[Grammar] Honorific form (2)

We learned the honorific verb/adjective particle -(으)시 in this post. (click here to review) But there are more to study!!!


There are some verbs that have their own honorific form. For example,

  • to eat 먹다 -> 드시다/ 잡수시다   i.e ) 진지 드세요. / 진지 잡수세요.
  • to drink 마시다 -> 드시다  i.e ) 물 드세요. / 맛있게 드세요. / 많이 드세요.
  • 있다 -> 계시다(to be at) , 있으시다(to have)   i.e ) 어머니가 한국에 계세요.  / 어머니, 시간 있으세요?
  • 없다 -> 안 계시다(not to be), 없으시다(not to have)  i.e ) 어머니가 지금 집에 안 계세요. / 어머니가 시간이 없으세요.
  • 아프다 -> 편찮으시다(to be sick)  i.e ) 어머니가 요즘 편찮으세요.
  • 주다 -> 주시다(elder -> younger), 드리다 (younger -> elder)  i.e ) 어머니가 사과를 주셨어요.  /  제가 어머니한테 사과를 드렸어요.
  • to sleep 자다 -> 주무시다   i.e ) 안녕히 주무세요.  / 안녕히 주무셨어요?
  • to die, to pass away 죽다 -> 돌아가시다  i.e ) 제 할아버지 할머니는 10년 전에 돌아가셨어요.


There are also honorific for nouns and particles. For example,

The honorific form of nouns

  • rice/meal 밥 -> 진지  i.e ) 진지 잡수세요.  / 진지 잡수셨어요?
  • name 이름 -> 성함  i.e ) 어머니 성함이 어떻게 되세요?
  • age 나이 -> 연세  i.e ) 어머니 연세가 어떻게 되세요?
  • birthday 생일 -> 생신  i.e ) 어머니 생신이 언제예요?
  • house 집 -> 댁  i.e ) 부모님 댁이 어디예요?
  • word 말 -> 말씀 / to talk 말하다 -> 말씀하시다  i.e ) 어머니께서 말씀하셨어요.


The honorific form of particles

  • subject particle 이/가 -> 께서   i.e ) 어머니께서 한국 음식을 잘 만드세요.
  • to/for particle 한테 -> 께  i.e ) 오늘 어머니께 선물을 드렸어요.


You can listen to the audio file and translation by clicking here. 

[Expressions] Formal? polite? honorific?

When you learn Korean, you will hear terms like formal, polite and honorific. I want to explain this to you in this post.

Formality is about situation. You use formal endings like -습니다, -는다 when you have business meetings, presentations or ceremonies. For normal situations(non-formal) like talking to family, friends or people who you know well, you can use -아/어/여요 or -아/어/여.

Politeness is about listener. When you talk to someone who is older that you or higher position, you should use polite endings like 습니다 or 아/어/여요. When you talk to someone who is the same age as you or younger, you will use -는다 or -아/어/여.

formal non-formal
polite -(스)ㅂ니다 아/어/여요
non-polite -는다 아/어/여

For example,

비가 왔습니다. (formal, polite : news anchor)
비가 왔어요. (non-formal, polite : a kid to a mom)
비가 온다. (formal, non-polite : writing a diary, news paper, books)
비가 와. (non-formal, non-polite : between friends or to young people)

Honorific forms  are used when a subject is a person who is older generation or higher position while politeness is about listener. You will use -(으)시 after verbs and adjectives. For example,

할머니가 오어요.
선생님이 부르요.

You can study honorific forms by clicking here. 

One more thing, 저 and 나 both are ‘I’ or ‘me’. 저 is humble way which is polite, 나 is non-polite. So if you use 저(I,me), you’d better use -(스)ㅂ니다 or -아/어/여요. On the other hand, if you use 나, you can use -ㄴ/는다 or 아/어/여.


[Grammar] Verb/adjective endings

Verb/adjective endings


In Korean, there are three types of verb ending for a conversation.

(1) Formal verb ending  -(스)ㅂ니다 : This is used for formal situation such as a report, a test, a meeting, a writing or in the army etc.
e.g) 학교에 갑니다 (go)
집에 옵니다(come)
밥을 먹었습니다(ate)
이 옷을 입을 겁니다(will wear)

You can also listen to the pronunciation here.


(2) Friendly verb ending -아/어/요 : This is used for normal situation such as talking to family, co-workers, classmates or a teacher etc. How ever you use this to a person who is older than you or higher position.
e.g) 학교에 가요(go)
집에 와요(come)
밥 먹었어요(ate)
이 옷 입을 거예요(will wear)

You can also listen to the pronunciation here.


(3) Informal verb ending  -아/어 : This is very similar to the friendly verb ending, but there is no ‘-요’.  You use this to your friends(the same as you) or a person who is younger than you and very close to you.  You will hear this a lot from Korean songs or TV shows.  They use this verb ending because they already know each other, and they are older than others who are listening to them.
e.g) 학교 가(go)
집에 와(come)
밥 먹었어(ate)
이 옷 입을 거야(will wear)

You can also listen to the pronunciation here.



From now on, when you watch a TV show, think about their relationship carefully. Then, you will know the difference. 🙂


[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.