

In this lesson, you will learn Korean Conditional Sentence with conjugation -면.

Korean Modal Verb If When [Conditional] img

Conditional Sentence With -면

Korean conditional sentence is made by postposition -면. It seems like a new verb conjugations. And, Yes it is lol. It doesn’t seem like a new verb conjugation, it is a new verb conjugation for you lol.

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Many vocabularies of English (or European languages) become a conjugation in Korean. If you really want to understand what Native Koreans say, You must be familiar with conjugations first.

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Position of ‘if’

Korean conditional sentence’s order is not same to English. A conditional sentence comes first and then a consequence follows after. Also, since 면 is a conjugation, of course, it has to be combined with a verb.


밤에 양말을 안신으 발이 추워요
(my) feet get cold if (I) don’t wear socks at night

-면 With 하다 (Do / Be + Adjective)

Conditional doesn’t mean perfectly same to English. English has ‘if’ and ‘when’. However, Korean grammar considers them both same. So, Korean conditional sentence often means ‘when‘ and ‘if‘ both at same time.


-면 is a conjugation so you must use it with another verb together. It can’t be used alone like other all conjugations.


Basic Form (하다 style) + 면
Stem + 하다 Stem
하다 다 + 면
Verb + if
Stem + 면
Stem + if
= 하면
If + do
If + be adjective
= Stem+면
If + do
If + be adjective


왼손을 들 왼발이 움직여요
(my) left leg moves if (I) raise my left hand
= Verb 하다


배부르 치킨을 드세요
Eat fried chicken if (you) are full
= Adjective 하다


우울하 치킨을 드세요
Eat fried chicken if (you) are blue
= Adjective 하다


심심하 치킨을 드세요
Eat fried chicken if (you) are bored
= Adjective 하다

-면 : when

Conjugation 면 also means ‘when’ in Korean. Koreans don’t distinguish ‘if’ and ‘when’ much because for native Koreans, they both are conditional. It’s tricky at first. you can think ‘if’ and ‘when’ is a same thing in Korean grammar.


왼손을 들 왼발이 움직여요
(my) left leg moves when (I) raise my left hand


저것을 쳐다보 눈이 아파요
(It) hurts my eyes when (I) look at it

-면 With 이다 (Be + Noun)

-면 with 이다 describes a conditional sentence with a verb. It takes full meanings and functions of 이다 verb : do / be + noun.


Conditional conjugation 면 changes the form based on 받침. It becomes 이면 when it follows a 받침.


Basic Form (하다 style) + 면
With 받침 Without 받침
이다 Stem + 이면
Stem + if
Stem + 면
Stem + if
= Stem+이면
if + do
if + be noun
= Stem+면
if + do
if + be noun


준씨가 망설이 귀여운 척 하세요
Play adorable if Jun hesitates
= Verb 이다


사람 토 하세요
Vomit if (you) are a human
= Be + Noun 이다 (with 받침)


토끼 당근을 드세요
Eat carrot if (you) are a rabbit
= Be + Noun 이다 (without 받침)

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-면 : Ask

You can use conjugation 면 to ask someone to do something. It’s used with verb 되다 and 안되다 mostly. It sounds like advising someone nicely than other imperative sentences.


티켓 사시려 저기 가시면 돼요
Go there to buy tickets
Go there if you want buy tickets


여기 들어오시 안돼요
You shouldn’t enter here

-면 With 있다 (Location / Possession)

있다 uses for possession and location. So, if you use conjugation 면 with 있다 verb, it would mean ‘if + have’ or ‘if + be location’. As always, 있다 verb has only one form with the conjugation.


Basic Form (하다 style) + 면
있다 다 + 으면
Verb + if
Have (possession)
Be + Location
= 있으면
If + have (possession)
If + be location


거기 있으 제가 갈게요
I will go there if (you) stay there
= I will come to you, stay there
= Location


핸드폰 있으 잠시 꺼주세요
Turn off your cellphone if (you) have it
= Possession