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과거 시제 Past tense

 


 

-었/았, and -았었/었었

They indicates the past action that happened in recent, but also expresses the completion of an action. '았' is used if the stem ends in a bright vowel such as 'ㅏ', or 'ㅗ'. '었' is used when the stem ends in other vowels such as 'ㅓ', 'ㅡ', 'ㅐ', 'ㅜ', 'ㅔ' or 'ㅣ', etc.

The ending '-어요.' is used for the past tense. When the stem has a 받침 (syllable-final consonant), it becomes stem+었/았다.

For polite speech, you need to add a honorific suffix '-(으)시' before 었/았. '-으시' is used when the stem ends in a consonant, while '-시' is used for the stem that ends in a vowel.

Example)

선생님께서 집에 오셨어요. The teacher came (my) home.

오다's stem is 오, so you add -(으)시 었/았어요 after 오.

Verb   Past tense
Verb    
보다. [to see]았 + 어요.보았어요. → 봤어요.
받다. [to receive]았 + 어요.받았어요.
하다. [to do]았 + 어요.했어요. NOT 핬어요.
먹다. [to eat]었 + 어요. 먹었어요.
찾다. [to find]았 + 어요.찾았어요.
세다. [to count]었 + 어요.세었어요. → 셌어요.
타다. [to ride]았 + 어요.타았어요. → 탔어요.

The polite speech for 었/았 Since -시 is not a bright vowel, you must use 었 for the polite speech.

Verb   Past tense
보다. [to see]시 + 었 + 어요.보시었어요. → 보셨어요.
받다. [to receive]으시 + 었 + 어요.받으시었어요. → 받으셨어요.
하다. [to do]시 + 었 + 어요.하시었어요. → 하셨어요.
먹다. [to eat]Please see below the table.
찾다. [to find]으시 + 었 + 어요. 찾으시었어요. → 찾으셨어요.
세다. [to count] 시 + 었 + 어요.세시었어요. → 세셨어요.
타다. [to ride] 시 + 었 + 어요.타시었어요. → 타셨어요.


*For 먹다. "to eat", Koreans don't say 먹으셨어요. for someone who's older than the speaker (to the elderly). Instead, you must say 잡수셨어요. (잡수다). For someone who's a little bit older than you, but not the elderly, use 드셨어요. (드시다). Please go to the honorific expression page for more information.


Examples)

차에 탔어요. (I) rode a car. (means I just rode a car, or I'm riding a car)
소문 들었어. (I) heard the rumor. (means I just heard the rumor, or I heard the rumor recently.)
해리한테 전화왔어. (You) have a phone call from Harry. (means you have a phone call from Harry right now, or Harry just called a moment ago.)

 



-았었/었었 Double past tense

They indicates the past action or situation that was completed long time ago.

Verb   Double past tense
사다. [to buy] 았+었+어요. 샀었어요. bought (long before)
받다. [to receive] 았+었+어요. 받았었어요. received (long before)
만나다. [to meet] 았+었+어요. 만났었어요. met (long before)
보다. [to see] 았+었+어요. 봤었어요. saw (long before)
가다. [to go] 았+었+어요. 갔었어요. went (long before and no longer there)
오다. [to come] 았+었+어요. 왔었어요. came (long before and no longer here)
크다. [big] 었+었+어요. 컸었어요. was big
짧다. [short] 았+었+어요. 짧았었어요. was short

 

Examples)

1. 학교에 왔어요. (I) came school, / (I) am at school.
학교에 왔었어요. (I) was at school. (at that time and am no longer at school)

 

2. 친구를 만났어요. (I) met a friend, / (I) am meeting a friend.
친구를 만났었어요. (I) met a friend. (long before)

 

3. 모자를 썼어요. (I) wore a hat, / (I) am wearing a hat.
모자를 썼었어요. (I) wore a hat. (long before) / (I) used to wear a hat.

 

4. 시집을 읽었어요. (I) read a poetry, / (I) am reading a poetry.
시집을 읽었었어요. (I) read a poetry. (long before) / (I) used to read a poetry.

 

5. (자동차) 운전을 했었어요. (I) drove a car. / (I) am driving a car.
(자동차) 운전을 했었었어요. (I) drove a car. (long before) / (I) used to drive a car.

 

6. 티셔츠가 작았어요. The T-shirt was small.
티셔츠가 작았었어요. The T-shirt was small. (and is no longer small) / The t-shirt used to be small.

 

7. 결혼했어요. I got married. (and I'm still married)
결혼했었어요. I got married. (I was once married, and I'm single now)


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