Transforming Nouns into Adjectives in Korean Using '적'

Turning Sino-Korean Nouns into Adjectives with ‘적’

In Korean, N + 적 is a common grammatical structure used primarily with nouns of Chinese origin, known as Sino-Korean nouns. This structure is akin to adding ‘-al’, ‘-ive’, or ‘-ic’ to English words, thereby transforming nouns into adjectives.

Noun to Adjective Transformations

Noun (Sino-Korean) Transformed Adjective
낙관 (optimism) 낙관 (optimistic)
사교 (society) 사교 (sociable)
역사 (history) 역사 (historical)
정기 (an interval) 정기 (regular)
감동 (impression, emotion) 감동 (emotional)
개인 (an individual) 개인 (personal)

Sample Sentences Using ‘적’

저는 미래에 대해 아주 낙관적이에요.
I am very optimistic about the future.
제 친구는 정말 사교적이에요.
My friend is very sociable.
감동적인 공연이었어요.
That was a moving (emotional) performance.
저는 개인적으로 김치는 맛없다고 생각해요.
Personally, I think kimchi doesn't taste good.
저는 정기적으로 교회에 다녀요.
I attend church regularly.
역사적으로 영국은 기독교 국이에요.
Historically, the UK is a Christian country.


The ’N + 적’ structure is a fundamental and versatile element in Korean grammar. By mastering its usage, learners can expand their vocabulary and enhance their descriptive capabilities in the language, making their conversations richer and more nuanced.

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