So far, we’ve explored ways to express ideas in formal Korean. Today we’ll learn a little about informal Korean.
Just as a reminder, informal Korean should not be used with an elder or superior. In written communication, informal Korean is mostly used with friends through chatting and email, but remember no informal Korean with bosses and strangers!
In many cases, leaving off the ending can render an expression informal.
For example, the standard polite of the verb 가다 (to go) is 가요. To make this informal, drop 요, which leaves you with just 가.
With adjectives like 춥다 (cold), the same rule applies. Drop the 요. So 추워요 in the informal becomes 추워.
Let’s say you want to say things in the informal past tense.
살았어요 is the past tense of 살다 (to live). To form the informal past tense, drop the 요, so that it becomes 살았어.
For 하다 verbs like 공부하다 (to study), the standard polite present tense form will be 공부해요. To form the informal, drop the 요 so that it becomes 공부해.
The basic rule to form the informal is to take the standard polite of the verb or adjective and leave off the 요. There will be times when more steps will be required to form the informal, but we’ll explore that when we get there. For now, I have listed a few more examples of this basic concept:
듣다 (to hear, to listen) : 들어요 (standard polite, present) : 들어 (informal, present) :
들었어요 (standard polite past) : 들었어 (informal, past)
다르다 (to be different) : 달라요 : 달라 : 달랐어요 : 달랐어
짓다 (to build) : 지어요 : 지어 : 지었어요 : 지었어
크다 (big) : 커요 : 커 : 컸어요 : 컸어