Level 1 Lesson 24 / Why? How? / 왜? 어떻게?

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안녕하세요 여러분! In this lesson, we are going to have a look at the interrogatives “why” “how” and also how to say things like “how much” “how fast” “how quickly” and so on. You can also review how to say “what” “who” and “where” in this lesson. Be sure to try making your own sample expressions and share them with us in the comment box! And if you have any other questions, please feel free to ask! Thank you! 감사합니다.



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.


  • 소피

    어떻게 했어요?
    How did you do it?

    • Seokjin Jin

      Correct! 잘 했어요.

    • 소피

      감사합니다!

  • 사린

    Just some clarifications: What is the difference between 어떻게 and 어때?

    • Seokjin Jin

      (이거) 어때 means “how is it?” and it is a complete sentence.

      어떻게 means “how” but it is needed to add a verb to make a complete sentence. like 어떻게 갔어? How did you go there?

    • 사린

      감사합니다 선생님!

  • MadMads

    Does this make any sense?
    얼마나 빨리 운동었어요? = How fast did you exercise?

    • jazmin

      im not all sure but i think the last one was: 얼마 샀어요?= how much did you buy?

  • Neoking

    얼마나 자주 한국어 드라마 봐요? (How often do you watch Korean drama?)

    언제 소녀시대 미국에 왔어요? (When did SNSD come to the U.S?)

    얼마나 똥똥한 김종운 이에요? (How fat is Kim Jong Un?)

    Are these correct? Thanks!

  • Sabrina Rocha

    if the verb “to find/to look for” doesn’t end with ㅗ or ㅏ, then why is the conjugation as 았어요 ?

    • Seokjin Jin

      Do you mean 찾다? Actually, the verb stem “찾” ends with ㅏso 았어요 is added when it is conjugated.

    • Juanis

      Remember that what you look for is the last VOWEL not the last letter itself, for 찾다 (to find/to look for) it does haveㅏas its last vowel so the conjugation is correct.

  • ChroniclesOfHigherAi .

    저는 아침부터 저녁까지 학교에 가 있어서 피곤해요.
    So this means, “I went to school from morning till evening, so I’m tired.”
    I am confused because 가 있어서 is stem of verb go + isseoyo.
    I suspected this would be present progressive, but there’s no -고.
    What is 가 있어서 exactly in this sentence? Thanks!

    • Samala

      가 있어서 might mean that you existed at school during that time. You went and existed at school from morning until evening, so you’re tired. I’m not sure though.

    • Seokjin Jin

      Well, it is hard to explain it grammatically, but we use the expression 가 있어서 to mean “to be there” and the meaning is almost same as -에 있어서.

      학교에 가 있어서 = 학교에 있어서

      가 is from 가다 that means to go, and it is often used to emphasize that you “went” somewhere. So 학교에 가 있어서 can be translated as someone “went” to a school and still stay there now. I hope my comment help you. :)

  • Ryan

    Why is 크다 changed to 커요??

    감사합니다!!

    • Seokjin Jin

      크다 is a dictionary form and when it is conjugated to present tense, it becomes 커요.

    • Seokjin Jin
    • Juanis

      안녕하세요!
      When it ends with “ㅡ” after dropping “다” from the dictionary form, you also drop the “ㅡ” when conjugating, and simply add 어요 so it becomes 커요. Hope i helped!

  • Chong Ying Fang

    why is무겁다 + eo-yo (since it doesn´t end with “o” or “a”) becomes 무거워요 ?

  • Juanis

    Hii!!
    So 어떻게 Is for verbs
    and 얼마나 is for adjectives and adverbs?
    Or what is the difference between those?

    감사합니다!

  • http://twitter.com/jinseokjin jinseokjin

    Simply, you can consider that verbs is followed after 어떻게.

    어떻게 먹어요? / 어떻게 갔어요? / 어떻게 했어요?
    How do you eat it? / How did you go? / How did you do that?

    Likewise, adjectives and adverbs are followed after 얼마나.

    얼마나 많이 먹었어요? / 얼마나 빨라요?
    How much did you eat? / How fast is it?

  • esteru

    어떻게 is become a habit for me now, to express when I dont know what to do, what to say, something error etc. it’s really a simple word to express many things

  • jennifer

    얼마나자주운동?

    왜 후호해요?

  • Rowena ~ ^^

    왜 안전화했어요?

    does it make sense ?

    • KyungHwa Sun

      You should say 왜 전화 안 했어요?

  • mpreedy

    In the workbook the conversation says 어디 갔다 왔어요? Why not 어디 왔어요? What does 갔다 do?

    • Seokjin Jin

      어디 갔다 왔어요? means “where did you go?” and literally, it may mean “where did you go before coming here?”.

      어디 왔어요? is a wrong expression. You can say “어디에서 왔어요” and it means “where are you from?”

