Korean grammar terms

When I just can’t find good explanations of more advanced (?) Korean grammar points in English, I resort to searching for explanations in Korean.  I’ve also started to use the 국어 사전 more these days to look up words I don’t know (and to learn new words while I’m at it!)  Anyway, I’ve begun compiling a list of Korean grammatical terms that’ll hopefully make it easier to understand dictionary entries and grammar explanations in Korean.  I’ll probably add more to this list in the future but here’s what I have so far:

  • 언어 = language
  • 문법 = grammar
  • 문장 = sentence
  • 문형 = sentence pattern
  • 단어 = word
  • 어미 = word ending
  • 명사 = noun
  • 대명사 = pronoun
  • 자동사 = intransitive verb (cannot take a direct object)
  • 타동사 = transitive verb (takes a direct object)
  • 조동사 = auxiliary (helping) verb
  • 직접 목적어 = direct object (answers the question “what?”)
  • 간접 목적어 = indirect object (answers the question “to whom?”)
  • 형용사 = descriptive verb (adjective)
  • 사동사 = a causative verb (expressing the idea of someone causing something to take place).
  • 조사 = particle
  • 부사 = adverb
  • (1/2/3) 인칭 = first-/second-/third-person
  • 현재 시제 = present tense
  • 과거 시제 = past tense
  • 미래 시제 = future tense
  • 문맥 = context
  • 속어 = slang expression
  • 숙어 = idiomatic expression
  • *예문 = example
  • …의 높임말 = honorific word for…
  • 불규칙 = irregular (e.g. 불규칙 동사 = irregular verb)
  • 발음 = pronunciation
  • 감탄사 = exclamation, interjection
  • 문체 = a style of writing
  • 역사 = historical
  • 용언 = a conjugated verb
  • 어간 = verb stem
  • 어말 = the end of a word
  • 어원 = origin; etymology
  • 선어말 = 어말 어미의 앞에 놓이는 어미
  • 반의어 = antonym
  • 유의어 = synonym

That should cover all the really basic grammar terminology, I think.  I’ll keep adding to this list as I learn more of them.  If you can think of any more useful words, do let me know!


  1. owbEe says:

    Hi Archu. I found this compilation of grammar terms from naver. I’m inspired by your list so I decided to also look for some terms and found this one. :D

    I hope I don’t sound weird when I used your nickname. :wink:


    1. Archana says:

      Wow, thanks for the link, Sarah!
      헐~! You really sound like my mom when you use my nickname. Hahaha. XD


  2. Anno says:

    감사합니다!@@ This is very useful :-)


  3. oegukeen says:

    This is great, thanks!


  4. mz jenny lee says:

    This is SO helpful! Thanks a lot!


    1. Archana says:

      You’re very welcome! I’m glad it was useful! :)


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