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Why do Korean sentences end with 는다/ㄴ다?

안녕 여러분! I'm Koreanstudyjunkie.

"는다" is a present tense declarative form, often called the plain form. It is used to state a fact or make a statement in the present tense. You can think of it as being completely neutral. It can be a statement about a speaker's observations or thoughts. It is kind of like thinking to yourself, but more like you are thinking out loud.

This form can be applied to a verb stem that ends in either a vowel -ㄴ다 or a verb stem that ends in a consonant -는다. Descriptive verb/Adjective stems end with just -다.

It's important to note that the "는다" form is just one of many ways to express declarative statements in Korean, and the appropriate form to use can depend on various factors such as the level of formality, the subject of the sentence, and the context in which the statement is made.

For example, the USUAL declarative form of the verb "가다" (to go) would be "갑니다" in polite/formal speech, or "가요" in casual speech. Similarly, the declarative form of the verb "먹다" (to eat) would be "먹습니다" in polite speech, or "먹어요" in casual speech.

But in this case “가다” would become “간다” and “먹다” would become “먹는다“.

When you make a stateement using this ending it is not directed at anyone (including yourself), so it can’t be categorized according to politeness level. You’re simply narrating your action as it happens. That being said, many people feel that it has much more casual or informal nuance.

This sentence ending is often used in writing.

For example in books, articles, newspapers, or documents. But It’s also used when speaking aloud.

Example Sentences:

비가 온다.

= It’s raining.

엄마가 바쁘다.

= Mom is busy.

지금 숙제를 한다.

= I’m doing my homework right now.

멀리 기차가 지나간다.

= A train passes by in the distance.

어제부터 계속 비가 온다.

= It has been raining since yesterday.

우리 가족은 아파트에서 산다.

= My family lives in an apartment.

선생님께서 교실로 들어오신다.

= The teacher comes into the classroom.

바람이 시원하다.

= The wind is cool.


This form actually can be used in the past tense and future tense as well just by leaving them unconjugated.

Past tense: 았다/었다/했다

Future tense: -겠다 / (으)ㄹ 것이다

Question form: -는가

-는가 is added to the verb stem.

Usage: A sentence ending referring to a question about a present fact.

Note: this has a few other meanings/nuances, but we’re going to focus just on this one.


김 군은 미국으로 언제 떠나는가?

= When will Kim leave for the United States?

저네 표정이 좋지 않은데 무슨 일이 있는가?

= You don't look good. What's the matter?

오래 기다렸는가?

= Did you wait long?

요즘도 많이 바쁜가?

= Are you busy these days as well?


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