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How to conjugate nouns in Korean


안녕하세요! Koreanstudyjunkie이에요. Today, I'm going to teach you how to conjugate Korean nouns. These are the words you often see ending with 이다 / 입니다 / 이에요 / 예요. Let's get into it.


What is a noun?

A noun is a person, a place, or a thing


Person example - 학생 (student)

Place example - 공원 (park)

Thing example - 티비 (tv)


You can’t end a sentence with just a noun, because it would be incomplete.

Ex: 저는 학생 ❌


The verb always goes at the end of your sentence. Remember this! So in order to make the above sentence complete we must attach a new ending to it. You can almost think of it like adding punctuation to the end of your sentence in English.


This ending is 이다 and it means “to be”. This CANT be attached to verbs - only nouns.

For example, your name is a noun. (민지다 ~ to be Minji)


You’ve probably seen it In it’s conjugated form: 이에요 / 예요 (Is / Am / Are)

RULE:

The rule you must remember here is that when the noun ends with a consonant (ㄱㄴㄷㄹㅁㅂㅅㅌㅍㅎㅋㅊㅈㅇ) you will always attach - 이에요.


When the noun ends with a vowel (ㅏㅑㅓㅕㅗㅛㅜㅠㅐㅔㅣㅡ) you will attach - 예요.


Once again these can only be attached to nouns (person, place, thing)


Let’s bring back our previous examples:

Person example - 학생 (student)

Place example - 공원 (park)

Thing example - 티비 (tv)


학생 ends with ㅇ(ng) which is a consonant, so we’ll attach 이에요.


학생 (student) + 이다 (to be) = 학생이다 (to be a student)


And then once 이다 is conjugated it becomes 이에요.


학생이에요 (Is a student)



A NOTE ABOUT FORMALITIES:

The conjugated form you use depends on the formality. In formal situations and when speaking to elders or strangers, you'll use the formal ending, 입니다. In casual situations when speaking to acquaintances or people your age, you'll use the polite/casual form, 이예요/예요. In informal situations and when speaking to close friends, you'll use the informal form, 이야/야.



Next example is 공원.


If we look at the very last letter it’s ㄴ (a consonant) so we’ll add 이에요 (이다 is the unconjugated form of 이에요).


공원(park) + 이다 (to be) = 공원이다 (to be a park) > 공원이에요 (Is a park)


The last example is 티비 and this one is different from the others. The last letter is 이 (a vowel), so we’ll attach 예요 instead.


티비 (tv) + 다 (to be) = 티비다 (to be a Tv) > 티비예요 (Is a tv.)



Last reminder that 이에요 and 예요 CANNOT be used with verbs.


배우다 (to learn) can not be 배우예요❌ (배우 + 어요 = 배워요)


Neither can you use 아요/어요 on Nouns


물 (water) can not be 물어요❌ (물 + 이에요 = 물이에요)


Conjugating with different formality levels:

Formal is very easy. We just attach 입니다 to nouns, we’ll never use 습니다 when it comes to nouns.


Example:

물이다 > 물이에요 > 물입니다 = It’s water

티비다 > 티비예요 > 티비입니다 = It’s a TV



The informal form is similar to 이에요 and 예요 :

When the nouns ends in a vowel ~ 야

When the noun ends in a consonant ~ 이야



Example:

물이에요 > 물입니다 > 물이야 = It’s water.

티비예요 > 티비입니다 > 티비야 = It’s a tv.



QUESTIONS:

입니까? = formal question ending

이에요/예요? = just raise your intonation (same with informal)


Examples:

가: 무엇입니까? (뭐예요?) = What’s this?

나: 의자입니다. (의자예요.) = It’s a chair


가: 한국 사람입니까? (한국 사람이에요?) = Is she Korean?

나: 네, 한국 사람입니다 (한국 사람이에요.) = Yes, she’s Korean



PRACTICE SECTION:

conjugate and create sentences with each noun. you can pick one formality level or try to do them all


한국 = Korea

친구 = Friend

가방 = Bag

사과 = Apple

어머니 = Mother


 

I really hope I was able to clear this up for you. Leave a like on this blog if you learned something new. It doesn't do anything - It just lets me know you like it.

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