Korean 8 - Reading 8 - hada verbs

We have been talking about two different groups of verbs:

  1. Verbs with a stem ending in a or o (e.g.가다= kada / 보다= poda)
  2. Verbs with a stem ending in other than a/o (e.g.목다 = mokkta / 마시다 = mashida)

There is a third type:D Logically that should not be possible... but it is just one single verb of the a/o group which for some mysterious reason behaves differently... Again you might say, why should we even bother, if its just one verb, we can do without it! And there you are wrong! It is the best verb ever. Hahaha I sound like a salesman now. What am I going to make you buy?

The verb is called 하다 = hada and it means to do

Ah you are still not impressed... Well let me tell you this. The verb hada can be used to change nouns into verbs. And there are many of them. You might even start forming your own ones, and all have the same form as hada since it is only the hada part which is conjugated. Let me give you some examples...

공부 - kongbu = the study

Now we simply add the verb hada (to do) to the end and we get

공부하다 - kongbu-hada = to do studies = to study

Let's try to pick a word you know already... Do you remember

머리 - meori = head

Well there is : 머리하다 -meori-hada = to do one's hair

Well, that one was a bit abstract. Let's find another word.

노레 - norae = song

노레하다 norae-hada to sing

There is also 수영 - suyeong - swimming. Remember we had the swimmingpool 수영장

수영하다 suyeong-hada - to swim

Do you recall pap = rice It can also mean meal.

밥하다 - pap-hada = to fix a meal

Let's have some fun words. You didn't learn them yet, but you might guess. I won't give you the answer right away,so you need work a bit :D

  1. 쇼핑하디
  2. 샤워하다
  3. 데이트하다

Have fun !

Oh and one must-know :)

사랑 sarang = love

사랑하다 saranghada = to love

Now let's try to conjugate these hada-verbs. If they would behave as a normal a/o verb, we should expect the following:

가다 - ka-da > 가요 - ka-yo

하다 - ha-da > 하요 - ha-yo But that is not the case. Instead hada prefers to turn into:

해요 - hae-yo (I do, you do, he does, they do, let's do...)

Not too bad, right? I mean buying this you get all the build-up verbs in the deal and there are plenty. If you are impatient, you may type 'verbs with 하다' into Google and you immediately end up on a site proposing you to download 100 hada-verbs. You might as well simply stick with me and learn those verbs when they come up little by little in some useful context. Up to you :D

Ok let's move on. Let's look at all the hada verbs mentionned above.

infinitive romanizationconjugated form romanization translation
공부하다kongbu-hada공부해요 kongbu-haeyo I study
머리하다 meori-hada머리해요meori-haeyo I do my hair
노레하다 norae-hada노레해요norae- haeyo I sing
수영하다suyeong-hada수영해요suyeong-haeyo I swim
밥하다pap-hada밥해요 pap-haeyo I fix a meal
사랑하다 sarang-hada사랑해요sarang-haeyo I love
데이트하다?데이트해요? ?

Now there is one more issue we need to talk about. If hada verbs are a construction out of nouns and the verb hada they can also be unassembled.

공부하다 = 공부 + 하다

We can also use them in their dissassembled form, but since the noun is an object to the verb (hada - to do) it needs an object ending: 을/를 (eul/reul).We have seen these before.


공부하다 = 공부를 하다 (kongbu-reul hada) to study - to do studies

공부하요 = 공부를 해요 (kongbu- reul haeyo) I study - I do studies

You can use either form, connected or seperated, there is no change in the meaning.

So now you might wonder why we do it at all... :D Well there is a reason.

The concept behind it is that if I want to put anything inbetween the noun and the verb there is a slot. But what would we want to put in there ;P There are several options, for instance negation. Hmmm we haven't yet seen negation with regular verbs... Let's have a quick look at it now. It's pretty easy.

All you need to do is to put the word 안 (an = not) directly before the verb, that is to be negated.

가요 - kayo = I go안 가요- an kayo = I don't go

Now coming to a combined hada verb (noun + hada) we have to put an before the verb, but not before the noun. So that is why we need to split the two.

공부하요 = 공부를 해요

kongbuhaeyo / kongbureul haeyo

I study

공부를 안 해요

kongbureul an haeyo

I don't study

There are lots of other things as well to fill into that gap. There is e.g.못 (mot = can't)

수영헤요 / 수영을 해요

suyeonghaeyo = suyeongeul haeyo

I swim

수영을 못해요

suyeongeul mot-haeyo

I can't swim

Mot as you might have noticed unlike an attaches to the verb hada, however it remains detached from other verbs.

자주 - jaju means often.

노레를 자주 해요. - Noraereul jaju haeyo. I often sing.

많이 mani means a lot (the 'h' is silent. Usually when you have 4 letters in a syllable block only 3 are pronounced. We ll get to that later)

공부를 많이 해요. Kongbureul mani haeyo. I study a lot.

One last: 전혀 jeon-hyeo not at all and it has to take

공부를 전혀 안 해요. Kongbureul jeon-hyeo an haeyo. I don't study at all.

I hope that is not you :D But maybe you are all geniuses who don't need to study. So here is one last bonus information for geniuses:

Not all hada verbs are able to split up into two parts, only the ones build up with nouns. Verbs constructed from adjectives + hada cannot seperate. A lot of those non splitable verbs have to do with feelings or stomach issues as vomiting. To be drunk is also part of them. So best stay away from too much maegju and you won't have trouble with hada verbs. XD

Oh, right I owe you still the solution to our riddle earlier. So since you are all geniuses, you surely have figured it out yourself... Here it is anyway:

  1. 쇼핑하디 = shopping-hada = to do shopping
  2. 샤워하다 = shaweo-hada = to take a shower
  3. 데이트하다 = de-i-te- hada = to have a date

쇼 = syo = sho

샤 = sya = sha