Korean Verb Transformations

The irregular verbs in English are those that undergo change in their past simple form such as go, eat, and sleep. Instead of attaching ‘d’ or ‘ed’, we say went, ate, and slept. Korean also has irregular verbs but not only in their past form. These verbs undergo unpredictable changes when conjugated into all kinds of tenses. One of the changes includes dropping the final consonant or replacing it with another character. To better understand this, let’s categorize the irregular verbs into six based on their similarity in nature. Take note that not all verbs that end with the following alphabets are irregular.

The  VERBS- The final  is dropped before vowels.

짓다지어요 (to build)
낫다나아요 (to recover)
붓다부어요 (to pour)
젓다저어요 (to stir)

REGULAR: 벗다벗어요 (to take off), 웃다웃어요 (to laugh), 씻다씻어요 (to wash), etc.

The  VERBS- The final  is changed into  or ㅜ.

돕다-도와요 (to help)
고맙다고마워 (to be thankful)
무겁다무거워요 (to be heavy)
반갑다반가워요 (be pleased)
맵다매워요 (to be spicy)
춥다추워요 (to be cold)

REGULAR: 잡다잡아요 (to catch), 입다입어요 (to wear), 뽑다 (to pull out), etc.

The  VERBS- The final  changed into .

걷다걸어요 (to walk)
묻다물어요 (to ask)
듣다들어요 (to listen)

REGULAR: 받다받아요 (to receive), 닫다닫아요 (to close), 믿다믿어요 (to believe), etc.

The    VERBS- The  is added when the final   is dropped.

부르다-불러요 (to call)
다르다달라요 (to be different)
누르다눌러요 (to press)
빠르다빨라요 (to be fast)
고르다골라요 (to select)
흐르다흘러요 (to flow)

The  VERBS- The final  is dropped before vowels and the endings  or  are changed into .

그렇다그래요 (to be that way)
이렇다이래요 (to be this way)
저렇다저래요 (to be that way)
어떻다어때요 (to be how)
빨갛다빨개요 (to be red)
까맣다까매요 (to be black)
파랗다파래요 (to be blue) 
그렇다그래요 (to be that way)

The  VERBS- The final  is dropped when followed by , and . They are not dropped in normal conjugations, but only in cases when are used with –ㅂ니다, -()세요, and –.

(to know)
(to play)
(to sell)
(to carry)
(to live)

(to open)
(to cry)
(to make)