Korean Grammar Bank


Unlike regular verbs, irregular Korean verbs change their stems when conjugated.

This lesson will cover the six common types of irregular verbs in Korean: ㅅ, ㄷ, ㅂ, ㅡ, 르, and ㄹ.


Let’s start with the first irregular Korean verbs. You will notice that the pattern for all irregular verbs are very similar.

When a verb stem ends in ㅅ, the ㅅ is dropped before a vowel.


Remove ㅅ before a vowel

Example 1: 짓다, to build

present tensepast tensefuture
지어요 지었어요 지을 거예요
I buildI builtI will build
집을 지어요.
I build a house
집을 지었어요.
I built a house.
집을 지을 거예요.
I will build a house.

Example 2: 낫다, to recover

present tensepast tensefuture
나아요 나았어요 나을 거예요
I recoverI recoveredI will recover
병이 나아요.
I recover from an illness
병이 나았어요.
I recovered from an illness.
병이 나을 거예요.
I will recover from an illness.
Full List of ㅅ Irregular Verbs:
긋다to draw
낫다to get well (verb) / to be better (adj)
붓다to pour / swell
젓다to stir
짓다to build
잇다to connect


When a verb stem ends in ㄷ, it changes to ㄹ before a vowel.


ㄷ changes to ㄹ before a vowel

Example 1: 듣다, to listen

present tensepast tensefuture
들어요 들었어요 들을 거예요
I listenI listenedI will listen
음악을 들어요.
I listen to music
음악을 들었어요
I listened to music
음악을 들을 거예요.
I will listen to music

Example 2: 걷다, to walk

present tensepast tensefuture
걸어요 걸었어요 걸을 거예요
I walkI walkedI will walk
공원에서 걸어요.
I walk in the park
공원에서 걸었어요
I walked in the park
공원에서 걸을 거예요.
I will walk in the park
Full List of ㄷ Irregular Verbs:
걷다to walk
듣다to listen
묻다to ask
싣다to load
깨닫다to realize
붇다to swell up (with
긷다to draw water


When a verb stem ends in ㅂ, it changes to 우 before a vowel.


ㅂ changes to before a vowel

Example 1: 쉽다, to be easy

present tensepast tensefuture
쉬워요 쉬웠어요 쉬울 거예요
It’s easyIt was easyIt will be easy
이 문제는 쉬워요.
The problem is easy
이 문제는 쉬웠어요
The problem was easy
이 문제는 쉬울 거예요.
This problem will be easy

Example 2: 덥다, to be hot

present tensepast tensefuture
더워요 더웠어요 더울 거예요
It’s hotIt was hotIt will be hot
날씨가 더워요.
The weather is hot
날씨가 더웠어요
The weather was hot
날씨가 더울 거예요.
This weather will be hot
Full List of ㅂ Irregular Verbs:
덥다to be hot
맵다to be spicy
쉽다to be easy
춥다to be cold
귀엽다to be cute
가깝다to be close
가볍다to be light (weight)
고맙다to be thankful
무겁다to be heavy
무섭다to be scary
반갑다to be pleasing
어렵다to be difficult
시끄럽다to be noisy
아름답다to be beautiful
굽다to roast/bake
깁다to fix/mend
줍다to pick up
눕다to lie (down)
더럽다to be dirty
부럽다to be envious
어둡다to be dark
두렵다to be fearful
즐겁다to be enjoyable
새롭다to be new
외롭다to be lonely
이롭다to be benificial
까다롭다to be picky
흥미롭다to be interesting
밉다to be hateful
뜨겁다to be hot (to touch)
차갑다to be cold (to touch)
지혜롭다to be wise
돕다*to help
곱다*to be pretty

*The verbs 돕다 (to help) and the verbs 곱다 (to be pretty) are two exceptions and are conjugated differently. When they are conjugated with words ending with 아/어/여,  is added instead of 우.


When a verb stem ends in ㅡ, the conjugation depends on the vowel preceding ㅡ.

  • If the vowel before ㅡ is 아 or 오, 아요 is used.
  • For other vowels, 어요 is used.
  • The ㅡ is dropped in the conjugation process.

