Level 1 Lesson 16 / Basic Present Tense / -아요, -어요, -여요

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In this TTMIK lesson, we are looking at how to change a verb in its dictionary form into the basic present tense. In Korean, when you look up a verb in a dictionary, everything ends in the letter 다 [da], and you have to get rid of that in order to conjugate the verb. And after that, you add 아요, 어요, or 여요. Listen in to find out how to determine which one of these should follow the verb stem when you say something in the present tense. Be sure to pick up the FREE PDF, and also try making some sample sentences of your own. Video responses are welcome as well!



Click here to check out the page on 아/어/여 + 요 in Korean Wiki Project.

You can download a free PDF for this lesson here, or if you want to study with our TalkToMeInKorean textbooks, you can get them here. And after you learn the basics, try writing your own Korean sentences and get corrections from native speakers through HaruKorean, our 1:1 correction service.


  • http://seoulandi.tumblr.com/ Andi

    안녕하세요!
    How exactly do you write “verb conjugation” in Korean? 동사…
    감사합니다!

    P.S. While looking through the wiki I noticed that “필요없다” is translated as “to need”. Might want to correct that. ^_^

    • http://twitter.com/jinseokjin jinseokjin

      Hi Andi,
      Regarding “verb conjugation”, you can call it like “동사 변형”.

      Actually, “필요없다” means “not to need sth”. “to need” is “필요하다” in Korean.

      Thanks for your comment.

  • 사라

    Would it be possible to get sample sentences using the present tense form of the following verbs? Also if I conjugated them wrong I would love to know how to do it right. Thanks for all your work!
    하다 – 해요
    보다 – 봐요
    먹다 – 먹아요
    사다 – 사요
    마시다 – 마셔요
    놀다 – 놀어요
    일하다 – 알해요
    자다 – 자요
    웃다 – 웃어요
    That’s all the questions I have at the moment :)

  • https://en.gravatar.com/kimhuangly Kimhuang

    안녕하세요! I want to ask. Why 보이 + 어요 = 보여요 ?

    • http://twitter.com/jinseokjin jinseokjin

      Hi Kimhuang,
      For the easy pronunciation, it has changed to 보여요.
      Former days, it was used as 보이어요 but as time goes by, it has been changed.

  • Avie

    Annyoung haseyo :D

    You know how there is 아요,어요,여요, but is there such thing as 야요? I was just thinking about that, does it mean anything cause i made it up loolz :D

  • Marc Wentink

    In this lesson you say at 1.58 something like:

    “Né swayó”
    “And actually what you just said is the verb tuda”
    “But you do not say tuda, swayó is better.

    Great, but… what is the meaning? Please what to you exactly say there? Could you write it in Hangul? I presume that swayó does not mean literally better, or does it? What verb form is it then? You do not mention it, I think?

    • Marc Wentink

      Found it!
      좋다 = to be good.
      좋아요 = (that) is good.

  • Athiraa

    안녕하세요 선생님! I wanna ask, what’s the different between 촣다 and 촣아하다?

    정말 감사합니다!

  • Dina

    안녕하세요 디나입니다~

    I want to ask, If 보이 + 어요 = 보여요, so 때리 + 어요= 때려요, is it right?

    TTMIK 너무 너무 재미있어요.
    저는 더 한국어를공부하고싶어요…..

    • http://twitter.com/jinseokjin jinseokjin

      Hi Dina,
      Yes, you’re right. Good job!

      저희와 함께 한국어 더 많이 공부해요! 화이팅!
      Thanks for your comment.

  • Stella

    How do I move from one lesson to the next in this new layout?

    • http://www.TheTestee.com The Testee

      Use tabs. Open up the level you’re doing in one tab, then open up the lesson you’re doing in another tab. When you’re finished with that lesson, close that tab, and open the next lesson in a new tab.

  • Raymond

    안녕하세요!
    I just want to ask, what it will become if 쉬 + 어요 ? Is it become 숴요?
    감사합니다! :)

    • http://twitter.com/ever4one Hyunwoo Sun (선현우)

      It’s 쉬어요 :)

  • Nada

    please I want to know how can i Conjugate the verbs wich ends by ㅐ,ㅔㅒㅖ 워 의 위 왜! !!!!

    like verb 보내다 “to send” >>> 보내요 ?? right?
    and verb 배우다 “to learn” will be 배워요 ?

    verb 느끼다 “to feel” will be 니껴요 ??

    가르치다 “to teach” will be 가르쳐요?
    감사합니다

    • http://twitter.com/jinseokjin jinseokjin

      보내다 >> 보내요 correct
      배우다 >> 배워요 correct
      느끼다 >> 느껴요
      가르치다 >> 가르쳐요 correct

      Thanks for your comment. :)

  • yav phorn

    안녕하세요
    i want ask like 고르다+어요>고러여?
    놓다>놓아요?
    넣다>넣어요?
    끄다>끄어요?
    듣다>듣어요? It right?
    고마워요.

