-었/았, and -았었/었었
They indicate the past action that happened in recent, but also express the completion of an action.
'았' is used if the stem ends in a bright vowel such as 'ㅏ' or 'ㅗ' while '었' is used when the stem ends in other vowels such as 'ㅓ', 'ㅡ', 'ㅐ', 'ㅜ', 'ㅔ' or 'ㅣ', etc.
The ending '-어요.' is used for the past tense. When the stem has a 받침 (syllable-final consonant), it becomes stem + 었/았다.
For polite speech, you need to add a honorific suffix '-(으)시' before 었/았. '-으시' is used when the stem ends in a consonant, while '-시' is used for the stem that ends in a vowel.
선생님께서 집에 오셨어요. The teacher came (my) home.
부모님께서 공원에 가셨어요. (My) parents went to a park.
|보다(to see)||았 + 어요.||보았어요. → 봤어요.|
|받다(to receive)||았 + 어요.||받았어요.|
|하다(to do)||았 + 어요.||했어요. NOT 핬어요.|
|먹다(to eat)||었 + 어요.||먹었어요.|
|찾다(to find)||았 + 어요.||찾았어요.|
|세다(to count)||었 + 어요.||세었어요. → 셌어요.|
|타다(to ride)||았 + 어요.||타았어요. → 탔어요.|
The polite speech for 었/았 Since -시 is not a bright vowel, you must use 었 for the polite speech.
|보다(to see)||시 + 었 + 어요.||보시었어요. → 보셨어요.|
|받다(to receive)||으시 + 었 + 어요.||받으시었어요. → 받으셨어요.|
|하다(to do)||시 + 었 + 어요.||하시었어요. → 하셨어요.|
|먹다(to eat)||Please see below the table.|
|찾다(to find)||으시 + 었 + 어요.||찾으시었어요. → 찾으셨어요.|
|세다(to count]||시 + 었 + 어요.||세시었어요. → 세셨어요.|
|타다(to ride]||시 + 었 + 어요.||타시었어요. → 타셨어요.|
*For 먹다. "to eat", Koreans don't say 먹으셨어요. for someone who's older than the speaker (to the elderly). Instead, you must say 잡수셨어요. (잡수다). For someone who's a little bit older than you, but not the elderly, use 드셨어요. (드시다). Please go to the honorific expression page for more information.
차에 탔어요. (I) rode a car. (means I just rode a car, or I'm riding a car)
-았었/었었 Double Past Tense
They indicate a past action or situation that was completed long time ago.
|Verb||Double Past Tense|
|사다(to buy)||았+었+어요.||샀었어요. bought (long before)|
|받다(to receive)||았+었+어요.||받았었어요. received (long before)|
|만나다(to meet]||았+었+어요.||만났었어요. met (long before)|
|보다(to see)||았+었+어요.||봤었어요. saw (long before)|
|가다(to go)||았+었+어요.||갔었어요. went (long before and no longer there)|
|오다(to come)||았+었+어요.||왔었어요. came (long before and no longer here)|
|크다(big)||었+었+어요.||컸었어요. was big|
|짧다(short)||았+었+어요.||짧았었어요. was short|
학교에 왔어요. (I) came school, / (I) am at school.
친구를 만났어요. (I) met a friend, / (I) am meeting a friend.
모자를 썼어요. (I) wore a hat, / (I) am wearing a hat.
시집을 읽었어요. (I) read a poetry, / (I) am reading a poetry.
(자동차) 운전을 했었어요. (I) drove a car. / (I) am driving a car.
티셔츠가 작았어요. The T-shirt was small.
결혼했어요. I got married. (and I'm still married)