As you learn Korean, you will come across different ways to describe future events. To make things easier, we’ve divided the future tense in Korean into a few different parts. Here, Minneapolis, MN Korean teacher Bryce J. explains how to describe future events in Korean…
Now that you’ve learned how to describe the probable future, or events that may occur, let’s move on to another aspect of Korean grammar, the definite future.
The definite future tense, or polite present tense, is used in Korean grammar to express absolute certainty about a future event.
Grammatical Rule: Predicate Stem + (어/아)
When the polite present tense is used with a future time reference, it conveys certainty, as opposed to probability, which is indicated by: predicate stem + (으)ㄹ 거예요.
Need to refresh your memory on describing the probable future? Review part one of the Korean future tense series here.
Here are some examples of how to use the polite present tense:
1. 언니가 내일 서울에서 와요
(My sister is coming tomorrow from Seoul)
2. 다음 수요일에 시험이 있어요
(We have a test next Wednesday)
3. 이번 주말에 백화점에 가서 생일 선물을 사요
(I’m going to the store this weekend to buy a birthday present)
In each example, the polite present tense is used to indicate that a future event will definitely happen. The future aspect of each utterance is expressed by the term that indicates the future time. In example one, the term is 내일 (tomorrow); in example two, the term is 다음 수요일 (next Wednesday); and in example three, the term is 이번 주말 (this weekend).
Combined with the time reference, the polite present tense indicates that an event is expected to occur. There is no hint of uncertainty. If you want to describe an event in Korean that will occur with absolute certainty, use the polite present tense. Just remember the grammatical rule: predicate stem + (어/아)요.
Want to learn more Korean grammar? Search here for a Korean teacher near you!
Bryce J. teaches college-level Korean and ESL classes in Minneapolis, MN. He has his MA. in teaching from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies. Learn more about Bryce here!
Photo by Justin De La Ornellas