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-아서/여서/어서 ending in Korean grammar: ‘and’ ‘so’, or ‘because’

learning korean Jan 05, 2023
그래서, -서 ending, Korean grammar

- Author: Niya (Trinidad and Tobago), Tina Fennell (U.K.)
- Editor: Good Job Korean team 

 -아서/여서/어서 ending is from the conjunction 그래서


 ‘아서/여서/어서’ ending is actually from the conjunction ‘그래서’ which means "therefore" and "so”.그래서’ links two sentences that the preceding sentence is the cause of the following sentence.



 꽃들이 너무 아름다워요. 그래서 사진을 많이 찍었어요.

 The flowers are too beautiful. So, I took many pictures.

 *: flower   *너무: too   *아름답다: to be beautiful   *사진: picture   *(사진을)찍다: to take (a picture)



 Shortened form of 그래서: -아서/여서/어서


 When linking 2 sentences with ‘그래서’, they can be shortened by using ‘-’. You just drop ‘’ at the end of the present tense verb and add ‘-. This is possible because we use ‘아요/여요/어요’ when conjugating to present tense in Korean.


 꽃들이 너무 아름다워요. 그래서 사진을 많이 찍었어요.

 The flowers are too beautiful. So, I took many pictures.


 꽃들이 너무 아름다워 사진을 많이 찍었어요.

 The flowers are too beautiful, so I took many pictures.



 Let’s see more verbs with -아서/여서/어서 ending!



 먹다(to eat) – 먹어요(I eat) – 먹어서 (I eat, so…)

 오다(to come) – 와요(I come) – 서 (I come, so…)

 많다(to be many) – 많아요(there are many) – 많아서 (there are many, so…)

 요리하다(to cook) – 요리해요(I cook) – 요리해서 (I cook, so…)



 ‘-cannot be used with the past tense ending.  



 점심을 많이 먹어서 배가 불러요. (O)

 점심을 많이 먹었어서 배가 불러요. (X)

 I ate too much for lunch, so I am full.

 *점심: lunch   *많이: a lot, much   *먹다: to eat   *배가 부르다: to be full


 It is wrong to use the past tense of ‘먹었어서’, even if it is the past tense (I ate) in English. You also have to conjugate it using the present tense without ‘요’ + ‘’ for the past tense. The tense is naturally understood with the final verb or the context.



 Usages for -아서/여서/어서


 Depending on the usages of -아서/여서/어서, the translation can vary. Sometimes, -아서/여서/어서 can be translated as ‘so’ or ‘therefore’ which is the same as 그래서, but sometimes, it can also be translated as ‘and’.



 Usage #1. ‘그래서’ and ‘-’ denoting the preceding sentence are the causes of the following sentence.



 오늘 비가 와서 집에 있었어요.

 It rained today, so I stayed at home.

 (= Because it rained today, I stayed at home)

 *오늘: today   *비가오다: to rain   *집: home   *있다: to exist, to stay


 In this example, you can see that the first clause, '오늘 비가 와서', is the reason of the second clause, '집에 있었어요', which is the result of the cause.


 Usage#2. -아서/여서/어서 is used to link two actions taking place in order


 After the first action takes place, if another action takes place in order, you can link them using 아서/여서/어서.

 In this case, both verbs have to be ACTION VERBS.



 학교에 가서 공부할 거예요.

 I will go to school, and study.

 *학교: school   *가다: to go   *공부하다: to study


 In this sentence, 2 verbs (가다&공부하다) are both ACTION VERBS, and take place in order. Firstly, come to school, and then study.



 Usage#3. ‘-’ is used to link an action and the purpose of a plan after the action.



 열심히 공부해서 하버드 대학교에 지원할 거예요.

 I am going to study hard and apply to Harvard University.

 *열심히: (do something)hard   *공부하다: to study   *대학교: university   *지원하다: to apply


 This sentence shows the verb ‘하버드 대학교에 지원하다(to apply to Harvard University)’ is the purpose of studying hard.


 Example sentences

 -The preceding sentence is the cause of the following sentence


 내일 일이 없어서 하루 종일 쉴 거예요.

 I don’t have any work to do, therefore I will rest all day long.

 *내일: tomorrow   *: work   *없다: to not exist, to not have   *하루 종일: all day long  
쉬다: to rest


 음식이 아주 맛있어서 많이 먹었어요.

 The food is very delicious, so I ate a lot.

 *음식: food    *아주: very    *맛있다: to be delicious   *많이: a lot   *먹다: to eat


- Linking two actions taking place in order


 공원에 가서 밥을 먹을 거예요.

 I will go to the park and have a meal. (I will have a meal in the park)

 *공원: park   *가다: to go   *: rice, meal   *먹다: to eat


 내일 친구 만나서 영화 볼 거예요.

 I will meet my friend tomorrow and watch a movie.

 *내일: tomorrow   *친구: friend   *만나다: to meet   *영화: movie   *보다: to watch


 - ‘-’ used to link action and the purpose or a plan after the action.


 선물을 사서 친구에게 줄 거예요.

 I am going to buy a birthday present and give it to my friend.

 *선물: present   *사다: to buy   *친구: friend   *에게: to (somebody)   *주다: to give


 운동해서 건강해질 거예요.

 I am going to exercise and get healthy.

 *운동하다: to exercise   *건강해지다: to get healthy

- Author: Niya (Trinidad and Tobago), Tina Fennell (U.K.)
- Editor: Good Job Korean team