Learn Korean: How to Use 있다 in a Sentence


Let’s learn how to use the verb 있다 in a sentence. We can think of it as the verb have or its s-form has. We use have if the subject is plural and has if the subject is singular. In Korean, subject-verb agreement does not matter.

I have homework.
She has a question.

Whether it is has or have, we use the same verb, 있다. In Korean, homework is 숙제 and question is 질문. We have to switch the position of 있다 and the nouns because verbs in Korean are always at the end of a sentence.

(나는) 숙제 있다
I have homework.

(쟤는) 질문 있다
She has a question.

The subjects are enclosed because they are vulnerable to omission. 있다 is a dictionary form and must be conjugated in actual use. Here they are as follows:

formal: 있습니다
polite: 있어요
casual: 있어

숙제(가) 있습니다/있어요/있어.
I have homework.

질문(이) 있습니다/있어요/있어.
She has a question.

We can also attached the particles 이/가 (in some cases 은/는) to the noun, but they are often dropped in conversations.