A lot of languages have their own ways of making noun forms. Although some languages may not have ways to do that, Korean definitely does.


In this article, I am going to introduce to you some ways of creating Korean noun forms from verbs and adjectives. Believe me - these rules will be very useful for your language learning.



Adding 기 Form


For verbs, you can just put right next to a verb instead of that word’s usual ending. Let’s check out some example words.


  • 읽다 (To read) — 읽기 (Reading)
  • 듣다 (To listen, to hear) — 듣기 (Listening, Hearing)
  • 걷다 (To walk) — 걷기 (Walking)
  • 뛰다 (To jump) — 뛰기 (Jumping)
  • 앉다 (To sit) — 앉기 (Sitting)
  • 달리다 (To run) — 달리기 (Running)



Adding ㅁ Form


For adjectives, you can just put right next to an adverb instead of that word’s usual ending. Here are a few examples.


  • 밝다 (Be bright) — 밝음 (Brightness)
  • 슬프다 (Be sad) — 슬픔 (Sadness)
  • 아프다 (Be painful, be hurt, be sick) — 아픔 (Pain)
  • 기쁘다 (Be pleasured, Be glad) — 기쁨 (Pleasure, Delight)



Erasing 하다 Form


For Chinese-Korean words, by deleting 하다 at the end of the word, they can become noun forms right away. Let’s check out some examples.


  • 공부하다 (To study) — 공부 (Study)
  • 필기하다 (To write) — 필기 (Writing)
  • 졸업하다 (To graduate) — 졸업 (Graduation)
  • 수술하다 (To surgery) — 수술 (Surgery)
  • 기억하다 (To remember) — 기억 (Memory, Remembrance)
  • (얼굴에) 화장하다 (To put on make up) — 화장 (Make up)


The only thing that you have to remember is that this rule doesn’t work for pure Korean words. Have a look at how this works below.


  • 말하다 (To speak, To talk) — 말하기 (Speaking, Talking)
  • 멍청하다 (Be stupid, Be dumb) — 멍청함 (Stupidity)
  • 똑똑하다 (Be smart) — 똑똑함 (Smartness)
  • 조용하다 (Be quiet) — 조용함 (Quietness)
  • 깨끗하다 (Be clean) — 깨끗함 (Cleanliness)
  • 따뜻하다 (Be warm) — 따뜻함 (Warmness)


Some adjectives and verbs have their own noun forms. Some words have more than one form, as pure Korean words and Chinese-Korean words. Below I’ve listed a few examples.



Pure Korean


English Meaning

쓰다 — 쓰기

쓰다 — 쓰기

To write — Writing

먹다 — 먹기

섭취하다 — 섭취

To eat, To ingest — Eating, Intake

듣다 — 듣기

청취하다 — 청취

To listen, To hear — Listening, Hearing

입다 — 입기

착용하다 — 착용

To wear — Wear

외우다 — 외우기

암기하다 — 암기

To memorize — Memorization



Several Exceptions


Languages always have some exceptions to rules. You don’t have to memorize these, but just familiarise yourself with them.



Pure Korean


English Meaning

자다 — 잠 (NOT 자기)

수면하다 — 수면

To sleep — Sleep

꿈꾸다 — 꿈 (NOT 꿈꾸기)

Does not exist

To dream — Dream

바라다 — 바람 (NOT 바라기)

희망하다 — 희망

To hope — Hope

Does not exist

생각하다 — 생각

To think — Thought

Does not exist

상상하다 — 상상

To imagine — Imagination

배우다 — 배움, 배우기

습득하다 — 습득

To learn — Learning

사랑하다 — 사랑

Does not exist — 애정

To love — Love

춥다 — 추위 (NOT 춥음)

Does not exist

Be cold — Cold

덥다 — 더위 (NOT 덥음)

Does not exist

Be hot — Heat



But don’t worry too much about the exceptions. There are not many cases of these in the Korean language so you can prioritise remembering the rules instead.


You can make all kinds of nouns from verbs and adjectives, except with some loan words. Practise with example words and sentences, and you will quickly get used to these rules. I would recommend trying to create 3 to 5 example words and sentences every day.


When I was learning English, I practiced in the same way too! My friend told me that when learning a language, practice makes perfect. I really believe this phrase is true, and I hope you remember it when you are learning Korean.


Thank you for reading my article, and you can read other ones I have written anytime you want by checking through my profile. Good luck with your Korean!


Hero image by Emile-Victor Portenart on Unsplash