“And” for verbs & adjectives

If you’ve already read “And” & “with” for nouns you know that the grammatical principles used to say “and” when working with adjectives and verbs are completely different from the grammatical principles used when saying “and” (or “with”) to connect nouns together.

Before we start, let me sing the same old tune I always sing: Remember that adjectives in Korean are really “descriptive verbs” because they contain the meaning “to be” inside of them. For example, the adjective 행복하다 means “to be happy”.

There are 2 different grammatical principles to choose from when connecting verbs with “and”. Consider the following two sentences:

“I ate breakfast and then read a book.” ~ These are two independent clauses. You didn’t need to eat breakfast in order to read the book, or vice versa. They have nothing to do with each other.

“I bent down and tied my shoe.” ~ Here, clause 2 is dependent upon clause 1. Unless you’re Elastigirl from The Incredibles, you need to bend down first before you can tie your shoe.

That’s why we need two separate grammatical principles. Let’s take them one at a time.

-고 : connecting independent clauses

-고 is the principle to use when one action happens after another, but they’re not dependent upon each other. “I showered and then watched TV.”

It’s also used to connect adjectives together. “I am busy and important.”

-고 gets added to the root of the verb. Remember, all verbs and adjective end in 다. Drop 다 and you have the root.

When you use 고, it is not necessary to conjugate the verb or adjective that 고 is attached to into the past or future tense. Instead, the verb in the 2nd clause will be conjugated, and it will be assumed that the verb in the first clause is in the same tense. In the above example sentence (“I showered and then watched TV.”) “watched” would be conjugated to the past tense, so it’s not necessary to also conjugate “shower”.

The only time when it’s suitable to conjugate both is if we’re connecting true verbs – not adjectives – and there’s no indication that one clause is happening after the other. For example, “At the concert I screamed a lot and I cried a lot.” You’re not saying you screamed first and then cried, you’re probably saying you did both several times. So in this case, you’d conjugate both.


Boy With Luv:
툭 까놓 말할게. ~ “I’ll be frank and speak.” Note that this sentence is in future tense, but 까놓다 is not conjugated, only 말하다 is.
Original verb: 까놓다 – to be frank, to speak one’s mind

Black Swan:
두 눈을 뜨 나의 숲으로 (jump jump jump) ~ “I open both eyes and go into my forest. (jump jump jump)
Original verb: 뜨다 – to open(one’s eyes)

Louder Than Bombs:
좋은 것만 보 듣잔 말 ~ “The words, ‘Let’s only see and hear good things.'”
Original verb: 보다 – to see, to look at

Zero O’Clock:
몸은 무겁 나 빼곤 모두 다 바쁘 치열해 보이는 날. ~ “Days when my body is heavy and everyone except me looks busy and intense.”
Original verbs: 무겁다 – to be heavy &, 바쁘다 – to be busy

Another interesting usage: if you pop -고 between two repetitions of the same adjective, it creates emphasis.


Make it Right:
넓은 세계 헤매어 다녔어. ~ “I roamed the wide wide world.”
Literal translation: “I roamed the wide and wide world.”
Original verb: 넓다 – to be wide.

-아서 / -어서 : connecting dependent clauses

In order to attach this particle to the root of a verb or adjective, you need to follow these rules. Just like with -고, it is not necessary to conjugate the verb or adjective that this particle is being attached to. The conjugation of the verb in the 2nd clause will indicate which tense we’re in.

This particle is used to connect clauses where the second clause is directly related to the first. In other words, you need to do the first before you can do the second.

It is also possible to attach this particle as -고서 with no change in meaning. You’ll see this in the example from “Moon”, below.

Also, and this sounds confusing because it is, the 서 is often dropped from this particle altogether, leaving you with -아 / -어.

*Note: There is a separate grammatical principle that looks exactly like this one, but means “because”. We’ll talk about it in a separate lesson.

Let’s look at some examples now. Pay special attention to the dependency that the second clause has on the first. You’ll get a sense for how this grammatical principle works and why these sentences require -아서 / -어서 instead of 고.


두 눈을 뜨고서 널 담아도 괜찮은 걸까? ~ “Would it be okay if I open my eyes and fill them with you?”
Original verb: 뜨다 – to open (one’s eyes)

The Truth Untold:
용길 내 너의 앞에 섰더라면 ~ “if I had gathered up my courage and stood before you”
Original verb: 내다 – to put, to make

So What:
춰서 고민 하지마. ~ “Don’t stop and worry.”
Original verb: 멈추다 – “to stop”

21st Century Girl:
Tell em you’re my lady. 가서 전해. ~ “Tell em you’re my lady. Go and tell them.”
Original verb: 가다 – to go

Cypher Pt.2:
우리 셋이 모여서 새 시대를 외쳐. ~ “The three of us come together and cry out the new generation.”
Original verb: 모이다 – to gather, to assemble

saying and in Korean