습니다 Present Tense – Korean Tense #5

Finally, it's time for the present tense 습니다 ending. 습니다 is the most polite way of speaking something. That's why it sounds something too official and formal. So, it is not used much in conversation. In addition, although they changed the rule recently, you cannot use "-요" in armies. Therefore, if you use it too much, you might sound like soldiers.

Basic form

The rule for 습니다 ending is to add just 습니다 after stems that end with a consonant except ㄹ like 읽습니다, 잡습니다. And add -ㅂ니다 after ㄹ and vowels like 삽니다, 갑니다, 옵니다.

저는 기숙사에 삽니다.
I live in the dormitory.

동생은 영어를 공부합니다.
My younger brother is studying English.

매일 저녁 신문을 읽습니다.
I read newspapers every evening.

Question Form

When you want to ask something in this form, just add 으십니까 after stems that end with a consonant except ㄹ like 읽으십니까, 잡으십니까. And add just 습니까 after ㄹ and vowels like 사십니까, 가십니까, 오십니까. Like always, the ending starts with a vowel, "으", so you should be careful about the irregular verbs.

Actually, these -(으)십니까 form is the combination of 습니까 and -시- ending. You can conjugate them like 읽습니까, 삽니까, 갑니까, etc. But they sound unnatural and somewhat rude. This form is used when higher-rank people want to be polite to someone in lower rank. It also sounds a bit like interrogation or questioning.

A: 요즘 무엇을 공부하십니까?
B: 일본어를 공부합니다.
A: What are you studying these days?
B: I am studying Japanese.

A: 어떤 음악을 자주 들으십니까?
B: 요즘은 트와이스의 노래를 자주 듣습니다.
A: What songs do you usually listen?
B: These days, I usually listen to the songs of Twice.

A: 어떤 일을 하십니까?
B: 프로그램을 만듭니다. / 수학을 가르칩니다. / 헤어 디자이너입니다.
A: What do you do for a living?
B: I make software. / I teach math. / I am a hair designer.

You don't have to follow the grammar form used by the person who asked you. You can use -아요/어요 form, too.

A: 요즘 무엇을 공부하세요?
B: 일본어를 공부합니다.

A: 요즘 무엇을 공부하십니까?
B: 일본어를 공부해요.