Lesson 15: Miscellaneous Words and Grammar: 들다, Korean Homonyms, Being Sick, Different/Similar/Same

Lesson 15: Miscellaneous Words and Grammar: 들다, Korean Homonyms, Being Sick, Different/Similar/Same


Click on the English word to see information and examples of that word in use (you probably won’t be able to understand the grammar within the sentences at this point, but it is good to see as you progress through your learning).

A PDF file neatly presenting these words and extra information can be found here.

잠 = sleep

모자 = hat

줄 = line, string, rope, queue

감기 = a cold

기침 = cough

설사 = diarrhea

독감 = the flu

재채기 = sneeze

동아리 = a club in school or university

취미 = hobby

수학 = math

가족 = family

실력 = skills

사촌 = cousin

삶 = life

맥주 = beer

과거 = past

마음 = one’s heart/mind

들다 = to lift, to carry, to hold

들다 = to enter, to go into

가져오다 = to bring an object

가져가다 = to take an object

돌리다 = to turn, to run a machine, to hand out

돌다 = to turn oneself, to rotate oneself

돌아보다 = to look back

돌아가다 = to go back, to return

돌아오다 = to come back, to return

돌려주다 = to give back

걸다 = to hang

주문하다 = to order

결혼하다 = to get married

부르다 = to call out

고르다 = to choose, to pick

넣다 = to insert, to put inside

경험하다 = to experience

설명하다 = to explain

자랑하다 = to show off

Passive verbs:
걸리다 = to be hanging

걸리다 = to be caught, to be stuck, to be trapped

걸리다 = to catch a cold/sickness

걸리다 = to “take” a certain amount of time

똑같다 = to be exactly the same

자랑스럽다 = to be proud

또 다르다 = another

시끄럽다 = to be noisy, to be loud

흔하다 = to be common

드물다 = to be rare

Adverbs and Other words:
아마도 = maybe/might

속 = inside

For help memorizing these words, try using our Memrise tool.


This lesson will have a very different feel than all the previous lessons you have learned. Most of the words you have learned so far can be understood and used in sentences without much thought or hesitation. For example, if you knew how to say this:
저는 한국어를 배웠어요 = I learned Korean

And then subsequently learned “공부하다” (to study), it would be easy to figure out that you could also say:
저는 한국어를 공부했어요 = I studied Korean.

However, there are many words that you would not be able to pick up instinctively because they follow different rules or patterns. In this lesson, I want to teach you about some of these words. I also want to use this lesson as a means to teach you some small concepts in Korean that you should know. These concepts are important, but are too small to have an entire lesson dedicated to that one concept. So, I have included them in this “miscellaneous” lesson:

More about 좋다/싫다 to 좋아하다/싫어하다

I have told you a few times that in most words ending in 하다, you can remove the ~하다 and the remaining word then becomes a noun of that verb. For example:

말 = speech/words/the thing that you say
말하다 = to speak

주문 = an order
주문하다 = to order

결혼 = marriage
결혼하다 = to marry

존경 = respect
존경하다 = to respect

This cannot be done with 좋아하다 and 싫어하다. That is:

좋아 is not a noun that means “likeness” (or whatever), and
싫어 is not a noun that means “dis-likeness “(or whatever)

Note, however that 좋아 and 싫어 can be found in sentences, but only as conjugated forms of 좋다/싫다 and not as the noun form of 좋아하다 and 싫어하다. You learned in previous lessons that 좋다 and 싫다 are adjectives. As adjectives, they can describe an upcoming noun or predicate a sentence. For example:

저는 좋은 김치를 먹었어요 = I ate good kimchi
김치는 좋아요 = Kimchi is good
Just a quick note. Only in rare cases would you actually say ‘김치는 좋아요.’ In most cases if you wanted to describe 김치 by saying it was good, you would use the word 맛있다 instead. You would only really use this sentence if you/somebody was talking about something bad (like maybe something bad for your health), and then you could say “… is bad, but Kimchi is good.” Nonetheless, it is grammatically correct, and I am specifically using this sentence to make a point that you will understand later in the lesson.

좋아하다 is made by adding ~아/어하다 to the stem of 좋다. This changes 좋다 from an adjective (good) to a verb (to like). Likewise,

싫어하다 is made by adding ~아/어하다 to the stem of 싫다. This changes 싫다 from an adjective (not good) to a verb (to dislike).

