[Korean grammar] -고서 Expressing Time and Sequential Behavior


가: 오늘 왜 안경을 안 썼어요?
Why didn’t you wear your glasses today?
나: 아침에 안경을 책상 위에 올려 놓고서 잊어버리고 그냥 나왔어요.
I placed my glasses on my desk this morning and then just left, leaving them behind.

가: 어제 수영을 하다가 발에 쥐가 나서 아주 힘들었어요.
Yesterday, I was swimming and got a cramp, and it really hurt.
나: 그러니까 운동을 할 때는 꼭 준비운동을 하고서 해야 돼요.
That’s why you have to do warm up exercises (first) and then exercise.

This expression is used to indicate that first action completed before the subsequent action started. Moreover, there is a before-and-after relationship between the actions in the preceding and following clauses. This expression can only be used with verbs.

* 저는 아침마다 조깅을 하고서 학교에 옵니다.
Every morning, I go running (first) and then come to school.
* 책을 읽고서 친구들과 토론을 했어요.
I read a book and (after that) had a discussion with some friends.

 1. This expression cannot be used with the tense-indicating expressions -았/었- or -겠.
• 인사만 했고서 헤어졌어요. (X)
  인사만 하겠고서 헤어지려고 해요. (X)
->인사만 하고서 헤어졌어요. (〇)

2. Both the phrases -고 and -고 나서 can be used to indicate the order of events.
• 책을 읽고서 감상문을 썼어요.
= 책을 읽 감상문을 썼어요.
= 책을 읽고 나서 감상문을 썼어요.

>> You can click on the title of each grammar below to learn about the other grammars which also express ‘Time and Sequential Behavior’:
01 만에
02 -아/어 가지고
03 -아/어다가
04 -고서

>> Full of Intermediate grammars: Click here 


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