Top 100 Korean Adjectives and How to Use them in Sentences

Korean adjectives

Adjectives are words that show the quality or state of a person or thing. In Korean, adjectives are also known as “descriptive verbs”.

Unlike English adjectives, Korean adjectives can be conjugated just like Korean verbs. And its dictionary form ends with -다 [da], just like the verbs. 

Due to this characteristic, sometimes Korean adjectives are considered as part of the ‘verb’ category. According to their different usages – one is to describe the ‘quality or state’, and the other to describe the ‘action’ – the bigger ‘verb’ category can be divided into: action verb (verb) and descriptive verb (adjective). So don’t feel strange when you see the other set of grammar terms. Just remember they are exchangeable!

In this article, we will use the below terms:

Action verb = Verb

Descriptive verb = Adjective

To give you some examples, here are some Korean adjectives and verbs ending with 다 [da]:

Korean Verbs

가다[gada] (go)

달리다[dallida] (run)

자다[jada] (sleep)

앉다[anda] (sit)

먹다[meokda] (eat)

읽다[ikda] (read)

Korean Adjectives

크다[keuda] (big)

작다[jakda] (small)

많다[manta] (many)

아름답다[areumdapda] (beautiful)

행복하다[haengbokada] (happy)

빠르다[ppareuda] (fast)

Like verbs, Korean adjectives also need to be conjugated in order to be used in sentences. We’ll show you how to conjugate Korean adjectives in this article.

First, remember all adjectives end with the syllable ‘다’[da] in their dictionary form. We’ll also use this form as the standard form throughout this article.

Generally, when you use adjectives in sentences, you are going to conjugate them by adding a suffix to the stem. Every adjective has a ‘stem’. It’s the part before 다[da] from the adjective. For example:

크다[keuda] = 크[keu] (stem) + 다[da]

작다[jakda] = 작[jak] (stem) + 다[da]

많다[manta] = 많[man] (stem) + 다[da]

So how do we use Korean adjectives in a sentence? There are two places to use adjectives in Korean: before a noun, or after a noun. We also have an article that addresses Korean sentence structures in detail if you wish to know more! Next, we’ll talk about how to use and conjugate Korean adjectives in these two situations respectively.

Korean adjectives that come before a noun

When Korean adjectives come before a noun in order to describe more about the noun, ‘-ㄴ/은’ should be attached to the stem of the adjective. Let’s look at the conjugation rules. 

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Adjective stem that ends with vowel: Add -ㄴ

크다[keuda] (big)  → 큰[keun]

e.g.) 큰 강아지 [keun gangaji]: a big dog

행복하다[haengbokada] (happy)  → 행복한[haengbokan]

e.g.) 행복한 아이 [haengbokan ai]: a happy child

빠르다[ppareuda] (fast)  → 빠른[ppareun]

e.g.) 빠른 물고기 [ppareun mulgogi]: a fast fish

느리다[neurida] (slow)  → 느린[neurin]

e.g.) 느린 거북이 [neurin geobugi]: a slow turtle

Adjective stem that ends with a consonant: Add -은

작다[jakda] (small)  → 작은[jageun]

e.g.) 작은 고양이 [jageun goyangi]: a little cat

많다[manta] (many)  → 많은[maneun]

e.g.) 많은 옷 [maneun ot]: a lot of clothes

짧다[jjalda] (short)  → 짧은[jjalbeun]

e.g.) 짧은 치마 [jjalbeun chima]: a short skirt

Above are the 2 basic rules of using Korean adjectives before a noun. But there are also some exceptions:

Adjective stem that ends with ㅂ: Remove ㅂ and add -운

아름답다[areumdapda] (beautiful)  → 아름다운[areumdaun]

e.g.) 아름다운 꽃 [areumdaun kkot]: a beautiful flower

귀엽다[gwiyeopda] (cute)  → 귀여운[gwiyeoun]

e.g.) 귀여운 고양이 [gwiyeoun goyangi]: a cute cat

Adjective stem that ends with ㄹ: Remove ㄹ and add -ㄴ

길다[gilda] (long)  → 긴[gin]

e.g.) 긴 다리 [gin dari]: long legs

멀다[meolda] (far)  → 먼[meon]

e.g.) 먼 나라 [meon nara]: a faraway country

Korean adjectives that come after a noun

In our previous article Korean verb conjugation, we talked about how Korean verbs are conjugated based on tense and politeness. Korean adjectives also work this way. In the below examples, I will only use -아/어요 speech level.

Let’s see some examples of how to conjugate Korean adjectives in the past and future tense (Please note that Korean adjectives cannot be used in present tense). Of course, you can use adjectives with other types of sentence endings as well.

Past Tense

  • Adjective stems that ends with vowel ㅗ or ㅏ: Add -았어요

작다[jakda] (small)  → 작았어요

e.g.) 그 옷은 나에게 작았어요. That shirt was small for me.