    • http://twitter.com/jinseokjin jinseokjin

      고르다+어요>골라요
      놓다>놓아요 correct
      넣다>넣어요
      끄다>꺼요
      듣다>들어요

  • Ju Ree

    Dear TTMIK Teachers,
    The phrases mentioned in the lesson that I was unable to get it all but interested in learning. May I ask for clarifications? Thanks in advance.

    1) What did Kyeong-eun say after an-nyeong-ha-se-yo?
    2) What is conjugation in Korean?
    3) Is 아파요? “are you sick?”
    4) What is “a little bit sick” in Korean?
    5) Is 버리어요 “throw away”?
    6) What is “It’s easy” in Korean?
    7) Let’s study together – what were the two words said before 공부해요?

    Thanks a lot!!

  • Juri

    Hi there, I love your lessons!
    So, when the verb stem ends with 아 or 오, you put 아 + 요, right?
    But what about verb stems ending on on 와?
    I don’t know if this situation even exists, but because it ends theoretically on 아, do i also have to put 아 + 요 in the end?
    감사합니다

  • Juri

    And what about the verb stems which end on -으?
    For example 쓰다

    • http://twitter.com/jinseokjin jinseokjin

      Regarding 쓰다, it will be conjugated to 써요.

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  • Eman

    i want to know if these verbs are correct please

    오다 becomes 와요
    만들다 becomes 만덜요
    앉다 becomes 안자요

    if i have alot of mistakes in these verbs”I’m there’s alot” does that mean that i didn’t understand the lesson welland i have to listen it again? ):

    thank youvery much
    i learned alot from you

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  • http://nus.edu.sg jun

    안녕하세요

    나는 한국어가 좋아요.
    나는 한국어 공부를 좋아해요.
    지금 나는 한국어를 공부해요.

    감사합니다.

    • http://twitter.com/jinseokjin jinseokjin

      우와!! 한국어 정말 잘 쓰셨어요!!

  • 시워

    안녕하세요. 이름 이시워 입니다 (shiva) .저는 이란 사람 입니다
    웃다……웃어요
    주다…..줘요
    늦다….????
    세다…..???
    총 화 하다 or 전 화 하다 ??? to call
    how we can say heart in Korean?
    가슴 or심장
    감사합니다

  • http://nus.edu.sg JUN

    안녕하세요.
    석진 선생님, 감사합니다. :) :)
    즐거운 하루 되세요. :) :)

  • http://nus.edu.sg JUN

    선생님과 함께 한국어 더 많이 공부해요! 화이팅!ㅎㅎㅎ

  • An

    Hi Talk To Me In Korean :D !, do you have some Korean exercise for us to practise ^^* ? I think doing exercise is a good way to study ^^*.

  • Rachel

    Level 1 lesson 5 teaches about 이에요 for the word with final consonant, and 예요 for the word with only vowel. Then, level 1 lesson 16 teaches about 아요 for ㅗ or ㅏ, 어요 for the others, and 여요 for 하 only in the present tense. Are those in lesson 5 used as present tense, too? If so, there are five types altogether?

  • Amanda

    When You talked about ”to eat” if that ends with -o why did you add -oyu not -ayu???

    • Bryant

      They are referring to the Korean character, 어- eo.
      So because that character is used in 먹(meok) then we apply the 어요(eo-yo) rule.

  • http://www.talktomeinkorean.com/lessons/l1l16/ Bridgett

    If you’re trying to conjugate ‘읽다’ to the present tense, would it be ‘읽거요’ ?

    • Seokjin Jin

      It would be 읽어요, but you can pronounce it [일거요].

  • diwesh87

    Well though it was an easy explanation , but since i am a beginner , observing patterns is how i try to learn korean , when my korean friends around me are speaking korean ,

    Like today you explained the three words aayo , yoyo and oyo ….. The words sounded all familiar to me , like naturally because of the word “yo” at the end of all . Since i am working in a professional environment and only have formal conversatations to use , i have always been told to use the word “yo” at the end to give it a more respectful and formal meaning .

    But since all natives speak there language too fast , i could always hear the word “yo” in every word and could never differentiate them making use of “aa or yo or o” , for me it has always been “yo” to be used but not in the form of tenses , but as to make the word formal .

    Secondly as i understood , the word “haada” is basically used in conjugation of other words specifially verbs to make it doing-verbs in english

    eg: study(verb) + hada = studying ( doing verb)

  • https://www.facebook.com/kristinejoy.catan.7 Kristine Joy Catan

    I didn’t understand a lot but I’ll try to visit your Korean Wiki Project to understand more. Anyway that was an interesting lesson again.. Kamsahamnida!

    • Seokjin Jin

      If the last vowel is NOT ᅡ[a] or ᅩ [o], it is followed by 어요 [eo-yo].
      The last vowel of 먹(verb stem) is ㅓ, so 어요 was followed. :)

    • https://www.facebook.com/kristinejoy.catan.7 Kristine Joy Catan

      ahh.. nae.. jeongmal kamsahamnida seon-sang-nim.. ^_^

  • Houyam

    An-neoyng-ha-se-yo!!
    I didn’t understand very well about the verb “to eat” it ends with a consonante (ᄀ) so why we conjugated it with OYO ?