Complete TOPIK Grammar List – Beginner Level – with Explanations 

 July 19, 2012

By  Satish Satyarthi

Katerina Vezhnovets

It’s really great to let you know that a TOPIK GUIDE reader and Facebook friend of mine Katerina Vezhnovets from Belarus has added the English explanations to all the grammar patterns in the list ‘Complete TOPIK Grammar List – Beginner Level (한국어능력시험 초급 기출 문법 리스트)‘ and sent it to me. She has been kind enough to allow me to put this list on TOPIK GUIDE for other readers. I, on the behalf of all the readers of TOPIK GUIDE, want to convey sincere thanks to Katerina and wish her all the best in all her future endeavors. :)

You too can help TOPIK GUIDE by compiling a similar Grammar or Vocabulary list for Intermediate and Advanced levels and send it to TOPIK GUIDE. It does not have to be a perfect list. Even small and simple contributions from all of us will make this website richer. *If you find any mistakes/error/typos in the list, please let me know in the comment section.

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아/어/여 드리다 offer to do something for someone else 아/어/여야겠다
아/어/여 보다 is used to convey meanings such as ‘someone tries doing something ( to see how it will turn out) or ‘someone does something to see (how it will turn out).’ 아/어/여요 the informal polite speech style
아/어/여 보이다 conveys meanings such as likeness, resemblance, or similarity. when attached directly to the stems of adjectives.
The past tense form of this pattern is ‘-아/어/여 보였다.’
아/어/여 주다 expresses the speaker’s request for something 았/었/였 is used to indicate an action which took place in the past or a condition which used to exist.
아/어/여도 `-도’ is used to express ‘even if, even though’ 았/었/였겠다
아/어/여도 되다 if `-도’ is used with the word ‘좋다, 괜찮다, 되다`, this pattern is used to ask for and giving permission. For the negative answer to a request for permission, you have to use the pattern ‘-(으)면 안 되다.’ May do’ 았/었/였으면 좋겠다 is used to express the speaker’s hope or desire. Even though the past tense -았/었/였- is used, this pattern does not refer to the past. So, even when this pattern is used without the past tense like ‘-(으)면 좋겠다’, there is no difference in meaning.
아/어/여서1 is used to indicate cause or reason; mostly used with adjectives and ‘가다'(to go), ‘오다'(to come), ‘없다'(don’t have) etc. in declarative and interrogative sentences; cannot be used in imperative and propositive sentence, where another connective ‘-(으)니까’ is used 이/가 아니다 the negative of ‘-이다‘
아/어/여서2  is used when the subject performs one action and then a second one; it is attached to the first verb and is then followed by a second verb 이에요/예요 The informal polite form of ‘-입니다’
아/어/여야 되다/하다 is used to express obligation or necessity; tense is expressed in the verb ‘하다’. ‘Must, have to’


