When we meet people from different countries, we want to ask them if they tried this and that. Koreans love to ask those things when to you when you are in Korea too. So we better go take a look how you discuss trying things out in Korean and the first Korean grammar pattern we’ll look at is -어/아 보다.

Experience -어/아 보다

The expression -어/아 보다 is a rather straightforward verb pattern. You can often translate this pattern as “try”. Because of its meaning, you will often use it with the patterns -(으)세요 or -고 싶다. It is generally used to invite someone to try something or to say you want to try something. Furthermore this expression infers that you never before experienced the discussed activity. Let’s look at an example:

Example: 미국에 가 보고 싶어요.

Translation: I want to visit the U.S..

This pattern can also be used in the past tense. However, when you use it in a past tense, it merely expresses you have in fact experienced whatever you are talking about. Let’s look at an example:

Example: 미국에 가 봤어요.

Translation: I’ve been to the U.S..

How To Use

Using the pattern -어/아 보다 isn’t that hard. You can use this Korean grammar topic with just verbs and this grammar expression uses the same -아/어 rule you are already very familiar with ever since the present tense. Nonetheless let’s go over the rules real quick:

  1. If the verb stem contains either ㅏ or ㅗ, you attach -아 보다.
  2. If not, you simply use -어 보다.
  3. For 하다 verbs, however, it should be -해 보다.

After that, you just need to conjugate 보다.

There is only one remark left. Seeing as 보다 is already a central verb in this expression, you do not use this pattern with the verb 보다 itself. This exception is, of course, because things like 봐 봐 would sound a bit weird.  보다 instead uses another pattern, -(으)ㄴ 적이 있다/없다.

Experience and Trying Things Out: -어/아 보다
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Short overview on -어/아 보다