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Korean Grammar - How to Use "Be"

Hi Korean learners! 😊
In this lesson, we will focus on one of the most essential verbs in the Korean language, "to be". Using the verb "be" is crucial for forming Korean sentences, so it's important to know how to use it correctly. We will also explore some cultural facts and interesting tips along the way, so keep reading!

With the completion of this lesson, consider investigating these related pages: Plurals & Conjunctions.

Basic Forms[edit | edit source]

In Korean, the verb "to be" is 이닀 (ida). You can use it in various forms depending on the context, such as: μ΄μ—μš” (ieyo), μ˜ˆμš” (yeyo), and μžˆμ–΄μš” (isseoyo). Here's how you can use them:

Korean Pronunciation English
μ΄μ—μš” ee-eh-yo equivalent to "am/is/are" in English - polite form
μ˜ˆμš” yeh-yo equivalent to "am/is/are" in English - polite form
μžˆμ–΄μš” ee-sseo-yo equivalent to "have/has" in English - polite form

Here's an example to help you understand:

  • Person 1: 이것은 λ­μ—μš”? (Igeoseun mwoeyo?) - What is this?
  • Person 2: 이것은 μ‚¬κ³Όμ˜ˆμš”. (Igeoseun sagwa yeyo.) - This is an apple.

In the example above, Person 2 used the polite form of "to be" to answer the question. You can use μ΄μ—μš” or μ˜ˆμš” interchangeably, depending on your preference.

Contractions[edit | edit source]

In everyday conversation, Koreans tend to use contractions to abbreviate long sentences or words. You can contract μ΄μ—μš” and μžˆμ–΄μš” in the following ways:

  • μ΄μ—μš” (ieyo) β†’ μ˜ˆμš” (yeyo) β†’ μ•Ό (ya)
  • μžˆμ–΄μš” (isseoyo) β†’ μžˆμ–΄ (isseo)

Here are some examples:

  • Person 1: 였늘 날씨가 μ–΄λ•Œμš”? (Oneul nalssiga eottaeyo?) - How's the weather today?
  • Person 2: μΆ”μ›Œμš”. (chuwoyo.) - It's cold.
  • Person 1: λ„ˆλ¬΄ μΆ”μ›Œμš”. (Neomu chuwoyo.) - It's very cold.
  • Person 2: λ³„λ‘œμ˜ˆμš”. (Byeollo yeyo.) - It's not that great.

In the above conversation, λ³„λ‘œμ˜ˆμš” (Byeollo yeyo) is a contracted form of λ³„λ‘œμ΄μ—μš” (Byeoro ieyo).

Adjectives[edit | edit source]

In Korean, adjectives function as descriptive verbs. You can use the verb "be" to describe something in more detail. Here's an example:

  • Person 1: 이 사진이 μ˜ˆμ˜λ„€μš”. (I sajini yeppeuneyo.) - This picture is pretty.
  • Person 2: λ„€, 이 사진은 정말 μ˜ˆμ˜λ‹€. (Ne, i sajineun jeongmal yeppeuda.) - Yes, this picture is really pretty.

In the example above, 정말 (jeongmal) means "really," which is used to emphasize the beauty of the picture.

Cultural Facts[edit | edit source]

Koreans often use the verb "to be" to express politeness and formality. For example, when you meet someone for the first time, it's common to ask "μ–΄λ””μ—μ„œ μ™”μ–΄μš”?" (Eodieseo wasseoyo?) - "Where are you from?" instead of "μ–΄λ””μ„œ μ™”μ–΄?" (Eodieseo wasseo?) - "Where are you from?". The addition of μš” (yo) at the end of the sentence makes it sound more polite and formal.

Additionally, honorifics play a significant role in the Korean language. When speaking to someone older or in a higher position, it's polite to use honorific verbs, such as μ‹œλ‹€ (sida) or μ˜€μ‹œλ‹€ (osida) instead of 이닀 (ida).

Tips[edit | edit source]

To get more familiar with the usage of "to be" in Korean, it's essential to practice speaking and writing. You can improve your skills by:

  • Watching Korean drama and movies to hear how the verb "be" is used in context.
  • Reading Korean books and articles to get more examples of the verb "be" in action.
  • Joining language exchange programs, such as Polyglot Club, to practice with native speakers. You can find native speakers and ask them any questions.

Remember, practice makes perfect!

➑ If you have any questions, please ask them in the comments section below.
➑ Feel free to edit this wiki page if you think it can be improved. 😎

Videos[edit | edit source]

Korean Grammar: How to Use μž–μ•„ (you know) - YouTube[edit | edit source]

Korean Grammar - How to Use ~(으)러 κ°€λ‹€/μ˜€λ‹€ (to go/come to do ...[edit | edit source]

Other Lessons[edit | edit source]

Sources[edit | edit source]


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