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‘ㅅ’ irregular conjugation in Korean: e.g. 낫다, 짓다

learning korean Jan 27, 2023
ㅅ irregular verb conjugation, Korean grammar, irregular conjugation

- Author: Paloma Harris (South Africa)

- Editor: Good Job Korean team  

 ‘’ irregular conjugation rules


 Rule #1. Vowel-Suffix Combination

 If you combine ‘’ irregular verbs with a suffix that starts with a vowel, you drop ‘’. For example, when you conjugate ‘’ irregular verbs to the present tense, you use the same conjugation rule and then drop the final consonant ‘’. This is because the suffix that is used for the present tense are Vowel-suffixes (//)


 Ex 1: Suffix //(present tense)

 낫다(to get better) -> 낫아요 -> 나아요 (Be well/Get well)

 짓다(to build) -> 짓어요 -> 지어요 (I build)


 Ex 2: Suffix (‘if’ ending)

 낫다 -> 낫으면  -> 나으면 (If you get well)

 짓다 -> 짓으면 -> 지으면 (If you build)



 Don’t shorten repeated vowels when you conjugate "" irregular verbs!



 Regular conjugation

 가다(to go) -> + 아요 -> 가요 (‘’ is dropped)

 ‘’ irregular conjugation

 낫다(to get well) -> + 아요 -> 나아요 (NOT 나요)


 Rule#2. Consonant-Suffix Combination

 When ‘’ irregular verbs are conjugated with a suffix that starts with a consonant (e.g. 있어요), you don’t drop ‘’ final consonant.


 Ex 1: Suffix 있어요 (progressive tense)

 낫다 -> 낫고 있어요 (I am getting better)

 짓다-> 짓고 있어요. (I am building)


 Ex 2: Suffix 않아요 (negative verb ending)

 낫다 -> 낫지 않아요. (I don’t get better)

 짓다-> 짓고 있어요. (I am building)




 List of ‘’ irregular verbs


  • 잇다 (to connect/to link)

 ->이어요/이었어요/이을 거예요

  • 낫다 (to be cured/to be better/to get well)

 ->나아요/나았어요/나을 거예요

  • 붓다 (to swell/to pour)

 ->부어요/부었어요/부을 거예요

  • 긋다 (to draw (a line))

 ->그어요/그었어요/그을 거예요

  • 젓다 (to stir/to whip)

 ->저어요/저었어요/저을 거예요

  • 짓다 (to name/to build/to write)

 ->지어요/지었어요/지을 거예요



 "" irregular conjugation rules do not apply with compound final consonant verb stems (e.g 없다)

Now, Let’s check the list of ‘’ irregular verbs!


 List of ‘’ Regular verbs


There are also verbs that has a ‘’ ending verb stem but follow regular conjugation rules.


  • 웃다 (to laugh)

 ->웃어요/웃었어요/웃을 거예요

  • 씻다 (to wash/to take a shower)

 ->씻어요/씻었어요/씻을 거예요

  • 벗다 (to take off)

 ->벗어요/벗었어요/벗을 거예요

  • 솟다 (to rise)

 ->솟아요/솟았어요/솟을 거예요

  • 빼앗다 (to take by force)

 ->빼앗아요/빼앗았어요/빼앗을 거예요


Example sentences of ‘’ irregular conjugation verbs


 어느 옷이 더 나아요?

 Which outfit is better?

 *어느: which   *: clothes, outfit   *: comparative degree(more, -er)   *낫다: to get well


 모기가 물어서 눈이 부었어요.

 A mosquito bit me, so my eye became swollen.

 *모기: mosquito   *물다: to bite   *: eye   붓다: to swell


 친구들과 모래성을 지을 거예요.

 I will build a sand castle with my friends.

 *친구: friend   *모래성: sand castle   *짓다: to build


 집을 짓고 있어요.

 I am building a house.

 *: house   *짓다: to build   *-고 있다: am doing something


 상처가 아직 낫지 않았어요.

 The wound didn’t get better yet.

 *상처: wound   *아직: yet   *낫다: to get better, to get well


 집에 돌아오면 손을 씻어요. (Regular conjugation)

 When I get back home, I wash my hand.

 *집: home   *돌아오다: get back, come back   *: hand, hands    *씻다: to wash


 텔레비전을 보면서 많이 웃었어요. (Regular conjugation)

 I laughed a lot while watching television.

 *텔레비전: television    *보다: to watch   *많이: a lot   *웃다: to laugh   *-면서: while (doing sth)

- Author: Paloma Harris (South Africa)

- Editor: Good Job Korean team