1000 Korean words for everyday use – Basic vocabulary from K-dramas #52

Welcome back. This is the 52nd 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 “걸리다, 붙다, 열다, 나쁘다, 조심하다” with sample sentences.
Click the play button below to listen to all the words and sample sentences in this post.


Basic Korean words : 걸리다, 붙다, 열다, 나쁘다, 조심하다


256. 걸리다 [geol-li-da] – to take time, to be caught

– 걸리다 [geol-li-da] can have two different meanings. It can refer to taking time to do something, or it can mean being caught or trapped in a situation.

Example sentences:

일이 오래 걸렸어요. The task took a long time.
감기에 걸렸어요. I’ve caught a cold.


257. 붙다 [but-tta] – to stick, to put on

– 붙다 [but-tta] means to adhere or attach to something.

Example sentence:

편지에 우표를 붙였어요. I put a stamp on the letter.


258. 열다 [yeol-da] – to open

– 열다 [yeol-da] means to open something that is closed.

Example sentence:

누가 와도 문 열어 주지 마. Don’t open the door for anyone.


259. 나쁘다 [na-ppu-da] – to be bad, not good

– 나쁘다 [na-ppu-da] means something is not good, of poor quality, or unfavorable.

Example sentence:

이 음식은 맛이 나쁘지 않아요. This food doesn’t taste bad.


260. 조심하다 [jo-sim-ha-da] – to be careful, to be cautious

– 조심하다 [jo-sim-ha-da] means to be careful and attentive to avoid any potential harm or danger, and 조심 [jo-sim] means “caution”.

Example sentences:

조심하세요. Be careful.
불조심! Watch out for fire!


Grammar & Study Resources

When you come across a verb or adjective word, practicing conjugation according to tense and speech level is a great way to improve your Korean. Consistent practice of conjugation strengthens your command of the language and enhances your ability to communicate effectively and naturally. It’s an essential aspect of becoming proficient in Korean.


*Present tense : Adjective/verb stem + ~아/어/해요
*Past tense : Adjective/verb stem + ~았/었/했어요
*Future tense : Adjective/verb stem + ~(으)ㄹ 거예요 / ~ㄹ 게요/ ~겠어요
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, 아요(present tense), 았어요(past tense), 을 거예요(future tense) is used.
If there is a vowel other than ㅏ or ㅗ on the final syllable of the adjective/verb, 어요(present tense), 었어요(past tense), ㄹ 거예요(future tense) is used.
Also, if there is 하다 in the adjective/verb, 하다 changes to 해요(present tense), 했어요(past tense), 할 거예요(future tense).

Below you can see the conjugation of 걸리다, 붙다, 열다, 나쁘다, 조심하다 by tenses.

Present tense Past tense Future tense
걸리다 걸려요 걸렸어요 걸릴 거예요
붙다 붙어요 붙었어요 붙을 거예요
열다 열어요 열었어요 열 거예요
나쁘다 나빠요 나빴어요 나쁠 거예요
조심하다 조심해요 조심했어요 조심할 거예요

*Speech levels

The three most commonly used Korean speech levels are 합쇼체 (formal polite), 해요체 (informal polite) and 해체 (informal plain).
*The formal polite style : Adjective/verb stem + ~(스)ㅂ니다
~(스)ㅂ니다 is used more in formal or public situations including the military, news, reporting presentations, meetings and lectures. It’s mainly used to address large gatherings or people you don’t know personally.
*The informal polite style : Adjective/verb stem + ~아/어/해요
~아/어/해요 is most commonly used in everyday life. Compared to the formal polite style, the informal polite style is softer and less formal, so it is mainly used among family members, friends, shopkeepers and other close acquaintances.
*The informal plain style : Adjective/verb stem + ~아/어/해
As for the informal plain style ~아/어/해, it is mainly used among friends from superiors to people of lower rank and among family members.

Below you can see the conjugation of 걸리다, 붙다, 열다, 나쁘다, 조심하다 by speech levels.

Formal polite Informal polite Informal plain
걸리다 걸립니다 걸려요 걸려
붙다 붙습니다 붙어요 붙어
열다 엽니다 열어요 열어
나쁘다 나쁩니다 나빠요 나빠
조심하다 조심합니다 조심해요 조심해

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