[Grammar] Honorific verb particle -(으)시

Honorific verb particle (으)시


When you talk to Koreans, you should consider two things which are (1)”Who are you talking to?” and (2)”Who are you talking about(subject)?”.  In situation (1), you have to consider if you should use “polite ending” or “informal ending”.  On the other hand, in situation (2), you should think about if you should add the honorific verb particles “-(으)시” in the verb or adjective.

Let me show you what is the polite ending and what is honorific ending.

Verb/Adjective Honorific particle Polite ending Actual speech
가다 어요 가세요
보다 ㅂ니다 보십니다
예쁘다 었어요 예쁘셨어요
많다 으시 었습니다 많으셨습니다
읽다 으시 ㄹ 거예요 읽으실 거예요
받다 으시 ㄹ 겁니다 받으실 겁니다

You already know the polite endings which are -요 or -(스)ㅂ니다.  If you don’t know you can review the polite endings here.


Let’s get back to the honorific particle. If you are talking about a person(subject) who is older than you, you should use the honorific particle.

★ How to use?
 Verb/Adjective(vowel ending)        +     시   + verb ending
 Verb/Adjective(consonant ending) + 으시   + verb ending


Honorific particle verb ending(friendly) Actual speech


어요 가셔요(old) 가세요(now)


었어요 오셨어요


ㄹ 거예요 주실거예요
읽다 으시 어요 읽으셔요(old)


받다 으시 었어요


닫다 으시 ㄹ 거예요


You can see there is ★ symbol in the table and it says “old”.  If -(으)시 combine with  어요, it should be -(으)셔요; however, it is in the 50’s or 60’s expression.  We use -(으)세요 these days.

Let’s put the honorific particle and the polite ending together.

-(으)시+어요 => -(으)세요
-(으)시+었어요=> -(으)셨어요
-(으)시+ㄹ 거예요=> -(으)실 거예요

e.g) 아버지가 내일 부산에 가세요.           My father is going to Busan tomorrow.
할머니가 집에 오셨어요.                    My grandmother came home.
할아버지가 선물을 주실 거예요.        My grandfather will give me a gift.
선생님이 책을 읽으세요.                    The teacher is reading a book.
어머니가 편지를 받으셨어요.             My mother got a letter.
아주머니가 창문을 닫으실 거예요.     The lady will close the window.

You can listen to the pronunciation here.

You can also put the formal verb ending like this.


Honorific particle Verb ending(formal) Actual speech

ㅂ니다 가십니다


ㄹ겁니다 주실겁니다
으시 ㅂ니다


으시 었습니다


으시 ㄹ겁니다


Put the honorific particle and the verb ending together!

-(으)시 + ㅂ니다 => -(으)십니다
-(으)시 + 었습니다 => -(으)셨습니다
-(으)시 + ㄹ 겁니다 => -(으)실 겁니다

I hope this is the end of the honorific particle, but unfortunately, there are more. I will post it more in the next one.  If you have any questions, please reply here.



10 thoughts on “[Grammar] Honorific verb particle -(으)시

  1. Hi, thanks for the write up. I am curious if you are using this particle when talking to/about someone, should you be using it 100%, or do you kind of just use it here and there? When I went to Korea, my wife’s younger cousins (17/19 years old) would use it sometimes when talking to me (29 years old) but not all the time. So this kind of maybe me confused.

    1. You don’t need to use this form to family members who are the same generation. However, you are not their direct family, so they will use this to you. I sometime use this to my older brother in-law who is 1year younger than me because he is my older sister’s husband. It is very complicate. 😉

  2. Hi! When should I use honorrific and when should I use formal polite? I’m quite confused on this 😦 Is it ok to use formal polite only or?

    1. You have to use polite(으시) when you talk about elders. And you will use formal (ㅂ니다) for occasions like pubic speeches, announcement or presentations.

  3. It is a great explanation for honorific verb particle. Before I read your article, I feel confused and frustrated. You let me know that there is various combinations for formal and friendly verb ending in present, past and future tenses. Thanks for your great help. 👍

  4. When I want to use honorific verb, how is the grammer will be?
    For example : honorific verb 드시다
    어머니는 비빔밥을 …

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