The verb 놓다 means “release/place/put down,” as in:

이제 놓아 주세요.

“Please let (it) go/loose now.”

식탁 위에 놓았어요.

“(I) placed (it) on the dining table.”

지갑을 어디에 놓으셨어요?

“Where have (you) left the wallet?”

However, as an auxiliary verb, what ~어/아 놓다 can express is twofold. First, ~어/아 놓다 is used to indicate the continuation of a certain action or state after the completion of the action or state. For instance, compare the following sentences:

거실에 전등을 켰어요.

“(I) turned on the electric lamp in the living room.”

거실에 전등을 켜 놓았어요.

“(I) turned on the electric lamp in the living room (and it is still on).”

The verb 켜다 means “turns on (an electric lamp).” Notice that the action of the main verb 켜다 is completed for both sentences, since they are marked by the past tense. However, while the first sentence simply indicates the past action (i.e., turned on the electric lamp), the second sentence with the auxiliary verb ~어/아 놓다 indicates the continuation of the completed action (i.e., the electric lamp continues to be on). Here are more examples:

언니가 문을 열어 놓았어요.

“(My) older sister opened the door (and it is still open).”

차에 시동을 걸어 놓았습니다.

“(I) started the car (and it is on).”

서랍을 잠가 놓았다.

“(I) locked the drawer (and it is still locked).”

33Second, ~어/아 놓다 means “doing something for later (future use).” Compare the following two sentences:

조깅을 하기 전에 물을 많이 마셨어요.

“(I) drank water a lot, before jogging.”

조깅을 하기 전에 물을 많이 마셔 놓았어요.

“(I) drank water a lot for later, before jogging.”

Notice that the first sentence simply indicates the past action, 마셨어요 “drank.” However, the auxiliary verb ~어/아 놓다 in the second sentence indicates that the past action (i.e., drinking) was done for later. Here are more examples:

정말 연습을 많이 해 놓았어요.

“(We) really practiced a lot for later.”

미리 열심히 공부해 놓으세요.

“Study hard beforehand for later.”

여행 계획을 세워 놓을 겁니다.

“(We) will make travel plans for later.”

방을 청소해 놓을 거야.

“(They) will clean the room for later.”

Alternatively, the verb 두다 can be used instead of 놓다. The verb 두다 means “place/keep,” as shown in the following examples:

이따가 열쇠를 식탁 위에 두십시오.

“Place the key on the dining table later.”

돈은 금고에 두었어요.

“As for money, (I) kept it in the safe.”

생선은 냉장고에 둘 거예요.

“As for the fish, (I) will keep (it) in the refrigerator.”

As an auxiliary verb, the meaning of ~어/아 두다 is similar to that of ~어/아 놓다. In fact ~어/아 두다 and ~어/아 놓다 can be used interchangeably, as shown below:

누나가 아침을 차려 두었어요 / 놓았어요.

“(My) older sister prepared breakfast (and it is still there/for later).”

그 일은 폴한테 맡겨 두세요 / 놓으세요.

“As for that task, entrust (it) to Paul for later.”

좌석을 예약해 둘 겁니다 / 놓을 겁니다.

“(We) will reserve seats for later.”

차를 서점 앞에 주차해 뒀어 / 놓았어.

“(I) parked the car in front of the bookstore (and it is still there/for later use).”