Main Body

10 Lesson 8: 어제 내 생일이었어요!

학습 목표 Goals

By the end of this lesson, you will be able to:

  • Talk about past events and activities.
  • Ask for and answer one’s age and what you did when you were young.
  • Connect or contrast present and past events succinctly.

들어가기 Setting Up

Lesson Focus

같이 얘기해 봐요! Share your thoughts!

  • What did you do yesterday? Or last week? How do you talk about your past events and experiences in your languages?

In this lesson, you will learn how to talk about present and past events and use vocabulary about dates and months.

단어 Ingredients

생일과 나이 Birthday And Age

yellow gift box with red bow birthday card to recieve to give boy liking the gift he receives party popper with confetti
선물 카드 받다 주다 좋아하다 축하하다
gift, present card to receive, get, take to give to like to congratulate
I am this many years old age number twenty number thirty number forty number fifty
나이 스물/스무 살 서른/서른 살 마흔/마흔 살 쉰/ 쉰 살
age counter for age twenty/-years old thirty/-years old forty/-years old fifty/-years old

으 Irregulars

쓰다 (써요) 나쁘다 (나빠요) 바쁘다 (바빠요) 아프다 (아파요) 예쁘다 (예뻐요) 크다 (커요)
to write, use to be bad to be busy to be sick to be pretty to be big

새 단어와 표현 New Vocabulary and Expressions

동생 룸메이트 어제 영화관, 극장
flower younger sibling roommate yesterday movie theater, theater
지난주 처음 -에 -한테 -한테서
last week for the first time to (an inanimate noun) to (an animate noun) from (an animate noun)
고맙습니다/고마워요 몰랐어요 몇 살 때
thank you did not know at what age (at the) time of NOUN

단어 메모지 Vocabulary Notes

1. 지난

지난 is not an adverb (it’s an adjective), but it will come in handy as you express events and activities that occurred in the past, which you will learn in this lesson. Learn these very useful expressions!

지난 주에 지난 주말에 지난 학기에 지난 주 수요일에 지난 해에 = 작년에 지난 밤 = 어젯 밤
last week last weekend last semester/quarter last Wednesday last year last night

2. 몇 살 이에요?

When you talk about your age, use the native number 살: 열여덟 살, 열아홉 살, 세 살, etc. Use 몇 살이에요? to ask someone’s age:

가: 몇 살이에요? How old are you?              나: 스물한 살이에요.

I am twenty-one years old. There are 99 native numbers and starting from 100, the Sino Korean numbers are used:

스물 (스무 살) twenty 서른 thirty 마흔 forty
쉰 fifty 예순 sixty 일흔 seventy
여든 eighty 아흔 ninety 백 hundred

3. NOUN 때 at the time of

때 is used after a noun to mean at the time of (NOUN). Then the phrase sometimes substitutes for what might be a whole prepositional phrase or even an embedded clause (in English):

저녁 때 크리스마스 때 스무 살 때
In the evening; at dinner time At Christmas At the age of 20 (When I was 20 years old)

4. 한테 to someone/ 한테서 from someone

-한테 and -한테서 are much like to and from but they can be used only with people (or animals). Remember that -한테 is a must in Korean when English does not always need to:

친구한테 선물을 줘요.                     I give a friend a gift. (Give a gift to a friend.)

엄마한테 전화해요.                          Call mom. (Give a call to mom.)

선생님한테 질문해요.                      Ask the teacher. (Ask the question of the teacher.)

강아지한테 밥을 줘요.                     Feed the dog. (Give food to the dog.)

Compare: 물을 줘요.               Water the flower. (Give water to the flower.)

누구한테서 들었어요?                      Who did you hear it from?

동생한테서 카드를 받았어요.           I received a card from my younger sibling.

