12. Present Tense

In this lesson, you will learn the most basic uses of Korean Present Tense.

You can understand this lesson easier if you read the Korean Tense Conjugations lesson first

Present Tense img

Korean Present Tense

Korean present tense is the most basic form of any word and conjugation in Korean grammar especially when it’s written in 하다 speech style. It’s important more than other Korean tenses because every conjugations are transformed from the present tense.


운동 = 운동어요
work out → did = worked out

As A Present Tense

Korean present tense is almost same to English present tense. You can use it to describe general truth, repeated actions, habits, emotions, current state and location.


Korean present tense also describes ‘present progressive’ at same time.

With Hada Verb : 하다

Hada (하다) verb conjugation describes ‘Do + Verb‘ or ‘Be + Adjective‘.


It becomes ‘Heayo (해요)’ or ‘Eoyo (어요)’ or ‘Ayo (아요)’ with 해요 speech style.


Conjugations might be very tricky to understand at first time but you can simply think Korean conjugations are that 2 words are combined into one.


Basic Form
(하다 Speech Style)
해요 colloquial style
Chinese Stem
Onomatopoeias Stem
Korean Stem
Noun + 하다
Stem + 다
Noun + 해요
= 해요 (heyo)
Stem + 어요 / 아요
= 어요 (eoyo)
= 아요 (ayo)
Do + Noun
Do + Stem
Be + Adjective
Do + Noun
Do + Stem
Be + Adjective
Do + Noun
Do + Stem
Be + Adjective


저는 예뻐요
I am pretty (A great sentence. Everybody should learn it)
= General truth (lol)


저는 매일 공부해요
I study everyday
= Repeated action


저는 우울해요
I am depressed
= Emotion / current state


저는 아침 안먹어요
I don’t have breakfast
= Habit


저는 매주 금요일에 영화를 봐요
I watch a movie every Friday
= Repeated action

아요 and 어요

Default consonant ㅇ is often dropped when the word uses verb conjugations 아요 and 어요. ㅇ means no front consonant in English. But, you must know dropping doesn’t always happen.


봐요 = 보 + ㅏ요


아요 and 어요 are very important because it’s used as a verb conjugation in other tenses and conjugations.

With Ida Verb : 이다

Ida (이다) verb conjugation describes ‘Do + Verb‘, ‘Be + Adjective‘, ‘Be + Noun‘ or ‘Be + Location‘. 이다 is used as ‘Be + Noun’ most often. 이다 adjective is similar to English adjective more than 하다 adjective.


Ida (이다) becomes ‘I-eyo (이에요)’ or ‘ Yeyo (예요)’ with 해요 speech style.


이다 verb also has variations but it’s not based on the word stem. Unlike Hada verb, It changes with the presence of batchim.


Basic Form (하다 style) 해요 colloquial style
after 받침 after no 받침
이 + 에요
= 이에요 (‘i-eyo)
= 여요 (yeoyo) (verb)
이 + 에요
= 예요 (yeyo)
= 여요 (yeoyo) (verb)
Be + Noun
Be + Adjective
Do + Root
Be + Noun
Be + Location
Be + Adjective
Do + Root
Be + Noun
Be + Location
Be + Adjective
Do + Root


저는 아르헨티나 사람이에요
I am Argentinian
= I’m from Argentina
= Current state (be + noun)


저는 예쁜 라마예요
I’m a pretty llama
= Current state (be + noun)


이건 너무 기계적이예요
This is too mechanical
= Current state (adjective)


저는 학교예요
I’m at school
= Current location


저는 매일 강아지에게 비싼 햄을 먹여요
I feed my dog expensive ham everyday
= Repeated action (do + root)

이에요 and 예요

이에요 sounds like 예요 if you say it fast. It makes speech flow softly. When you pronounce 이에요, put an accent on 이.

With Itda Verb : 있다

Itda (있다) verb conjugation describes ‘Be + Location‘ and possession.


Itda (있다) becomes ‘Isseoyo (있어요)’ in 해요 speech style.


Previous verb conjugations change the form. 있다, however, doesn’t change.


Basic Form (하다 style) 해요 colloquial style
있 + 어요
= 있어요 (‘it-seoyo)
Be (location / time)
Have (possession)
Be (location / time)
Have (possession)


방귀 폭탄은 제 책상 위에 있어요
A fart bomb is on my desk
= Current location


저는 카페에 있어요
I’m at a cafe
= Current location


저는 컴퓨터가 있어요
I have a computer
= Current possession


저는 여자친구가 있어요
I have a girlfriend
= Current possession
= 있다 doesn’t attach to another word unlike other conjugations.

Why does it mean location and possession both?

Technically, 있다 only means ‘There is’. but if you say ‘나는 ~ 있다’, then it sounds like ‘there is something on me’. That’s why this locative conjugation 있다 also means possession at same time.


The National Institute of the Korean Language

As always, They are the only one who gives you correct guidance. Praise them.


last update : Oct 11 2018



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