Adjective Modifiers

Korean Adjective Modifiers

Dictionary form :
~다, word entry that you see in a dictionary.  ex) 바쁘다 = to be busy
The part of the word preceding 다 is called the “word stem“.

Previously we have talked about adjective tense.
In adjective tense I showed that adjectives function as descriptive verbs and they are conjugated into different tenses at the end of sentences.
ex) 하늘이 파랬어 = The sky was blue.

Now we’ll learn how adjectives are used as modifiers placed before the noun.

* Please note that ‘Adjective modifier + Noun’ structure is more common in written Korean. In spoken Korean, ‘Noun + Adjective (w/ conjugated suffix)’ pattern is more natural to say.
For example, ‘사람이 많아요’ sounds more natural than ‘많은 사람이예요’.


1. Word stem that has no final consonant, 받침 → attach ㄴ


ex) 큰 모자 = a big hat

크다 → 큰 = big
예쁘다 → 예쁜 = pretty
느리다 → 느린 = slow
친절하다 → 친절한 = kind


2. Word stem that has a final consonant, 받침 (except for ㄹ, ㅂ, ㅎ) → attach 은


ex) 많은 사람들 = many people

작다 → 작은 = small
높다 → 높은 = high
많다 → 많은 = many
짧다 → 짧은 = short


3. Word stem that has a final consonant of ㄹ or ㅎ → remove the final consonant, attach ㄴ


ex) 긴 이야기 = a long story

길다 → 긴 = long
멀다 → 먼 = far
파랗다 → 파란 = blue
빨갛다 → 빨간 = red


4. Word stem that has a final consonant of ㅂ → remove the final consonant, attach 운


ex) 차가운 주스 = cold juice

어렵다 → 어려운 = difficult / tough
쉽다 → 쉬운 = easy
차갑다 → 차가운 = cold
뜨겁다 → 뜨거운 = hot


5. Word stem that ends with ‘있’ or ‘없’ → attach 는


ex) 재미없는 영화 = a uninteresting / boring movie

맛있다 → 맛있는 = delicious / tasty
맛없다 → 맛없는 = not delicious
재미있다 → 재미있는 = fun / interesting
재미없다 → 재미없는 = uninteresting / not fun / boring


CREDIT: Photo by Jeremy Galliani

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