Explaining Korean Grammar Using the Love Chapter

A lot of people seem to be interested in the Korean language, so I decided to continue explaining Korean grammar. I thought I would choose something else from the Bible that most people have heard of, and if you haven’t heard of it, you will like it. It is in the New Testament. It is 1 Corinthians 13. It is a beautiful chapter. It has 13 verses, and lets take it a step at a time. As I did the first verse, I realized the grammar was very complicated, so I will just give you the one verse this time.

사랑 없어면 소음 만 있어요. (Without love, there is only noise.)Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Verse 1: 내가 사람의 방언과 천사의 말을 힐지라도 사랑이 없으면 소리 나는 놋쉬와 꽹과리에 지나지 않숩니다.

내가 – ” I.” 가 is the subject marker, and 내 means the first person singular pronoun, “I.”

사람의 – “people’s.” 사람 can mean only “person” or “people,” but in this case, we know it is “people.” That 의 is the apostrophe “s” that makes 의 a possessive.

방온 과 – “dialects and..” 과 means “and” and so does 와. You use 과 after a consonant (in this case “ㄴ”), and you use 와 after a vowel. Again, 방온 can be singular or plural. They don’t have to add anything in Korean to make it plural even though they have 들 that is equivalent to our “s” that makes our words plural. Even if a word doesn’t have 들, it may still be plural, and this word is.

촌사 의 – “angel’s.” Again, that 의 is the apostrophe “s.” 의 is used instead of 과 because “아” is a vowel. 촌사 means “angel.”

말을 – “language.” bit om other places it can mean “word.” The 을 after it tells you that, 말 is a direct object. That means that it answers the question “what?,” and the verb acts directly on it. 을 is used instead of 를 because 말 ends in a consonant.

할지가도 – “even if ( subject pronoun) do.” The “할” comes from ” 하다” which means “to do.” The rest of it is a phrase meaning “even if.” this is one of those things I didn’t find I a grammar book, but just learned from singing spiritual songs in Korean chapel. “you” is not actually in Korean here, so it could be “I” because the subject of the sentence is “I.” This “do” is the verb for the first clause of the sentence.

사랑이 없으면 – “If there is no love.” 사랑 means “love.” 이 means it is the subject of this clause. 이 is used and not 가 because 사랑 ends in a consonant. 없어요 means several things: “there isn’t,” “aren’t or isn’t here (with any number of subjects),” and “don’t or doesn’t have (with any number of subjects).” With something like 없어요, they usually make you guess the subject. 면 meand “if.” The verb for that particular clause is always attached to the front of 면. If you put 없어요 before “if,” you have to change 없어요 to attach it because 없어요 is a conjugated form. Take the 어요 off. 어요 is the conjugation that puts it into simple present tense, and with a very kind level of speech. You can’t push a consonant right up next to another consonant in Korean unless a word it already spelled that way. That means something has to come between 없 and 면. They use 으 to help the two words glide together.

소리 나는 놋쉬와 – “a sounding brass and..,” with 나는 meaning “I.” 소리 can mean “voice” or “sound.” 놋쉬 means “brass.” 와, again, is “and.”

꽹과리에 지나지 않습니다 “It is nothing more than noise.” 지나지 means “nothing more.” 않습니다 is the negative respectful ending for a verb. You use this ending if you are a student talking to a teacher or someone making an announcement to the public. The 지 just before it means that a negative ending is coming. 않습니다 means it is not. You can use it on other verbs or as a verb alone. For example, If you wanted to say “This is not a book,” say, “이것은 책 않숩니다.” means “It isn’t a book.” That “isn’t” is 않습니다. If it is used on the end of a verb, here is an example: 사랑 하지 않습니다 which means “doesn’t or don’t love.”하지 않습니다 means “doesn’t or don’t do.” I actually have had a lot of trouble figuring out 꽹과리에 means. I have never found a good Korean dictionary, and my daughter who is much better in Korean than I am has never heard this word.꽹리 is actually in the place where “cymbals” should go, but my daughter says “cymbals” in Korean in 상진. Event that word is not in any dictionary I have access to. I keep thinking that 꽹리may be a kind of Korean traditional instrument because they have a lot of traditional instruments that are just like clanging to pans together and just flat noisy.

이새성에 사람들이 존사의 말을 모라요. (On this earth, people don’t know angel’s languages.) Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Basically, this is what we have in the long run with this verse: “Even if I do people’s dialects and angel’s languages, if I don’t love, I am nothing more than a sounding brass and a cymbal.”

I actually began using my Korean Bible when I copied the verse in Korean at the top onto my blog. However, half way through, I was really working on that crazy word: 꽝과리, and I found another translation of the verse online in Korean that had grammar at the end I thought was more useful to you, so the end of the verse is from the online translation. This is what I thought was useful to you: 않습니다. On a day to day basis, most adults won’t have to use this conjugation, but they need to understand it. If you want to understand when kids talk to you in Korean, they will use this. If you want to understand public announcements, they will use this conjugation. Here are some examples of verb levels that will help you:

나는 려기에 있어요. Photo by bruce mars on Pexels.com

The State of Being Verb Used for Location:

I am here. = 나는 여기에 있어요. (Adults will want to use this conjugation most of the time.)

나는 여기에 있다. (This is the conjugation you will see in books, and if you write in Korean, you should use this conjugation.

나는 여기에 있어. (This is called “bang mal.” You only use this conjugation with family members or friends you are very close to. It is extremely informal.)

재가 여기에 있습니다. (Yes, even the formal “I” is different. Students will speak to teachers like this. Children speak to adults like this. Public announcements are made with this. If you don’t know people, but you want to talk to them, you might use this.)



He is not here. = 그는 여기에 없어요 (This is the conjugation you will want to use all the time if you are an adult.)

그는 여기에 없어습니다 (This is the conjugation you will hear from students or children. You will also hear this in public announcements. It is very formal.)

그는 여기에 없어 ( This is “bang mal,” the conjugation people use with family members or others who are very close to them.)

그는 역기에 없다 (This is the conjugation you will read in books. It is also the conjugation you will use if you want to write anything.)


내 이름이 ____________이예요. Photo by fauxels on Pexels.com

The State of Being Verb Used for Identification:

My name is ___________. = 내 이름이__________이예요. (This is the conjugation you will want to use if you are an adult, as long as you aren’t talking to your boss. It is considered kind.)

재 이름이 ______________이습니다. (This is the most formal level of speech. Children use it talking to adults. Students use it with teachers. If you introduce yourself for the first time to a group, it keeps it formal. This form is also used for public announcements.)

나의 이름 이 _________________이다. (This is the form you will see in the books. If you write, you want to use this form. I used 나의 instead of 내, but they mean exactly the same thing, and there is no difference in their level.)

내 이름이 _______________야. (This is bang mal again, the form used with family and people closest to you. If you use it with anyone else, it is considered rude.)



His name isn’t __________________. =그의 이름이 _______________않니예요. (This is the form you should use if you are an adult with everyone. Especially, if you use this form with children as an adult, you will be considered kind.) 그의 이름이 _________________않이야 (This is bang mal again. They would only use this form with their family and close friends. If you use it and don’t know the person very well, you will be considered rude.)

그의 이름이 _________________않숩니다(This is the most formal conjugation. Students use it with teachers. Children use it with adults. It is used in public announcements. If you go to Korea to teach, don’t use it on other adults, and don’t use it on your students. Your students will use it on you.)

그위 이름이 ________________않다. (This is the form that is used in books. If you write something in Korean, they will expect you to use this form.)

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