Korean: Use 고, 서 to connect sentences


What we have learned so far is a single, short narrative sentence, so how to say a longer sentence or how to connect two sentences? This is the time to use conjunctions to connect sentences. This time, we will talk about 고 and 서, which are common in conjunctions, and explain how to use them to connect sentences.

If you are using Chrome or an Android phone, you can listen to the pronunciation by clicking on the Korean in the table or the Korean in the example sentences in the article!

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

What we have learned so far is a single, short narrative sentence, so how to say a longer sentence or how to connect two sentences?
This is the time to use conjunctions to connect sentences. This time, we will talk about 고 and 서, which are common in conjunctions, and explain how to use them to connect sentences.

Conjunctions: 고

When "고" is used as a conjunction in a sentence, it usually means enumeration (parallel order), or it can be sequential order, but the sentences are not related, not causally related.

The following describes its basic usage.


1.Basic usage: Verb, Adjective

    verb/adj's stem + 고
내일은 청소하_고_ 빨래도해요.

Tomorrow I will clean and do laundry

이 아이돌은 키가 크_고_ 잘 생겼다.

This idol is tall and handsome


2.Basic usage: Noun

    noun + 이고
    이고 = 이다 + 고  
이것은 사과_이고_ 그것은 오렌지입니다.

This is apple, that is orange.


3.Basic usage: past tense

When two sentences in the past tense are joined, only the last sentence is in the past tense, and the preceding sentence is often in the present tense.

오늘은 공원에서 놀_고_ 쇼핑도했습니다.

Today I played in the park and then shopped
「공원에서 놀고」is present tense, and 「쇼핑도했습니다」is past tense.


4.Basic usage:고요

고 can also end with 요 as 고요. Sometimes 고요 is also pronounced "구요". It is also pronounced "군요" when it is slightly exclamatory.

파스타를 좋아하_고_ 라면도 좋아_고요_.

I like pasta and I also like ramen.

Conjunctions: 서

When "서" is used as a conjunction, it usually means that there is order, reason, and cause between the sentences. There is relationship, causality between the preceding and following sentences.

Let's take a look at its basic usage.

Basic usage: 아/어서

    verb/adj + 아/어서  

If vowel is ㅏ or ㅗ, use 아서.
If vowel is not ㅏ and ㅗ, use 어서.

식당에 가서 밥을 먹었다.

I went to the restaurant and ate.

Difference between 고 and 서

After understanding the meaning of 고 and 서, let's take a look at the following example sentence in order to explain the difference.

그녀를 만나() 영화를 보았습니다.

In (), the use of "-고" and "-아/어(서)" makes the meaning a little different.


◆use "-고"

그녀를 만나고 영화를 보았습니다.

I met her and watched a movie.
If you use "-고" to connect the two events, "met her" and "watched the movies" become unrelated. It is possible to watch a movie alone, or to watch a movie with her.


◆use "-아/어서"

그녀를 만나서 영화를 보았습니다.

I met her and watched a movie.
If you use "-아/어서", the two things "met her" and "watched the movie" are related, and you have to do the "met her" thing first before you can finish the "watched the movie" thing. Therefore, it is quite possible for two people to go to the movies together.


◆Conclusion

So when describing multiple things, you should be careful when choosing words to connect them.
Consider using "고" when things are in a parallel order or not related.
Consider using "아/어서" when there is a cause-and-effect relationship between things.

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