Nouns - Nominalising Verbs

In this lesson, we're going to learn how to nominalise a verb, which means converting a verb to a noun.

First, take 다 off the plain form of a verb, and then attach 기 to it. (For a list of verbs in the plain from, please refer to Verbs - Present/Past)

The following is a list of some of the verbs which have been converted to nouns.

  • 읽다 → 읽기 = reading
  • 쓰다 → 쓰기 = writing
  • 듣다 → 듣기 = listening
  • 말하다 → 말하기 = speaking
  • 하다 → 하기 = doing
  • 가다 → 가기 = going
  • 오다 → 오기 = coming
  • 보다 → 보기 = watching
  • 먹다 → 먹기 = eating
  • 마시다 → 마시기 = drinking
  • 자다 → 자기 = sleeping
  • 걷다 → 걷기 = walking
  • 달리다 → 달리기 = running
  • 사다 → 사기 = buying
  • 팔다 → 팔기 = selling
  • 서다 → 서기 = standing
  • 앉다 → 앉기 = sitting
  • 살다 → 살기 = living
  • 죽다 → 죽기 = dying

Example Sentences 

  • 걷기는 하기 쉬운 운동이다 = Walking is an exercise that (we) can do easily
  • 나는 쇼핑 하기를 좋아한다 = I like shopping (Lit. I like doing shopping)
  • 한나는 아이스크림 먹기를 좋아한다 = Hannah likes eating an icecream
  • 비 오는 날 학교 가기는 쉽지 않다 = It's not easy going to school in a rainy day
  • 제인은 오래된 CD 플레이어를 팔기를 원했다 = Jane wanted 'selling' an old CD player

쇼핑 = shopping
좋아하다 = like
한나 = Hannah (Also a Korean female name)
아이스크림 = icecream
비 = rain (noun)
오다 = come
날 = a day
비 오는 날 = a rainy day (Lit. a rain-coming day) (For more information, refer to Verbs - Descriptive I)
학교 = a school
쉽다 = easy
쉬운 = easy (Adjectives - Descriptive)
운동 = exercise
제인 = Jane
오래되다 = old
CD 플레이어 = a CD player
원하다 = want (Please refer to Verbs - Want to learn how to form 'want to do')

Here are some more example sentences using nominalized verbs.

  • 사기와 팔기는 비지니스의 기초다. = Buying and selling are the business's basis.

비지니스 = business
기초 = basis, foundation

  • 지영은 공원에서 걷기와 새들의 노래 듣기를 좋아했다. = Ji-young liked walking in the park and listening to birds singing.

지영 = Ji-young (A female name)
공원 = a park
걷다 = walk
새 = a bird
노래 = a song
듣다 = listen, hear

  • 외국어를 배울 때 읽기, 쓰기, 듣기, 말하기는 모두 매우 중요하다. = When we learn a foreign language, reading, writing, listening and speaking are all very important. 

외국어 = a foreign language
배우다 = learn 
배울 때 = When we learn (To learn how to use 'when', please read Conjunctions - When)
모두 = all
매우 = very
중요하다 = important


  1. you said to drop 다, and add 기, but in your example for Milan, you put 좋아했다 why is this?

  2. In that example, 보기 is the one changed, not 좋아했다.

    보다 becomes 보기.

    좋아했다 is just a verb. Its meaning is "liked".

  3. What's the difference between '기' and '은/는 것'?

    아이스크림을 먹는 것을 좋아해요.

    Can you say it with '기'?

  4. 아이스크림을 먹기를 좋아해요 is also possible but I'd say 아이스크림을 먹는 것을 좋아해요 is a bit more commonly used. And in most instances, 아이스크림을 좋아해요 is used. ;)

    먹기 and 먹는 것 mean essentially the same but 먹는 것 could also mean "food."

    For example, 사과는 먹는 것이다. = An apple is something we eat.

  5. I just read from one of the comments that you used 먹는 것.. how come you used 는 and not 은 when 먹 ends in a consonant? is that an exception to the rule??

    thanks! I find this blog really really useful.. simple and very comprehensive.. :)

  6. Hey Karl,

    Although this has become a very late reply, here is the answer to your question.

    먹는 것 uses the descriptive form of a verb, 먹다, which is has a different meaning to 먹은.

    먹는 것 means = a thing that we can eat


    먹은 것 means = a thing that we have eaten.

