Sunday, December 18, 2011

Transitive and Intransitive Verbs 타동사와 자동사

타동사 means transitive verb and 자동사 means an intransitive verb. Intransitive verbs don’t need an object, but transitive verbs need an object. The object is sometimes hidden. Let’s look at two phrases below.

원숭이가 동물원에 있어요.  A monkey is(exists) in a zoo. 
“있어요” means “exist”. It is the intransitive verb, because it doesn’t have any object.

나는 커피를 마셨어요.  I drank coffee. 
“마셨어요” means “drank”. It’s a transitive verb, because it has 커피 as an object.

The worst thing about this grammar point is that some English verbs have both transitive and intransitive meanings in the same word, but there are different Korean verbs depending on what you want to say.

Let’s see the dialog below to better understand this grammar point.

숙이 : 어제 무엇을 했어요? What did you do yesterday?
                    하다 : to do (transitive verb) 무엇 : object

똘이 : 어제 학교에서 한국어를 가르쳤어요. I taught Korean at school
                    가르치다 : to teach (transitive verb)   한국어 : object

숙이 : 수업이 언제 끝났어요? When did the class finish?
                    끝나다 : to finish (intransitive verb) 수업 : subject

똘이 : 수업을 일찍 끝냈어요. I finished the class early.
                    끝내다 : to finish (transitive verb) 수업 : object
           그래서 5시에 끝났어요. So, it finished at 5 o’clock.
                    끝나다 : to finish (intransitive verb)

하다 and 가르치다 are transitive verbs, they are same in English. Both 끝내다 and 끝나다 can be translated as “to finish” in English, but 끝내다 is a transitive verb and 끝나다 is an intransitive verb.
Also, as you can see, 은/는 and 이/가 are usually used as a subject marker, 을/를 are object markers.
To learn more about the subject marker and topic marker, please check another post -

Is it confusing? Relax! You don’t need to worry about this grammar point in most cases. Let’s check several cases you need to pay attention.

1. 좋다 to be good (V.I)  Vs  좋아하다 to like (V.T)
좋다 > 이 자전거는 좋아요.  This bicycle is good.
좋다 > 어떤 음식이 좋아요?  Which food is good?
좋아하다 > 누구를 좋아해요?  Who do you like?
좋아하다 > 김치찌개를 좋아해요?  Do you like the kimchi stew?

2. 서다  to stop, to stand up, to have an erection (V.I)  Vs  
        세우다  to stop something, to make something stand up, to erect (V.T) 
서다 > 버스가 섰어요.  The bus stopped.
서다 > 야한 영화 때문에 섰어요.  I have an erection because of an erotic movie.
세우다 > 차를 여기에 세워 주세요.  Please stop the car here.
세우다 > 세워 주세요.  Please give me an erection. (to your girlfriend or someone else..ㅋㅋㅋ)

3. 죽다  to die (V.I)  Vs  죽이다  to kill (V.T) 
죽다 > 내 개가 죽었어요.  My dog died.
죽다 > 죽어버릴거야!  I will just die!
죽이다 > 내가 내 개를 죽였어요.  I killed my dog.
죽이다 > 죽여버릴거야!  I will just kill you!

4. 끝나다  to finish (V.I)  Vs  끝내다  to finish something (V.T) 
끝나다 > 수업이 언제 끝났어요?  When did the class finish?
끝내다 > 수업을 언제 끝냈어요?  When did you finish the class?

5. 정지하다  to stop, to halt (V.I)  Vs  정지시키다  to stop (V.T) 
정지하다 > 버스가 갑자기 정지했어요.  The bus suddenly stopped.
정지시키다 > 신용카드를 정지시켜 주세요.  Please stop my credit card.

6. 타다  to burn (V.I)  Vs  태우다  to burn (V.T) 
타다 > 밥이 탔어요.  The rice burned.
태우다 > 밥을 태웠어요.  I burned the rice.