Tuesday, September 20, 2011

What is 다 (da)?

Usually when you hear people speaking Korean, you'll hear a lot of the same sounds. If you know anything about Korean, you can always distinguish it when you hear people ending their sentences in ....니다 (...nida) or 요 (...yo). But, maybe when you look up a word in the dictionary or get a list of vocabulary words to study, you may see verbs ending with (da). So, today, let's look at what this is used for.

(da) is the basic verb ending. One of the first words a learner of Korean may learn is the word "go". A text book may show it like this:

가다 (ga-da)- to go

But, it is a little confusing because we can't really use this 가다 in a sentence when we're speaking because this is in the base form. When you want to say the word "go", you'll need to conjugate it. Let's see how that works:

가다 -----remove 다-----> 가-  -----add verb ending----> 가요

We added the "요" to express the polite present tense form (아/어요). This works for any regular verb and any ending:

찾다-----remove 다-----> 찾-  -----add verb ending----> 찾아요 "find"
좋다-----remove 다-----> 좋-  -----add verb ending---->좋아요 "good"
읽다-----remove 다-----> 읽-  -----add verb ending----> 읽어요 "read"

It gets a little trickier with irregulars, but with a little practice you'll get the gist. There are patterns and and you will learn them, but for now, just memorize the basic conjugations.

하다-----remove 다-----> 하-  -----add verb ending----> 해요 "do" (하-->해)
오다-----remove 다-----> 오-  -----add verb ending----> 와요 "come" (오 --> 와)
보다-----remove 다-----> 보-  -----add verb ending----> 봐요 "see" (보 --> 봐)

숙제 Homework:
Conjugate the following verbs into any tense you like and make a sentence (if you can). Show off the tenses you know and be creative! (all levels)

가르치다 (ga-ru-chi-da)- to teach
신다 (shin-da)- to wear (on one's feet, ie. shoes, socks)
먹다 (meok-da)- to eat


  1. Answer to the homework:
    Basic formal present tense conjugation:

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  3. Just a couple of days ago I was wondering why there was a 다 and a 요
    Thanks for the explanation! :)

  4. I remember being confused too when I first started learning! I thought this would be useful for folks!

  5. 선생님는 한국어 가르쳐요.그레서 우리 공부헤요.(correct?)

  6. It is almost correct.
    It is better to say "선생님은 한국어 가르쳐요. 그래서 우리 공부해요."
    or "선생님은 한국어를 가르쳐요. 그래서 우리는 공부해요." is also ok.