Posted: 2010-06-17 / Updated: 2018-02-07

To study this grammar point, please make sure you understand the following:

Honorific Speech and Speech Levels in Korean is also called Hapsyoche(합쇼체). It is usually used by TV broadcasters, or in a business situation talking to customers. It is also used between strangers, but Informal Polite Form of Korean Verbs and Adjectives is now more commonly used.

When you look up a verb or adjective in a dictionary, it is always written with a 다 ending. In order to Essential Concepts and Terms for Grammar Study a Korean verb or adjective to formal polite form, Word Stems of Korean Verbs and Adjectives and do a Korean Verb and Adjective Conjugation.

  • When the stem ends with a consonant (C), attach 습니다 to it.
  • When the stem ends with a vowel (V), attach ㅂ니다 to it.

Exception: Use alternate stems to conjugate ㄹ-irregular verbs and adjectives.*

Examples Common Korean Verbs

Verbs/AdjectivesDictionary FormMeaningOriginal StemAlternate StemEnds WithFormal Polite Form
ㅎ-Irregular그렇다to be so그렇C그렇습니다

Compare the sentences of using the formal polite form and Informal Polite Form of Korean Verbs and Adjectives of saying the same meanings:

점심을 먹습니다.
점심을 먹어요.
I eat lunch.
음악을 듣습니다.
음악을 들어요.
I listen to music.
편지를 씁니다.
편지를 써요.
I write a letter.

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