  • VoldiPhil

    Hey guys, at the beginning of your lesson you say “Where are you?” is: 어디에요? Which I can absolutely understand, since it is a combination of to be, and where. But in the PDF of lesson 18, you write that “Where are you?” is: 어디에 있어요? So apart from the fact, that the location marking particle is added in this example, we have 있어요. why is that? :)

    • Wendra Setiawan

      i don’t know about the exact answer but i guess it is just to make it more clear

  • faiza

    어떻게 밥을 요리했어요 ?
    얼마나 빨리 밥을 요리했어요 ?
    왜 김치을 요리 안 했어요 ?
    please read my sentences and correct my mistakes

    • KyungHwa Sun

      Correction :
      어떻게 밥을 지었어요?
      얼마나 빨리 밥을 지었어요?
      왜 김치는 안 담갔어요/만들었어요?

    • faiza

      고맙습니다 경화씨
      it’s more clear now
      저 김치는 먹고 싶어요

  • Matt

    호랑이 어떻게 잡았어요? = How did you catch the tiger?
    날씨 어떻게 있었어요? = How was the weather?

    이 사과 왜 안 먹었어요? = Why did you not eat this apple?
    그 사람 왜 때렸어요? = Why did you hit that person?

    그것 얼마예요? = How much is that?
    이것 얼마 비싸요? = How expensive is this?

    수업 얼마나 길어요? = How long is the lesson?
    영화 얼마나 좋아했어요? = How good was the movie?

    감사합니다 for the lesson!

  • 써니

    Is this right: 피아노를 어떻게 치기 배우고 싶어요.

    • Seokjin Jin

      You can say 피아노를 어떻게 치는지 배우고 싶어요, but simply you can also say 피아노 배우고 싶어요.

  • Anon

    왜 아까 집에갔어요? = “Why did you go home earlier?”

    Does that make sense? ‘ o ‘

  • Myla Rose

    I watched several korean variety shows and 어떻게 was translated as “What to do?”. 이거 맞아요?

    • Wendra Setiawan

      it’s the same meaning

  • Anita

    Hello, TTMIK!
    Could you please give me the Korean spelling for “detective novel” ?

    • Cheyenne

      추리 소설 = detective/mystery novel

      미스테리 = mystery

      추리 소설 있어요? = Do you have a mystery novel?

  • Nada

    why did 무겁다 become 무거워? so, if i want to say how heavy was the bag shoud i say 가방 얼마나 무거웠어요 or 가방 얼마나 무겁었어요?

  • Shaggy 2 Dope

    어껗게 자석 작동해요?

  • Asbestine

    안녕하세요!
    Why is 내다 conjugated into 냈어요 in past tense? Is it an irregularity or is there a rule for it?

    • Seokjin Jin

      http://www.talktomeinkorean.com/lessons/l1l17/
      Please check the lesson link above. It must be helpful for you. :)

    • Asbestine

      I’ve studied it already, but what really makes me wonder is why is it 냈어요 instead of 내었어요 since the verb stem does not end in ㅗ orㅏ and it’s not 하. Is it just Korean tendency? Are there any other tricky verbs like that? :)

  • Shhaseena25

    안녕하세요 :’)
    왜 갔아요? Why did you go?
    얼마 일했어요?how much work did you do?
    Please correct my mistakes :’)

    • Wendra Setiawan

      왜 갔아요? >>> 왜 갔어요?

  • magikarpsan

    왜 울어요? Why are you crying?
    저거 어떻게 먹어요!? How did you eat that thing!?

  • yourippehdees

    어떻게 명동에 가요?
    How do I get to Meongdong?

    아버지는 언제 산프란시스고에 도착할고예요?
    When is your father arriving in San Francisco?

    그 캄매라 얼마예요?
    How much is that camera?

    얼마나 빨리 달릴수있어요?
    How fast can you run?

  • Rebecca Ze

    한국에 얼마나 가주 가요? How often do you go to Korea? Is this correct?

    • Wendra Setiawan

      Yes i think, but just a little wrong maybe.. Isn’t often 자주?? Not 가주 ?

  • Rebecca Ze

    한국어(는) 얼마나 자주 공부해요?
    How often do you study Korean?
    Does this make sense? And should I add the 는 after 한국어?
    감사합니다~

    • Wendra Setiawan

      Maybe you shouldn’t, and it makes sense for me

  • 하쓰나

    is this sounds natural for the meaning what about you ? 넌 대해 뭐에요 ?

  • Wendra Setiawan

    어떻게
    얼마
    얼마나 for adj or adverb

    What about noun? What do we use for noun?
    How do you say “How many book did you buy?” ?

    And 1 more question..
    I’ve seen 어떡해, so what’s the different of 어떡해 and 어떻게 ?

    감사합니다!