Conjunctions - Because, So

Conjunctions - Because and So [~서]

~서 has many usages and "because and so" is one of them.  


● Add 서 to a spoken form of the present tense of verbs or adjectives. (Adjectives - Present/Past, Verbs - Present/Past)

  • 해 → 해서 = Because (I) do /   (I) do and so
  • 가서 → 가서 = Because (you) go / (you) go and so
  • 떠나 → 떠나서 = Because (you) leave / (you) leave and so
  • 좋아 → 좋아서 = Because (I) like / (I) like and so
  • 먹어 → 먹어서 = Because (you) eat / (you) eat and so
  • 잡아 → 잡아서 = Because (I) catch / (I) catch and so
  • 빨라 → 빨라서 = Because (he's) fast / (he's) fast and so
  • 높아 → 높아서 = Because (it's) high / (it's) high and so
  • 작아 → 작아서 = Because (she's) small / (she's) small and so
  • 커 → 커서 = Because (it's) big / (it's) big and so

Example Sentences
  • 농구를 해서 키가 크다 
  • = Because I play basketball, I'm tall. 
  • = I play basketball and so I'm tall.

  • 한국에 가서 지금 미국에 없다 
  • = Because he's gone to Korea, now he's not in America.
  • = He's gone to Korea and so he's not in America.

  • 나무는 커서 좋다 
  • = Because a tree is big, I like it.
  • = A tree is big and so I like it.

  • 과학이 좋아서 대학에 갔다 
  • = Because I like science, I went to college.
  • = I like science and so I went to college.

  • 빌딩이 높아서 엘리베이터를 사용해야 한다 
  • = Because the building is high, we have to use an elevator.
  • = The building is high and so we have to use an elevator.

농구 = basketball
한국 = Korea
미국 = America
나무 = tree
과학 = science
대학 = college/university
빌딩 = building
엘리베이터 = elevator

Conjunctions - So [그래서]

A sentence containing ~서 can be divided into two separate sentences and 그래서 is used to link them.

Example sentences
  • 농구를 한다. 그래서 키가 크다. = I play basketball. So I'm tall.
  • 한국에 갔다. 그래서 지금 미국에 없다. = He's gone to Korea. So he's not in America.
  • 나무는 크다. 그래서 좋다. = A tree is big. So I like it.
  • 과학이 좋다. 그래서 대학에 갔다. = I like science. So I went to college.
  • 빌딩이 높다. 그래서 엘리베이터를 사용해야 한다. = The building is high. So we have to use an elevator.


  1. [그래서]

    Would this be more akin to "therefore"? I feel like "therefore" is used more often than "so" at the beginning of a sentence.

    I'm only asking in case there is another Korean word reserved for "therefore".

  2. There's a word for 'therefore' which is 그러므로 but it's usually used in written Korean only.

    You could say that '그래서' has a similar meaning as 'therefore' in this case if that helps you to understand the sentence more easily.

  3. Hi,

    First I'd like to say thank you so much for everything you post. I have a copy of your grammar PDF which really launched me into more detailed learning of Korean, and now that I've found your blog of even more information, I can only be very grateful.

    But I have a question concerning the idea of "because". When watching dramas or listening to people talking in general, it would seem like another way to express the idea of because is through -니까. I'm not sure if this is enough information in my question...but I can't really find any examples. But if anything comes to mind any additional help would be much appreciated!

  4. Hey jaawshh

    니까 is also used as "because and it usually comes at the end of a sentence.

    For example,
    "너 물을 왜 이렇게 많이 마셔?"
    = Hey, how come you drink water so much?
    = Because I'm thirsty.

    너 왜 이렇게 사과를 많이 사?
    = Hey, how come you buy so many apples?
    = Because it's delicious.

    However, the ~니까 form is usually and only used between close friends.

    The ~서 form is also acceptable. For example,


    In many Korean dramas, one of the classic sayings of the main characters is this. "사랑하니까" = Because I love you.

  5. 난 한국에 가고 싶어서, 한국어 공부해요.

    Does that make sense, because I'm getting gibberish on Google translator. -_-

  6. Hi Melissa,

    Can you see the Korean characters on the internet?

    By the way, the sentence you wrote makes sense, it mean, "Because I want to Korea, I study Korean."

