12Sentences.com is inspired by Tim Ferriss' grammar 'deconstruction' method from โ€˜The 4 Hour Chef' - his book on accelerated learning.


Tim's method includes having a native speaker translate sentences like 'I give John the apple' - to help decode the building blocks of a language.

Some kind language speakers have added their translations and recordings to this project. To suggest which languages to add next - vote in the poll.


Tim's method includes having a native speaker translate sentences like 'I give John the apple' - to help decode the building blocks of a language.

Some kind language speakers have added their translations and recordings to this project. To suggest which languages to add next - vote in the poll.

Tim Ferriss' 12 Sentences to deconstruct ๐Ÿ‡ฐ๐Ÿ‡ท Korean grammar

Hi, Iโ€™m Helena, the Founder of the Alpha Korean Class. When I was young, I wanted to be a singer, novelist, or movie director. I love to be an online Korean teacher who teaches Korean more fun and useful way to foreigners.

Note from Helena

*The following English sentences were translated into spoken and written forms. Most Korean textbooks and websites prefer written form because they aim for accuracy, but using the written form in conversation feels very awkward. (Feels like a robot.) This is because, in spoken language, many components are omitted, and a lot of abbreviations are used. When studying the principles of grammar, it is helpful to know the written language, but it is not recommended to use it in conversation. For this reason, the two types of language have been translated, so learners should refer to them and study according to their learning purpose.

1. The apple is red. ์‚ฌ๊ณผ๊ฐ€ ๋นจ๊ฐœ์š”. (spoken form)
sagwaga ppalgaeyo
์‚ฌ๊ณผ๊ฐ€ ๋นจ๊ฐ›๋‹ค. (written form)
sagwaga ppalgata.
โ†’ What is โ€˜๊ฐ€โ€™? In Korean, the order of Sentence components(subject, object, adverb, etcโ€ฆ) is not very important as in English. Therefore, the subject marker(์€,๋Š”, ์ด, ๊ฐ€) and object marker(์„,๋ฅผ) have been developed to indicate them. In this sentence, โ€˜๊ฐ€โ€™ is the subject marker. โ†’ Why โ€˜is red(two words)โ€™ becomes โ€˜๋นจ๊ฐ›๋‹ค(one word)โ€™ Unlike English, adjectives in Korean describe the subject like a verb at the end of a sentence. Therefore, it is sometimes referred to as descriptive verbs instead of "adjectives" to prevent confusion about Korean adjectives.
2. It is Johnโ€™s apple. ๊ทธ๊ฑด ์กด์˜ ์‚ฌ๊ณผ์˜ˆ์š”. (spoken form)
geugeon jonui sagwayeyo.
๊ทธ๊ฒƒ์€ ์กด์˜ ์‚ฌ๊ณผ์ด๋‹ค. (written form)
geugeoseun jonui sagwaida.
โ†’ โ€˜๊ทธ๊ฑดโ€™ is short for โ€˜๊ทธ๊ฒƒ์€โ€™. Abbreviations are used a lot in spoken style.
3. I give John the apple. ์ œ๊ฐ€ ์กดํ•œํ…Œ ์‚ฌ๊ณผ๋ฅผ ์ค˜์š”. (spoken form)
jega jonhante sagwareul jwoyo.
๋‚ด๊ฐ€ ์กด์—๊ฒŒ ์‚ฌ๊ณผ๋ฅผ ์ค€๋‹ค. (written form)
naega jonege sagwareul junda.
โ†’ The basic type of 'I' is '๋‚˜', but in conversation, people say '์ €' by lowering themselves. '๋‚˜' and '์ €' are changed to '๋‚ด๊ฐ€' and '์ œ๊ฐ€' when combined with the subjective marker โ€˜๊ฐ€โ€™. โ†’ Both โ€˜์—๊ฒŒโ€™ and โ€˜ํ•œํ…Œโ€™ are particles used when giving something โ€˜toโ€™ someone.
4. We give him the apple. ์šฐ๋ฆฌ๊ฐ€ ๊ทธ ๋‚จ์žํ•œํ…Œ ์‚ฌ๊ณผ๋ฅผ ์ค˜์š”. (spoken form)
uriga geu namjahante sagwareul jwoyo.
์šฐ๋ฆฌ๊ฐ€ ๊ทธ์—๊ฒŒ ์‚ฌ๊ณผ๋ฅผ ์ค€๋‹ค. (written form)
uriga geuege sagwareul junda.
โ†’ The direct translation of โ€˜heโ€™ is โ€˜๊ทธโ€™. โ€˜๊ทธโ€™ is used in written style, but in spoken style, โ€˜heโ€™ is not called โ€˜๊ทธโ€™ but โ€˜๊ทธ ๋‚จ์žโ€™. โ€˜๊ทธ ๋‚จ์žโ€™ is โ€˜that manโ€™ in a direct translation.

๐ŸŽ Speed up your learning with video lessons on italki.

