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Can verb endings be omitted in some circumstances ?

Hello everyone,

I have read several texts in Korean where a verb seems to be in the present tense and independent (it has the 어/아 form), but is translated as a dependent verb or as a past verb. So I am wondering if in some circumstances, the ending of a verb may be omitted and just implied by the context.

I will give some examples to make the question clear. (Yes, I know, they may not be from masterpieces of Korean literature, but unfortunately I'm not there yet...)

Here is a verse of 에이핑크's song "꿈결처럼".

꿈결처럼 내게 나타나 꿈결처럼 날 떠나갔어

Here, if I take "나타나", no past tense appears : it is the verb 나타나다, "to appear", with the "~아" intimate present ending.

But if I translate according to this, the sentence sounds weird : "Like in a dream you appear to me, like in a dream you left me." One would expect "appear" to be in the past tense instead of the present tense. And in all the translations of this line I could find, indeed, the translation is "Like in a dream you appeared to me, like in a dream you left me", with "appeared" in the past tense.

So, in the Korean sentence itself, is the past tense implied although the past tense ending is not written, or is the verb at the present tense ?

Here is a second example, from 백지영's song "보통".

보통 남자를 만나 보통 사랑을 하고 보통 같은 집에서
보통 같은 아이와
보통만큼만 아프고
보통만큼만 기쁘고
행복할 때도 불행할 때도
보통처럼만 나 살고 싶었는데

The text is a list of wishes, using the form ~고 싶다, but in the first line, the verb "만나" does not have the ~고 ending that would indicate it is a part of the list of wishes.

However, it seems to be part of the list as well. If I translate the first words like this : "I meet a common man, [I wanted (= 싶었는데 from the last line)] to have a common love", it seems to create a contradiction with the rest of the song, which tells that precisely it is a bad man (나쁜 남자) that the woman encountered. She would start the song saying she meets a "common" man, and then state that she is disappointed because he is not normal but "bad".

So the correct translation might be : "I wanted to meet a common guy, to have a common love..." If this is right, once again a verb ending is not present but implied (~고, from the construction ~고 싶다).

So, after these examples, my question is : are the verbs that I quoted simply in the present tense and independent, or are some endings implied although not written ? And if it is possible to omit endings in Korean, can you explain in which circumstances it can occur ? For example, is it reserved to poems and texts with verses, or can you omit an ending in casual speech as well ?

Thank you for reaching the end of the question if you do, and thank you for your answers !

For learning: Korean
Base language: English
Category: Language



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    Best Answer - Chosen by the Asker
    I thought about it more. I made mistakes.
    I've written that "this could be academically wrong"^^;;;

    꿈결처럼 내게 나타나 꿈결처럼 날 떠나갔어.
    나타나 is present. In this case, the tense of the verb ~갔어 influence its whole sentence.

    꿈결처럼 내게 나타났고 꿈결처럼 날 떠나간다.
    꿈결처럼 내게 나타났고 꿈결처럼 날 떠나갈 거다.
    In this case, each independent clause has its own tense.

    first case could be written like this way
    꿈결처럼 내게 나타났어. 그리고 꿈결처럼 날 떠나갔어.
    꿈결처럼 내게 나타났고 꿈결처럼 날 떠나갔어.

    I've not learned Korean grammar, so this could be academically wrong at already built Korean grammar, but I guess it works like this.;;;

    In most cases tense is only applied to the final verb. There are exceptions, but I can't remember them. I think it has to do with if multiple subjects are involved or if you list things in a non-chronological order. I have an article about it but I can't find it right now. I'll see if i can find it later.
    ※ 동사의 어미는 절대 생략되지 않습니다. 다만 축약되거나 탈락될 뿐입니다.

    앞의 모음에 이어 뒤에도 모음이 연달아 나오면, 이를 발음할 때, 입이 벌려진 상태에서 두 개의 모음을 연달아 발음해야 하므로 두 모음간에 충돌이 발생합니다.

    이러한 모음충돌을 방지하기 위해, 앞모음과 뒷모음이 하나로 합쳐지거나(모음축약, 이중모음화), 모음중 하나가 탈락하는 현상(모음탈락)이 일어납니다.

    예를 들자면,

    동사 '가다'의 과거형을 만들어 봅시다.

    가다, 어간으로 만들기 위해 다를 지웁니다.
    가, 모음조화를 적용, '아'를 더하고 과거형으로 'ㅆ'을 더합니다.
    가-아-ㅆ, '가-아'는 'ㅏ+ㅏ' 같은 모음의 반복, 동음탈락 '가'로 됩니다.
    가-ㅆ, '가-ㅆ'을 조합하면 '갔'이 됩니다.
    갔+다 '다'를 더하여 과거형 시제를 완성합니다.
    갔다. 가다의 과거형

    같은 방법으로 '나타나다'를 활용해 보도록 하겠습니다.

    나타나다, '다'를 지웁니다.
    나타나, 모음조화를 적용하고, '아'를 더합니다.
    나타나-아, '나-아', 동음탈락으로 '아'가 탈락합니다.
    나타나-ㅆ다, 과거형으로 만들기 위해 'ㅆ다' 을 더하고 조합합니다.
    나타났다. 나타나다의 과거형

    동사 '오다'의 과거형을 만들어 봅시다.

    오다, '다'를 지웁니다.
    오, 모음조화를 적용, '아'를 더하고, 과거형 'ㅆ다'를 더합니다.
    오-아-ㅆ다, 모음축약을 적용, '오-아'를 합쳐 이중모음 '와' 를 만듭니다.
    와-ㅆ다, 나머지를 조합합니다.
    왔다, 오다의 과거형.

    잘못된 활용의 예
    가다, 가았다 X, 갔다 O
    오다, 오았다 X, 옸다 X, 왔다 O

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