Level 2 Lesson 10 / Present Progressive / -고 있어요

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Welcome back to another lesson on TENSEs! In this lesson we are introducing how to make sentences in the present progressive form, such as “I’m eating.” “I’m studying.” and “I’m driving.” The basic construction in the present tense is VERB STEM + -고 있어요 [-go i-sseo-yo], and you can find out how to say this in the past tense and the future tense as well by listening to the lesson. Be sure to answer the quiz at the end of the lesson as well!

Say hi to our friends who recorded the sample sentences for us:

오규환 http://twitter.com/karistuck
조미경 http://twitter.com/mikyungcho
안효성 http://twitter.com/anyo20000
진석진 http://twitter.com/jinseokjin

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.

  • Paul Jensen

    어제 이 시간 에 저는 노래하는 연습하고 있었어요.

    “At this time yesterday I was practicing singing.”

  • Anton Escano

    어제 이시간 뭐 하고 있었어요?

    글쎄요, 오지는 이시간 한국 드라마 보고 있었어요. I love how you guys change the option to either write a response or write the question or 예문 down, and you never make your lessons boring!


  • Victoria Lynn Yoak

    어제 이시간이 커피가 빵을 먹하고 마시있었어요.
    This time yesterday I was eating bread and drinking coffee.
    I’m not really sure if this is right though!

  • Juri Grosjean

    지금 한국어 공부하고 있어서 행복해요. :)

    So i wanted to ask how you form a negative sentence using the present progressive. Which one of these should i use?

    영화를 안보고 있어요.
    연화를 보고 없어요.
    영화를 보고 있지 않아요.
    영화를 보지 않고 있어요.


  • Michael Chan

    한국어를공부하고있었어요……. 농담이에요 ㅋㅋㅋㅋㅋ
    사실드라마를보고있었어요 ^_^

    • Seokjin Jin

      드라마보고 한국어 공부하실 거죠?

    • Michael Chan


  • Vanessa Ebosiem

    어제 시간이 일하고있었어요
    does this make sense, and is it correct?

    • Hintsa Fisseha

      그렇게 말할 수 없는 것 같아요.

      if you wanted to say “yesterday, i was working” you can say it this way…….
      어제 일하고 있었어요.

      but, even in english…….it is better to specify the period of time……..

      the whole day – 하루종일
      for three hours – 세 시간 동안
      morning – 아침
      so it becomes………..

      어제 하루종일 일하고 있었어요.
      어제 세 시간 동안 일하고 있었어요. – 어제 세 시간 동안 일했어요.(better)
      어제 아침에 일하고 있었어요.

      하지만 저도 학생인데 잘못 답하면, 선생님들께 대답을 기다리세요.

    • Vanessa Ebosiem

      Thank you… I have a lot to study… ^-^

  • Aimee Liza Ravelo

    어제 시간이 한국어 공부하고 있었어요. :)

    • Seokjin Jin

      잘 했어요!

      어제 시간이 > 어제 이 시간에

    • Aimee Liza Ravelo

      감사합니다 선생님! I will keep those corrections in mind. :)

  • angrykriseu

    “어제 이시간에 뭐 하고 있었어요?”

    어제 이시간에 TTMIK에서 한국어 공부하고 있었어요.

  • Nora Tarek

    어제 이시간에 밥을 먹고 있었어요 :)

  • Franky Luk

    어제 이시간에 써니의 FM 데이트 듣고 있었어요:)

  • kawtar

    어제 이 시간에 텔레비전 보고 있었요

  • John

    어제 이 시간이 저는 아니메 봐써요. I hope its correct.

    • Seokjin Jin

      봐써요 > 봤어요

    • John


  • Andrew T.

    어제 이 시간에 친구들과 함께 먹고 있었어요.

    • Seokjin Jin

      It will be much natural if you add the thing you had together.
      For example,
      어제 이 시간에 친구들과 함께 “햄버거를” 먹고 있었어요.

    • Andrew T.

      Ah, that makes sense, 정말 감사합니다!

  • elaf

    자 하고있었어요

  • http://twitter.com/jetz531 jetz

    어제 이 시간에 저는 자고 있었어요.

    • Seokjin Jin

      잘 했어요! Great!

    • http://twitter.com/jetz531 jetz

      Thank you! I wasn’t sure where to put 저는 at first, but would the sentence still be grammatically correct if I put it at the start of the sentence? Would it be more natural that way?

