This week we’ll be learning from Red Velvet’s bright and positive lyrics from their debut song, ‘Happiness’.

행복 (haeng-bok) is the Korean word for ‘Happiness’. The verb ‘to be happy’ is 행복하다 (haeng-bok-ha-da).

Present Tense – 행복해요 // I am happy.

Past Tense – 행복했어요 // I was happy.


In the song, the word 행복 appears quite a few times! Let’s look at the different usages.

‘내가 행복하게 사는…’ (nae-ga haeng-bok-ha-ge sa-neun) Here, 행복 has become an adjective. The phrase is part of a longer sentence, but this part means ‘My happy life’. 행복하게 is describing ‘life’.

‘넘 귀어워서 행복해’ (neom gwi-eo-weo-seo haeng-bok-hae) Again, part of a longer sentence, this phrase refers to something earlier in the sentence. This part means ‘It’s so cute, it makes me happy’. The sentence talks about happy feelings being cute. 넘 is a contraction of 너무 (neo-mu) which means ‘too much’ or ‘very’. 귀어워서 comes from the verb 귀업다 which means ‘to be cute’ and from the connective 그래서/v + -서 (geu-rae-seo/ verb + -seo), meaning ‘so’. Another translation is, ‘It’s really cute so I am happy’.

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‘그들은 정말 행복하지 않아’  (geu-deul-eun jeong-mal haeng-bok-ha-ji a-na) – Happiness is made negative here. This phrase means ‘Those people are not truly happy.’ To negate a verb, use the construction -지 않다. Take a verb stem (in this case ‘하’ from ‘하다’) and add it to the construction. 않다 can be conjugated into any tense. 정말 (jeong-mal) means ‘very/truly/really’ and 그들은 (geu-deul-eun) makes reference to previously mentioned ‘adults’ but the grammar structure is not important here.


Here are some more examples using the grammar from this lesson. If you are not sure of the vocab, you can look it up and make a note of it!

1.) 행복하게 꿈 꾸고 있어요.

2.) 열심히 공부해서 지금 참 피곤합니다.

3.) 이초밥은 맛있고 비싸지 않아요.


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