Conjecture: -어/아 보이다
It has been a very long time, but it is time to return to Korean grammar regarding conjecture. I do this since the pattern I’m about to discuss, I used in a my latest Korean blog post on Naver blog: -어/아 보이다. Luckily, this grammar pattern isn’t very complicated as it is very like English in its own way. Let’s take a look.
Looks like -어/아 보이다
The grammar pattern -어/아 보이다 is, in fact, very easy to understand. You can use it to express either your conjecture or feelings you based solely on outward appearances of a person, thing or event. Therefore, this expression will translate into English as “Looks like” or “Looks” and in many ways you can use it in exactly the same way as you would in English. An example:
Example: 그 바지를 입으니까 날씬해 보여요.
Translation: You look slim in those pants.
This expression does not have the softness of the grammar pattern -(으)ㄴ/는/(으)ㄹ 것 같다, so if you think what you want to say might be taken in a wrong way it is better to use the latter instead of -어/아 보이다.
How To Use
Using the pattern -어/아 보이다 is absolutely easy. The first thing you need to keep in mind is that you can only use it with adjectives, not verbs. The second thing you need to know is how to attach the pattern to an adjective. To do that you simply take the stem and you look at the final syllable. You have three situations:
- If the verb stem’s last syllable contains or ends in ㅏ or ㅗ, you attach -아 보이다 to the verb stem.
- If not, you attach -어 보이다 to the verb stem.
- For 하다 adjectives, it becomes -해 보이다.
This pattern can be used in all tenses without an issue. However, you need to take special care when you use it in the future tense. The first things you need to be aware of is when you use it in the future tense, the meaning is a supposition. Secondly the form of the future tense of this pattern is a bit different than you are used to. There are again 3 different situations:
- If the verb stem’s last syllable contains or ends in ㅏ or ㅗ, you attach -아 보일 것이다 to the verb stem.
- If not, you attach -어 보일 것이다 to the verb stem.
- For 하다 adjectives, it becomes -해 보일 것이다.
Lastly, you might also see a -게 보이다 being used. There is no difference in meaning between -게 보이다 and -어/아 보이다. Therefore you can use them interchangeably.
With all that you know everything there is to know about -어/아 보이다. Let us know in the comments below if it looks difficult to master.