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Korean Passives & Causatives / 한국어의 피동과 사동

Knowledge/Korean Grammar

by Teacher Joy 2022. 10. 28. 20:38

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Korean Grammatical Terms / 한국어 문법 용어

Term Korean Term Meaning Noun 명사 A word that names an object, person or place Action verb (=verb) 동사 A word that tell you what someone or something does Descriptive verb (=adjective) 형용사 A wo..

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Korean Passives and Causatives

 

Passives

In a passive-voice sentence, make the object of the sentence the subject and don't worry too much about who did the action. For instance, let's take the sentence: "He did his homework." In the passive voice, this would become "His homework was done." Alternatively, let's try "The mother lugged the child." In the passive, it changes to "The child was hugged by the mother."

Korean verbs are changed to the passive voice by adding 이, 히, 리, or 기 to the verb stem. Which syllable you add usually depends on the letter the verb ends with; however, there are many exceptions to this rule and you simply have to memorize most of the words.

 

Verbs ending in vowels or ㅎ normally have 이 added.

  • 보다 (to see) > 보이다 (to be showing/seen)
  • 쌓다 (to pile) > 쌓이다 (to be piled up)
  • 놓다 (to put) > 놓이다 (to be put)
  • 바꾸다 (to changed) > 바뀌다 (to be changed)

 

Verbs ending in ㅂ, ㄷ or ㄱ take 히.

  • 잡다 (to catch) > 잡히다 (to be caught)
  • 읽다 (to read) > 읽히다 (to be read)
  • 먹다 (to eat) > 먹히다 (to be eaten)
  • 닫다 (to close) > 닫히다 (to be closed)

 

Verbs ending in ㄹ almost always take 리.

  • 걸다 (to hang) > 걸리다 (to be hung)
  • 열다 (to open) > 열리다 (to be opened)
  • 듣다 (to listen) > 들리다 (to be heared)
  • 밀다 (to push) > 밀리다 (to be pushed)

 

Verbs ending in ㄴ, ㅁ, ㅅ or ㅊ take 기.

  • 안다 (to hug) > 안기다 (to be hugged)
  • 끊다 (to stop) > 끊기다 (to be stopped)
  • 쫓다 (to chase) > 쫓기다 (to be chased)
  • 담다 (to put something in) > 담기다 (to be put in)

 

When an active verb ends in 하다, you can change it to passive simply by changing 하다 to 되다.

  • 사용하다 (to use) > 사용되다 (to be used)
  • 준비하다 (to prepare) > 준비되다 (to be prepared/ready)

 


Causatives

In the passive voice, "The child was dressed by the mother."; in the causative voice, "The mother dressed the child. Korean uses almost exactly the same particles for this as it does for passives. They are 이, 히, 리 and 기. For causatives you also sometimes need 우 and 추.

 

이 follows verbs ending in vowels,  ㄱ and ㅎ.

  • 보다 (to see) > 보이다 (to show)
  • 먹다 (to eat) > 먹이다 (to feed)
  • 끓다 (to be boiling) > 끓이다 (to boil something)
  • 죽다 (to die) > 죽이다 (to kill)

 

히 follows ㅂ.

  • 입다 (to wear) > 입히다 (to clothe or to cover)
  • 눕다 (to lie down) > 눕히다 (to lay something/someone down)

 

리 follows ㄹ.

  • 알다 (to know) > 알리다 (to let someone be known)
  • 살다 (to live) > 살리다 (to save someone's life)
  • 울다 (to cry) > 울리다 (to make someone cry)

 

기 follows ㅅ and ㅁ.

  • 숨다 (to hide oneself) > 숨기다 (to hide something)
  • 남다 (to remain) > 남기다 (to leave)
  • 웃다 (to smile) > 웃기다 (to make someone smile or laugh)
  • 벗다 (to take off someone's clothes) > 벗기다 (to take off someone's clothes)

 

우 isn't actually 우, but rather 이우. It follows verbs ending in vowel.

  • 타다 (to ride/to burn) > 태우다 (to give a ride/to burn something)
  • 자다 (to sleep) > 재우다 (to put to sleep)
  • 서다 (to stand) > 세우다 (to park)
  • 깨다 (to wake up) > 깨우다 (to wake up someone)

 

추 follows ㅈ.

  • 낮다 (to be low) > 낮추다 (to lower)
  • 늦다 (to be late) > 늦추다 (to delay)
  • 맞다 (to be right) > 맞추다 (to fit, to make right)

 

Here are a few common exceptions:

  • 읽다 (to read) > 읽히다 (to be read)
  • 앉다 (to sit) > 앉히다 (to make someone sit)
  • 맡다 (to assume, to be in charge) > 맡기다 (to entrust)

 

Certain other causatives are based on the verb 나다.  When changed to causative form, this becomes 내다.

  • 나다 (to happen) > 내다 (to make/pay)
  • 끝나다 (to be finished) > 끝내다 (to finish)
  • 힘나다 (to gain strength) > 힘내다 (to strengthen oneself)
  • 그 일이 벌써 끝났어요. 
    The work is already finished. (passive)
  • 그 일을 벌써 끝냈어요.
    I've already finished the work.(causative)

 

<참고>
Laura Kingdon(2015), Essential Korean Grammar, Tuttle, 33-36.

 

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