TYPE 2. -()~ 

-(으)ㄴ 지 (시간) 되다 this pattern ‘Verb + -(으)ㄴ 지 + time word + 되다’ is used to express an interval of time which extends from a definite past to the present. The case marker ‘-가` or ‘-는’ can be attached optionally after ‘지’ -(으)ㄴ 적이 있다 indicate one’s past experiences. The literal meaning is ‘the experience of having done something’ exists ( or don’t exist )
-(으)ㄴ/는/을 것 같다 is used in the present tense with adjectives or ‘이다’ to express the speaker’s thought or opinion, in the future tense – to indicate the speaker’s stronger conjecture or presumption. With general verbs, the pattern ‘-는 것 같다’ is used in the present tense, ‘(으)ㄴin the past tense, and (으)ㄹ in the future tense; tense is expressed in the final verb ‘같다’ -(으)ㄴ/는지 알다
-(으)ㄴ후에 means ‘after having done smth’; used with the action verbs. The tense is expresses in the main (final) verb -(으)ㄴ/는데 is used to introduce a certain fact,occurrence, or event. The form `()‘ is used for the adjectives and ‘이다` in the present tense. The form ‘는데` is used for all other cases.
-(으)ㄹ 거예요 The informal ending of the future tense ‘-(으)ㄹ 겁니다‘; with a 3rd person subject it expresses a supposition or presumption, with a 1st person subject – the speaker’s plan or intention -(으)니까 Indicates reason and cause; if the main clause is an imperative or propositive, only the connective ‘-니까 can be used in the dependent clause. In this case, ‘(/) cannot be used
-(으)ㄹ 수 없다/있다 is used with verbs and indicates ability, capability, possibility or permission -(으)ㄹ 때 ‘While’; when the two actions happen at the same time, past tense is not expressed with this pattern. But if the action of the `-ㄹ 때’ clause happened before the action of the next clause, past tense should be expressed in the `-ㄹ때’ clause; is used with all verbs and adjectives but `이다’ can be used only in the past tense
-(으)ㄹ 줄 알았다 -(으)ㄹ 줄 알다/모르 다 is used to express the knowledge or lack of knowledge of a technique or process of doing something
-(으)ㄹ까 하다 Means ‘I think I will (do smth)…’ -(으)ㄹ게요 the speaker’s intention or plan or promise. It is used with action verbs as well as with the verb 있다, but not with adjectives.
-(으)ㄹ래요 -(으)ㄹ까요? is used to express inquiring about someone’s opinion, view or appraisal on a certain matter or fact with the action verb.
-(으)러 is used to express the purpose of the subject’s action and is followed by either ‘가다'(to go), ‘오다'(to come) or their compounds, or any verb which indicates movement, such as ‘다니다'(to go and come regularly) -(으)려고 used to indicate the purpose of the speaker (subject)’s action;  can be followed by any verbs; it is used in the present and past tense of the main verb (final verb), but is never used with the future tense. Tense and negation are expressed in the main verb (final verb).
-(으)려고 하는데요 -(으)려고 하다 is used with verbs(including `있다’); this pattern is used to indicate a subject’s intention; restricted to first and second personal pronouns
-(으)려면 -(으)면 can be used with any verb or adjective and indicates condition and/or stipulation; in Korean the dependent clause precedes the main clause. Sometimes, the word `만일/만약’ is used at the beginning of a conditional clause
-(으)면 되다 -(으)면 안 되다
-(으)면 좋다 -(으)면서 is used to express two simultaneous actions done by the same person. It attaches to the verb directly; someone does something while he is doing something else (at the same time)
-(으)ㅂ시다 to expressing the subject’s suggestion with the action verbs and the verb of existence ‘있다’. It cannot be used with ‘이다’ nor with adjectives. In plain speech style(반말) you can use the form ‘-자’ instead of ‘-아/어/여’ -(으)세요 implies respect of the speaker for the subject of the sentence, means ‘Please do something’ when referring to the second person
-(으)시- the honorific form -(으)십시오 imperative verb form


TYPE 3. 자음 시작

(명사)+ 때문에 ‘because of, owing to, as a result of, in consequence of’ (명사)+ 말고
-거나 [열거] and; or; [양보](even) though [if]; no matter how (what/when/where/who); whatever -게 Polite form of ’에게’
-게 되다 is used to express the idea that the situation has been arranged by certain environmental facts or conditions. It is used with verbs and ‘있다’; ‘(it) turns out (that), It is arranged that -, (the situation) makes something to be’ -겠- pre-ending -겠- is used for expressing the speaker’s conjecture or supposition or for asking intention of the person spoken to in a polite request.
-고 싶다 is used to indicate the desire of the subject and is used with action verbs and ‘있다.’ -고 있다 is used to indicate a kind of process or continuing action; ‘Is doing’; this pattern can have two different meanings when used with verbs dealing with items of clothing : 입다, 쓰다, 신다; it is often used to express an action which started in the past and is still going on
-군요 is used to express surprise, delight, or wonder with an exclamation mark; adjectives and ‘-이다’ take the ‘-군요!’ form, other verbs take the ‘-는군요!’ form. In past tense, verbs also take the ‘-군요’ form. -기 때문에 is used to express cause and reason; ’so, therefore, because’
-기 쉽다 -기 위해서 Is used  in complex sentences and indicates the action in the second sentence that is the reason for achieving the object of the first sentence
-기도 하다 -네요
-기로 하다 is used to indicate one’s decision;  the verb `-하다 can be replaced by the verb `약속하다, 결정하다, 결심하다, 작정하다’… ‘-지 않기로 하다’ means ‘to decide not to do’; ‘-기로 하지 않다’ means ‘do not decide to do’ 는/(으)ㄴ/(으) ㄹ (명사) the ending `-는’ is attached to the verb directly and is used in the present tense; the ending `-(으)ㄴ’ is used in the past tense; The forms ‘예쁜, 좋은, 아름다운, 바쁜, 아픈‘ are the present inflected forms of the infinitives’; `-(으)ㄹ’ is used in the future tense
-는 중이다 습니다 formal polite speech style
-ㅂ/습니까? Formal style question final ending – 지 마세요 ‘stop doing’
– / ㅂ지 -지 맙시다 Forms a negative suggestion
-지 말아요 the pattern ‘-지 말다` preceded by an action verb expresses prohibition or dissuasion. This pattern is always used as a negative imperative sentence or a negative propositive sentence. -지만 is used to join two sentences which are in contrast with each other. ‘But’
-지 않다 ‘long type negation’; directly followes by verbs or adjectives; ‘not, no’ -지요 is used if you want  to seek the listener’s agreement or to ascertain what listener means


