Level 9 Korean Grammar

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Advanced Idiomatic Expressions / 손 (Hand)


-아/어/여 버리다 / completed action


Advanced Situational Expressions: When You Are Unhappy


-고 말다 / (unintended) completed action


Advanced Situational Expressions: When you are worried


Advanced Idiomatic Expressions – 발 (foot)


Word Builder 18 / 비 (非)


Advanced Situational Expressions: Asking a favor


-(으)ㅁ / simplifying a sentence ending


Sentence Building Drill 15


Advanced Idiomatic Expressions – 마음 (mind, heart)


-아/어/여 보이다 / looks like, seems like


Word Builder 19 / 신 (新)


Advanced Situational Expressions: 후회할 때


Advanced Idiomatic Expressions – 기분 (feeling)


-(으)ㄹ 테니(까) / in return for, since it will be ...


-(으/느)ㄴ 이상 / as long as, since


-(으)ㄹ까 보다 / expressing concern or reason for a decision


Advanced Situational Expressions: 오랜만에 만났을 때


Sentence Building Drill 16


Advanced Idiomatic Expressions – 생각 (thought, idea)


Word builder 20 / 시 (示, 視)


-(으)면서 / while


-(ㄴ/는)다면서(요), -(이)라면서(요) / didn't you say ...


Advanced Situational Expressions: 길을 물어볼 때


Advanced Idiomatic Expressions – 시간 (time)


-더니 / this happened and then that happened


-(으)ㄹ 바에 / might as well, I would rather


Advanced Situational Expressions: 차가 막힐 때


Sentence Building Drill 17

-(으)ㅁ / simplifying a sentence ending

-(으)ㅁ is commonly used in everyday Korean in both formal and informal settings, and you can simplify the structure of a sentence that would otherwise be a bit more complicated.

In this lesson, we are introducing a new verb ending which can be used, mainly, in three different ways. -(으)ㅁ is commonly used in everyday Korean in both formal and informal settings, and you can simplify the structure of a sentence that would otherwise be a bit more complicated. 

-(으)ㅁ changes a verb into a noun form. When the verb stem ends with a vowel, you just add -ㅁ, and when it ends with a consonant, you add -음 at the end. Let us look at the different usages and how -(으)ㅁ is different from other verb endings that make noun forms. 

Usage #1

By attaching -(으)ㅁ after a verb stem, you can transform the verb into a noun. Basically any verb can be made into a noun in this manner, but there are certain words that are used so commonly in this nominalized form that they are also used as stand-alone nouns. The following are some of the most common examples:  

웃다 (to laugh) - 웃음 (laughter, smile) 

울다 (to cry) - 울음 (crying, weeping)

믿다 (to believe, to trust) - 믿음 (belief, trust)

알다 (to know) - 앎 (knowing, knowledge)

살다 (to live) - 삶 (life) 

얼다 (to freeze) - 얼음 (ice)

졸다 (to doze) - 졸음 (sleepiness, drowsiness)

슬프다 (to be sad) - 슬픔 (sadness) 

기쁘다 (to be happy) - 기쁨 (pleasure, joy)

아프다 (to be painful, to be sick) - 아픔 (pain, agony) 

젊다 (to be young) - 젊음 (youth)

꾸다 (to dream (a dream)) - 꿈 (dream)

지다 (to carry (luggage) on one's back) - 짐 (luggage)

추다 (to dance) - 춤 (dance) 

자다 (to sleep) - 잠 (sleep) 

Some of these verbs, such as 추다, 지다, 꾸다 always have to be used together with their noun forms, whereas some other verbs like 자다 and 살다 can be used with or without the nouns.

자다 and 살다 can be used on their own or together with their noun forms, like 잠을 자다 (to sleep) and 삶을 살다 (to live a life). One of the reasons one might use the noun form too is to modify the noun with other adjectives. 

추다, 지다, and 꾸다 can NOT be used on their own, because the meaning won't be clear enough. You always need to use them as a pair, such as 춤을 추다 (to dance), 짐을 지다 (to carry luggage on one's back), and 꿈을 꾸다 (to have a dream). 