It would be good to note that you can add ~아어하다 with some other adjectives as well. 좋다 and 싫다 are the most common (and the most important) to worry about right now, but other common examples are:

부끄럽다 = shy (this is an adjective)
부끄러워하다 = shy (this is a verb)

부럽다 = envious (this is an adjective)
부러워하다 = envious (this is a verb)

Aside from knowing that one is a verb and one is an adjective, you don’t need to worry about these other words right now. I talk more about this concept and how they are used differently, but not until much later in Lesson 105. For now, let’s just focus on 좋아하다 and 싫어하다.

As a verb, 좋아하다 can be used to indicate that one “likes” something. For example:

김치는 좋아요 = Kimchi is good
저는 김치를 좋아해요 = I like Kimchi

Likewise, 싫어하다 can be used to indicate that one “dislikes” something. For example:

김치는 싫어요 = Kimchi is bad/not good
저는 김치를 싫어해요 = I don’t like Kimchi

However, the use of “좋다” and “싫다” in these sentences is commonly used to say:

김치가 좋아요 = I like Kimchi, and
김치가 싫어요 = I don’t like Kimchi

Or, other examples:

학교가 좋아요 = I like school
학교가 싫어요 = I don’t like school

맥주가 좋아요 = I like beer
맥주가 싫어요 = I don’t like beer

The mechanics to how this is done is talked about next.

Subject – Object – Adjective Form

One of the basic fundamentals of grammar (not just Korean grammar) is that an adjective cannot act on an object. This means in Korean you can never have a sentence predicated by an adjective that is acting on a word with the object particle ~를/을. This means that you cannot say this:

저는 김치를 좋다 = I kimchi good
(this doesn’t make sense in either language)

But, you can say any of these:

저는 김치를 먹었어요 = I ate kimchi
An object predicated by a verb

김치가 좋아요 = kimchi is good
A subject predicated by an adjective

저는 좋은 김치를 먹었어요 = I ate good kimchi
An object being described by an adjective predicated by a verb

That being said, sometimes, Korean people actually DO make sentences that are predicated by adjectives and also have an “object.” Remember though, you cannot (100% cannot) use an adjective to act on an object. So how do Korean people say this? They do so by adding ~이/가 to the object instead of ~을/를. This technically makes the grammar within the sentence correct because there is not an adjective acting on an object. Take a look at the example:

김치는 좋아요 = kimchi is good
저는 김치를 좋아해요 = I like kimchi, which can also be said like this
저는 김치가 좋아요 = I like kimchi

What I am trying to get at here – is that often times in Korean there is an adjective or passive verb that acts on objects. However, these adjective/passive verbs must (of course) always be treated as an adjective or passive verb.

Adjectives and passive verbs can never act on objects, so instead of using ~를/을 in these situations, you have to use ~이/가. Another example where this is commonly done is with 그립다:

그립다 = this word is translated as “to miss,” but is usually used when talking about missing a non-person (it is sometimes used to say that you miss a person, but we will talk about how to say you miss a person in Lesson 17).

그립다 is an adjective in Korean (because it actually describes the feeling rather than an action verb). This means that if you want to say “I miss Korean food” you cannot say:

저는 한국 음식을 그리워요. Instead, you must say:
저는 한국 음식이 그리워요 = I miss Korean food

More examples. Notice that the predicating word of each sentence in an adjective:

나는 네가 자랑스러워 = I am proud of you
나는 그 사람이 싫어 = I don’t like that person
저는 한국이 좋아요 = I like Korea

You also saw this same phenomenon in the previous lesson with passive verbs. Remember, you cannot have a passive verb act on an object. Therefore, we saw the following types of examples in the previous lesson:

저는 그것이 기억나요! = I remember that!
저는 땀이 나요! = I’m sweating!
저는 화가 났어요 = I was/I am angry

Korean Word: 들다

The word 들다 in Korean is very difficult because it can be used in so many ways. Two of the most common usages are:

들다 = to carry/hold something
들다 = to enter/go into something/somewhere

Both of these usages are overarching situations that most of the usages of 들다 can fit into. The difficulty with 들다 is, because it can be used in so many different ways, it is often hard to come up with a translation that fits all possible situations.

Right now, you don’t have a good enough understanding of Korean grammar/vocabulary for me to list all the possible ways 들다can be used. However, let me show you three examples of how 들다 can be used under the overarching situation of “to enter/go into something/somewhere.”

나는 동아리에 들었어 = I joined a club (I “entered” a club)
(나는) 잠이 들었다 = I fell asleep (I “entered” sleep)
저는 그 그림이 마음에 들어요 = I like that picture (That picture enters my heart)
The definition of the word 마음 generally refers to one’s heart/one’s mind

Now, let me show you examples of how 들다 can be used under the overarching situation of “to carry/hold something.”

