Thursday, February 16, 2017

Auxiliary verbs IV (~어/아 있다, ~어/아하다, ~어/아지다)

~어/아 있다

The verb 있다 means “exist/stay/have”, as shown in the following examples:

As an auxiliary verb, ~어/아 있다 is mainly used with intransitive verbs and is used to indicate that the state brought about by the action of the main verb persists. Compare the following three sentences:

The first sentence simply states what Tommy does. The second sentence indicates the progressive action of the main verb. On the other hand, 어/아 있다 in the third sentence indicates that the state resulting from the main verb continues to exist. Consider another three sentences:

The first sentence simply indicates that the door opens. The second sentence indicates the progressive action. The third sentence, however, indicates the continuous state, brought about by the main verb 열리다(to be opened). Here are more examples of ~어/아 있다:

Meanwhile, a limited number of verbs of “wearing” do not take the ~어/아 있다 pattern but the ~고 있다 pattern to indicate the resultant state. For instance, to say “(I) am wearing socks” is 양말을 신고 있어요 not 양말을 신어 있어요.


The aforementioned auxiliary verbs are all mainly used with verbs. However, Korean has a limited number of auxiliary verbs that are used primarily with adjectives, such as ~어/아하다 and ~어/아지다.
In English, one can state how another person feels, using emotion- or sense-related adjectives, such as “sad”, “happy”, and “cold”. For instance, it is grammatically correct to say a sentence like “Lisa is sad” or “Peter is cold”. However, in Korean, one cannot use adjectives to express how a third person or people feel or think. Since Korean emotive and/or sensory adjectives denote unobservable internal feelings, a speaker cannot speak for how other people feel or think. Consequently, a sentence like 리사가 슬퍼요(Lisa is sad) is grammatically incorrect.
In order to speak for a third person’s or people’s feelings or emotions, one has to change an emotive or sensory adjective into a verb form, using the auxiliary verb construction ~어/아하다, as shown below:

For instance, compare the following three sentences:

Notice that when the subject of the sentence is the third person, a verb 피곤해하다(feel tired) is used instead of the adjective 피곤하다(be tired). In addition, note that unlike other auxiliary verb compounding structures that normally require a space between the main verb and the auxiliary verb, as in 열어 놓다(open for later), ~어/아하다 does not leave a space between the main adjective and 하다 . This is due to the Korean spelling convention.
Meanwhile, when speaking of another person’s emotion or feeling in the past tense, one can use an adjective. This is because the speaker could have information about the third person’s internal feeling. Consider the following examples:

Notice that 슬펐어요 as well as 슬퍼했어요 are both acceptable, since both refer to the third person’s feeling in the past tense.


The verb 지다 means “bear/owe”, as shown in the following examples:

However, as an auxiliary verb, ~어/아 지다 is typically used with an adjective, and it is used to express a gradually intensified change that occurs in the meaning of the adjective. It can be translated as “become/begin to be/get to be” in English. For instance, compare the following two sentences:

Notice in the second sentence that ~어/아지다 changes the adjective 춥다(cold) into an intransitive verb, 추워지다(becomes cold). In addition, the auxiliary verb ~어/아지다 adds the meaning of progressive change in the meaning of the adjective. Moreover, just like ~어/아하다, ~어/아지다 does not leave a space between the main adjective and 지다. Here are more examples:

* Click to read related posts.
Grammar for Intermediates
Irregular verbs and adjectives (불규칙동사와 형용사)
Auxiliary verbs I
Auxiliary verbs II
Auxiliary verbs III
Auxiliary verbs IV

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