Usage #2

-(으)ㅁ can be used to make a sentence or clause into a noun group, so that you can then use the noun group as an object or the subject of the larger sentence structure. 

Difference between -다는/라는 것 and -(으)ㅁ


오늘이 제 생일임을 아무도 몰랐어요. 

= Nobody knew that today was my birthday.

In the sentence above, "오늘이 제 생일이에요" has been changed to the noun group, "오늘이 제 생일임" and is now the object of the verb 모르다, meaning that nobody knew "오늘이 제 생일임" or "the fact that today is my birthday". 

In most casual conversations, you should use -다는 것 or -라는 것 instead of -(으)ㅁ.  -(으)ㅁ sounds much more formal than -다는 것 or -라는 것, therefore -(으)ㅁ is used more in official documents or more formal situations. 

그 사람은 한국 사람이에요.

= He is a Korean person.

그 사람이 한국 사람임을 저는 알고 있었어요. 

= 그 사람이 한국 사람이라는 것을 저는 알고 있었어요. 

= I knew that he was Korean.

* The second sentence with -이라는 것을 is more likely to be used in everyday colloquial speech, but in written language, such as in novels, news articles, official statements, etc., you will often see -임을. 

** Please note that the marker -은 in 그 사람은 was changed to -이 in the longer sentences. In compound sentences like these, the marker -은/는 often changes to -이/가 when the sentence becomes a part of a bigger structure. 

Difference between -기 and -(으)ㅁ


그 사람은 자신이 무죄임을 주장했어요.

= He claimed that he was innocent. 

(In this sentence, you can see the clause “자신이 무죄이다” inside the bigger structure “그 사람은 주장했어요.”)


그 사람은 한국어를 배우기를 시작했어요. 

= He started learning Korean.

(In this sentence, you can see that “한국어를 배우다” has been changed to the noun form of “한국어를 배우기” to be used as the object of 시작하다.) 

The basic difference between -기 and -(으)ㅁ is that these two endings are usually used together with different types of verbs:



옳다 (= to be right)

쉽다 (= to be easy )

나쁘다 (= to be bad/wrong)

어렵다(= to be difficult)

분명하다 (= to be certain)

좋다 (= to like)

확실하다 (= to be sure)

싫다 (= to hate)

발견하다 (= to discover)

바라다 (= to hope)

알다 (= to know)

시작하다(= to begin)

주장하다 (= to claim, to insist)

계속하다(= to continue)

알리다 (= to tell/notify)

멈추다(= to stop)


약속하다(= to promise)


He is difficult to meet.

= 그 사람은 만나기가 어려워요. (o)

그 사람은 만남이 어려워요. (x) 

I proved that I am innocent. 

= 무죄임을 증명했어요. (o)

무죄이기를 증명했어요. (x) 

Usage #3

-(으)ㅁ can also be used at the end of a sentence when it is not clear which formality level or sentence ending one should use. This usage is often found in written memos, warnings, reports, dictionaries, laws, notices, etc.  


1. "진석진" 씨에게 전화 왔음. 

= Someone called "진석진" called you. 

When you answer the phone for your coworker when she's away, you can leave a memo like this. You could write "전화 왔어요" or "전화 왔습니다", but since you're not really "talking" to this person and it's a simple delivery of information, you can just use the neutral -(으)ㅁ ending. This is neither 반말 nor 존댓말. 

2. 읽음.

= (It has been) read. 

When you send a message to someone on your mobile phone or write an e-mail, when the recipient receives and reads the message, your phone or e-mail might say "읽음" to let you know that the other person read it. -(으)ㅁ is used instead of “읽었어요” or “읽었습니다” because it is much more neutral and shorter to use. 

3. 모르고 있음.

= He doesn't know. 

You can see this kind of subtitle on Korean TV shows. If one person doesn't know a fact that everybody else knows, you might see “모르고 있음” or “아직 모르고 있음” written on the screen, which means "he doesn't know" or "he doesn't know yet". 

-(으)ㅁ is commonly used in everyday Korean in both formal and informal settings, and you can simplify the structure of a sentence that would otherwise be a bit more complicated.
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