1000 Korean words for everyday use – Basic vocabulary from K-dramas #4

Welcome back. This is the 4th 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 “왜, 이, 그, 저, 알다” with sample sentences.
Click the play button below to listen to all the words and sample sentences in this post.

 

Basic Korean words : 왜, 이, 그, 저, 알다

 

16. 왜 [wae] – why

– 왜 [wae] is used as an adverb to inquire about the reason or cause of something.
– 왠지 [waen-ji] means “in some way” or “for some reason”. 왠지 is an adverb shortened from 왜인지 [wae-in-ji]. It conveys a feeling of uncertainty or a subtle sense of something without a clear reason.
– 웬 [wen] is used as an adjective meaning “what” or “a certain”. It refers to a specific thing or situation, often with an element of surprise or curiosity.
– Confusing words : 왠지(O), 웬지(X), 웬일(O), 왠일(X), 웬 사람(O), 왠 사람(X)

Example sentences:

왜 그렇게 생각하니? Why do you think like that?
그녀는 왠지 달라 보였어. She looked different somehow.
웬일로 여기 왔어요? What brings you here?

 

17. 이 [i] – this

– 이 [i] means “this” and is used as a demonstrative pronoun to refer to a specific object or concept.
– Various words such as “이곳 [i-got] – here / 이번 [i-beon] – this time / 이쪽 [i-jjok] – this way, this direction / 이날 [i-nal] – this day / 이리 [i-ri] – this way / 이대로 [i-dae-ro] – like this, as it is / 이분 [i-bun] – this person (polite) / 이까짓 [i-kka-jit] – such, so small / 이따위 [i-tta-wi] – this kind of, like this” offer nuanced expressions related to “this” with specific meanings.

Example sentences:

이 노래는 좋아요. This song is good.
이곳에서 만나요. Let’s meet here.
이번 주말에 뭐 할 거예요? What are you doing this weekend?
이쪽으로 와주세요. Please come this way.
이날을 기다렸어요. I’ve been waiting for this day.
이리 오세요. Come this way.
그냥 이대로 두세요. Just leave it as it is.
이분은 누구세요? Who is this person?
이까짓 일에 화내지 마세요. Don’t get upset about something so small.
이따위 생각하지 마세요. Don’t think like this.

 

18. 그 [geu] – that

– 그 [geu] means “that” and is used as a demonstrative pronoun to refer to a specific object or concept.
– 그 [geu] can also mean “he” when referring to a person.
– Various words such as “그쪽 [geu-jjok] – that way, that direction / 그곳 [geu-got] – that place / 그날 [geu-nal] – that day / 그리 [geu-ri] – like that, in that way / 그래도 [geu-rae-do] – still, anyway / 그분 [geu-bun] – that person (polite) / 그따위 [geu-tta-wi] – that kind of, like that / 그자 [geu-ja] – that person, he” offer nuanced expressions related to “that” with specific meanings.

Example sentences:

그 영화 볼래요? Do you want to watch that movie?
그는 몰라요. He doesn’t know.
그쪽으로 가세요. Please go that way.
그곳에 계세요? Are you there?
그날 무슨 일이 있었어요? What happened on that day?
제가 그리 갈게요. I’ll be there.
그래도 좋아요. It’s okay though.
그분은 누구신가요? Who is that person?
그따위로 생각하지 마세요. Don’t think like that.
그자는 누구예요? Who is that person?

 

19. 저 [jeo] – that, that over there

– 저 [jeo] means “that” and is used as a demonstrative pronoun to refer to a specific object or concept further away.
– 저 [jeo] is also used as a formal/polite way of saying “I”.
– 저희 [jeo-hee] means “we” and is used to refer to a group including the speaker. “저희” is a more polite and respectful way of saying “we” in Korean than “우리”. It is often used in formal contexts or situations where a higher level of respect is required. On the other hand, “우리” is used in more casual and familiar situations.
– Various words such as “저쪽 [jeo-jjok] – that way, that direction / 저리 [jeo-ri] – that way / 저번 [jeo-beon] – last time” provide nuanced expressions related to “that” with specific meanings.

Example sentences:

그 쪽으로 가세요. Please go over there.
이 작업을 저에게 맡기셔도 됩니다. You can entrust this task to me.
저희는 함께 할 거예요. We will do it together.
저쪽으로 가주세요. Please go that way.
저리 오세요. Please come that way.
저번 주말에 뭐 했어요? What did you do last weekend?

 

20. 알다 [al-da] – to know

– 알다 [al-da] means “to know” and is used to express awareness or knowledge about something.

Example sentences:

그 사람을 알아요? Do you know that person?

 

Grammar & Study Resources

Verb conjugation in Korean is important because it conveys essential information about the tense, mood, aspect and degree of honor of an action or event. Verb conjugation allows for clear communication by indicating when an action occurred, its ongoing nature, the level of politeness, and the relationship between the speakers.

In English, we often rely on auxiliary verbs or additional words to convey these nuances, such as using “will” for the future tense or “have been” for ongoing actions. In Korean, verb conjugation performs all these functions in a single word change. This conciseness streamlines communication and allows for precise expression, making it easier to understand context and intent.

In addition, correct verb conjugation is crucial to maintaining a level of politeness in Korean conversation. The choice of conjugation can reflect respect for the listener or the subject of the conversation, reinforcing social hierarchies and interpersonal relationships.

In summary, conjugating verbs in Korean is essential for conveying tense, aspect, mood and level of politeness within a sentence. It’s a powerful linguistic tool that facilitates efficient and accurate communication, helping speakers to convey their thoughts and feelings more effectively.

Below you can see the conjugation of 알다 by tenses.

Present tense Past tense Future tense
알다 알아요 알았어요 알 거예요

Below you can see the conjugation of 알다 by speech levels.

Formal polite Informal polite Informal plain
알다 압니다 알아요 알아

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