    If you used Google translator and got that, the google translator seems to be working quite good.

  7. Hi! I have a quick question (I hope its a quick question)

    What is the difference between:

    I think they all mean "because", but Im just wondering what the difference between them are...

  8. Hi Anonymous,

    I'll give you these examples for you to see, and I think as you learn more about these different examples listed here in many different contexts, you'll be able to feel and understand the subtle differences and nuances of these examples.

    First of all, 때문에, 거든요, 니까 and 서 all have the meaning of "because".

    But here's an example:

    I couldn't go because I was busy.

    1) 바빠서 못갔어요 = Because I was busy, I couldn't go.

    2) 못갔어요. 바빴거든요 = I couldn't go. Because I was busy.

    3) 바빴기 때문에 못갔어요 = As/Because I was busy, I couldn't go.
    (This is hardly used in spoken Korean. It's more frequently used in written Korean.)

    4) 바쁘니까 못갔죠. = (You should've known that) I couldn't go because I was busy.

    (It has a nuance of "you should've known why I couldn't go". A bit of anger can be expressed in this tone, too.)

    Also, it can be used like the following example:

    위험하니까 가지마세요 = Because it's dangerous, please don't go!

    And Happy New Year! :-)

  9. Hi,

    Let me do a simple recap to make sure I got everything correct. For the past tense form, here are the "very general" rules:

    1. for ~서: attached the verb stem + 아/어 to 서 and the past tense will be determined by the last part of the sentence.

    Ex: 아파서 운동을 못 했어요 (can I write 못 운동했어요?)

    2. for ~거든요: drop the ~다 in the past tense form and attach to 거든요.

    Ex: 운동을 못 했어요. 아팠거든요.

    3. for ~때문에: use the past tense form of nominalized verb and attach to 때문에.

    Ex; 아팠기 때문에 운동을 못 했어요.

    4. for ~니까/~으니까: drop the ~다 from the verb stem and attach to 니까, and the past tense will be determined by the end part of the sentence.

    Ex: 아프니까 운동을 못 했어요.

    (do i need to provide a space between 못 and the verb that follows or not?)

    Did I get it all correct?

    1. Hi ms,

      You got them all correct! :-)

      However, "못 운동했어요" doesn't make sense. Always use, "못했어요."

      And about the space between 못 and the verb, if you're using the written Korean, 운동을 하지 못했다 or 운동을 못 했다.

      In spoken Korean, if we follow the rule for written Korean, there should be a space between 못 and 했어요.

      Although it's less grammatically relevant. And a lot of Koreans often get this wrong, space or no space.

      Cheers. :-)

  10. oh, and one more thing. in your example sentences above, you use this:
    과학이 좋아서 대학에 갔다

    isn't it supposed to be:
    과학이 좋아해서 대학에 갔다 ?

    and, why 대학 and not 대학교?


    1. Hi ms,

      과학이 좋다 = I like science

      과학을 좋아한다 = I like science

      So you can say either, 과학이 좋아서 대학에 갔다 or 과학을 좋아해서 대학에 갔다.

      대학 is just a simplified way of saying 대학교. :-)

  11. 한극영흐ㅏ를 조하서.자주 봐어요! Koreans movies are great so I watch them often!

    1. 1) -서
      한국 영화가 좋아서 자주 봐요!
      한국 영화를 좋아해서 자주 봐요!

      2) -그래서
      한국 영화가 좋아요. 그래서 자주 봐요!
      한국 영화를 좋아해요. 그래서 자주 봐요!

      3) -기 때문에
      한국 영화를 좋아하기 때문에 자주 봐요!

      4) -니까
      한국 영화를 좋아하니까 자주 봐요!

      5) -거든요
      자주 봐요. 한국 영화를 좋아하거든요!

      추신: 잘 했면 몰라요. 한국 사람이 아니거든요.
      PS: I don't know if it's right because I'm not korean. But I hope it is.

    2. Hi Mi-Young

      Your sentences are perfect! well done!

      Just for the last sentences, it'd better to be put like this,

      잘 했는지 모르겠어요. 한국 사람이 아니라서요. (한국 사람이 아니거든요 is ok too but 아니라서요 sounds more appropriate in this case.)

      well done! :-)


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