Korean Verb Conjugation (The ㅣ Case)


Let’s learn how to conjugate these Korean verbs in present tense.

마시다 to drink
끼다 to wear (ring)
뿌리다 to spray

찍다 to take (picture)
밀다 to push
믿다 to believe

The first thing that you probably notice is the syllable 다. It is called the dictionary form similar to the preposition to in the meanings above. We do not use to in an actual sentence. Similarly, we do not say 다 when making sentences in Korean. We have to get rid of it and what remains is the verb stem. 

마시
뿌리

찍 
믿

When conjugating, we only need the verb stem. Can you see what they have in common? That’s right, each syllable has the vowel ㅣ. The first three literally ends in ㅣ while the second three has an extra consonant at the bottom. The rule says that when a verb stem ends in ㅣ, we conjugate it by attaching 어(요).

마시어요
끼어요
뿌리어요

찍어요
밀어요
믿어요

The first three can be simplified by fusing ㅣ and ㅓ into ㅕ (a dipthong).

마셔요
껴요
뿌려요

The second group doesn’t need any contraction, but there is a sort of blending. The consonant just before 어(요) is pronounced as if it is the initial sound of the second syllable.

찍어요- 찌거요
밀어요- 미러요
믿어요- 미더요

Now, we can make Korean sentences in present tense.

하나님 믿어요.
I believe in God.

소주만 마셔요.
I only drink soju.

샤워해도 반지 껴요.
I wear a ring even when I take a shower.