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Creating Korean sentences with 3 simple steps

Updated: Jun 20, 2023

After learning Korean for a couple of years, I realised I still have problems communicating in Korean. I achieved Topik 1 Level 2 at that time but I still find it hard to convey my thoughts and opinions in Korean. Even when I do, my sentences are very short and basic despite knowing quite a bit of grammar, I am not used to applying them when I am conversing.

Have you ever had the moment when someone speaks to you in Korean, and you are very excited to finally have the chance to apply what you have learned but, in the end, you could only reply in a short phrase?

Just like how the picture above has shown. For me, it's the other way round, meaning I will reply with a simple phrase or sentence and then painfully regret it because I thought of a better and more substantial reply 30 seconds after the conversion ended.

Then I realised, I have not been practising making sentences in Korean which is why I needed some time to process, pick the right grammar and vocabulary, piece it with the correct ending, and by the time I have the perfect sentence ready, the conversation has already ended.

Nobody will wait for more than 30 seconds for a reply in a conversation; even if that kind soul is willing the wait, the stress of making someone wait while you construct the perfect sentence is too hard for me to bear and I will just take the fast and easy way out which is to just reply with a short phrase and regret it later.

So, to avoid situations like this from happening, I have come up with a way to add substance to my sentences and practise them to get used to them so I could easily express them in the future.

Here are my 3 simple steps to create Korean sentences

Step 1

Pick an action.

It can be as simple as 밥을 먹습니다 (to eat (rice)) since we are just practising, we shall start easy and you can try to practise using more complicated vocabs.

Step 2

Add a situation to it, in this case, you may add the time, place and person.

지금 저는 한식당에서 밥을 먹습니다. (I am eating at the Korean restaurant now.)

Feel free to change to object to other foods or you can even change the ending to the present continuous tense. 지금 저는 한식당에서 비빔밥을 먹고 있습니다. (I am eating Bibimbap at the Korean restaurant now.)

Step 3

Add a reason to the situation.

아침을 못 먹어서 지금 저는 한식당에서 비빔밥을 먹고 있습니다. (I am eating Bibimbap at the Korean restaurant now because I did not eat breakfast.)

Let's try another example, referencing the dialogue in the picture above.

Step 1

이 영화가 재미있습니다. (This movie is interesting)

Step 2 (add a situation)

이 영화의 장르가 마음에 드는데 재미있습니다. (I like the genre of the movie so I find it interesting.)

Step 3 (add a reason) *Actually step 2 may also work as a reason but it's just my example, feel free to play around with the rough idea*

남여 주인공의 케미가 너무 귀엽고 예뻐서 이런 장르가 딱 마음에 드는데 재미있습니다. (The chemistry between the male and female leads was so cute and adorable hence the genre is my thing, that's why it's interesting.)

The 3 steps would be better applied for actions, the tip is to add substance little by little according to your knowledge. My advice would be to not start with a super long sentence while practising because it's easier to make mistakes or get stuck in between. Start with a short phrase and slowly add in more and more.

Also, don't be too ambitious and keep prolonging your sentence because the listener will lose focus on what you are trying to say. Keep it to 1-2 main points and start a new sentence after that. The practice is to somewhat "decorate" your main point with more substance rather than including a gazillion points into one sentence.

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