After talking about changing adjectives into adverbs with -게, I thought it would be interesting to talk about a very peculiar thing in Korean grammar. You cannot only turn adjectives into adverbs, you can even turn adjectives into an actual verbs. To do that you need the verb ending -아하다/어하다. It has two distinct uses and it is best not to mix them up.

Third Person Only

Many adjectives, especially adjectives for feelings such as 기쁘다, 슬프다, 귀찮다, etc., are internal feelings, personal. In fact we already mentioned this in our -고 싶다 article. You generally cannot use them when talking about someone else (third person). The pattern -아하다/어하다 allows you to do just that. You use it for describing whatever visible feeling or appearance of others you manage to see.

Example: 요즘 아버지가 피곤해하세요.

There is also a little supposition included in this pattern. Since you are clearly not the other person, you simply are never 100% sure. So it has a connotation of “seems” or “appears (to be)”.

Adjective To Verb

You are probably startled by the announcement you can change an adjective in a verb. However, when you come to understand when you use this form and how you use it, it will become so much easier to grasp it. All in all the pattern -아하다/어하다 isn’t complicated. You just need to know its basics. Unlike the earlier use, this use can be used for yourself (first person) and others (third person).

When you add the pattern  -아하다/어하다 it adds an action to the adjective and thus it stops being an adjective. You already know two very commonly used verbs that are created this way: 좋아하다 (좋다) and 싫어하다(싫다). But, you can do this with many other verbs. If you do it changes the English meaning to incorporate this idea.

For example:

  • 슬퍼하다 (슬프다) means “To be sad over something”
  • 귀여워하다 (귀엽다) means to “To dote over”.

While the new meanings are always in someway connected to their original adjective meaning. Sometimes it is very hard to guess the actual meaning. It is best to see how others use it in texts and speech

How To Use

Transforming an adjective using the pattern -아하다/어하다 is not hard. You simply need to follow the rules you have already learned for the Korean present tense. This means you have three major cases to consider:

  1. If the final verb syllable either ends in or contains ㅏ or ㅗ, you use ending -아하다
  2. If not, you use the ending -아하다.
  3. For 하다 adjective, the ending is -해하다.

After that you simply need to properly conjugate is like all other adjectives/verbs ending in 하다.

However, when you use this pattern to transform an adjective into a verb, it becomes a transitive verb. Because of that your sentence must have an object that uses the object particle 을/를.

Changes in Parts of Speech: -아하다어하다
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A short overview on -아하다/어하다.