Turning adjectives into adverbs

What does it mean to turn an adjective into an adverb? Cast your mind back (or don’t, depending on whether or not you’re done school) to what adjectives and adverbs are. Remember that adjectives describe nouns, and adverbs describe verbs.

AdjectiveSentenceAdverbSentence
quick“Let’s take a quick break.”quickly“I quickly drove to the store.”
honest“He’s very honest.”honestly“I honestly don’t think so.”
hard“This homework is hard.”hardly“I hardly fit in this SmartCar.”

You get it.

There are two main particle endings that are used to turn adjectives into adverbs. They are -게 and -히. There are a few unique cases where a particle other than these two are used, but for the most part, it’s these two.

A note about adverbs in Korean:

Adverbs are more broadly used in Korean than in English. For example, “I blushed redly.” is an acceptable sentence, where “redly” is obviously the adjverb form of “red”. We’ll come across this broad application of adverbs a time or two in our examples. I will provide a “natural translation” and a literal translation.

Now let’s learn about our two main adverb-creating particles.


-히

Use -히 for adjectives that end in 하다. To create an adverb, just drop the 하다 and add 히. There are a few exception to this rule, but by and large, that’s how its done.

AdjectiveEnglish translationAdverbEnglish translation
솔직하다to be honest솔직히honestly
행복하다to be happy행복히happily
궁금하다to be curious궁금히curiously

Examples:

네시 (4 O’CLOCK) by RM & V:
오늘도 난 적당 살아가 ~ “Today again, I live in moderation.”
Literal translation: “…I live moderately”
Original adjective: 적당하다 – to be moderate

Black Swan:
홀린 듯 천천 가라앉아. ~ “I sink slowly, as if hypnotized.”
Original adjective: 천천하다 – to be slow

Filter:
널 데려갈게 완전 새로운 세상에. ~ “I’ll take you to a completely new world.”
Original adjective: 안전하다 – to be complete

Respect:
나는 솔직 너를 respect ~ “Honestly, I respect you.”
Original adjective: 솔직하다 – to be honest

21st Century Girl:
넌 충분 아름다워 ~ “You’re beautiful enough.”
Literal translation: “You’re sufficiently beautiful.”
Original adjective: 충분하다 – to be sufficient, to be plenty


-게

Use -게 for most adjectives that don’t end in 하다. Remember that all adjectives end in 다. Remove the 다 and you’re left with the root. To create an adverb, attach -게 to the root.

AdjectiveEnglish translationAdverbEnglish translation
빠르다to be quick빠르게quickly
바쁘다to be busy바쁘게busily
자연스럽다to be natural자연스럽게naturally

Just a quick note: there are a lot of grammatical principles that cause words to end in -게, but are not adverbs. Just because you see something that ends in -게, don’t assume you’re looking at an adverb.

Examples:

Outro: Wings:
물든 날개를 힘껏 ~ “with all my might, with these crimson-tinged wings.”
Literal translation “…with these crimsonly coloured wings.”
Original adjective: 붉다 – to be crimson, scarlet

Moon:
두 눈을 감아도 넌 파랗 내게 밀려와. ~ “Even if I close my eyes, you wash over me in blue.”
Literal translation: “…you wash over me bluely.”
Original adjective: 파랗다 – to be blue

Respect:
해서 난 도무지 쉽 말 못 해. ~ “That’s why I can’t really say it that easily.”
Original adjective: 쉽다 – to be easy

We are Bulletproof: the Eternal:
우린 호기롭 shout, ~ “We bravely shout
Original adjective: 호기롭다 – to be brave, intrepid

Mikrokosmos:
넌 누구보다 밝 빛나. ~ “You shine more brightly than anyone.”
Original adjective: 밝다 – to be bright