    For more information, please refer to:
    ● Verbs - Descriptive I
    ● Verbs - Descriptive II

  7. Hey Luke, can u explain
    how to differ the usage of

    -는 것 and -기

    to normalize verb?
    thanks :)

  8. Hi,

    how to nominalize adjectives?

    Ex: sick --> sickness = 아프다 --> 아파기??
    kind --> kindness = 착하다 --> 착하기?

    doesn't sound right to me though haha..

    (this is with reference to your example under "Conjunction - Because, So" comment section:

    3) 바빴기 때문에 못갔어요 = As/Because I was busy, I couldn't go. )

    1. Hi again ms,

      Basically, adjectives can be nominalised by removing 다 and attaching ㅁ as a final consonant.

      아프다 → 아픔 (sickness)
      착하다 → 착함 (kindness)
      바쁘다 → 바쁨 (busy-ness)

      (However, there are other conjugation patterns as well which I'm not going to talk about here for now.)

      Also, note:
      바빴기 때문에 못갔어요 = As/Because I was busy, I couldn't go.
      바쁘기 때문에 못가요 = As/Because I am busy, I can't go.

      착하기 때문에 칭찬을 많이 들어요 = As/Because she is kind, she is praised frequently.

      아프기 때문에 집에 있어요 = As he is sick, he's staying home.
      아팠기 때문에 집에 있었어요 = As he was sick, he stayed home.

  9. thx a lot for your lecons its realy intersting and help us to emprove our korean , but there i have a question : so "는 것" can be replace by 기 or no
    for exp we can also say :외국어를 배울 때 읽기, 쓰는 것, 듣는 것, 말하는 것 모두 매우 중요하다

    1. Hi nisrine

      Yes, "는 것" can be replaced by 기.

      You could say 외국어를 배울 때 읽기, 쓰기, 듣기, 말하기 모두 매우 중요하다.

      Hope this helps. :-)

  10. Hey there, is this your sole portal or you personally run some others?

    1. Hi Blog FunTimeKiller,

      I've got other blogs.

      You can check them out if you look at my complete Blogger profile, on the right-hand column at the bottom of this blog.

  11. Luke, 너무 감사합니다!

    I recently started to study Korean and being a Spanish speaker myself, though it is fun and interesting, it's a little bit challenging to learn s language that's being taught in another language. I came to your blog "accidentally", by searching for a meaning, but your lessons have been helping me a lot!

    Have yourself a blessed New Year too!

    1. Hi Nai,

      You're welcome!

      And thanks for your comment and New Year's wishes!

      I'm glad you find the lessons in my blog helpful!

      All the best with your learning Korean!

    2. Hi Luke,
      걷기와 and 사기와. As far as i know 와 is conjugated form of come so why is it used here? thanks for this amazing website by the way. Been a great help to me. :)

    3. Hi, 와 in 걷기와 and 사기와 means "and." Therefore, 걷기와 means "walking and." And, 사기와 means "buying and."

  12. Hi,
    In your previous answer to someone you said "Yes, "는 것" can be replaced by 기."

    I was wondering if what happens if you do or if doesn't matter

  13. Well,
    는 것 and 기 have different meanings.

    for example,
    먹는 것 = something that you eat i.e. food
    먹기 = eating

    하는 것 = something you do
    하기 = doing.

    1. this is a good explanation. maybe you need to emphasis this more in your post :)

      i searched everywhere to find particular explanation

    I MEAN WE CAN ADD 이 는 은
    OR JUST 기

    1. Usually, 기 is used to make a verb into noun form.

      example, 먹다 = eat
      먹기 = eating

      먹기는 쉽다 = Eating is easy.

  15. dear Sir:

    in the sentence 한나는 아이스크림 먹기를 좋아한다 , you but the object marking particle 를 after the noun 먹기 but not after the object 아이스크림 is there any particular reason for that, and what if we write the sentence like 한나는 아이스크림을 먹기 좋아한다


  16. This website is such a blessing, thankyou :D

  17. Can i say 나는 쇼핑 하는거 좋아해..

  18. Hi Luke!

    Just want to say thank u for all this. I myself just started to learn korean, and hopefully to come visit korea by next year. I find it so challenging to learn korean and thats why i take the challenge learning it myself, and thanks to your blog that gives me free lessons. Although i cant use it a daily basis, i still want to learn it.

    Wish me luck. And also i want to say happy new year to you.

    노무 고마워요.


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