Pattern V–아/어 보다: to try to V

The common pattern V-아/어 보다, meaning "to try to V," is used with a conjugated verb and is more frequent in conversations. See the sentences below for examples.


Verb Note 아/어 form V-아/어 보다
갚다 (to repay) 갚아 갚아 보다 (갚아 봐요)
먹다 (to eat) 먹어  먹어 보다 (먹어 봐요)
씻다 (to wash clean) 씻어 씻어 보다 (씻어 봐요)
가다 (to go) 가 보다 (가 봐요)
매다 (to tie) 매 보다 (매 봐요)
오다 (to come) 와 보다 (와 봐요)
주다 (to give) 줘 보다 (줘 봐요)
이기다 (to win) 이겨 이겨 보다 (이겨 봐요)
듣다 (to listen) ㄷ/ㄹ irregular 들어 들어 보다 (들어 봐요)
짓다 (to build) ㅅ/ㅇ irregular 지어 지어 보다 (지어 봐요)
부르다 (to sing) ㄹ doubling irregular 불러 불러 보다 (불러 봐요)
놀다 (to play) ㄹ dropping irregular 놀아 놀아 보다 (놀아 봐요)
눕다 (to lie down) ㅂ/ㅜ verb 누워 누워 보다 (누워 봐요)

Sentence Examples

혹시 재고가 있는지 확인해 보고 오겠습니다. I will (try to) confirm (≈ I will check) if we have it in stock and come back.
착용해 보고 싶은 것이 있으신가요? Is there anything you want to try on (≈ try to wear)?
32사이즈 입어 봐도 될까요? Can I try (to wear) the one in size 32?
부산에 가 봤어요? Have you ever been to Busan? (≈ Have you tried to go to Busan?)
부산에 가 보셨어요? Have you ever been to Busan? (semi-polite with honorifics)
부산에 가 보셨습니까? Have you ever been to Busan? (polite with honorifics)


  • Make sure to use correct spacing when using this pattern. The verb V and 보다 need to be separated by a space; e.g., "가 보다" (O) vs. "가보다" (X). Many Koreans write this pattern all attached, but points will be taken off during TOPIK.
  • To convey the idea of trying but failing, consider using the pattern V-려고 하다 which may be more appropriate in some cases.
  • If using honorifics, put the honorific marker -시- with 보다, not with verb V as it is overkill (you may still hear it from Koreans nonetheless). However, if verb V has an honorific form, use that one instead. E.g., "드셔 보세요" and not "먹어 보세요". Read more about honorifics.

See Also