Please refer to Audio Recordings - Sentence Order, to listen to the sentences used in this lesson.
In regards to the order of a sentence, there are four basic types in Korean. These are:
- S + N
- S + V
- S + A
- S + O + V
* S = subject, N = noun, A = adjective, O = object and V = verb.
The tense of a sentence is determined by the last part of a sentence, namely, by a noun, verb or adjective.
In Korean, adjectives function like verbs in that they can be converted to different forms to determine the tense of a sentence.
- In English, the past tense of "go" is "went."
- In Korean, the past tense of "가다" (gada, go) is "갔다" (gatta, went).
However, in the case of adjectives, the past tense of "good" in English is not "gooded" but it is written, "was good."
Contrary to this, in Korean, "좋다" (jota, good) has a past tense form of "좋았다" (joatta, was good).
- In English, "good" (present) → "was good" (past)
- In Korean, "좋다" (present) → "좋았다" (past)
Therefore, the adjectives in Korean function like verbs in that they can be converted to a past tense or future tense, or any other tense forms.
This conversion of a verb(or adjective) to its past, future, present continuous or past continuous tense forms is called a verb (or adjective) "conjugation."
Before proceeding to the explanation section below, I recommend that you read the "particles" alongside this post.
To understand Korean grammar, it is crucial that you become familiar with the concept of a distinct part of speech called, "particles."
Particles are function words that indicate what the subject or object is in a sentence.
- 는/은 is a topic particle
- 가/이 is a identifier particle
- 를/을 is an object particle
Now, let's have a look at the four main types of Korean sentences.
Note: S = Subject, N = Noun, V = Verb, A = Adjective, O = Object
1. S + N
- 나는 학생이다 = I am a student
- 리사는 선생님이다 = Lisa is a teacher
- 앤드류는 의사였다 = Andrew was a doctor
- 저는 중학생이에요 = I am a middle school student [polite spoken form]
For more explanations on the S + N pattern, please read Nouns - Present, Past.
나 = I
학생 = student
리사 = Lisa
선생님 = teacher
앤드류 = Andrew
의사 = doctor
저 = I (polite)
중학생 = a middle school student
2. S + V
- 주영은 달린다 = Ju-young runs [written form]
- 주영은 달려요 = Ju-young runs [polite spoken form]
- 주영은 힘차게 달린다 = Ju-young vigorously runs
*An adverb comes before a verb.
주영 = Ju-Young (a Korean male name)
달리다 = run
달려 = run [spoken form]
달려요 = run [polite spoken form]
힘차게 = vigorously
For more information and explanations on verbs, please read Verbs - Present, Past and Verbs - Polite [Present, Past].
3. S + A
- 그는 크다 = He is big
- 그녀는 작다 = She is small
- 앤은 예쁘다 = Anne is pretty [written form]
- 앤은 정말 예뻐요 = Anne is really pretty [polite spoken form]
- 산이 아름답다 = The mountain is beautiful
- 날씨가 정말 좋다 = The weather is very good
그 = he
크다 = big
그녀 = she
작다 = small
앤 = Anne
정말 = really, very
예쁘다 = pretty
산 = mountain
아름답다 = beautiful
날씨 = weather
좋다 = good
For more information and explanations on adjectives, please read, Adjectives - Present, Past, Adjectives - Polite [Present, Past] and Adjectives - Connective.
4. S + O + V
- 나는 사과를 먹었다 = I ate an apple.
- 지성은 물을 마신다 = Ji-sung drinks water.
- 새들이 노래를 부른다 = The birds are singing songs.
- 안나는 대학을 다닌다 = Anna attends college (university) [written form]
- 안나는 대학을 다녀요 = Anna attends college (university) [spoken form]
- 영희는 어제 정원에 꽃을 심었다 = Young-hee planted a flower in the garden yesterday.
*Notice that the time(어젯밤) and place(정원에) are inserted between S and O.
나 = I
사과 = apple
먹었다 = ate
물 = water
마시다 = drink
새 = a bird
새들 = birds
노래 = song
부르다 = sing
다니다 = attend [written form]
다녀요 = attend [polite spoken form]
어제 = yesterday
정원 = garden
꽃 = flower
심다 = plant (verb)
In addition, unlike English, it is quite common to leave out the subject in a sentence in Korean. When the subject is known by the readers or speakers, it is often left out. Therefore, depending on a situation or context, it is OK to write or speak without beginning the sentence with a subject.
A subject may not be used in a sentence if it is known who or what the subject is. So, the sentences below are also correct and it is common in spoken Korean (conversations).
- 학생이다 = (am/is) a student
- 선생님이다 = (am/is) a teacher
- 의사였다 = was a doctor
- 중학생이에요 = (am/is) a middle school student
- 달린다 = runs
- 힘차게 달렸다 = vigorously ran
- 크다 = (am/is/are) big
- 작다 = (am/is/are) small
- 정말 좋아 = (am/is/are) really good [spoken form]
- 사과를 먹었다 = ate an apple
- 물을 마셨어 = drank water [spoken form]
- 노래를 불렀어 = sang songs [spoken form]
- 어제 꽃을 심었어요 = planted a flower yesterday [polite spoken form]
For more help with the particles, please refer to the following posts: