Learn Difference Between 이제 And 지금

Learn NOW in Korean

Learn the difference between two types of NOWs

이제 Transition now

이제 is used to make a transition from past to future. In English, you can think of it as ‘so, now’ or ‘now going forward’. And another meaning of 이제 is ‘finally now’.

Here are the examples;

저는 버스 놓쳤어요. 이제 어떻게 하죠?
I missed the bus. So, now what should I do?
이제 행복하게 잘 지내세요. Now going forward be well and happy.
여태 미루던 걸 이제 시작했어요.
Finally now I’ve started what I’ve been putting off.

지금 Present now

지금 is at-the-moment now which is used without implying causes. 👌

Here are the examples;

저는 지금 블로그 포스트 보고 있어요.
I am reading a blog post now.
지금 뭐 하세요? (polite) 지금 뭐 해? (casual)
What are you doing now?

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How To Refer Friends In Korean

Do you know ‘Friends’ in Korean culture mean different from ones in the western world?

Friend is 친구 in Korean and you pronounce it as [chin gu]. For the natural pronunciation, it can be pronounced as [ching gu].

My experience with friends in Canada

It seems the western culture defines friends depending on how close you are to someone. This can be due to the length of time you’ve known the person or admiration towards someone etc. But, this is regardless of their age.

First I thought it was strange to see younger western kids calling someone who’s a lot older than them a friend. This can be a great advantage if you like to meet new people without having a barrier to the age hierarchy. However, this can sometimes lack a certain level of respect that Korean culture has towards someone who’s older than them.

Friends in Korean culure

Personally, I have never called someone who’s at a different age a friend. In our culture, we refer people by their statuses and titles, therefore, between close ‘Friends’ (western term), we don’t call each other ‘Friends’ if we are not the same age.

Usually when you are a student in schools (up to high school), peers you study with are mostly likely the same age as you, 99% in my personal experience. This means almost everyone you hang out with is the same age friend. I believe this can happen due to our educational system that you don’t jump ahead because you have a better grade than others.

Once you enter a college or a university, you may see more diverse age groups as men must serve in military service for two years and they usually do it during the school years. That means when they come back to school from the service, they will be older than other students. Another common reason is some people take the Suneung (Korean version of SAT) more than once to enter a school. They will be older than other students as well.

Once you get a job in the work force, you may not care about age as much because titles in a company override age. However, if you meet people outside of work, you may still need to know their age to figure out how to refer them if they prefer being called non-title.

For these reasons (probably many other reasons as well), we need to figure out who is older or younger than you by asking “How old are you? 몇살이에요?” [myeo ssarieyo]. This is not a rude question as this is necessary to determine how to refer someone. If you are asking the question to someone who is clearly older than you, this could be rude depending on the individual.

How to refer friends in Korean

Someone who’s older than you

오빠 [obba]: Older man called by a younger female
[hyeong]: Older man called by a younger male
언니 [eonni]: Older woman called by a younger female
누나 [nuna]: Older woman called by a younger male

Someone who’s younger than you

동생 [dongsaeng]: Younger sibling
남동생 [namdongsaeng]: Male younger sibling
여동생 [yeodongsaeng]: Female younger sibling
Their names

Which culture do you prefer when it comes to referring friends?”
Comment below. 🙂

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Learn 5 different Eng meanings for a Korean verb 쓰다

ONE Korean verb that has MULTIPLE meanings in English

In terms of learning new vocabulary in foreign language, it can be confusing or frustrating when you realize there are multiple meanings in one single verb in the new language.

Today’s post is all about finding out what can be translated to when you use 쓰다 verb.

쓰다 verb

As far as my knowledge at this moment, this verb can have 5 different meanings in English depending on contexts.

1. to write

For the first one, when you write a book or a letter, this is the verb you use.

오늘 저는 편지를 써요. I write a letter today. 

오늘 저는 편지를 써요.

2. to wear (glasses, hat)

The second meaning of 쓰다 is to wear specifically for glasses and a hat. We use different verbs of ‘to wear’ for different types of clothing and this will be a separate blog post.

우리 엄마는 안경을 써요. My mom wears glasses.

우리 엄마는 안경을 써요.

3. to spend (money)

For the third one, this means ‘to spend’ and this is specifically for money. In English, you can use ‘spend’ for time, but there is a different verb to say “spend time”. The #3 of 쓰다 is for “spending money”.

지난 주말에 저는 쇼핑에 돈을 많이 썼어요. Last weekend, I spent a lot of money on shopping.

