The verb 보다 is arguably the most commonly used words in Korean vocabulary.    It refers to activities related with “eyes.”  So, 보다 by itself can be translated as “See, Look, Watch” depending on the context.  But in conjunction with other verbs, its meaning can go further, e.g.,

  • 해보다 = Try [ 하다 (Do) + 보다 (See) = Do and see (the results) ]
  • 보고 싶다 = Miss (someone) [ 보다 (See) + 싶다 (Wish) = Wish to see ]

In the song “미워요” below, Korea’s top ballad singer 백지영 conjugates the infinitive 보다 in three different ways: 

1) 보아요 = Statement (or polite suggestion)

2) 보나요 = Question

3) 보세요 = Polite command

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