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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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..
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.
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.
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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.
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’.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
(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) 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.
Learning numbers in Korean itself can be overwhelming. Once you master numbers, you think you can easily figure out how to say Date in Korean.
But, if you don’t know the rules provided in this post, you still may be in a confusing state. If you are encountering the situation, I will help you learn how to use Date. You are in the right place. 😉
First, let’s learn to say the words.
Year: 년 [nyeon] Month: 월 [weor] Day: 일 [ir]
You must know these three rules below when you say date in Korean.
Rule 1. Korean date ALWAYS starts with Year.
In fact, the order in Date in Korean doesn’t change. It’s always Year (년) – Month (월) – Day (일).
Therefore, it’s always easy to recognize which is for what.
However, in English, it usually seems to start with month, but sometimes also start with date or year. As someone who lives in Canada, this has confused me. I first thought it was because I was an immigrant here. Later on, I realized it was not just me who was confused about it as I witnessed other born and raised Canadian also had the same problems. XD
Maybe that’s whyRule 3 is created to solve the issue.
First of all, did you know there are two different number systems in Korean language?
Chinese (Sino) system and Korean system
I won’t explain details about the two systems as that’s going to be a topic for a separate post. I’d like to mention here you would need to use the Chinese (Sino) number system with Date.
Korean number system goes up to 100 (Korean people don’t really use 100 온 in a daily life). Any figure that can have over 100 ends up used with the Chinese system. In the date case, you use the Chinese number system for all 년, 월, 일.
Rule 3. Korean month 월 is always associated with numbers
Korean month is always associated with numbers which means there are no words to describe specific month like English. For example, number 4 has a representative word which is April.
As I mentioned in Rule 1, maybe someone had to invent the words to clear the confusion as the order of date in English can be versatile. But, of course, this is just my total assumption.
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I am going to show you country names of the world and how to write them in Korean based on English or original language phonetic sound. When you read Korean, it may not be exactly the same sound you are used to as there are certain English letters that Korean alphabet doesn’t have.
Here is how we replace English letters to Korean letters. But this can change really depending on how the syllables make up a sound.
Korean letter replacement
ㅂ / ㅍ
ㄷ / ㄸ / ㅅ / ㅆ/ ㅌ
r / l
We (Korean) may have chosen to use Korean words to say Island, Democratic Republic and United included in some country names.