저는 손을 들었어요 = I raised my hand (I “held up” my hand/carried my hand)
저는 가방을 들었어요 = I carried the/my bag

Okay, so what’s my point?

Well, I have three points actually.

1) First, I wanted to show you how 들다 can be used. As I mentioned, there are many other possible ways that 들다 can be used that fit under those two overarching situations. Even though I only showed you five example sentences, that represents a good percentage of the ways 들다 can be used.

2) This is really crucial to your development of Korean and how it relates to the meanings you have of words from your understanding of English. You have to realize that Korean and English are fundamentally different, and it is very difficult to translate sentences sometimes. In cases like these, you should try not to translate the meaning of a word directly into a specific definition. Rather, you should be open to the fact that it can have many meanings depending on the context.

For example, imagine if you knew the following words and their definitions:

저 = I/me
마음 = heat/mind
들다 = enter
그림 = picture
And you saw the following sentence:

저는 그 그림이 마음에 들어요

Would you be able to understand its meaning if I had not explained it to you earlier? Many learners of Korean might read that and say “Well, it looks like that person has a picture entering his heart/mind… but I’m not quite sure what that means.”

This is the first of many times where I will encourage you to not translate/understand sentences literally. Instead, try to understand what the meaning of a sentence could be based on your understanding of the words within it. For example, if you come across the word “들다” in your studies, realize that it can have many usages – and just because it doesn’t immediately look like it will translate to “enter” or “carry,” an open mind might allow you to see things in different ways.

3) I specifically wanted to teach you the meaning of 들다 because it is commonly used in compound words, which I will talk about in the next section.

Korean Compound Verbs

You will notice (or may have already noticed) that many Korean verbs are made by combining two verbs together. This is usually done by adding one verb to the stem of the other, along with ~아/어. When this happens, the meanings of both of the words form to make one word. For example:

들다 = to enter something
가다 = to go

들다 + 가다 = 들 + 어 + 가다
= 들어가다 = to go into something

아버지는 은행에 들어갔어요 = My dad went into the bank

들다 = to enter something
오다 = to come

들다 + 오다 = 들 + 어 + 오다
= 들어오다 = to come into something

남자는 방에 들어왔어요 = A man came into the room

나다 = to arise out of something/come up/come out
가다 = to go

나다 + 가다 = 나 + 아 + 가다
= 나가다 = to go out of something

저는 집에서 나갔어요 = I went out of home (I left home)

나다 = to arise out of something/come up/come out
오다 = to come

나다 + 오다 = 나 + 아 + 오다
= 나오다 = to come out of something

학생은 학교에서 나왔어요 = The student came out of school

가지다 = to own/have/posses
오다 = to come

가지다 + 오다 = 가지 + 어 + 오다
= 가져오다 = to bring something

나는 나의 숙제를 가져왔어 = I brought my homework
그 학생은 숙제를 가져오지 않았어 = That student didn’t bring his homework

가지다 = to own/have/posses
가다 = to go

가지다 + 가다 = 가지 + 어 + 가다
= 가져가다 = to take something

저는 저의 모자를 가져갈 거예요 = I will bring my hat

You will come across many of these words when you are leaning how to speak Korean. It is not something terribly difficult, but is something that you should be aware of (it helps to understand the word if you realize that it is made up of two separate words).

Another word that you will see commonly in these compound words is “돌다”:

돌다 = to turn/to spin/to rotate

Examples of compound words:

돌다 + 보다 = 돌아보다 = to turn around (and see)
돌다 + 가다 = 돌아가다 = to return/go back
돌다 + 오다 = 돌아오다 = to return/come back
돌리다 + 주다 = 돌려주다 = to give back

저는 9월1일에 캐나다에 돌아갈 거예요 = I will go back to Canada on September 1st
저는 친구에게 책을 돌려줬어요 = I gave my friend back his book

That’s good enough for now, but you will continue to see these as you progress through your studies.

Different/Similar/Same in Korean (다르다/비슷하다/같다)

Three words that you have learned in previous lessons are:

다르다 = different
비슷하다 = similar
같다 = same

Using these words isn’t as straight forward as it would seem, so I wanted to spend some time teaching you how to deal with them. Of course, in simple sentences, they can be used just like any other adjectives. For example:

그것은 비슷해요 = That is similar
우리는 매우 달라요 = We are so different
우리는 같아요 = We are the same*
The sentence above sounds unnatural in Korean. Although “같다” translates to “the same,” in most cases (especially in cases like this where nothing is being compared), it is more natural to use the word “똑같다,” which usually translates to “exactly the same.”

