Level 1 Lesson 16 / Basic Present Tense / -아요, -어요, -여요

In this TTMIK lesson, we are looking at how to change a verb in its dictionary form into the basic present tense. In Korean, when you look up a verb in a dictionary, everything ends in the letter 다 [da], and you have to get rid of that in order to conjugate the verb. And after that, you add 아요, 어요, or 여요. Listen in to find out how to determine which one of these should follow the verb stem when you say something in the present tense. Be sure to pick up the FREE PDF, and also try making some sample sentences of your own. Video responses are welcome as well!

Click here to check out the page on 아/어/여 + 요 in Korean Wiki Project.

You can download both the PDF lesson notes and the MP3 audio track for this lesson below, and if you want to learn with our various textbooks and workbooks, you can get them on our online bookstore at MyKoreanStore.com. If you have any questions about this lesson, please leave us comments below!

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Level 1 Lesson 16 / Basic Present Tense / -아요, -어요, -여요
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  • Chess8Ko

    가다 = 가요
    먹다 = 먹어요
    보다 = 봐요
    보이다 = 보여요
    하다 = 해요

    놀다 = 놀여요 ?

    • sandra

      놀다 -> 놀아요 because the last vowel in the stem 놀 is ㅗ

  • Adam Otter

    “Verb stem? 보이
    What is it followed by? 어요
    보이 + 어요 —> 보여요”

    Ah yes, of course!! 보이어요 makes 보여요. i+o=ye SO easy to remember.
    This language is made out of lies :<

    • Luan

      여 is pronounced as yeo not ye :o… Or if that’s what you meant, sorry for correcting you XD Your comment seemed kind of synical that’s why I replied xD

    • Adam Otter

      Oops, missed an o there, thanks! I was a bit frustrated with this lesson because I’ve learned about the present tense in a different way, so I was just confused 😀

    • Luan

      Oh how so? You took another course before? I also come from another course but I remember this being the same as the previous one I had attended. The previous course, however, didn’t start with the conjugated version, but with the plain version of the present/past/future tense. I honestly think TTMIK does it better than any other course I have seen so far, since the way they explain it is a lot clearer. It’s often also thanks to the lay-out they apply.

    • Adam Otter

      Yeah, before discovering TTMIK I used to learn from an old course book that I found online. This course is way better! 🙂

  • Sneaky15

    To climb is 오르, so would this be correct for ‘I climb a tree. ‘ ?
    나무 오루 어요. I would be really grateful if someone could check! 😀

    • Luan

      I wish I could tell you it was right, but it’s not. 르 verbs are exceptional verbs when adding ~아/어. The conjugation differs from that of others. I would recommend not paying attention to this just yet, but I can tell you that ”I climb” (present tense) is conjugated as 올라요. It therefore would be translated as: 나는 나무를 올라요.

    • Sneaky15

      Okay, thank you!

  • JAlba

    So when u have a verb stem that ends with ㅡ, how do u know when to do conjugate to 아요, 았어요 etc?

    • Luan

      It’s not an ”ㅏ” or ”ㅗ”, therefore you add ”어요” (present tense) or ”었어요” (past tense). Let’s take the word ”쓰다” for example. As the last vowel in the stem is ”ㅡ”, you add ”어요” or ”었어요”. This then becomes ”써요” (present tense) or ”썼어요” (past tense). *This does NOT become ”쓰어요” or ”쓰었어요”, as the stem merges with the conjugation.

    • Stay Thirsty

      Why does “아프다” become “아파요” rather than “아퍼요”?

    • Andreas Jacobsen

      When the last vowel is a ㅡ you look at the verb before that (if any. Otherwise look at ㅡ and conjugate with 어요). Here you look at 아 before 프 which gives you 파 instead of 퍼.

  • Anna

    So if there is no vowels after 이 in word than I should add 여요?

  • 멜리사

    how about to study? in present tense?

    • Tessa

      It should be 공부해요

  • Jadwiga Bajurska

    Thank you for this lesson, it was really well explained and so easy to understand! I love studying with TTMIK and I’m so grateful for your online lessons, 감사합니다!

  • Stay Thirsty

    If you’re supposed to use “어요” for stems that have a last vowel other thanㅏ, or ㅗ why does “아프다” become “아파요” rather than “아퍼요”?

  • Tessa

    I’m not having too much trouble with this lesson, but I’m not sure how to conjugate 쉬다. Is it 쉬요 or쉬어요 or something else? Thanks!

  • Michelle Garcia

    How would you conjugate the verb 부른다 in the present tense? Would it be 불려요? I am making a sample dialogue to practice writing and I want to say something like “I call the waiter (over).” 웨이타를 불려요. Is that even the correct verb to use? Note: The scene is at a restaurant.

    • Ivis Benavides

      The verb is 부르다 and it would be 불려요 once you conjugate it. I’m not sure if this is the correct verb to use though but it does mean “to call(out)” so the “웨이터를 불려요” would mean “I call the waiter”. There might be a better verb to use but i’m not sure.

    • Michelle Garcia


  • Maggie Philena Betz

    will the word be conjugated similarly to hada every single time that [i] is the final letter of the root like boida or is that a case by case thing.

    • Ivis Benavides

      As far as I’ve seen it’s always the same