Beginner 2 > Lesson 6
Lesson 6. Verb’s honorific form #1 (-세요 ending, -시다 verb)
In Korean, we have Formal and Informal ways of speaking.
반말 = Informal language & 존댓말 = Formal language.
존댓말 is used when speaking to someone who you need to show respect towards. As learnt earlier, adding -요 ending makes the sentence formal. However, in certain situations a more polite form of speech can be used.
This is the ‘-세요’ form.
PART I- ‘-(으)세요’ ending:
This form is attached to the end of a verb or adjective in Korean to show respect or courtesy towards the subject of the sentence.
Ex. 제프씨는 한국어 잘해요? = Is Mr. Jeff good at Korean? ↓
제프씨는 한국어 잘하세요? = Is Mr. Jeff good at Korean? (politer towards Mr. Jeff)
Ex. 제프씨의 어머니는 한국어 잘하세요? = Is Mr. Jeff’s mother good at Korean?
Attaching ‘-(으)세요’ to a verb (or adjective):
If the Verb Stem does not end in 받침, simply add ‘-세요’
Ex. 공부하다 (to study) → 공부하세요.
If the Verb Stem does end in 받침, add ‘-으세요’
Ex. 앉다 (to sit) → 앉으세요.
For 이다 (to be) verb: –세요/–이세요.
Ex. 지수씨는 선생님이세요? = Is Ms. Jisoo a teacher? (ending in 받침)
아니요, 의사세요 = No, (she is) a doctor. (not ending in 받침)
‘-(으)세요’ ending can be used when the Subject of the sentence is either:
You (2nd person)
A 3rd person.
*This ending can never be used when the subject is ‘I’ i.e. when the speaker is talking about him/herself!
When the Subject is “You”-
In such cases, the subject in a sentence can be omitted and assumed to be You (the other person).
Ex. 예쁘세요 = You are pretty. (예쁘다 = to be pretty)
Ex. 커피 한 잔 주세요 = Please give me a cup of coffee. (주다 = to give)
It is more natural to omit the pronoun for ‘You’.
When the Subject is a 3rd person-
In such cases, the subject in a sentence is not to be omitted. It is exclusively mentioned.
Ex. 저희* 어머니는 바쁘세요 = My mother is busy. (*저희 is a politer form of 저의 meaning my; our)
Ex. 지수 선배는 똑똑하세요 = My senior Jisoo is smart.
Using ‘-(으)세요’ in an Imperative mood (for requests, suggestions, commands):
Close your eyes = 눈을 감으세요.
Do it quickly! = 빨리 하세요!
Give me some water = 물 좀 주세요.
Certain verbs have their own separate Honorific Forms:
Honorific Base Verb form
먹다 (to eat)
아프다 (to sleep)
자다 (to sleep)
말하다 (to speak; talk)
있다 (to be; have)
What we’ll learn in PART II: ‘-시다’ form:
‘-세요’ is the Present form of the base verb ‘-시다’
이다 (to have; exist) → 이시다.
오다 (to come) → 오시다.
가다 (to go) → 가시다.
웃다 (to laugh) → 웃으시다.
만들다 (to make) → 만드시다*.
울다 (to cry) → 우시다*.
* 만들다, 울다 are Irregular verbs! When a verb contains ‘ㄹ’ 받침, it is deleted and then 시다 is added.