Remove ㅡ + add 아요 / 어요

Example 1: 끄다, to turn off

present tensepast tensefuture
꺼요 껐어요 끌 거예요
I turn offI turned offI will turn off
불을 꺼요.
I turn off the light
불을 껐어요
I turn off the light
불을 끌 거예요.
I will turn off the light

Example 2: 아프다, to be sick

present tensepast tensefuture
아파요 아팠어요 아플 거예요
I am sickI was sickI will be sick
배가 아파요.
My stomach hurts
배가 아팠어요
My stomach hurt
배가 아플 거예요.
My stomach will hurt
Full List of ㅡ Irregular Verbs:
고프다to be hungry
쓰다to write
아프다to be sick
끄다to turn off
크다to be big
기쁘다to be happy
나쁘다to be bad
바쁘다to be busy
슬프다to be sad
잠그다to lock
예쁘다to be pretty
모으다to collect
트다to open
뜨다to float
담그다to soak


When a verb stem ends in 르, it changes to ㄹㄹ before a vowel.


changes to ㄹㄹ before a vowel

Example 1: 다르다, to be different

present tensepast tensefuture
달라요 달랐어요 다를 거예요
It is differentIt was differentIt will be different
그건 달라요.
That’s different
그건 달랐어요
That was different
그건 다를 거예요.
That will be different

Example 2: 빠르다, to be fast

present tensepast tensefuture
빨라요 빨랐어요 빠를 거예요
It is fastIt was fastIt will be fast
차가 빨라요.
The car is fast
차가 빨랐어요
The car was fast
차가 빠를 거예요
The car will be fast
Full List of 르 Irregular Verbs:
빠르다to be fast
부르다to call/sing
고르다to choose
기르다to raise/grow
나르다to carry
누르다to press
다르다to be different
바르다to apply
오르다to go up/climb
이르다to be early
자르다to cut
흐르다to flow
서두르다to hurry
서투르다to be clumsy
배부르다to be full
가르다to divide
구르다to roll
모르다to not know


When dealing with ㄹ irregular verbs, the ㄹ is dropped or changes depending on the following suffix.

ㄹ is dropped before ㄴ, ㅂ, and ㅅ:


Remove ㄹ if followed by ㄴ, ㅂ, and ㅅ

Example 1: 알다, to know

Before ㄴBefore ㅂBefore ㅅ
저는 그것을 압니다.
I know that.
그는 모든 것을 압니다.
He knows everything.
진실을 압시다.
Let’s know the truth.

Example 2: 만들다, to make

Before ㄴBefore ㅂBefore ㅅ
저는 케이크를 만듭니다.
I make a cake.
그녀는 음식을 만듭니다.
She makes food.
함께 만듭시다.
Let’s make it together.

Example 3: 길다, to be long

Before ㄴBefore ㅂBefore ㅅ
이 길이 깁니다
The road is long
이 줄이 깁니다
This line is long
이야기를 깁시다
Let’s make the story long.
Full List of ㄹ Irregular Verbs:
길다to be long
놀다to play
멀다to be far
알다to know
열다to open
울다to cry
팔다to sell
만들다to make
힘들다to be hard/difficult
달다to be sweet
불다to blow
걸다to hang
밀다to push
들다to hold
풀다to untie/undo
늘다to grow
갈다to replace
물다to bite
이끌다to lead/guide
거칠다to be rough
기울다to tilt

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What are irregular verbs in Korean?

Irregular verbs in Korean are verbs that do not follow regular conjugation patterns and undergo changes in their stems when conjugated.

How do ㅅ irregular verbs change?

For ㅅ irregular verbs, the ㅅ is dropped before a vowel. For example, 짓다 becomes 지어요.

How do ㅂ irregular verbs change?

For ㅂ irregular verbs, the ㅂ changes to 우 before a vowel. For example, 쉽다 becomes 쉬워요.

How do 르 irregular verbs change?

For 르 irregular verbs, the 르 changes to ㄹㄹ before a vowel. For example, 다르다 becomes 달라요.

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