The Korean Verb — Structured and Complete

Dick Grune and Cho Seongyeon

Published (2020) by Routledge, ISBN 978-0-367-266356


The Korean Verb — Structured and Complete describes and explains in detail the primary building block of every Korean phrase or sentence — the verb form at the end of the sentence. This important and often complicated form ties together the other words in the sentence into a meaningful unit.

The full coverage of the Korean verb form is based on three novel features:

  1. The three-stems method. This method associates three verb stems with a verb. Each stem can then just be glued to any matching ending in the list of endings described below. This reduces the complications of the Korean verb form to just three forms for each verb. The quoting endings easily find a place in the three-stems method.
  2. Complete lists of irregular verbs and related regular verbs. These verbs are presented in a format similar to the English to write - wrote - written or to go - went - gone.
  3. A list of more than 200 verb endings. This list covers all of Modern Korean and all older endings used in Modern renderings of classical Korean dramas. Each ending attaches to just one of the three stems of a verb. Examples of the use of these endings are provided both from everyday speech and from literature.

The three-stems method is of interest to all students of Korean, regardless of their level. It sheds light on the Korean verb in a way not usually found in other text books or course material, making the verb and its structure much more accessible and manageable.

Additionally, the complete lists of (ir)regular verbs and endings are of interest to anybody who is involved in studying or teaching the Korean language in general, and more in particular to the intermediate and advanced student and teacher of Korean who likes to have a work of reference at hand or occasionally feels the need for more detailed information.

Chapters of the book

  1. Verbs and stems. In-depth explanation of the three-stems method.
  2. Endings and suffixes. Application of the three-stems method to endings, suffixes, pseudo-suffixes, and quoting suffixes.
  3. The consonant stems. Complete treatment of the regular stems, and the irregular ㄷ-, ㅂ-, ㅅ-, ㅆ-, and ㅎ-stems, in the light of the three-stems method.
  4. The vowel stems. Same for the vowel stems.
  5. The ㄹ-stems. They differ enough from consonant and vowel stems to deserve a separate chapter.
  6. Generated verbs, verbs made from nouns by adding -(이)다.
  7. Listing of the endings and suffixes. Links each ending to one of the three stem forms. With examples and many details.
The full Table of Contents can be found here and the Preface by clicking here.

Additional material

There are a few subjects and lists that for various reasons did not make it into the book. They can be downloaded here.

  1. Action/descriptive verb pairs. This is a new section, Section 1.8.2, and replaces the last few lines of Section 1.8 on page 13, starting at "There are a few verbs that are both ...". (The Section 1.8.1 header would have come on page 12, right before the text "The difference between action and descriptive ...")
  2. Verbs in -이다 that look like generated verbs. This is a new section, Section 6.1.6, and can be added at the end of Section 6.1, after Section 6.1.5.

There is also a small Errata page.

About the authors

Dick Grune is a retired lecturer of Computer Science at the VU University Amsterdam, and is a coauthor of three text books on the subject. He has a life-long interest in languages and following his retirement he turned to studying the forms and structure of the Korean language.

Cho Seongyeon is a native speaker of Korean, has previously worked as a copywriter for Korean businesses, and is presently a teacher of Korean to foreign learners.

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