The recordings repeat each country twice. The first time is the sound for each broken down syllable and the second time is the sound to speak it naturally.
You can play the recordings placed below each English alphabet letters (from a to z) to confirm how to say the names in Korean.
How To Say South Korea and North Korea in Korean
대한민국 or 한국 South Korea (official name: Republic of Korea) 북한 North Korea (official name: Democratic people’s republic of Korea)
How To Say All Other Countries
Afghanistan 아프가니스탄 Albania 알바니아 Algeria 알제리 Andorra 안도라 Angola 앙골라 Argentina 아르헨티나 Armenia 아르메니아 Australia 호주 Austria 오스트리아 Azerbaijan 아제르바이잔
Bahamas 바하마 Bahrain 바레인 Bangladesh 방글라데시 Barbados 바베이도스 Belarus 벨라루스 Belgium 벨기에 Belize 벨리즈 Benin 베냉 Bhutan 부탄 Bolivia 볼리비아 Bosnia and Herzegovina 보스니아헤르체고비나 Botswana 보츠와나 Brazil 브라질 Brunei 브루나이 Bulgaria 불가리아 Burkina Faso 부르키나 파소 Burundi 부룬디
Cabo Verde 카보베르데 Cambodia 캄보디아 Cameroon 카메룬 Canada 캐나다 Central African Republic 남아프리카 공화국 Chad 차드 Chile 칠레 China 중국 Colombia 콜롬비아 Comoros 코모로 Cook Islands 쿡제도 Costa Rica 코스타리카 Croatia 크로아티아 Cuba 쿠바 Cyprus 키프로스 Czech Republic 체코
Democratic Republic of the Congo 콩고 민주 공화국 Denmark 덴마크 Djibouti 지부티 Dominica 도미니카 Dominican Republic 도미니카 공화국
Ecuador 에콰도르 Egypt 이집트 El Salvador 엘살바도르 Equatorial Guinea 적도 기니 Eritrea 에리트레아 Estonia 에스토니아 Ethiopia 에티오피아
Faroe Islands 페로 제도 Fiji 피지 Finland 핀란드 France 프랑스
Gabon 가봉 Gambia 감비아 Georgia 조지아 Germany 독일 Ghana 가나 Greece 그리스 Grenada 그레나다 Guatemala 과테말라 Guinea 기니 Guinea-Bissau 기니비사우 Guyana 가이아나
Haiti 아이티 Honduras 온두라스 Hungary 헝가리
Iceland 아이슬란드 India 인도 Indonesia 인도네시아 Iran 이란 Iraq 이라크 Ireland 아일랜드 Israel 이스라엘 Italy 이탈리아
Jamaica 자메이카 Japan 일본 Jordan 요르단
Kazakhstan 카자흐스탄 Kenya 케냐 Kiribati 키리바시 Kuwait 쿠웨이트 Kyrgyzstan 키르기스스탄
Madagascar 마다가스카르 Malawi 말라위 Malaysia 말레이시아 Maldives 몰디브 Mali 말리 Malta 몰타 Marshall Islands 마셜 Mauritania 모리타니 Mauritius 모리셔스 Mexico 멕시코 Micronesia 미크로네시아 Monaco 모나코 Mongolia 몽골 Montenegro 몬테네그로 Morocco 모로코 Mozambique 모잠비크 Myanmar 미얀마
Namibia 나미비아 Nauru 나우루 Nepal 네팔 Netherlands 네덜란드 New Zealand 뉴질랜드 Nicaragua 니카라과 Niger 니제르 Nigeria 나이지리아 Niue 니우에 섬 Norway 노르웨이
Pakistan 파키스탄 Palau 팔라우 Panama 파나마 Papua New Guinea 파푸아뉴기니 Paraguay 파라과이 Peru 페루 Philippines 필리핀 Poland 폴란드 Portugal 포르투갈
Republic of Moldova 몰도바 Romania 루마니아 Russia 러시아 Rwanda 르완다
Saint Kitts and Nevis 세인트키츠 네비스 Saint Lucia 세인트루시아 Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 세인트빈센트그레나딘 Samoa 사모아 San Marino 산마리노 Sao Tome and Principe 상투메프린시페 Saudi Arabia 사우디아라비아 Senegal 세네갈 Serbia 세르비아 Seychelles 세이셸 Sierra Leone 시에라리온 Singapore 싱가폴 Slovakia 슬로바키아 Slovenia 슬로베니아 Solomon Islands 솔로몬 제도 Somalia 소말리아 South Africa 남아프리카 공화국 South Sudan 남수단 Spain 스페인 Sri Lanka 스리랑카 Sudan 수단 Suriname 수리남 Swaziland 스와질란드 Sweden 스웨덴 Switzerland 스위스 Syria 시리아
Tadjikistan 타지키스탄 Taiwan 대만 Tanzania 탄자니아 Thailand 태국 The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia 구 유고슬라비아 마케도니아 공화국 Timor-Leste 동티모르 Togo 토고 Tokelau 토켈라우 Tonga 통가 Trinidad and Tobago 트리니다드토바고 Tunisia 튀니지 Turkey 터키 Turkmenistan 투르크메니스탄 Tuvalu 투발루
Uganda 우간다 Ukraine 우크라이나 United Arab Emirates 아랍 에미리트 연합국 United Kingdom 영국 United Republic of Tanzania 탄자니아 United States of America 미국 Uruguay 우루과이 Uzbekistan 우즈베키스탄
Vanuatu 비누아투 Vatican City 바티칸시국 Venezuela 베네주엘라 Vietnam 베트남
Zambia 잠비아 Zimbabwe 짐바브웨
Please let me know if I missed any country and comment below where you are from by filling the blank with your country name 🙂