발음 가이드 Pronunciation Guide

  • 좋다 and 축하하다

As you saw in Lesson 5, because it is an “air” sound, ㅎ makes its neighboring sound aspirated. Practice reading the words aloud:

ㄱ + ㅎ –> ㅋ            백화점 [배콰점]                축하하다 [추카하다]

ㅎ + ㄷ –> ㅌ            좋다 [조타]                       많다 [만타]

좋고 good-and           넣지만 put in-but              하얗다 to be white              괜찮다 to be okay, not bad

단어 연습 Vocabulary Exercises

연습 1. How Frequently?

    • How old are these people? Say their ages as shown in the example.

(맛보기)           응옌 씨는 쉰다섯 살이에요.

응옌 씨 안토니오 씨 윤미나 씨 아잠 씨 킹 씨 뉴먼 씨
55 49 41 35 32 27

연습 2.

    • Work with a partner. Ask and answer the questions and choose the appropriate words to make these sentences true for you.

(맛보기)           가: 학교가 어때요?        나: 커요.

1) 학교가 어때요? (커요   작아요).

2) 방이 어때요? (예뻐요   안 예뻐요).

3) 룸메이트가 어때요? (좋아요    나빠요).

4) 오늘 날씨1가 어때요? (좋아요   나빠요).

5) 오늘 시간 어때요? 오늘 (바빠요   안 바빠요).

6) 매일 한국어를 써요? (네 , 써요   아니요, 안 써요).

1날씨: weather

연습 3.

Choose the appropriate particle.

(맛보기)           생일에 친구(에  한테  한테서) 선물을 받아요.

1) 친구(에  한테 한테서)  책을 줘요.

2) 동생(에  한테 한테서) 책을 받아요.

3) 꽃(에  한테 한테서) 물2을 줘요.

4) 친구(에  한테 한테서) 이메일을 받았어요.

5) 동생(에  한테 한테서) 이메일해요.

6) 지금 영화관(에  한테 한테서) 전화해요.

2물: water

문법과 표현 Recipe

1. Past Tense – ㅆ 어(요)

어제 아르바이트가 있었어요.
그래서 영화관에 갔어요.
영화관에서 일했어요.
그리고 저녁에 친구하고 식당에서 만났어요.
한국음식을 먹었어요.

Forming a past-tense verb is super easy. To conjugate it for the casual-polite past tense, add -ㅆ어(요) after the -어/아 form of the verb. One important thing to note is that there is no vowel harmony for the casual-polite past tense conjugation, so the final ending is going to be either –었어요/ㅆ어요 or -았어요/ㅆ어요, and never use 요/ㅆ요!

Citation Form 어/아 Form Casual-Polite Past Tense Suffix Examples
살다 살아 ㅆ어요 캘리포니아에 살았어요.   I lived in California.
보다 ㅆ어요 영화를 봤어요.  I saw a/the movie.
주다 ㅆ어요 친구한테 책을 줬어요.  I gave my friend a book.
마시다 마셔 ㅆ어요 커피를 마셨어요.  I had a coffee.
하다 ㅆ어요 오늘도 일했어요.  I worked today, too.
이다 이어 ㅆ어요 어제 내 생일이었어요.  Yesterday was my birthday.
이다 ㅆ어요 내 생일 카드였어요.  It was my birthday card.

It will probably be helpful to remember that the past tense stem for any style of speech is – or –. For the casual-polite speech style, the past tense is –어요/어요. For other styles, you may see –습니다/습니다 or –다/다.

This suffix in Korean is better characterized as a Perfective Aspect Marker than a Past Tense Marker. That is, it signals that an act or event has been completed rather than that it happened in the past. With a time or location adverb, it takes on a clear past tense function.

점심 먹었어요?                   Have you had lunch?

어제 점심 먹었어요?           Did you have lunch yesterday?

거기에서 점심 먹었어요?    Did you have lunch there?

연습 1. Past Tense

You know your best friend Alyssa’s schedule by heart. Her mom is worried because she can’t get ahold of her. Tell Alyssa’s mom what Alyssa has been doing by completing the sentences in the box, choosing the appropriate verb form below. Don’t forget to conjugate each verb in the right tense!

