Korean Lesson 74, The “When” Clause

Most types of sentences we have in English, you can find in Korean. They are just done differently, but they have the same meaning. This is another one. When you ask someone “When?” in Korean, it is 언제 (oenjey). However, this is not the word they use in the “when” clause. The word used in the “when” clause is 때 (ddeh). Since this is a clause, it means that it has a verb in it, and the verb is place just before 때. According to how the verb ends, you may or may not have to put something between the 때 and the verb. In English, we begin the sentence with “when,” but in Korean, they end the “when” clause with 때. From what I understand, 때 is not even technically “when” every time, but it is more like “the time.” Here are some examples of how to make the “when” clause in Korean:

When I go to church, I sing. = 내가 교회에 갈때 노래 해요. (neh gah kyohey eh galddeh nohreh heyo)

Please note here, that 가다 (gahdah or kahdah) is the verb for “go.” You use the stem, and then you put an ㄹ (l or r) below 가 (gah or kah) and then you can use 때 (ddeh). The stem always needs ㄹ, but sometimes is needs other things too.

Vocabulary: 내가 (neh gah) = I//교회 (kyohey) = church// 가다 (gah dah or kahdah) = go// 때 (ddeh) = when// 노래 하다 (noh reh hahdah) = sing// 노래 해요 (noh reh heyo) = sing or sings.


When I was four years old, I learned to read. = 내가 네 살 이었을때 읽기 배웠어요. (neh gah sal ee-eossulddeh eelkghi behweousseoyo.)

Take note here that the “when” clause is in past tense, and the verb is conjugated. 이다 (eedah) = is, am, are// 이예요 (eeyeyo) = is, am, are, in the “yo” form/ 이었다 (eeeottdah) = was, in the “다” form// 이었어요 (ee-eosseoyo) = was, in the “yo” form// All you need to do is take the ending off, but leave it conjugated. Use the 이었 (ee-eoss). Because there is already an ㅆ (ss) below the last sylable in the verb, you can’t put the ㄹ (l or r) there. However, you must put the ㄹ before the 때 (ddeh). That means you need another syllable to add that ㄹ, and it is 을 (ul).

Vocabulary: 네 (neh) = four// 살 (sal) = age, years// 읽기 (eelkghee) = to read//배우다 (beh-oodah) = read, reads, the 다 (dah) form// 배워요 (beweousseoyo) = read (past tense 요 (yo)form))//


When the teacher teaches, the students look at the board. = 선생님이 가르칠때 학생들이 칠판을 봐요. (sonsengneem ee kahrucheel ddeh haksengdul ee cheelpahn ul bwayo)

Vocabulary: 선생님 (seonsengneem) = teacher/가르치다 (kahrucheedah) = teach// 가르쳐요 (kahruchyeoyo) = teach, teaches (요 (yo) form)// 학생 (hahkseng) = student// 학생들 (hahksengdul) = students//칠판 (cheelpahn) = blackboard// 보다 (bohdah) = look, see// 봐요 (bwayo) = look, looks, see, sees// 가르칠때 (kahrucheelddeh) = “teach when”…Take note that the ㄹ can be found below the last syllable of 가르치다 (kahrucheedah) after you take the 다 (dah) off.


When you learn to speak Korean, you are happy. = 한국말을 말하기 배울때 행복해요. (hahngook mahl ul mahlhahghee beh-oolddeh hengbokheyo).

Vocabulary and Grammar: 배우다 (beh-oodah) = learn// 배울때 (beh-oolddeh) = “learn when”…Take the 다 (dah) off and put the ㄹ (l or r) below the last syllable, then add 때 (ddeh)// 말하기 (mahlhahghee) = to speak// 한국 말 (hahngook mahl) = Korean language// 해복해요 (hengbokheyo) = the verb form of “happy”.

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