When people take action, there is always a “purpose.

Go out to do some shopping.
Make a phone call to talk with a friend.
Boil water to eat a cup of noodles.

Let’s try to express the purpose of such actions in Korean.

Represents the “purpose” associated with an action.

Indicates a will or attitude to do it.

-려고 하다 expresses the purpose or attitude toward an action.

The action is just about to begin.

나는 공부해요.
I study.


나는 공부하려고 해요.
I’m about to study.

-려고 하다, indicating that the action is just about to begin.

How to use “-려고 하다”.

-려고 하다 is used with verbs.

Av + -(으)려고 하다

가다 + -려고 하다 = 가려고 해요
사다 + -려고 하다 = 사려고 해요
공부하다 + -려고 하다 = 공부하려고 해요

먹다 + -려고 하다 = 먹으려고 해요
입다 + -려고 하다 = 입으려고 해요
신다 + -려고 하다 = 신으려고 해요

놀다 + -려고 하다 = 놀려고 해요
듣다 + -려고 하다 = 들으려고 해요

※Av = an action verb

Use -려고 하다 for words without a patchy stem, and add -으려고 하다 for words with a patchy stem.

No patchum in the stem

마트에서 우유와 빵을 사려고 해요.
I’m about to buy milk and bread at Mart.
나도 친구를 만나려고 해요.
I’m about to meet a friend of mine.
친구랑 같이 영화를 보려고 합니다.
I’m about to watch a movie with friends.

Have a patchum in the stem

지금 막 손을 씻으려고 해요.
I’m just about to wash my hands now.
물을 끓이고 컵라면을 먹으려고 해요.
I’m about to boil some water and eat a cup of ramen.
아이가 양말을 신으려고 합니다.
The child is about to put on socks.

Cases of irregular changes.

우리도 클럽에서 놀려고 해요.
We about to go out at the club.
심심해서 라디오라도 들으려고 합니다.
I’m just about to listen to the radio now that I’m free.

Depending on what the patches are, you should combine -(으)려고 하다 with the appropriate form for each of the vocabulary words in the variant conjugations.

It can be used as a statement of intent for the future.

An action will take place in the future, so -려고 하다 can be used as a statement of intent for the future.

오늘은 일찍 자려고 해요.
I’m going to bed early today.
쓰레기는 내일 아침에 버리려고 해요.
I plan to throw the trash out tomorrow morning.
학교를 졸업하면 취직하려고 해요.
I’m going to get a job after I finish school.

In other words, it is best to use it while also being aware of nuances such as “Are you about to do something now or are you thinking about later actions”.

How can I use 려고 하다 more?

Indicates what you intended to do in the past.

-려고 하다 can also be used when you tried to do something in the past.

오늘은 6시에 일어나려고 했어요.
I tried to get up at 6am today.
3년전에 영어를 배우려고 했어요.
I tried to learn English three years ago.
잊으려고 했습니다.
I tried to forget everything.

-려고 하다 in the past tense makes the sentence “I tried to do something before, I was going to do something”.

“하다” is often omitted.

In conversation, the 하다 part is sometimes omitted.

새로 휴대폰을 바꾸려고요.
I’m getting a new cell phone.
카페에서 아르바이트를 하려고요.
I’m thinking of working part-time at a cafe.
차는 집에 놓고 가려고.
I’m going to leave my car at home.

It is often used by eliminating -하다 and using -려고, or by adding -요 and using -려고요.

하다 changes to other words.

-려고 하다 is sometimes used as a variant.

편지를 쓰려고 펜을 들었습니다.
I picked up a pen to write a letter.
책을 돌리려고 도서관에 갈 거예요.
I go to the library to return books.
엄마랑 같이 마시려고 맥주를 샀어요.
I bought a beer to drink with my mother.

You can see that the back part from 하다 has been replaced by other expressions.

-려고 하다 Once you have learned the basic form, you should practice applying it little by little.