이다 파티하다 오다 만나다 숙제하다 아르바이트하다

알리사는 어제 생일 ________. 그래서 친구를 ________. 그리고 같이 ________. 친구한테서 선물을 많이 __________.

알리사는 오늘 아침에 학교에 ________. 학교에서 친구를 ________. 친구하고 같이 공부하고 ________. 지금은 백화점에서 ________. 알리사는 매일 아주 바빠요!

연습 2. Who did this?

Find as many people as possible who did one of the following yesterday or this morning. Get their signatures. Be sure to conjugate each verb in the past tense!

(맛보기)     Q: 어제 학교에 왔어요?     A: 네, 학교에 왔어요.

Activity Signature
어제 학교에 오다
어제 친구를 만나다
어제 친구하고 놀다
어제 춤을 추다
어제 운동하다
어제 많이 자다
오늘 아침을 먹다
오늘 커피를 마시다
오늘 한국어를 공부하다

연습 3. 반친구들을 인터뷰해 보세요. Interview your classmates.

You need to write a short article about when people were exposed to the Korean language and culture, so you are interviewing your classmates. Ask the following questions to find out when your classmates have done the following activities. Summarize your findings in writing, laying out what Korea(n)-related activities your classmates were exposed to first or later. Report to the class.


나: 언제 처음 한국 음식을 먹었어요?   레이: 열 살 때 처음 먹었어요.

나: 언제 처음 한국 음식을 먹었어요?   세영: 한 살 때 처음 먹었어요.

*처음 for the first time    *살 counter for age

친구 1 친구 2 친구 3
한국 음식을 먹다
한국 식당에 가다
한국 친구를 만나다
한국 영화를 보다
한국 노래를 듣다 (use 들었어요)
한국어를 배우다
한국어 책을 읽다
한국어를 쓰다

2. 으-irregular verbs and adjectives


All verbs and adjectives ending in the vowel “ㅡ” (with no final consonant) are 으-irregulars. Their conjugation depends on the vowel that appears before “ㅡ”: when the preceding vowel is or , the –아요 suffix is used, and for all others, the –어요 suffix is used. Either way, the vowel “ㅡ” in the root always drops out. Even if the verb root is one syllable with only the vowel “ㅡ” in the verb (e.g., 쓰다 to be bitter and 크다 to be big), “ㅡ” in the verb root still disappears. For these verbs and adjectives, –어요 is added, as –어요 is the default suffix.

Verb Root Dictionary Form Conjugation Rule Root + 아/어 Examples
The vowel before “ㅡ” is ㅏ or ㅗ 나쁘다 Drop ㅡ; add ㅏ 나쁘ㅏ -> 룸메이트가 나빠요. (My) roommate is bad./I have a bad roommate.
고프다 고프ㅏ -> (저는) 배가 고파요. I am hungry.
바쁘다 바쁘ㅏ -> 웨이가 바빴어요. Wei was busy.
All others 쓰다 Drop ㅡ; add ㅓ 쓰ㅓ -> 한국어를 써요. I use/write Korean.
크다 크ㅓ -> 학교가 커요. The school is big.
예쁘다 예쁘ㅓ -> 방이 예뻤어요. The room was pretty.

오늘 빠요?                    Are you busy today?

네, 아주 빠요.               Yes, totally busy.

동생이 정말 예뻐요.         Your younger sister is really pretty!

네, 감사합니다!                Thank you!

연습 1. Conjugation is our friend! 활용해 봐요.

Take turns reading two of the sentences below with your partner. Pick an adjective, and conjugate it appropriately, considering the context. You may use each word more than once.

예쁘다             크다                 바쁘다             나쁘다

내 친구 이름은 민지예요. 민지는 키4가 아주 ___________.

그리고 ____________. 민지는 매일 학교에 가고 저녁에 편의점에서 일해요.

그래서 매일 ___________! 그리고 민지는 운동을 아주 좋아해요.

어제는  날씨5가 _____________. 그렇지만 민지는 밖에서 운동했어요.