For example:
우리는 똑같아요 = We are exactly the same

When comparing things like this in English, we use a different preposition for each word. For example:

I am similar to my friend
That building is different from yesterday
Canadian people are the same as Korean people

In Korean, the particle ~와/과/랑/이랑/하고 can be used to represent all of these meanings. For example:

저는 친구와 비슷해요 = I am similar to my friend
그 건물은 어제와 달라요 = That building is different from yesterday
캐나다 사람들은 한국 사람들과 같아요 = Canadian people are the same as Korean people
이 학교는 우리 학교와 똑같아요 = This school is exactly the same as our school

The ability of ~와/과/랑/이랑/하고 to be used in all of these cases creates confusion for Korean people when they learn English. You will often hear mistakes from Korean people like:

“This school is the same to our school”

Notice in the sentence above that the particle ~와/과/랑/이랑/하고 is used to denote that something is different from, similar to, or the same as something else. In theory, you could change the order of the sentences (to make the sentence structure similar to what you learned in Lesson 13) to indicate that two things (this and that) are different, similar or the same. For example:

우리 학교와 이 학교는 똑같아요 = Our school and this school are exactly the same

As you can see with the English translation – this doesn’t create any difference in meaning. It merely changes the wording of the sentences and the function of the particles slightly.

I talk about the usage of 같다 later in Lessons 35 and 36. Specifically, in Lesson 36 I talk about how 같다 is more commonly used to say “something is like something.” I don’t want to get into this too much in this lesson, because the purpose of this section was for me to introduce you to the grammar within these sentences so you could apply it to what I am about to introduce next.

Check this grammar out. This is probably an easy sentence to you now:
나는 잘생긴 남자를 만났어 = I met a handsome man
Subject – adjective (describing an) – object – verb

What about these next sentences?
나는 비슷한 남자를 만났어 = I met a similar man, or
나는 같은 남자를 만났어 = I met the same man

These sentences have the same structure as before:
Subject – adjective (describing an) – object – verb

That should be easy for you too. But what about if you wanted to say “I met a man who is similar to your boyfriend.” Seems too complicated, but let’s break it down:

너의 남자친구와 비슷하다 = similar to your boyfriend
비슷하다 is an adjective – which means it can modify a noun:
비슷한 남자 = similar man

너의 남자친구와 비슷한 남자 = A man (that is) similar to your boyfriend
나는 ( — )를 만났어 = I met —

나는 (너의 남자친구와 비슷한 남자)를 만났어 = I met a man that is similar to your boyfriend

Easy! Actually, not very easy. This structure is essentially the base of THE most important grammar concept in Korean. You’ll learn more about that in Lesson 26 – but for now, just try to understand the structure I showed you.

The meaning of “different” in English has more than one nuance, which are possessed by “다르다” as well. Although the meaning of “different” in the two sentences below is similar, try to see that they are slightly different:

I am different than him
I saw a different movie

The first one describes that something is not the same as something else

The second one has a meaning similar to “other” or “another”, where (in this case), the person did not see the movie that was originally planned, but instead saw “another” or a “different” movie.

다르다 can be used in both situations. For example:

저는 그와 달라요 = I am different from him
저는 다른 영화를 봤어요 = I saw a different (another) movie

“또 다르다” usually translates to “another,” while “다르다” translates to “other.” However, in the example above, replacing “another” with “other” makes it sound weird.

The function of “또 다르다” is hard to explain, but it is easier to explain (and understand) if you think of it as two separate words (which it actually is). It is a combination of the adjective “다르다” and the adverb “또”, which is used when something happens again.

“또 다르다” is used when one particular thing has already been described, and you are explaining another thing. For example, imagine you are sitting in a meeting with your coworkers discussing potential problems for a plan. People are all discussing the problems they see, and you can point out:

또 다른 문제는 그것이 비싸요 = Another problem is that (that thing is) expensive

In this same respect, you can say the following sentence, and although the translation in English is similar, try to understand the difference in adding “또”:

저는 또 다른 영화를 봤어요 = I saw ANother movie
In this, maybe the person saw one movie, and then again saw a different movie.

Words that are the same but have different meanings (Korean Homonyms)

This may be something that is obvious when learning any language, but I wanted to point it out. In Korean, there are a lot of words that have more than one meaning. It is like this in English as well, but most people never notice it until they stop to think about how many there actually are. Whenever there is a word with many meanings in Korean, these different meanings will always have a separate entry in our vocabulary lists (not necessarily in the same lesson, however). An example of this is “쓰다”:

쓰다 = to write
쓰다 = to use
쓰다 = to wear a hat

Each of these words has had a separate entry in our vocabulary lists. However, when a word has many meanings, but most of those meanings can be combined into a few ‘umbrella term’ meanings – only those ‘umbrella term’ meanings will be shown. A good example we talked about earlier is 들다. 들다 has so many meanings, but most of which can be grouped into 3 or 4 groups.

