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Beginner 2 > Lesson 13

Lesson 13. Changing Verb into Noun (Verb’s Nominalization)

To convert a verb into a noun in a Korean sentence, following patterns can be applied:

  1. Base Verb Stem + 기.

Ex. 저는 노래 부르기를 잘하는데 추기를 못해요 = I am good at singing but not at dancing.

  1. Base Verb Stem + 는 거.

Ex. 저는 노래 부르는 잘하는데 추는 못해요 = I am good at singing but not at dancing.


*Abbreviated form

거 + 가 = 게
것 + 이 = 게
거 + 를 = 걸
것 + 을 = 걸
기 + 를 = 길


  • Sub + Obj + Verb + makes the whole portion before ‘기’ a noun.

Ex. 외국인이 한국어를 혼자 공부하기가 어려워요 = It is difficult for foreigners to study Korean alone.

Ex. 친구들이 없이 운동하기가 지루해요 = Working out without friends is boring.


  • Sentence/Verb + – = ‘the thing that Sub+Verb’.

Ex. 사람들은 좋아하는 게 달라요 = People like different things.  (좋아하는 = The thing that                                                                                                             people like)

Ex. 우리는 먹는 걸 좋아해요 = We like eating.



*Placing -는 after a noun makes it a Noun Modifier!

Ex. 아는 사람 = A person I know/A person who knows.

Ex. 저는 가르치는 일하고 있어요 = I do a teaching job.


-기 and -는 거 can be interchangeably used when talking about something in general. However, they are not always interchangeable!


When – and – cannot be interchangeably used:

  1. When followed by an Emotion Verb:

When -기 is followed by an emotion verb in a sentence, it sounds like an unfinished action about to be done in the near future. On the other hand, -는 거 followed by an emotion verb simply sounds like doing the said action in general and thus sounds more natural in such cases.

Ex. 저는 사람들이 저한테 소리치는 싫어해요 = I don’t like people yelling at me. (In general)

저는 사람들한테 소리치기를 싫어해요. I don’t like yelling at people. (I will not do that.)


  1. When using Fixed Expressions:

When using Fixed Expressions in Korean, using -기 only is acceptable.

Ex. 이 카페는 쉬 좋아요 = This café is good to take a rest at.

Ex. 네 꿈이 이루어지기를 바라 = I hope your dreams come true.


  1. When using ‘what…’ as a noun holder:

Using over -기 is acceptable.

Ex. 나는 네가 원하는 몰라 = I don’t know what you want.

Ex. 지수 언니가 저한테 *줬던 이 책이였요 = What Jisoo gave me is this book.   *(Past form)



  1. When using ‘that’ as a subordinate conjunction:

Using over -기 is acceptable.

Ex. 우리가 서로 돕는 중요해요 = It is important that we help each other.

Ex. 나는 지수가 제프를 좋아하는 몰랐어 = I didn’t know that Jisoo likes Jeff.


Some other uses of 는 거-

     A. For emphasis/softness.

Ex. 이거 어떻게 하는 거야? = How can I do this?

Ex. 지금 어디 가는 거예요? = Where are we going now?


    B. When used with (your own) storytelling tone.

Ex. 어제 모르는 사람이 계속 따라오는 거야. 너무 무서웠어… = Yesterday a stranger kept following me. It was very scary…

Ex. 오늘 늦게 일아난 거야. 그래서 9시 기차를 놓쳤어 = I woke up late today and so missed the 9 o’clock train.