  • Adjective stems that ends with vowels other than ㅗ or ㅏ: Add -었어요

크다[keuda] (big)  → 컸어요

e.g.) 그녀는 눈이 컸어요. She had big eyes.

Future Tense

  • Adjective stems that end with a vowel: add -ㄹ 거예요

행복하다[haengbokada] (happy)  → 행복할 거예요

e.g.) 크리스마스에 선물을 받는다면 정말 행복할 거예요. I would be so happy to get a present on Christmas.

  • Adjective stems that end with a consonant: add -을 거예요

많다[manta] (many)  → 많을 거예요

e.g.) 내일은 사람이 많을 거예요. There will be a lot of people tomorrow. 

Note:

Unlike verbs that can be used in most sentences, adjectives have limitations. It cannot be used in the present tense, request, and imperative sentences. Compare the two types of words below. 

Verb

앉다anda (sit)

Adjective

작다jakda (small)

Present tense 유진이가 앉는다 (✓) – Yujin is sitting. 그 고양이가 작는다. (X)
Request sentence 유진아, 앉아라. (✓) – Yujin, please sit down. 그 고양이가 작아라. (X)
Imperative sentence 유진아, 앉자. (✓) – Yujin, let’s sit down. 그 고양이가 작자. (X)

100 Most Common Korean Adjectives

Korean adjectives to describe people and qualities

English Korean
good 좋은(joeun)
bad 나쁜(nahpoon)
polite 공손한 (gongsonhan)
rude 무례한(mulyehan)
quiet 조용한 (joyonghan) 
loud 시끄러운(sikkeuleoun)
outgoing 사교적인(sagyojeog-in)
shy 수줍은(sujub-eun)
funny 우스운 (useuun) 
serious 심각한(simgaghan) 
beautiful 아름다운(aleumdaun) 
happy 행복한(haengboghan)
sad 슬픈 (seulpeun) 
healthy 거강한(geonganghan) 
sick 병든(byeongdeun)
stupid 멍청한(meongcheonghan) 
intelligent 지적인(jijeog-in)
fat 뚱뚱한(ttungttunghan)
slim 날씬한 (nalssinhan)
poor 가난한(gananhan)
rich 돈이 많은(don-i manheun)
powerful 강한(ganghan)
weak 약한(yaghan)
old(people) 늙은(neulg-eun)
young 젊은(jeolm-eun)

Korean adjectives to describe colors

English Korean
black 까맣다 (kkamata)
blue 파랗다 (parata)
red 빨갛다 (ppalgata)
white 하얗다 (hayata)
yellow 노랗다 (norata)

Korean adjectives to describe tastes

English Korean
sweet 달다 (dalda)
salty 짜다 (jjada)
bland/tasteless 싱겁다 (singgeopda)
spicy 맵다 (maepda)
fishy 비리다 (birida)
greasy 느끼하다 (neukkihada)
crispy 바삭바삭하다 (basakbasakada)
disgusting 겹다 (yeokgyeopda)
chewy 쫄깃쫄깃하다 (jjolgitjjolgitada)
flat 납작하다 (napjakada)
delicious 맛있다 (masitda)
unsavory 맛없다 (maseopda)

Korean adjectives to describe weather

English Korean
hot 덥다 (deopda)
cold 춥다 (chupda)
dry 건조하다 (geonjohada)
warm 따뜻하다 (ttatteutada)
humid 습하다 (seupada)
clear 맑다 (makda)
chilly 쌀쌀하다 (ssalssalhada)
cool 서늘하다 (seoneulhada)

Korean adjectives to describe shapes and sizes

English Adjective form
big 크다 (keuda)
small 작다 (jakda)
wide 넓다 (neolda)
narrow 좁다 (jopda)
heave 무겁다 (mugeopda)
light 가볍다 (gabyeopda)
high 높다 (nopda)
low 낮다 (natda)
close 가깝다 (gakkapda)
far 멀다 (meolda)
thick 굵다 (gukda)
thin 얇다 (yalda)
long 길다 (gilda)
round 동그랗다 (donggeurata)
pointed, sharp 뾰족하다 (ppyojokada)
square 네모나다 (nemonada)

Korean adjectives to describe quantities

English Korean
few/little 적다 (jeokda)
many/much 많다 (manta)

Korean adjectives to describe places and things

clean 깨끗한(kkaekkeuthan)
dirty 더러운(deoleoun)
easy 숴운(swiun)
hard 어려운(eolyeoun)
expensive 비싼(bissan)
cheap 싼(ssan)
fast 빠른(ppaleun)
slow 느린(neulin)
new 새로운(saeloun)
old(things) 오래된(olaedoen)
wrong/incorrect 들린(deullin)
right/correct 맞는(majneun)
empty 빈(bin)
full 찬(chan)
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