Changing Verbs to Nouns ~기

Adding ~기 to the stem of a verb changes that verb into a noun. The noun can technically be used like any other noun:

가다 = to go

가기 = the noun form of “to go”

읽다 = to read

읽기 = the noun form of “to read”

먹다 = to eat

먹기 = the noun form of “to eat”

Adding ~기 to a verb stem does not allow you to describe anything. It just turns verbs into nouns.

When one “starts” an action, you can attach ~기 to the verb that starts to occur followed by 시작하다. For example:

가다 = to go

가기 시작하다 = to start to go

먹다 = to eat

먹기 시작하다 = to start to eat

~기 싫다

It is also very common to put verbs before ~기 싫다 to indicate that you don’t want to do something. Literally, this translates to “I don’t like _____”

밥을 먹기 싫어 = I don’t want to eat

가기 싫어 = I don’t want to go

쌀을 씻기 싫어요 = I don’t want to wash the rice

It is possible to use this with the word 좋다 (the opposite of 싫다), however, it is not that common in Korean. Instead, it sounds more natural to use ~고 싶다.

Actual Words

There are also a handful of words where it is common to use the ~기 form as an actual word.

For example, if you are going for a run, I could use the word “달리기”

저는 달리기를 할 거예요 = I will go for a run

The word for skipping (jump-rope skipping) is the word 줄 (rope) combined with the word 넘다 (going over) with ~기:

저는 줄넘기를 못해요 = I’m bad at skipping

When writing a language test, there will often be many sections. For example, there might be a “writing” section, a “reading” section and a “listening” section:

Writing = 쓰기

Reading = 읽기

Listening = 듣기

  Making Lists

When making a list of things that you are going to do, it is also common to end the phrase by using ~기. This essentially makes the entire phrase a noun, which is similar to what we do in English. For example, if I made a to-do list, I could write:

커피를 만들기 = Make coffee

책상을 정리하기 = Organize my desk

방 청소하기 = Clean my room

쌀을 사기 = Buy rice

인터넷에 자료를 검색하기 = Look for data on the internet

Another example; if I made a list of goals for myself for the year, I could write:

매일매일을 즐기기 = Enjoy every day

집 청소를 매일 하기 = Clean the house every day

숙제를 매일 하기 = Do my homework every day

감정을 표현하기 = Show my emotions

책을 매일 읽기 = Read books every day

운동을 등록하기 = Register at a gym (to exercise)