[Korean grammar] -아/어지다 Passive Expressions

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가: 우리 반 친구들하고 언제 식사할까요?
When shall we eat with our classmates?
나: 저는 아무 때나 괜찮아요. 약속이 정해지면 알려 주세요.
Anytime’s fine with me. Please let me know when the details are decided.

가: 왜 그렇게 힘들게 쓰고 있어요?
Why are you having such a hard time writing?
나: 볼펜이 안 좋은 것 같아요. 글씨가 잘 안 써져요.
I think there’s a problem with my pen. It doesn’t write well.

Similar to the previous passive form in which an affix was added to the verb stem, this expression is also used when the subject’s action or behavior occurs either because of an action performed by someone else or because of some other indirect action performed by some person or thing. However, note that this form is only used with those verbs to which an affix -이/히/리/기- cannot be attached.

• 휴대전화가 안 켜져요. 고장이 난 것 같아요.
My cell phone won’t turn on. It seems broken.

• 커피가 다 쏟아져서 가방에 얼룩이 생겼어요.
The coffee spilled out, and the bag became stained.

• 어젯밤에 제가 컴퓨터를 안 끄고 잤는데 아침에 일어나니까 꺼져 있었어요.
Last night, I went to sleep without turning off the computer, and in the morning, I awoke to find that it had turned off.

1. When ‘-아/어지다’ is added to an action verb, it changes as follows.

2. Note that while this expression is supposed to only be used with verbs to which an affix -이/히/리/기- does not attach, in recent years its use has grown to include such verbs.
• 전화를 끊었어요.
->전화가 끊겼어요. / 끊어졌어요.
The phone call ended.

See also  [Korean grammar] -아/어야지요 Expressing Resolution and Intent

• 공책에 글씨를 썼어요.
->공책에 글씨가 쓰여 있어요. / 써져 있어요.
Letters are written in the notebook.

3. The form -아/어지다 can be added to adjectives to express a change in state. Please see the beginning level for more details about this form.
• 미나 씨가 정말 예뻐졌어요.
Mina has really become pretty.

• 청소를 해서 방이 깨끗해졌어요.
I tidied up the room, and it became clean.

>> You can click on the title of each grammar below to learn about other grammar related to ‘Passive Expressions’
01 단어 피동 (-이/히/리/기-)
02 -아/어지다
03 -게 되다

>> Full of Intermediate grammar: Click here

 

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