  • hillary

    어제 학교에서 공부했어요.

    • Seokjin Jin

      Good job!

  • mailuong

    If Koreans will often use the plain regular tense instead of the present progressive tense then how will you know when to use what? Will it really matter when you are speaking/writing if you decide to use the present progressive or the plain regular tense?

    • Seokjin Jin

      Hm… well, in Korean, I think their differences are quite subtle. It is very hard question. I would use the present progressive tense, when I see something happening in front of my eyes.

  • mailuong

    If Koreans will often use the plain regular tense instead of the present progressive tense then how will you know when to use what? Will it really matter when you are speaking/writing if you decide to use the present progressive or the plain regular tense?

  • Trang Nguyen

    어제 이시간에 현우 선생님 과 경은 선생님 에게 듣고 있었요! 맞아요?

  • Jane

    어제 이 시간이 영화 봤어요 / 보고 있었어요. ^^

  • Havel

    어제밤 이 시간에 자고 있었어요 zz..zz..zz..

    In this lesson 경은 선생님이 keep saying 네..네? 네..네, 좋았어요, 귀여워서 :D

  • Hannah Xue

    어제 이시간에 자고 있었어요.

    • Seokjin Jin

      잘 썼어요! :)

  • wainorev

    Hi, it was mentioned in the lesson that “당신” is a very formal term, and “너” is 반말, so if I want to say “you” to someone who is older than me or senior than me, I cannot use “너”. So should I use “당신”? or is there other terms I can use? Thanks!!

    • Seokjin Jin

      If you want to be polite to the person, and s/he is much older than you, then you can say 선생님. If the person is not that older than you, you can say “name +형/누나/오빠/언니.”

    • wainorev

      many thanks to your fast and helpful reply, Teacher Seokjin!

    • Seokjin Jin

      You’re welcome. ;)

  • 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!

  • Kristina Kyulper

    안녕하세요! Can anyone check my korean sentense please?
    5 분 후에 영화를 보고 있을 거에요. I`ll be watching a movie 5 minutes later.

    • 애슐리

      I thinks it’s correct! dont forget its 거예요 not 거에요 :)

    • Kristina Kyulper

      감사합니다! I always did this mistake.

  • Ilaria

    어제이 한국(을) 공부하고잇ㅅ엇ㅅ어요 :) [sorry again for the mispelling, don't know how to maker my mobile write the double ㅅ :(]

  • 애슐리

    어제 이 시간에 난 집을 청소하고 있었어요 / 청소했어요

  • calol

    어제 이시간이 영화 보고 있었어요. At this time yesterday, I was watching a movie.
    I don’t know if its right, hehe.

    감사합니다! ^_^

  • 소피

    어제, 텔레비전 보고 있었어요.

    • Seokjin Jin


  • Paradise

    어제 이 시간이 케익을 요리하고있었어요.(hope it’s correct)

    • Paradise

      or shall I say (케익을 만들고있었어요 )?

  • 제시카

    어제 이시간에 에픽하이 뮤직 비디오 보고 있었어요.

  • Neoking

    어제 이시간에서 한국어를 공부 하고 있었어요. 티티믹에서 공부 하고 있었어요!

  • Ashley Heil

    강의가 지루해서 꾸벅꾸벅 졸고 있어요 <– in this sentence does the 서 (seo) mean so? i know geu-rae-seo means so or therefore, is this just a shorter way to say geu-rae-seo?

    • Seokjin Jin

      Yes, you understand it perfectly. Great job!

  • Ashley Heil

    I also don’t really understand the translation of this sample sentence: 저 사람 봐요. 자면서 이야기하고 있어요, which means, Look at that person. He is talking while sleeping. I understand the first part, which is look at that part. But the second sentence, he is talking while sleeping. , what does the 자면서 이야기 ? does 자 mean he? and which word means while? thanks for all the help!

    • Seokjin Jin

      자면서 is consist of 자다, which means to sleep, and -면서. Similar to the English term “while”, -(으)면서 can be used to add onto an
      action verb to describe doing an action at the same time as another.

      Please check out this lesson. http://www.talktomeinkorean.com/lessons/l9l23/

    • Ashley Heil

      oh okay I see, thank you!

  • http://yeuki.tumblr.com abeer

    사실 전 이 시간에 매일 매일 한국어 공부하고있어요… 지금 오전 2시이에요..그래서 어제 도 공부하고 있었어요!!