Either way, be aware that many words have many meanings in Korean:

나는 편지를 친구를 위해 쓸 거야 = I am going to write a letter for my friend
나는 그 기계를 썼어 = I used that machine
저의 아버지는 모자를 항상 써요 = My father always wears a hat

Another word that has many common meanings is 걸리다:

걸리다 = to be (in the state of) hanging
걸리다 = to be caught/stuck/trapped
걸리다 = to “take” a certain amount of time
걸리다 = to catch a cold/sickness

There are more usages, but lets just focus on these four for now:

걸리다 = to be hanging
Similar to the passive verbs you learned in the previous lesson, this verb can be used to indicate the passive ‘state’ of hanging:

그림은 벽에 걸려 있어요 = The picture is hanging on the wall

걸리다 = to be caught/stuck/trapped
An active verb that can be used when something trips/gets caught/gets trapped:

나는 줄에 걸렸어 = I tripped over the line (the recording incorrectly says “요” at the end)

걸리다 = to “take” a certain amount of time
This is a very useful form that we will talk about in greater detail in a later lesson. You can use this to indicate how long it takes to get from one place to another:

서울부터 인천까지 2시간 걸려요 = It takes 2 hours to get from Seoul to Incheon
우리학교에서 식당까지 10분 걸려요 = It takes 10 minutes to get from our school to the restaurant

Notice however, that even though each of these has a very different meaning in English (to be hanging, to be caught, to take a certain amount of time) they are actually pretty similar. When a picture is ‘hanging’ on the wall, technically it is ‘stuck/trapped’ on the wall. Similarly, if you go from Incheon to Seoul, the time it takes (2 hours) is ‘stuck/trapped.’ Haha, No? Well, that’s just the way I explained it to myself when I first learned some of these words.

Try to think outside of the English box. One word in Korean is often used to represent many words in English. Usually these words aren’t actually very different, but the different translations lead us to believe that they are in fact very different. Read these sentences again and see if you can understand them this way:

The picture is caught on the wall
I was caught over the line
2 hours are caught to get from Seoul to Incheon

Obviously not natural in English – but you can probably understand what these sentences mean.

My point? Just because it looks like a word has many meanings –doesn’t necessarily mean that those meanings are vastly different from each other. Think about the example from earlier in this lesson (들다) one more time. 들다 has many meanings – but most of which can be grouped into only 2 or 3 different meanings. Always keep this in mind.

Being Sick in Korea

One of the things people often try to learn first when learning a new language is how to express themselves in the event that they have to go to the doctor. This is something that wouldn’t fit into any specific lesson, so I want to cover it here:

You already know the word 아프다, which you can use to indicate that you are sick OR sore in some place. In English “sore” and “sick” mean slightly different things. Because of this, Korean people (who are learning English) often mistakenly say “My arm is sick.” Also note that 아프다 is an adjective… and for some reason ‘이/가’ are used instead of 는/은when creating sentences about a place on your body:

배가 아파요 = My stomach is sore
팔이 아파요 = My arm is sore
저는 어제 너무 아팠어요 = I was sick yesterday

Also, you can use the word 걸리다 to indicate that you have some sort of disease/sickness. You learned a little bit about 걸리다 in the previous section. This usage of 걸리다 essentially has the same meaning that was described in all the other examples of걸리다 (I am caught in a sickness). Korean people use this in the following way:

저는 감기에 걸렸어요 = I caught a cold/I have a cold
저는 독감에 걸렸어요 = I caught the flu/I have the flu
Notice how “에” is used in these sentences due to 걸리다 having the nuance of being stuck IN something

Also note that even though you have a cold in the present tense, Korean people use the past “걸렸다” to express that they currently have a cold.

기침 (a cough) and 재채기 (a sneeze), although not originally nouns of Chinese origin, are both nouns where you can add 하다 to get the respective verb form (to cough and to sneeze). For example:

저의 아들은 시끄럽게 기침했어요 = My son coughed loudly
(Probably more naturally translated to “My son was coughing loudly.” Korean people don’t really distinguish between simple and progressive past tenses as much as we do in English. You will learn about the progressive tense in Lesson 18.)

Wow that’s a long lesson. I have to apologize for writing these lessons so long. This lesson could have easily been broken into 2, 3 or even 4 separate lessons, but I chose against doing it that way. When I was first learning Korean, I wanted to plow through material as fast as I possibly could – and I guess that is coming out as I am writing these lessons as well.

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