주말에 저는 쇼핑에 돈을 많이 썼어요

4. to be bitter

This fourth one means ‘to be bitter’ when you express taste of certain food. I do find certain vegetables are more bitter than others.. XD

이 야채는 너무 써요. This vegetable is really bitter.

이 야채는 너무 써요

5. to use

This meaning is generally for the meaning of ‘to use’. When you use any types of things such as a cell phone or a cup and many more, you use 쓰다.

항상 새로운 방법을 쓰려고 노력해요. I always try to use new methods.

항상 새로운 방법을 쓰려고 노력해요

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Secrets To Learn Korean Vocabulary Fast

How To Improve Korean FAST

How To Describe Feelings and Improve Korean

Are you learning Korean language?

Regardless of which level you are at, you might be overwhelmed when it comes to learning Korean vocabulary.

I get this same question from my students very often. My general answer is..

It depends..!

1. Find out WHY you are learning Korean

It really does depend on many different things; especially for what purpose you are learning Korean.

You could be learning Korean because you;
– love K-POP.
– watch Korean drama all the time and you want to know what they are saying without looking at subtitles.
– admire Korean fashion and beauty products.
– want to go to Korea to teach English.
– have Korean boyfriend or girlfriend and want to learn Korean to communicate with them and their family members.
– are into online games or Korean traditional Baduk game.
and so on…

If I didn’t cover your reason here, leave a comment below, because I’d love to get to know you and how you got into Korean language 🙂

Obviously, you will have to focus on vocabulary which that you will most likely to use depending on the purpose.

2. Figure out what interests you in your language

Most likely, you will understand better in new language if you already have knowledge and understand concept about subjects in your language.

Find out today what you are genuinely interested in and associate the vocabulary from your language to Korean 🙂

3. Learn massive verbs

I think learning all the new words in new language can be daunting. For learning Korean, I highly suggest you to start with verbs. I believe that verbs are the most effective words you can deliver message with a limited number of vocabulary. A great thing about learning Korean verbs is that you can easily convert verbs into nouns, adjectives and adverbs.

Click HERE to download your FREE PDF of 245 regular verbs in all different tenses.

Korean verbs

4. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes

I started to learn English when I was at the elementary school in South Korea. I really enjoyed learning the language and was very dedicated to study it driven by my own motivation. Learning English on a day to day consistently helped me to improve the language. However, another big factor that helped me most was I was not afraid of making mistakes. I could make the most stupid mistakes and said jumbled words mixed with Korean words. But I also went up to English speakers to practice a couple of phrases I learned from schools or Hollywood movies. This was the time back in the early 90s, and it was VERY rare to see non-Koreans on streets in South Korea. These days, there are so many online websites and social medias where you can instantly be connected with people who are in the same interests. You should take advantage of that. Most importantly, don’t feel discouraged by someone who is way more proficient in Korean, because everyone at one point started from learning the Korean alphabet just like you did or you plan to do. Make progress bit by bit everyday.

Good luck!

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How To Learn Korean Number Systems

Korean Number Systems

Two Korean Number Systems

There are interestingly two number systems in Korean language.

What….? yea… and we use each system for different things.. @.@ (This is a separate topic for another post)
Historically, we were very much close to China and influenced by their language even before Korean language (Hangeul) was invented. So, we have the Chinese system and the Korean system written in Korean.

Difference Between Chinese And Korean Systems

Chinese number system is also called Sino system. Chinese system numbers sound similar to the actual numbers in Chinese. Thus, if you also speak Chinese, you will have an easier time to learn the Chinese number system.
Korean number system goes up to 99. (There is a word for 100 온 but no one uses it.) Anything above that, we use Chinese system. Let’s begin to learn how to say 1 to 10 first. 🙂

Count 1 to 10

Numbers Korean Chinese
1 하나
5 다섯
6 여섯
7 일곱
8 여덟
9 아홉

After 10, you just combine two numbers. 11 becomes 열하나 in Korean and 십일 in Chinese. 12 becomes 열둘 in Korean and 십이 in Chinese, and so on.. For the Korean system, you need to know each name for numbers that end with 0.

Count 10 to 90

Numbers Korean Chinese
20 스물 이십
30 서른 삼십
40 마흔 사십
50 오십
60 예순 육십
70 일흔 칠십
80 여든 팔십
90 아흔 구십

Count from 100

Numbers Chinese
100,000 십만
1,000,000 백만
10,000,000 천만

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You Must Know This In Korean Verbs

Have you been studying Korean for a while?

