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Beginner 1 > Lesson 4

Lesson 4. How to say “I am~,” “My Name is~” (이다 verb & 의 possessive particle)

In this lesson, we’re going to learn how to use the “이다 (to be)” verb. 

“이다” means “to be” and it is always followed by a noun

Therefore, the pattern is like this :  Noun + 이다 (=to be noun) 

There is no particle required between the noun and 이다, so 이다 can come directly after the noun.

When you want to make a sentence that goes like : Subject is/are/was/were/will be noun, 이다 verb is used. Here, 이다 corresponds to “is, are, was, were, will be (“to be” variations.)


 1. 이다’s Present Tense Conjugation 

1) 존댓말 (polite form) :

Ends in a final consonant (받침) > 이에요

Doesn’t end in a final consonant (X 받침) > 예요

*예요 is often pronounced as 에요


제 이름빅키예요. – My name is Vicky

저희 부모님한국인이에요. – My parents are Korean.


2) 반말 (casual form) :

Ends in a final consonant (받침) > 이야

Doesn’t end in a final consonant (X 받침) >


여자예요. (존댓말) / 여자야. (반말) – I am a girl.

학생이에요. (존댓말) / 학생이야. (반말) – I am a student.


이건 제 가방이에요.(존댓말) / 이건 내 가방이야.(반말) – This is my bag.

이 연필제 거예요. (존댓말) / 이 연필내 거야. (반말) – This pencil is mine


2. 이다’s Past Tense Conjugation

1) 존댓말 (polite form) :

Noun ends in a final consonant (받침) > 이었어요

Doesn’t end in a final consonant (X 받침) > 였어요


2)반말 (casual form)

The same rule applies, but ~요 ending is removed.


지수는 작년까지 학생이었어. – Jisoo was a student till last year. (반말)

은지알코올 중독자였어요. 지금은 좋은 엄마예요. – Eunji was an alcoholic. Now she is a good mother. (존댓말)


3. 이다’s Future Tense Conjugation

1) 존댓말 (polite form) :

이다 + ㄹ/을 거예요 > 일 거예요

그 사람은 지수의 남편일 거예요. – That person will be (= might be) Jisoo’s husband. 

그 사람은 지수의 남편이 될 거예요. – That person will become Josoo’s husband. 

In Korean, the future tense is used not only to indicate that somebody “will do/will be”, but also indicates a guess, possibility of something “might do/might be”.


2) 반말 (casual form)

이다 + ㄹ/을 거야 = 일 거야


4. When “이다” is conjugated to “

The conjugation of “이다” in the present tense is “예요” and “이에요”. Such conjugation can only be used at the end of a sentence.

There are cases that require “이다” to be conjugated to “여 (preceding noun doesn’t end in 받침) ” or “이어 (preceding noun ends in 받침) ” 

For example, when combining “이다” with the sentence connector “그래서 = so” you have to conjugate it like this:

이다 + 아/어서 > 여서

(This we’ll learn later when we get to sentence connectors!)


5. When not to use the “이다” verb

Jisoo is busy. =지수가 바빠요

In the sentence above, there is no need to use “이다” verb, as there’s no noun that the subject is equal to.  


There is a tree. =나무가 있어요.

When you want to indicate that “there is/isn’t something”, you have to use another pattern that looks like this:

Noun 이/가 있다 (for noun to be there, to have noun)
Noun 이/가 없다 (for noun to not be there, to have noun)



이다 Verb Conjugation(if preceding noun ends in 받침)(if preceding noun ends in vowel)
Present Tense존댓말 (formal form)이에요예요
반말 (informal form)이야
Past Tense존댓말 (formal form)이었어요


반말 (informal form)이었어였어
Future Tense존댓말 (formal form)일 거예요
반말 (informal form)일 거야