Now that I’m back from London after the TOPIK exam, it is time to return to some good old Korean grammar. The grammar that I want to discuss now is a rather basic topic you ought to know. That Korean grammar pattern is -(으)러 가다/오다 and it is rather is to understand.
To -(으)러 가다/오다
While humans may be sedentary creatures, we move about a lot in our lives. We move to other places with a clear purpose and we often need to tell others why we are going somewhere. All languages have quick and easy ways to express the why for your movement. In Korean you can easily express this with the pattern -(으)러 가다/오다. When you translate it, you can easily read it as “(going/coming) to.” Let’s look at an example:
Example: 저는 한국어능력시험을 보러 런던에 가요.
Translation: I am going to London to take the TOPIK exam.
How To Use
Using the Korean grammar expression -(으)러 가다/오다 isn’t that difficult. Yet, there are still a few things we’ll have to go over. Of course, the first thing we need to go over is the way how you can conjugate verbs using this pattern. This pattern can only be used with verbs. This pattern follows the simple “Add 으 batchim/no batchim rule”. It goes like this:
- If the verb stem ends in a vowel (no batchim), then you add -러 가다/오다.
- If the verb stem does end in a consonant (batchim), you add -으러 가다/오다.
For this verb pattern the ㄹ irregular verbs can be quite tricky, among other irregular verbs. Keep an eye on them.
There are a few side notes that I ought to mention. While the pattern is presented here as -(으)러 가다/오다, that doesn’t mean you can only use either 가다 or 오다. You can use any movement verb after -(으)러, but only movement verbs. You can verbs such as 나가다 (to leave), 다니다 (to commute, to attend), 다녀오다 (to go and come back), etc.
Furthermore movement verbs cannot be used in the first clause of this expression (with -(으)러) as that would make little to no sense.