There are seven of them, the seven main Korean irregular verb groups. Because irregular verbs are so commonly used, a Korean language learner cannot do without mastering them. Luckily Korean irregular verbs are rather simple. In this article, we are taking at perhaps the most convoluted Korean irregular verb, but also one of the least commonly used irregular verbs: the ㅎ irregular verbs.
The ㅎ irregular verb group, or ㅎ 불규칙, is perhaps the most convoluted group of irregular verbs in Korean grammar. Its convoluted nature all comes from its quirky conjugation rules that are rather unique. The ㅎ irregular verbs are largely comprised out of adjectives for basic colours and 어떻다 (To be how), 이렇다 (To be like this), 그렇다 (to be like that) and 저렇다 (to be like that over there). A few of them are very commonly used. Therefore, understanding the conjugation rules for this Korean irregular verb group is still important.
Another bump in complexity is that there are quite a few verbs that have the appearance of ㅎ irregular verbs but are in fact very regular. Some of those regular verbs are among the most commonly used Korean verbs and adjectives. Some of these commonly used regular ㅎ verbs are 좋다 (to be good), 많다 (to be many), 낳다 (to bear, to give birth to) and 넣다 (to put in, to insert).
가: 무슨 색깔을 좋아해요?
나: 빨간색이랑 파란색을 좋아해요.
A: What colour do you like?
B: I like red and blue.
How To Use
As mentioned the conjugation rules for the ㅎ irregular verbs are perhaps the most convoluted in Korean grammar. However, once you memorized its forms, it will hardly challenge you. There are two situations you need to keep in mind.
The first situation is when you use it with verb endings that begin with the syllable 으, like -(으)려고 하다, -(으)ㄴ/는 적이 있다, -(으)ㄹ걸요, etc. When this happens both the ㅎ batchim of the verb stem and the 으 syllable of the verb ending are omitted. There is little else to do in this situation.
However, the second situation is a bit more complex. This situation occurs when a verb ending begins with 아/어, like -아/어 보이다, -아/어지다, -았/었던, etc. When this happens the ㅎ of the verb stem changes into a ㅣ, which then combines with the vowel of the verb stem. This turns the non-iotized vowels into ㅐ. The iotized verbs turn into ㅒ. When that is done, you just continue conjugating as normal.
어떻다, 이렇다, 그렇다 and 저렇다
One would expect that the vowel of the adjectives 어떻다, 이렇다, 그렇다 and 저렇다 would turn into ㅔ instead of ㅐ when you use it with a verb ending beginning with 아/어. However, this does not happen. Keep this deviation in mind!
List Of Common ㅎ Irregular Verbs
Irregular verbs are typically important to learn because often they are very common in daily conversations. To help you out, we have provided a list of common ㅎ irregular verbs. We hope this list can help you. Also, if you happen to know a verb that has not been included, do let us know so we can add it to the list. There are many verbs out there and we are not walking Korean dictionaries here at Morning Lands.
|ㅎ Irregular Verb / ㅎ 불규칙||English / 영어|
|까맣다||To be black|
|하얗다||To be white|
|노랗다||To be yellow|
|파랗다||To be blue|
|빨갛다||To be red|
|이렇다||To be like this|
|그렇다||To be like that|
|저렇다||To be like that over there|
|어떻다||To be like what, to be how|