TYPE 4. 조사

이/가  indicates that the preceding noun phrase is the subject of the sentence. ‘-’ is used after a word which ends with a vowel, while `-’ is used after a consonant 에서, ‘at’ or ‘in’ indicating the place where an action takes place; ‘from’, indicating a starting point or cause.
까지, expresses the finishing point of the action 와/과, ‘and, with, along (together) with’
께, to (by/for)  a person; about; around; toward  (a time); in the vicinity (neighborhood) of; near  (a place) (으)로, Indicates a choice, shows direction, means, status, cause
께서, From (a person) 을/를, is attached to a Noun to indicate the direct object of a transitive verb
은/는, indicates the comparison of topics. If there is no connotation of comparison with another subject, this marker cannot be used. 의, is preceded by a noun and indicates possession, relationship, origin or status location
도, means ‘also’ or ‘too’. This can replace the subjective marker ‘-가/이’, and the objective marker ‘-을/를` (으)로, Indicates a choice, shows direction, means, status, cause
마다, ‘each; every; all’ ‘only’; can be attached to almost any word in the sentence
만큼, ‘because (of); since; as; for’ (이)나, [그러나] but; (and) yet; [한편] while; meanwhile; […하기는 하나] though; although; nevertheless; however; still.
밖에, ‘outside, in the open air  + besides’ (이)나2, [정도·비교] as many [much] as; no less [fewer] than; as long as; nearly; about.; [선택] either… or; or; any.
보다, (more than) is attached to a standard of comparison (which is usually the second noun) when both items of comparison are mentioned. It is often accompanied by ‘-더’ which means ‘more’; when the standard of comparison is omitted, ‘더'(‘more) is used 처럼, like; as; as… as; <not> so… as; as if
부터, means ‘from’, the starting point of an action 하고, means ‘and’;  connects words on an equal basis
에, indicates a destination and that someone or something is stationary in a place. It is attached to nouns, and followed by ‘있다'(to be) and ‘없다'(not to be).. meanings: “to, in, at”. 한테 is used for indicating the receiver of an action; the marker ‘-한테서’ is used for indicating the source or starting point of an action.
에게, It’s a dative marker which attaches to animate nouns; is often used as ‘한테’ in spoken language


TYPE 5.접사

들, Plural form of the noun -쯤, means ‘around…o’clock’
– 씩, is used to indicate distribution and is attached to numbers and any counting classifier; ‘each, respectively’ 동안(명사) ‘(a space of) time; a period; in, for, during, as (so) long as’


TYPE 6. 부정 부사

못, is used with action verbs, and means impossibility or strong denial and refusal. expresses the negative and means ‘do not’. ‘안’ is put before the verb.


I hope this list help you with your TOPIK preparation. Feel Free to ask If you need help with any of these grammar patterns. All the Best from TOPIK GUIDE!

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  • some meanings left:

    -아/어/여지다: Expresses a change in state over time and means “to become + adjective”.

    -(으)ㄹ래요: 1. is used when asking about the listener`s preference or intention or when gently making a request.
    2. Expresses the fact that the speaker has the will or intention to do something. (colloquial language)

    -(으)려면: is the shortened form of -(으)려고 하면. It is used with verbs to express a plan or intention to do something in the first clause, with the condition required to fulfull that plan or intention given in the second clause.

    -(으)면 안 되다: Expresses the prohibition or limitation of a particular action of the listener. It also can represent social conventions or common sense dictating in a behavior or state is prohibited or not tolerated.

  • Thank you for all of your work! I’d love to help out any way I can, so if you have anything I can do then please let me know. 🙂

  • I am about to take my first TOPIK ever! I am so nervous omg, and this is really helpful. I am doing tomorrow a mock test and I’m just trying to get everything on that list in my head hahaha. If there’s something I can ever help with, please tell me! I’d be more than willing to do it!

  • This chart is nice and all, but you need to give sample sentences for us to understand their usage and context. Otherwise, it just looks like a bunch of mumbo-jumbo and we’d be surprised when we’d see it on the test.

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