Verb Conjugation – Pattern 5 – Changed Form


In Korean Digital Academy, Rob Julien describes verb conjugation with the clock theory.  In “Mastering Conversational Korean: Korean for Beginners”, they describe verb conjugation in chapter 6.  The “Pattern 5” is equivalent to the clock theory.

Basically, it takes verbs and breaks them into three categories.


Forms of the verb conjugation will either use the “unchanged” or the “changed” form of the verb stem.  For example, future tense uses the “unchanged” and past tense uses the “changed” form.Superman Changed Form Verbs

How do you get the “changed form” of the verb stem?

  1. Figure out what category of verb and add 아 / 어 / 여.
  2. Then do vowel contraction, to get to the changed form.

For example, 오다 would be 오 + ㅏ => 와 changed form.


Just so happens that “ㅏ” verbs stay the same when you add the -아.  Here are the vowel contractions for the rest of the verbs except hada verbs.


So verbs with ㅏ, ㅓ, ㅐ, ㅔ won’t change.  Phew.  So you only have to remember to change ㅗ, ㅜ, ㅡ, ㅣ.

The last category is hada verbs with unchanged 하 and changed form 해.

Pattern_5.3OK, give me a chart so I am sure I’ve got this straight in my head how to get the changed form of all the verb types.

Unchanged Changed Example
 가  가 가다 to go
 보    보다 to watch
 배우  배워  배우다 to learn
 먹  먹  먹다 to eat
 쓰    쓰다 to write
 하  해  노래하다 to sing

Now conjugate into past, present, and future.


Past Present Future
갔어요 가요 갈 거예요
 봤어요 봐요 볼 거예요
배웠어요 배워요 배울 거예요
먹었어요 먹어요 먹을 거예요
썼어요 써요 쓸 거예요
노래했어요  노래해요 노래할 거예요

Refer to Korean Digital Academy Video #18b: Conjugation Practice and Review.

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