Expression of State: -어/아지다
We often tell people the way we are or something is. However, we also tell others how someone turned his state into something else. We tell them how we got slimmer, bigger, better, etc. For adjectives there is a simple way to express that change in state. You simply need to use the pattern -어/아지다. Let’s take a look.
To Become With -어/아지다
As you now Korean adjectives describe the state something or someone is in. You can use them to tell something is hot or cold, small or big. However, they don’t express a change in their state. That, however, doesn’t mean they cannot do that. They can. To tell someone the state of something or someone changed you use the pattern -어/아지다.
This verb pattern changes the meaning from “to be X” to “to become x”. It is quite simple, but let us take a look at two simple sentences to make it more clear:
이 아이가 커요. (This child is big).
이 아이가 커졌어요. (This child became bigger).
It is easy to use this grammar pattern, but you still need to keep a few things in mind?
How To Use
Using the pattern -어/아지다. is not hard. You simply need to follow the rules you have already learned for the Korean present tense. This means you have three major cases to consider:
- If the final verb syllable either ends in or contains ㅏ or ㅗ, you use ending -아지다.
- If not, you use the ending -아지다.
- For 하다 adjective, the ending is -해지다.
This grammar pattern can only be used with adjectives, not with verbs. You can, however, use -게 되다 to do the same with verbs. You also need to be aware that once you use this pattern, the adjective is no longer an adjective. Grammatically from that point onwards it is considered. This distinction is important for various grammar topics such as -고 싶다 or using verbs and adjectives with nouns.
Furthermore you need to keep the tense you use in mind. There is a difference in meaning between using the present tense and the past tense. When you use this pattern in the present tense, you are describing a general fact of change that occurs when undertaking a particular action. However, when you use the past tense, you are describing the completed change of an action performed in the past. Let’s look at two sentences.
청소를 많이 하면 피곤해져요. (When I clean a lot, I become tired.)
청소를 많이 해서 피곤해졌어요. (I cleaned a lot, so I became tired.)