Learn Korean: How to Use 다고 in a Sentence

Here’s a note about quoting what other people say. In English, we use the word “that” as in Mary said that Lucy was an angel. We can also make use of a comma and quotation mark as in Mary said, “Lucy is an angel”. But for now, let’s focus on the first type. In English, the verb in the direct speech transforms in the indirect speech as in the examples above (Lucy is an angel- … that Lucy was an angel). In Korean, whatever is the tense of the direct speech is similar to that of the indirect speech.

We can quote someone’s statement, question, and proposition but for now, let’s take a look at how someone’s statement is quoted indirectly in Korean. To do this, we need reported verbs such as "hear" and "say". We will also categorized the verbs into dynamic, state, and be in three different tenses since they differ a little in construction. Here's the pattern.



Dohyun: Flowers die without water. (present)

꽃들은  없으면 죽어요.
도현이는 꽃들이  없으면 죽는다고 했어요.

Dohyun: My brother went back to Korea. (past)

우리 형은 한국으로 돌아갔어.
도현이는 자기 형이 한국으로 돌아갔다고 했어요.

Dohyun: I will lend you some money. (future)

내가 너한테 돈을 빌려  거야.
도현이는 나한테 돈을 빌려  거라고 했어요.


Yonghun: Kimchi is delicious. (present)
Yongmin: I heard (from Yonghoon) that kimchi is delicious.

저는 김치가 맛있다고 들었어요.

Yonghun: The concert was fun. (past)
Yongmin: I heard (from Yonghoon) that the concert was fun.

저는 콘서트가 재미있었다고 들었어요.

Yonghun: The test will be easy.
Yongmin: I heard (from Yonghoon) that the test will be easy.

저는 시험이 쉬울 거라고 들었어요.


Wooseok: My brother is an idiot. (present)

 동생은 바보야!
우석이는 자기 동생이 바보라고 했어.

Wooseok: Mr. Lee was a writer. (past)

 선생님은 작가였어요.
우석이는  선생님이 작가였다고 했어요.

Wooseok: My gift will be a puppy. (future)

 선물은 강아지일 거야.
우석이는 자기 선물이 강아지일 거라고 했어.

If the verb stem is in present form, -ㄴ다고 is used for verbs that end with a vowel and –는다고  for verbs that end with a consonant as in 간다고 and 먹는다고.

In the past tense, -다고 is always preceded by .

In future tense, 다고 becomes 라고. We never say - 거다고.

To say someone "said" that, we can use 말했다 or just "했다".

However, 들었다 cannot be replaced by 했다.

To say "heard from", you can say (name)한테() or (name)에게()... 들었다.

For state verbs in present tense, we don't use -ㄴ다고 or -는다고. We only use 다고whether the verb ends with a consonant or a vowel as in 예쁘다고 and 잘생겼다고.

As for "be verb", we use -()라고 했다 for present tense, not 다고.

As for "be verb" in past tense, we use -다고 again as in -이었다고 했다 or -였다고 했다 depending on the final sound.