If you have been studying for a month or over a year, this topic can still be confusing if you haven’t had a chance to really understand the difference in the two types of verbs.

Intransitive verb VS Transitive verb

Intransitive verb is a type of verb that doesn’t have a direct object in a sentence.
Transitive verb is another type of verb that has one or more than one direct object in a sentence.

I still find this explanation not helpful.. I learned my English as a second language having my native mother tongue as Korean.
I was struggling to understand different language terminologies which got me confused even more..

I wish someone could explain how it worked in sentence examples and got me understand the concept this way.

As a Korean language instructor, I’ve been teaching Korean for about 10 years and helped many students who had a beginner’s level starting from alphabet to a speaking level without really teaching terminologies.

Therefore, I know this method of teaching works! 🙂

Here are two set of verbs that I will explain in this post and if you have questions, please feel free to leave comments below.

Listen to Kpop
Enjoying the sound

1. 들리다 VS 듣다

들리다 and 듣다 verbs can both be found as ‘to hear’ and ‘ to listen’ in dictionary, because that’s a natural way to interpret them in English.

However, if you are truly learning Korean and want to learn more about grammar, here is how you can think.

들리다 ‘to be heard’

들리다 is ‘to be heard’ as the Korean verb doesn’t require a direct object. That means you will always use a subject with this verb and ‘to be heard’ makes most sense and you cannot use an object with ‘to be heard’.

Example 1.

멀리서 소리가 들려요. I hear the sound from far away. ➡️ interpret to “The sound from far away is heard.”

In the example, 소리 (sound) is a subject noun and 가 is the subject particle. There is no object noun.

멀리서 소리가 들려요.

Example 2.

응급차 사이런 소리가 들렸어요. I heard the siren of an emergency vehicle.
➡️ interpret to “The siren of an emergency vehicle was heard.”

응급차 사이런 소리 (emergency siren sound) is the subject and 가 is the subject particle. There is no object noun.

응급차 사이런 소리가 들렸어요.

듣다 ‘to hear’ or ‘to listen to’

듣다 is ‘to hear’ and ‘to listen to’. The Korean verb allows/ needs a direct object. Just like the English verbs, they require a direct object.

Example 1.

제 친구의 좋은 소식을 들었어요. I heard my friend’s good news.

제 친구의 좋은 소식 (my friend’s good news) is a direct object to the verb. 을 is the object particle after a syllable that ends with a consonant. The verb here is 듣다 and it’s conjugated to 들었어요 for past tense.
A subject in this sentence is omitted but you can add 저는 as I with subject particle if you want.

제 친구의 좋은 소식을 들었어요.

Example 2.

저는 케이팝을 매일 들어요. I listen to K-POP every day.

저 is I in polite and 는 is the subject particle. 케이팝 (K-POP) is the direct object and 을 is the object particle. The verb 들어요 requires an object.

저는 케이팝을 매일 들어요.

At the finish line

2. 끝나다 VS 끝내다

끝나다 ‘to finish’

끝나다 is a verb that doesn’t require a direct object noun. English verb ‘to finish’ can have an object or not depending on the context. Therefore, think of the Korean verb as the English verb that doesn’t need an object.

Example 1.

그 영화가 끝났어요. The movie finished.

그 영화 is the subject noun and 가 is the subject particle. The verb 끝났어요 is the past tense and doesn’t allow a direct object.

그 영화가 끝났어요.

Example 2.

학교는 4시에 끝나요. School finishes at 4.

학교 is a subject noun and 는 is the subject particle. 4시에 is ‘at 4’ and 끝나요 again doesn’t allow a direct object.

학교는 4시에 끝나요.

끝내다 ‘to complete’

끝내다 is a verb that requires a direct object. Thus, it’s good to think of this verb as ‘to complete’ in English. Although ‘to finish’ can have a direct object, but that verb also doesn’t require a direct object under some circumstances. Therefore, by thinking it as ‘to complete’, it simplifies remembering the grammar rules.

Example 1.

(저는) 숙제를 끝냈어요. I completed the homework.

저 is I in polite with 는 the subject particle and 숙제 (homework) is the object noun with 를 object particle. 끝냈어요 is in past tense and required a direct object.

(저는) 숙제를 끝냈어요.

Example 2.

(저는) 2시까지 일을 끝내야 돼요. I have to complete work by 2.

저 is I in polite with 는 the subject particle and 2시까지 is by two. 일 (work) is the object noun with the 을 object particle. 끝내야 돼요 is ‘have to complete’ and required a direct object.

(저는) 2시까지 일을 끝내야 돼요.

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