5. He gives it to John. ๊ทธ ๋‚จ์ž๊ฐ€ ์กดํ•œํ…Œ ๊ทธ๊ฑธ ์ค˜์š”. (spoken form)
geu namjaga jonhante geugeol jwoyo.
๊ทธ๊ฐ€ ์กด์—๊ฒŒ ๊ทธ๊ฒƒ์„ ์ค€๋‹ค. (written form)
geuga jonege geugeoseul junda.
โ†’ โ€˜๊ทธ๊ฑธโ€™ is short for โ€˜๊ทธ๊ฒƒ์„โ€™.
6. She gives it to him. ๊ทธ ์—ฌ์ž๊ฐ€ ๊ทธ ๋‚จ์žํ•œํ…Œ ๊ทธ๊ฑธ ์ค˜์š”. (spoken form)
geu yeojaga geu namjahante geugeol jwoyo.
๊ทธ๋…€๊ฐ€ ๊ทธ์—๊ฒŒ ๊ทธ๊ฒƒ์„ ์ค€๋‹ค. (written form)
geunyeoga geuege geugeoseul junda.
โ†’ The direct translation of โ€˜sheโ€™ is โ€˜๊ทธ๋…€โ€™. โ€˜๊ทธ๋…€โ€™ is used in written style, but in spoken style, โ€˜sheโ€™ is not called โ€˜๊ทธ๋…€โ€™ but โ€˜๊ทธ ์—ฌ์žโ€™. โ€˜๊ทธ ์—ฌ์žโ€™ is โ€˜that womanโ€™ in a direct translation.
7. Is the apple red? ์‚ฌ๊ณผ๊ฐ€ ๋นจ๊ฐœ์š”? (spoken form)
sagwaga ppalgaeyo?
์‚ฌ๊ณผ๊ฐ€ ๋นจ๊ฐ›๋‚˜? (written form)
sagwaga ppalganna?
8. The apples are red. ์‚ฌ๊ณผ๊ฐ€ ๋นจ๊ฐœ์š”. (spoken form)
sagwaga ppalgaeyo.
์‚ฌ๊ณผ๊ฐ€ ๋นจ๊ฐ›๋‹ค. (written form)
sagwaga ppalgata.
โ†’In English, it is important to distinguish between plural and singular nouns, but not in Korean. There is a suffix called '๋“ค' which represents plural nouns, but it is more natural to express it in singular form without using it. In particular, it is very awkward to use '๋“ค' for objects other than 'people'.
9. I must give it to him. ์ „ ๊ทธ ๋‚จ์žํ•œํ…Œ ๊ทธ๊ฑธ ์ค˜์•ผ ๋ผ์š”. (spoken form)
jeoneun geu namjahante geugeol jwoya dwaeyo.
๋‚˜๋Š” ๊ทธ์—๊ฒŒ ๊ทธ๊ฒƒ์„ ์ค˜์•ผ ํ•œ๋‹ค. (written form)
naneun geuege geugeoseul jwoya handa.
โ†’ โ€˜์ „โ€™ is short for โ€˜์ €๋Š”โ€™.
10. I want to give it to her. ์ „ ๊ทธ ์—ฌ์žํ•œํ…Œ ๊ทธ๊ฑธ ์ฃผ๊ณ  ์‹ถ์–ด์š”. (spoken form)
jeon geu yeojahante geugeol jugo sipeoyo.
๋‚˜๋Š” ๊ทธ๋…€์—๊ฒŒ ๊ทธ๊ฒƒ์„ ์ฃผ๊ณ  ์‹ถ๋‹ค. (written form)
naneun geunyeoege geugeoseul jugo sipda.
11. I'm going to know tomorrow. ๋‚ด์ผ ์•Œ๊ฒŒ ๋  ๊ฑฐ์˜ˆ์š”. (spoken form)
jeon naeil alge doel geoyeyo.
๋‚ด์ผ ์•Œ๊ฒŒ ๋  ๊ฒƒ์ด๋‹ค. (written form)
naneun naeil alge doel geosida.
โ†’ It feels more natural to omit the subject in this sentence. In situations where the subject is clear, referring to the subject seems to be very unnatural in Korean, regardless of conversation or writing style.
12. I can't eat the apple. ์ „ ์‚ฌ๊ณผ ๋ชป ๋จน์–ด์š”. (spoken form)
jeon sagwareul mot meogeoyo.
๋‚˜๋Š” ์‚ฌ๊ณผ๋ฅผ ๋ชป ๋จน๋Š”๋‹ค. (written form)
naneun sagwareul mot meongneunda.
โ†’ It is common to use accurate markers in written language or official situations, but in everyday conversations, it is more natural for abbreviations of markers to be used or omitted.
โ˜… I have eaten the apple. ์ „ ์‚ฌ๊ณผ ๋จน์—ˆ์–ด์š”. (spoken form)
jeon sagwa meogeosseoyo.
๋‚˜๋Š” ์‚ฌ๊ณผ๋ฅผ ๋จน์—ˆ๋‹ค. (written form)
naneun sagwareul meogeotda.
โ†’ There are only three major tenses in Korean. Present, past, future. Therefore, the present completion tense is expressed in the past tense.

Also check out Helena's video here for a breakdown:

Be notified of new Korean content

Thanks for subscribing!