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Learn Korean Grammar using Kpop Song Lyrics – TEMPO (Part 1)

Grammar Points
  • description verb / action verb
  • action verbㄹ/을

Everyone in the school knows I’m in love with EXO this year. (skip the fangirling part and jump to serious grammar here.)

I’m a VIP, but I looooove EXO sooo soo much this year. I’m so late into the fandom. And this only happened because of the song Tempo. I love the song Tempo so so so so much, possibly more than EXO. I misspoke. I love the presentation of TEMPO by EXO. Personally even the songwriter cannot compare with EXO’s presentation of this song. This song wouldn’t happen without the songwriting and production team, but EXO did a damn good job with this musical creation. I love Tempo.


Here’s the part of the song I’m highlighting.

(2:46 mark)

내 눈을 바라보고 말해
나의 귓가에만 닿게
나만 사랑한다 말해
나밖에 없다고 말해
(더 이상 흔들리지 않게)
(절대 널 뺏기지 않게)
(누구도 건들 수 없게)
(내 곁에 너를 지킬게)

Look into my eyes and tell me
So that it’s for my ears only
Say that you love only me
Say that there’s no one except me
So that you won’t falter anymore
So that no one can take you away
So that no one will be able to touch you
I will protect you from beside you

First thing first, 게 absolutely does not mean “so”.

1a) description verb게 1b) action verb

Essentially  ~게 expresses how an action is done.


1a> 게 is attached after description verbs and turn it into a adverb. It is similar to “~ly” in English.

맛있게 드세요. Please eat deliciously.

예쁘게 입어요. She wears this prettily.

귀엽게 춤을 춰요. He dances cutely.



1b> 게is attached after action verbs and expresses making an action happen.

들고 가게 포장 잘해  주세요. Please pack it so I can take and go.

잠을 못하게 계속 노래했어요.He kept singing so much so I couldn’t sleep.

알아 들을 수 있게 천천히 해 주세요. Please speak slowly so that I can understand.



So 1a) description verb게  1b) action verb게 is used to describe how an action should be done. The following phrase with the action may be omitted in spoken form.

Q: How should I dance? 어떻게 출까?

A: Cutely.  귀엽게 (춰).



Q:How did he say it? 어떻게 말했어요?

A: Scarily. 무섭게 (말했어요).



Q:How does she teach it? 어떻게 가르쳐요?

A: In such a way that I can do it myself. 혼자 할 수 있게 (가르쳐요).



So in the song Tempo, “내 눈을 바라보고 말해” is sang first; in a textbook sentence, it will follow behind ~게 like the following

나의 귓가에만 닿게 내 눈을 바라보고 말해

Look at me and say it such that it is for my ears only.



2.action verbㄹ/을게

ㄹ/을게 is attached after action verbs and expresses the speaker’s intention or promise to the listener. It is often compared to ㄹ/을 거예요, as both refers to future action, but they are different.

Difference between ㄹ/을게요 & ㄹ/을 거예요


  1. Action is done by the first person subject.
  2. Used only in a conversation, as it is directed to a particular listener or listeners.
  3. Subject marker is always used.
  4. Formal Speech: ~겠습니다



ㄹ/을 거예요

  1. Subject can be anyone or anything.
  2. Used conversations, statements and even questions.
  3. Topic or Subject marker may be used depending on context.
  4. Formal Speech: ~겁니다



Eg 1a.  (제가) 약속할게요.   I will promise you.

Eg 1b. (제가) 약속할 거예요. I am going to make a promise (to somebody).         

1a is used a lot, probably more than 1b. 1b is like giving a narration, “So she is going to ask me to do this and I am going to make a promise”.



Eg 2a. 비가 올게요.      This sentence does not exist.

Eg 2b. 비가 올 거예요. It is going to rain.   


Eg 3a. 갈게요. I will make a move first. Bye!

Eg 3b. 갈 거예요.           (I’m/She’s /He’s /We’re/They’re) going to go.

3a is used a lot as a form of saying goodbye. 3b is more like make a statement about what someone is going to do.



Eg 4a.  전화할게요.       I will call.          

Eg 4b. 전화할 거예요. (I’m/She’s /He’s /We’re/They’re) is going to call.

For ~ㄹ/을게, the default subject even if it is not used or said is either  we or I. And since, the usage is emphasizing the FIRST PERSON doing the action, it is always 제가, 내가, 우리가, 저희가.

ㄹ/을게요 = ㄹ/을 거예요 + element of promise or intention



Find out how this grammar is used in SOGANG TEXTBOOKS:

description verb게 / action verb게

  • Reading Exercise of Sogang 1B Unit 5 Student Book.

action verbㄹ/을게

  • Listening Exercise of Sogang 1B Unit 5 Student Book.
  • Reading Exercise of Sogang 1B Unit 7 Student Book.
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