오늘도 날씨가 _____________. 그렇지만 민지는 오늘도 밖에서 운동해요.

4키 height   5날씨 weather

연습 2. Dialogue 대화

Do a quick give-and-take with your partner by completing each sentence.

쓰다   바쁘다    예쁘다   나쁘다

1) 가: 한국어를 읽고 ____________? 나: 네!

2) 가: 오늘 시간 있어요? 나: 미안해요. 오늘

3) 가: 생일 선물이에요. 나: 정말 ___________! 감사합니다.

4) 가: 룸메이트가 좋아요? 나: 아니요. ______________.

3. Connecting Past Tense Phrases With -고 And -지만


When listing completed events connected with –고 and, you only need to conjugate the very last predicate in the past tense.

토요일에는 극장에 가고 외식을 했어요.

I went to the movie and ate out on Saturday.

On the other hand, the connector –지만 but requires a tensed version if the action has been completed:

토요일에 극장에 가지만  외식은 안 했어요.

토요일에 극장에 갔지만  외식은 안 했어요. I went to the movies on Saturday, but I did not eat out.

Here is a summary chart for -고 and -지만. For the past tense, add -지만 to the past tense stem with -었 or -았:

Dictionary Form -고 -지만 -고 past -지만 past
재미있다 재미있고 재미있지만 재미있고 재미있었지만
좋다 좋고 좋지만 좋고 좋았지만
크다 크고 크지만 크고 컸지만
Noun-이다 집이고 집이지만 집이고 집이었지만
Noun-이다 학교(이)고 학교(이)지만 학교(이)고 학교였지만

The verb root 이 can be left out in spoken Korean if the noun ends in a vowel!

연습 1. -고 and -지만

You inadvertently read your roommate’s journal entry from last weekend. Being a pragmatic person, you are overcome by the great desire to make their writing more succinct. Improve your roommate’s diary by combining two sentences into one with an appropriate connector suffix.

(맛보기)  집이 커요. 그렇지만 방은 작아요. -> 집이 크지만 방은 작아요.

지난 주 일요일은 내 생일이었어요. 그래서 우리 집에서 파티를 했어요.

그리고 친구들하고 노래방에 갔어요.

친구들이 우리 집에 왔어요. 그렇지만 내 룸메이트는 못 왔어요.

룸메이트는 매일 학교에 가요. 그리고 일도 해요. 그래서 너무 바빠요.

룸메이트는 토요일에는 시간이 있어요. 그렇지만 일요일에는

시간이 없어요. 그래서 일요일 파티에 못 왔어요.

오늘 아침에 룸메이트가 나한테 선물을 줬어요. 그리고 카드도 줬어요.

정말 고마웠어요!

연습 2. 우리 사이 어때요? How compatible are we?

Ask your partner the following questions to see how similar or different you two are. Report your findings to the class, using particles in such a way that you can maximize the effects of “togetherness” and “contrast.”

(맛보기) 가: 오늘 아침을 먹었어요? 나: 네, 먹었어요/아니요, 안 먹었어요.

–> 오늘 아침을 먹 내 짝 먹었어요.

OR –> 오늘 아침을 먹었지만 내 짝 안 먹었어요.

1) 오늘 아침을 먹었어요.
2) 지난 주말에 친구를 만났어요.
3) 어제 영화를 봤어요.
4) 생일이 3월이었어요.
5) 지난 금요일에 파티를 했어요.
6) 어제 커피를 마셨어요.
7) Your own!

해 봐요! Let’s Cook!

Interpretive Task 1. 듣기 Listening

Juan and Alyssa ran into each other at the café. Listen to their conversation, and see if you can answer the following questions in Korean.

1) Where did Alyssa do yesterday?

2) Why was Alyssa’s roommate happy?

3) When is Alyssa’s birthday, and what will happen on that day?

4) What is the date today?

Interpretive Task 2. 읽기 Reading

Wei and his friend are texting each other. Find out what they are texting about.

