High formality conjugation (하십시오체)

Here’s a post for the beginners! Korean verb conjugation is different than English verb conjugation, and the form you must use varies depending on who you’re talking to and the social formality of the situation, among other factors. While this form isn’t the one that learners can expect to use the most, it is (IMO) the simplest to conjugate. Let’s dive in~

NOTE: I will not cover or use any irregular verbs in this post! I’ll save those for another post since I don’t want to potentially confuse someone seeing this information for the first time. Also, I will focus on the present tense, again to keep things as simple as possible.

Function

하십시오체 is a high-formality low-closeness conjugation that is often used for things like making presentations, news reports,  and some working environments. It puts a fair bit of distance between the speaker and the listener, making it suitable for those kinds of situations. If you want to know a bit more about the workings of social formality and closeness in Korean conjugation, you can check out this post and skip down to the “Formality levels” section (and I highly recommend you do so, as it’s very important in Korean society and thus, in the Korean language!). If you use this form outside of the proper context, you can sound cold and terse, so be careful!

Since this is a high formality structure, you should use 저 to refer to yourself and refer to others by their name or title. “나” (informal “I”) and “너” (informal “you”) would sound very out of place!

Usage

The conjugation of 하십시오체 changes depending on if your sentence is declarative (statement), interrogative (question), imperative (command), or propositive (suggestion).

Declarative (statement): -습니다 (consonant-ending) / -ㅂ니다 (vowel-ending)

To make a simple statement, you can used -습니다 and -ㅂ니다. If the root of your action or descriptive verb ends with a consonant, use -습니다. If it ends with a vowel, use -ㅂ니다.

CONSONANT-ENDING

  • 먹다 – 다 -> 먹 + 습니다 = 먹습니다
    • 저는 사과를 먹습니다. (I eat apples/I am eating apples. [Korea’s simple present tense is often used with a progressive meaning.])
  • 넓다 – 다 -> 넓 + 습니다 = 넓습니다
    • 이 방은 넓습니다. (This room is wide.)
  • 읽다 – 다 -> 읽 + 습니다 = 읽습니다
    • 언니는 책을 읽습니다. (My older sister reads books/My older sister is reading a book.)

VOWEL-ENDING

  • 가다 – 다 -> 가 + ㅂ니다 = 갑니다
    • 그는 학교에 갑니다. (He goes to school/He is going to school.)
  • 춤을 추다 – 다 -> 춤을 추 +ㅂ니다 = 춥니다
    • 제 친구는 춤을 춥니다. (My friend dances/My friend is dancing.)
  • 착하다 – 다 -> 착하 + ㅂ니다 = 착합니다
    • 저 아이는 착합니다. (That child is nice.)
Interrogative (question): -습니까 (consonant-ending) / -ㅂ니까 (vowel-ending)

If you want to make high-formality questions, this is how you do it! The interrogative endings are similar to the declarative endings. Make sure you use -습니까 for consonant-ending verb roots and -ㅂ니까 if the root ends in a vowel!

CONSONANT-ENDING

  • 찾다 – 다 -> 찾 + 습니까 = 찾습니까
    • 무엇을 찾습니까? (What are you looking for?)
  • 입다 – 다 -> 입 + 습니까 = 입습니까
    • 오늘 무엇을 입습니까? (What are you wearing today?)
  • 좁다 – 다 -> 좁 + 습니까 = 좁습니까
    • 교실이 좁습니까? (Is the classroom narrow?)

VOWEL-ENDING

  • 타다 – 다 -> 타 + ㅂ니까 = 탑니까
    • 자전거를 매일 탑니까? (Do you ride your bike every day?)
  • 보다 – 다 -> 보 + ㅂ니까 = 봅니까
    • 어떤 영화를 봅니까? (What kind of movie are you watching?
  • 하다 – 다 -> 하 + ㅂ니까 = 합니까
    • 오늘 뭘 합니까? (What are you doing today?)
Imperative (command): -으십시오 (consonant-ending) / -십시오 (vowel-ending)

Same thing as above with the declarative and interrogative forms! Just add the proper ending to the root depending on if the root ends with a consonant or a vowel.

CONSONANT-ENDING

  • 신다 – 다 -> 신 + -으십시오 = 신으십시오
    • 실내화를 신으십시오. (Please wear your indoor shoes.)
  • 닫다 – 다 -> 닫 + -으십시오 = 닫으십시오
    • 문을 닫으십시오. (Please close the door.)
  • 접다 – 다 -> 접 + -으십시오 = 접으십시오
    • 종이를 반으로 접으십시오. (Please fold the paper in half.)

VOWEL-ENDING

  • 보내다 – 다 -> 보내 + -십시오 = 보내십시오
    • 편지를 보내십시오. (Please send the letter.)
  • 싸다 – 다 -> 싸 + -십시오 = 싸십시오
    • 짐을 싸십시오. (Please pack the luggage.)
  • 운전하다 – 다 -> 운전하 + -십시오 = 운전하십시오
    • 운전하십시오. (Please drive.)
Propositive (suggestion): -읍시다 (consonant-ending) / -ㅂ시다 (vowel-ending)

Got the hang of it now? -읍시다 for consonant-ending roots and -ㅂ시다 for vowel-ending roots!

CONSONANT-ENDING

  • 잡다 – 다 -> 잡 + -읍시다 = 잡읍시다.
    • 날짜를 잡읍시다. (Let’s set a date. <– In Korean, you can use the verb 잡다 [to catch, grab] for things like setting appointments and dates.)
  • 뽑다 – 다 -> 뽑 + -읍시다 = 뽑읍시다.
    • 하나를 뽑읍시다. (Let’s pick one. <– 뽑다 means “pick” in the sense of picking or drawing one out of a group.)
  • 씻다 – 다 -> 씻 + -읍시다 = 씻읍시다.
    • 얼른 씻읍시다. (Let’s wash up quickly.)

VOWEL-ENDING

  • 자다 – 다 -> 자 + -ㅂ시다 = 잡시다
    • 잠을 잡시다. (Let’s sleep.)
  • 보내다 – 다 -> 보내 + -ㅂ시다 = 보냅시다
    • 시간을 재미있게 보냅시다. (Let’s have a good time [Lit. Let’s spend time funly].)
  • 초대하다 – 다 -> 초대하 + -ㅂ시다 = 초대합시다
    • 민호 씨를 초대합시다. (Let’s invite Minho.)

 

Feel free to ask any questions you might have. Happy studying, everyone~