Understanding Korean Grammar: -(으)면

Introduction: Korean Grammar -(으)면

Learning Korean grammar can be challenging, but breaking it down into manageable lessons can make it easier. Today, we will explore the grammar pattern ‘-(으)면,’ which is used to express conditions or “if” statements in Korean. This lesson will help you understand and use this conditional form effectively.

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jaem grammar lesson 2 -(으)면

Grammar Explanation: ‘-(으)면’

The grammar pattern ‘-(으)면’ is used to express conditions, similar to “if” in English. It can be used with verbs, adjectives, and nouns, and is essential for forming conditional sentences in Korean.


  • If the stem ends in a vowel, add ‘-면’.
  • If the stem ends in a consonant, add ‘-으면’.
TypeExample WordStemConditional FormExample Sentence
Verb가다 (to go)가면가면 좋겠어요 (If you go, it would be good)
Verb먹다 (to eat)먹으면먹으면 건강해질 거예요 (If you eat it, you’ll become healthy)
Adjective크다 (big)크면크면 좋겠어요 (If it’s big, it would be good)
Adjective춥다 (cold)추우면추우면 따뜻하게 입으세요 (If it’s cold, dress warmly)
Noun + 이다학생 (student)학생학생이면학생이면 할인돼요 (If you are a student, you get a discount)

Examples: -(으)면

Verb Examples:

  • 집에 가면 = If you go home
    • 집에 가면 쉬세요 = If you go home, rest.
  • 시간이 있으면 = If you have time
    • 시간이 있으면 저를 도와주세요 = If you have time, please help me.
  • 날씨가 좋으면 = If the weather is good
    • 날씨가 좋으면 산책합시다 = If the weather is good, let’s go for a walk.

Adjective Examples:

  • 행복하면 = If you are happy
    • 행복하면 웃으세요 = If you are happy, smile.
  • 쉽면 = If it is easy
    • 쉽면 시작하세요 = If it is easy, start.
  • 비싸면 = If it is expensive
    • 비싸면 사지 마세요 = If it is expensive, don’t buy it.

Noun + 이다 Examples:

  • 선생님이면 = If you are a teacher
    • 선생님이면 이 문제를 풀 수 있어요 = If you are a teacher, you can solve this problem.
  • 학생이면 = If you are a student
    • 학생이면 도서관을 이용할 수 있어요 = If you are a student, you can use the library.
  • 의사면 = If you are a doctor
    • 의사면 환자를 도와야 해요 = If you are a doctor, you have to help patients.

Usage in Context

When using ‘-(으)면’ in different contexts, it helps to express various conditional situations.

Everyday Contexts:

  • 돈이 많으면 여행을 가고 싶어요 = If I have a lot of money, I want to travel.
  • 친구를 만나면 커피를 마실 거예요 = If I meet my friend, we will drink coffee.
  • 시간이 있으면 운동을 해요 = If I have time, I exercise.

Cultural Insight: In Korean culture, conditional sentences are often used to politely suggest actions or to discuss potential future plans.

Common Mistakes

Common Mistakes:

  • Incorrect: 공부면 열심히 해야 해요 (Incorrect form for verb)
  • Correct: 공부하면 열심히 해야 해요 = If you study, you have to study hard.

Mistake Explanation: Ensure you are using the correct form of ‘-(으)면’ based on whether the stem ends in a vowel or consonant.

Explore these related grammar points to deepen your understanding:

  • -(으)ㄹ 때: When
  • -거나: Or
  • -아/어야 하다: Must
  • -아서/어서: Because

Practice Exercises

Practice Makes Perfect!

  • Exercise 1: Conjugate the following verbs and adjectives with ‘-(으)면’.
    • 가다 (to go)
    • 먹다 (to eat)
    • 행복하다 (to be happy)
    • 춥다 (to be cold)

Answer Key:

  1. 가면, 먹으면, 행복하면, 추우면
  • Exercise 2: Create sentences using ‘-(으)면’ for the following situations:
    • If you have time, call me.
    • If it rains, we will stay home.
    • If you are a student, study hard.

Answer Key:

  1. 시간이 있으면 전화해 주세요.
  2. 비가 오면 우리는 집에 있을 거예요.
  3. 학생이면 열심히 공부하세요.

Download the workbook for more exercises and practice.

Summary and Conclusion: How to use ‘-(으)면’

Today, we covered the grammar point ‘-(으)면’ and how to use it to express conditions in Korean. This pattern is essential for forming “if” statements and discussing potential situations. Continue practicing with our workbook and check out related lessons for more in-depth learning.

If you have any questions or suggestions, feel free to comment below. Happy learning!

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