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Beginner 2 > Lesson 27

Lesson 27. “As soon as” (Verb-자마자) 

Verb-자마자 means “as soon as (S) + Verb.”

자마자 is added to a verb stem in the first clause, and it would mean, “as soon as (S) + Verb.” There are no irregular rules, so you can add any verb’s stem directly to -자마자.

e.g. 네가 나가다 + 자마자 => 네가 가자마자 (as soon as you left,)  + Second Clause

엄마가 일어나다 + 자마자 => 엄마가 일어나자마자 (as soon as mom got up,) + Second Clause

The verb in the following (second) clause decides the tense (present, past, future) of the whole sentence, and you cannot conjugate the verb attached to -자마자.


Let’s look at some example sentences.


  1. Verb-자마자 in Present-Tense sentence

오다 (to come) > 저는 집에 오자마자 신발을 벗어요. – I take off the shoes as soon as I come home.

일어나다 (to wake up) > 저는 일어나자마자 양치질을 해요. – I brush my teeth as soon as I get up.

보다(to see, to watch) > 내 문자 보자마자 답장해줘. Please reply as soon as you see my text message. 

끝나다(for sth to end, to finish) > 수업이 끝나자마자 나가자. Let’s leave as soon as the class ends.
– Here, the subject in the first clause (수업이 끝나다) and the second clause (나가자) are different. In the first clause, the subject is 수업(class),  and in the second clause, the subject is 우리(we – although it’s removed.) Whether the subject in each clause is different or the same, both are grammatically acceptable.


  1. Verb-자마자 in Past-Tense sentence

As we learned, if you want to use 자마자 in a past-tense sentence, you do not conjugate the verb that’s attached to -자마자. You conjugate the verb in the following clause. 


울리다(to ring) > 전화벨이 울리자마자 받았어요. – I answered the call as soon as my phone rang.

나오다(to come out) > 밖에 나오자마자 비가 왔어요. – As soon as I came outside, it started raining.

보다 (to see, to watch) > 저는 그 여자애를 보자마자 사랑에 빠졌어요. – As soon as I saw that girl, I fell in love with her.

다 하다(to finish sth) > 저는 숙제를 다 하자마자 친구의 집에 갔어요. – As soon as I finished the homework, I went to my friend’s house.

오다(to come) > 저는 일 끝나고 집에 오자마자 티비를 봤어요. – As soon as I came home from work, I watched TV.

사다(to buy) > 이 드레스를 사자마자 후회했어요. – As soon as I bought this dress, I regretted it.

시작하다(to start) > 누나가 다이어트를 시작하자마자 성격이 안 좋아졌어요. – As soon as my sister started going on a diet, her personality got worse.  


  1. Verb-자마자 in Future-Tense sentence

The same rule applies to the future tense. You conjugate the final verb.


도착하자마자 전화할게요! – I will call you as soon as I arrive.

수업이 끝나자마자 버스 정류장까지 뛰어갈 거예요. – As soon as the class ends, I’m going to run to the bus station.

너무 배고파서 집에 도착하자마자 밥을 먹을 거예요. – I am too hungry, so I will have some food as soon as I arrive home.