Bootstrap Korean Grammar

Learn Korean Grammar step-by-step

Korean grammar - The thing being done - 는 것이에요

The thing being done - 는 것이에요

Pattern: Verb stem + 것이에요

A colloquial but very common way to state or ask what someone is doing is to use the adjective form of a verb combined with the clause 것이에요.

-- The verb is converted to an adjective by adding to the verb stem.

-- This adjective is followed by which means 'thing'.

-- And verb 이다 (to be) ends the phrase in the form 예요 (or the informal form ).

In this pattern is always abbreviated to so 것이에요 거예요.

So for example 일하다 (to work) 일하는 거예요 which literally means 'Is a work (adjective) thing.' But the actual meaning is '(I) am working.'

This pattern puts a very strong emphasise on the verb - that is what is being done. Or what is going on. Or what the situation is.

And in its question form, it can reflect surprise when confirming of a fact.

All that said, this form can sound overly dramatic or poetic. It can sound like you are saying 'So the situation is that"

Examples:
뭐 하는 거예요?
What are (you) doing?

Or 'What is it that you are going?'

공부하는 거예요.
(I) am studying.

Or 'Well, the situation is that I am studying'

운동 하는 거예요?
Are (you) exercising?
책을 쓰는 거예요.
(I) am writing a book.
아픈 거예요.
(It) is hurting.
우리 어디 가는 거예요?
Where are we going?
그건 질문하는 거야?
Is that what you're asking?

Informal

Confirmation of and surprise at what is being asked

소영이가 그 오빠랑 사귀는 거야!
Soyoung is dating that (older) guy!

Informal

내일 시험이 있어서 공부하는 거야.
I have an exam tomorrow, so I'm studying.

Informal

벌써 자는 거야?
Are (you) already sleeping?

Surprise that someone is already going to sleep

우리 오늘 만나는 거예요?
Are we meeting today?

Surprised and checking - did we really plan to meet today?

저녁을 요리하는 거야?
Are you cooking dinner?

Informal

그는 여기서 자는 거예요?
Is he sleeping here?

Surprise that he is sleeping in that location