당신/그대/자네/너/자기/~씨 – Korean Grammar vs. Grammar #30

3 Speed Only

With Explanation

We've learned when to and not to use you in Korean. I made those episodes for today. I wanted to compare 당신, 그대, 자네, 너, 자기, ~씨. This is the question I got when I was collecting ideas for the series. Like 은/는 vs. 이/가, it was much longer and harder than I firstly thought.

당신

Many people learn that 당신 is polite form of 너. It is sometimes true, but it is almost always wrong. We will learn the usages of 당신.

When 당신 is polite.

당신 is polite way of saying you when it is used between married couples or lovers. In fact, it is used to call someone close to you politely, but it is a rare case.

작년에 내가 당신에게 했던 선물 기억하지?
Do you remember the present I gave you last year?

당신 요즘 일하기 힘들지?
Isn't it hard for you to work these days?

When 당신 is not polite

If you use 당신 to someone you didn't know, then it is not polite. It is used a lot in fighting on the road.

당신이 뭔데 나한테 그런 말을 하는 거야?
Who are you? Why are you talking like that to me?

당신이나 제대로 하세요.
You yourself had better do it right.

Because of this usage, you should be careful when you are using 당신. You were trying to be polite, but the listener might think that you were trying to fight.

그대

그대 is a bit old and poetic way of saying you. You can see this a lot in titles or lyrics of KPOP, but it is rarely used in daily conversation.

그대에게 100만 대군을 맡길 터이니, 준비하시오.
I will give you 1 million soldiers, so be prepared.

You can listen to this kind of speech in many 사극, history TV series.

별에서 온 그대.
You who came from the star.

It is the title of a famous Korean TV series. It is also known as "My Love from the Star."

자네

자네 is used between male friends or when a bit old male calling a young male. It is a bit old way of calling you and it is hard to find the usage of calling women 자네. Young people usually don't use this word to call their friends, but old people do.

이번엔 자네 차례일세.
Now, this is your turn.

It is sometimes used by parents-in-law to call their son-in-law. It is the only case when women use this word because some mother-in-law use this word to call their son-in-law.

박 서방, 요즘 뭘 하고 지내는가?
What do you do these days?

너 is used a lot between friends by young people or when calling someone younger than you. Like I said before, it is almost always more natural to speak without 너. I will tell you some sentences where 너 is necessary.

너까지 그런 이야기 할 거야?
Even you are going to talk like that?

너랑 나는 다음 장소로 가면 되겠다.
You and I can move on to the next place.

When using markers like 까지 or 랑/와, 너 is usually indispensable.

One more thing to note is that 너 is sometimes pronounced like 니 by many people. It is prominent when they are trying to pronounce 네가. Many people say it like 니가.

자기/ ~씨

The first meaning of 자기 is the person himself or herself. It is used between couples to call each other. They might use it because they love each other as much as themselves.

자기 지금 뭐해요?
What are you doing now, honey?

Some couple call each other by name using ~씨.

유진씨 지금 뭐해요?
What are you doing now, 유진?

This is the end of Grammar vs. Grammar series. I've tried to compare as many confusing grammar as possible. Thank you for your listening until the end.

From tomorrow, I will start new series about 한자. You don't have to learn every 한자 in the world, but it is sometimes useful and they help you guess the meaning of the words easier. Thank you for listening and stay tuned!