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TTMIK Level 6 Lesson 21

In this lesson, we take a look at how to make sentences in the passive voice.

What is Passive Voice?
Passive voice is a form of sentence in which the focus is on the recipient of an action, rather than the subject. For example, when you *make* something, that something is *made* by you. When you recommend a book to someone, the book *is recommended* by you. That is passive voice, and the opposite of passive voice is active voice.

How to make passive voice sentences in Korean
In English, you change the verb into its “past participle” form and add it after the BE verb, but in Korean you need to conjugate the verb in the “passive voice” form by adding a suffix or a verb ending.

Suffixes for passive voice in Korean
Verb stem + -이/히/리/기
Verb stem + -아/어/여지다

Passive voice in English and passive voice in Korean are a little different, since, just by adding one of these suffixes to the verb stem, the “passive voice” verb itself can actually work like a stand-alone active verb in Korean.

In English, passive voice sentences are just ‘passive voice’ sentences. But in Korean, the verbs take the meaning of “can/to be possible/to be doable/would” as well. Therefore it’s almost even incorrect to call it the ‘passive voice’ in this case. But in this Part 1, let’s look at the ‘passive voice’ meaning of these verb endings.
Difference between -아/어/여지다 and -이/히/리/기
There is no clear rule about which verb stem should be followed by -아/어/여지다 and which should be followed by -이/히/리/기. Native speakers usually determine which ending to use, based on their previous experience of hearing the words being used.

Conjugation rule #1: Verb stem + -아/어/여지다
In Level 4 Lesson 28, we introduced -아/어/여지다 as the conjugation for changing an adjective into the “to become + adjective” form, but when you use -아/어/여지다 with ACTION verbs, the verbs take the passive voice meaning.

1. Change the verb into the present tense.
2. Drop -(아/어/여)요.
3. Add -(아/어/여)지다.

Example 1
자르다 [ja-reu-da] = to cut

자르다 is a “르 irregular” verb so it’s conjugated to 잘라요 in the present tense. You drop -요 and add -지다, and you have 잘라지다.

자르다 → 잘라지다

Example 2
풀다 [pul-da] = to let loose

풀다 → 풀(어요) → 풀어지다
Example 3
주다 [ju-eo-ji-da] = to give

주다 → 주(어요) → 주어지다

Conjugation rule #2 Verb stem + -이/히/리/기
There is no ‘single’ rule that determines which verb stem or letter is followed by which among 이, 히, 리 and 기, but the general rule is as follows:

(1) 이
When the dictionary form of the verb ends in

이 is added to the verb ending and it is changed to

놓다 (to put down) → 놓이다 (to be put down)
쌓다 (to pile up) → 쌓이다 (to be piled up)

(2) 히
When the dictionary form of the verb ends in
-ㄱ다, -ㄷ다 or ㅂ다,

히 is added to the verb ending and it is changed to
-ㄱ히다, ㄷ히다 or ㅂ히다.
먹다 (to eat) → 먹히다 (to be eaten)
닫다 (to close) → 닫히다 (to get closed)
잡다 (to catch) → 잡히다 (to get caught)

(3) 리
When the dictionary form of the verb ends in

-리 is added to the verb ending and it is changed to

밀다 (to push) → 밀리다 (to be pushed)

(4) 기
When the dictionary form of the verb ends in
-ㄴ다, ㅁ다, ㅅ다 or ㅊ다

-기 is added to the verb ending and it is changed to
-ㄴ기다, -ㅁ기다, -ㅅ기다 or -ㅊ기다

안다 (to hug) → 안기다 (to be hugged)
담다 (to put something in a basket/bag) → 담기다 (to be put into a basket/bag)
씻다 (to wash) → 씻기다 (to be washed)
쫓다 (to chase) → 쫓기다 (to be chased)

-이/히/리/기 + -아/어/여지다 (Double Passive Voice)
Sometimes, these two types of verb endings are used TOGETHER in one verb.

놓다 → 놓이다 → 놓여지다
안다 → 안기다 → 안겨지다

There is no ‘standard’ explanation for this, but this is most likely because people want to clarify and emphasize the passive voice of the verb. Some grammarians argue that this ‘double passive voice’ is incorrect, but it is already being widely used.

Passive Voice of 하다 Verbs
하다 verbs are combinations of other nouns and 하다, such as 이용하다 (to use), 연구하다 (to research), etc. In order to change these 하다 verbs into the passive voice, you need to change 하다 to 되다.

이용하다 → 이용되다 (to be used)
연구하다 → 연구되다 (to be researched)

Even for 하다/되다, double passive voice is often used.

이용되다 = 이용되어지다
연구되다 = 연구되어지다

This is Part 1 of the Passive Voice lesson. In Part 2, let us look at how passive voice in Korean takes the meaning of “possibility” or “capability”.

Direct download: ttmik-l6l21.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 5:13pm JST