1000 Korean words for everyday use – Basic vocabulary from K-dramas #36

Welcome back. This is the 36th post in the series of 1000 Korean words for everyday use by analyzing the word frequency of more than 1,000 episodes of Korean dramas.

Today, let’s explore the meaning and context of 5 key Korean words “생기다, 이상, 자식, 남다, 손” with sample sentences.
Click the play button below to listen to all the words and sample sentences in this post.


Basic Korean words : 생기다, 이상, 자식, 남다, 손


176. 생기다 [saeng-gi-da] – to happen, to occur

– 생기다 [saeng-gi-da] means “to happen” or “to occur”, indicating the unfolding of events.

Example sentence:

어떤 일이 생겼어요? What happened?


177. 이상 [i-sang] – more than / abnormality / ideal

– 이상 [i-sang] has several meanings:
It can mean “more than” or “over”, indicating an amount that exceeds a certain threshold.
It can mean “abnormality” or “anomaly” and it can also mean “ideal” when used to describe something that exceeds expectations.
– 이상하다 [i-sang-ha-da] means “to be strange” or “unusual”.

Example sentences:

20세 이상만 입장 가능합니다. Only people over 20 years old are allowed to enter.
(*Here, 이상 means “over”.)
이상한 소리가 들려요. I hear a strange sound.
(*In this sentence, 이상한 indicates something unusual.)


178. 자식 [ja-sik] – child / jerk (informal)

– 자식 [ja-sik] means a “child”.
– In an informal context, it can be used to express frustration or annoyance, similar to calling someone a “jerk”.

Example sentences:

그 자식 또 술 마셨어. That jerk drank again.
(*In this sentence, 자식 is used informally to express annoyance.)
그들은 자식이 없어서 힘들어했어요. They struggled because they had no children.
(*Here, 자식 means “children”.)


179. 남다 [nam-tta] – to remain, to be left

– 남다 [nam-tta] means “to remain” or “to be left”, indicating the presence of something after other parts have been removed or consumed.

Example sentence:

아무 것도 남지 않았어요. Nothing was left.


180. 손 [son] – hand

– 손 [son] refers to a “hand,” the part of the body at the end of the arm.

Example sentence:

손을 잘 씻어야 해요. You must wash your hands well.


Grammar & Study Resources

Verb stem + 아야/어야

“Verb stem + 아야/어야 is a grammatical pattern in Korean used to express necessary conditions, requirements or situations that must be met in order to achieve a certain result. This pattern is often used to convey a sense of ‘must’, ‘should’ or ‘need to’ in English. Here’s how the pattern works:

The choice between 아야 and 어야 depends on the last vowel of the verb stem.
The basic way to get the verb/adjective stem is to remove 다 from the verb/adjective.
If there is a vowel ㅏ or ㅗ on the final syllable of the adjective/verb stem, 아야 is used.
If there is a vowel other than ㅏ or ㅗ on the final syllable of the adjective/verb stem, 어야 is used.
In addition, if the verb ends with ‘하다’, it is changed to ‘해야’.

Usage: The resulting phrase indicates that something must be done to achieve a desired result or outcome. It adds a sense of obligation, necessity or condition to the sentence.

For example:
손을 잘 씻어야 해요. You must wash your hands well.
공부해야 돼요. You must study.
물 마셔야 해요. You must drink water.

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