*방학 school break   오세요! Please come!   잠깐만요 Wait a minute…

Which of the following statements are true?

1) Wei’s birthday party was held last weekend.  True   False

2) Wei’s birthday party was at Wei’s place.        True   False

3) Wei’s friend’s birthday is tomorrow.               True   False

4) Wei’s friend will have his/her birthday party before the school break. True   False

Interpersonal/Presentational Task 3. 말하고 발표하기

지난 주말 Last Weekend

Create a list of activities that you did last weekend. Ask your classmate (짝) and see how many activities they also did. Report your results to the class. Use -고 and -지만 when you report.

지난 주말에…
지난 토요일에 친구하고 공원에서 걸었어요. O X

한국 문화 Korean Flavors

Language Point

Sino-Korean Vocabulary

Sino-Korean vocabulary — that is, Korean words that have a Chinese (character) origin — has a similar status as Latinate vocabulary in English, with a formal, written, and often more prestigious or erudite feel to it. Sino-Korean vocabulary also has dissectible bits when it’s more than one syllable. You can often pick out the shared meanings between words and, thus, create new words using the pieces. For example:

week-end   월 month-end (end of the month)   연 year-end

일 end-day (last day of the month)  세 end-world (end of the world)

년 end-year (one’s later years)

Can you guess the meaning of the following words? 학기 means school term, and 초- means beginning. (Ignore the spacing.)

유월 말    학기 초     주초     월초     연초

(Answers: end of June, beginning of a school term, beginning of the week, beginning of the month, beginning of the year)

Also, as in English, where Latinate bits of words go together amongst themselves (en-ter vs. go in), Sino-Korean bits don’t mix well with native Korean bits, and one-syllable Sino-Korean bits are rarely independent words in Korean. So, although the Sino-Korean bit 월 means moon or month, it cannot be used by itself but can only be part of a bigger word or phrase like 월급 (monthly) salary or 만월이에요 It’s a full moon. For the word moon, you need to use the Korean word 달. Queer is language, eh?


생일 파티/잔치 Birthday Parties

Birthdays in Korea are generally not celebrated as lavishly as in the US (with the exception of the first and 60th birthdays, which we’ll talk about later). Though having cake or a treat with friends or getting together is becoming more common among young adults, the main tradition is for the (grown) birthday boy or girl to take friends out for a meal (yes, the birthday person usually pays!).


Another tradition is to have 미역국 seaweed soup on your birthday for good health during the year. This tradition is actually a holdover from giving 미역국 to new mothers to help them boost their iron levels and regain strength after childbirth.

Whether there is a party or not, be sure to “congratulate” your friends on their birthdays with “생일 축하 ()/합니다!”

할 수 있어요! I got this!

1rCheck to see if you can do the following.

  • I can talk about past events and activities.
  • I can connect or contrast present and past events succinctly.
  • I can say and share the dates of important events such as birthdays.
Listening Script

후안:        아, 알리사 씨! 어제 뭐 했어요?

알리사:     룸메이트 생일 파티 했어요.

후안:        어제가 룸메이트 생일이었어요?

알리사:     아니요, 지난주 수요일이었어요.

후안:        아, 그래요? 생일 파티 어땠어요?

알리사:     아주 재미있었어요. 사람들도 많이 왔어요. 룸메이트가 선물도 많이 받고 아주 좋아했어요.

후안:         아, 그래요? 알리사 씨 생일은 언제예요?

알리사:     제 생일은 8월 15일이에요.

후안:        8월 15일… 어! 내일이에요? 축하합니다!

알리사:     고맙습니다.

후안:        생일 파티 해요?

알리사:     어… 내일이 생일이지만 너무 바빠요. 그래서 파티는 못 해요.

후안:        아, 그럼 다음 주말에 같이 저녁 먹어요.

알리사:    좋아요.


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You Speak Korean! Book 1 by Soohee Kim, Emily Curtis, Haewon Cho, Angela Lee-Smith, and Mijeong Kim is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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