Polite Verbs – Korean Polite Language #12

In Korean and Japanese polite language, there are special words for it. We'll learn verbs this week and nouns next week.

Honoring Subjects

먹다 -> 잡수시다, 드시다.

아침은 잡수셨습니까?
Did you eat breakfast?

다 드셨으면 다음 장소로 가겠습니다.
If you finished eating, we'll go on to the next place.

마시다 -> 드시다

Usually, we don't speak "eat water" in English. However, "물을 먹다" is natural in Korean. The border between 먹다 and 마시다 are a bit blurrier in Korean than English. However, it becomes odd if you use 잡수시다 with beverages.

커피 한 잔 드시겠습니까?
How about drinking a cup of coffee?

자다 -> 주무시다

지금 아빠 주무시니까 조용히 하고 있어.
Dad is now in sleep. So be quiet.

안녕히 주무셨어요?
Did you have a good night's sleep?

This is a kind of good morning that kids say to their parents in the morning.

안녕히 주무세요.
Have a good night's sleep.

This is a kind of "good night" that kids say to their parents before they go to bed.

죽다 -> 돌아가시다

In English, "pass away" is the polite version of "die". 돌아가시다 is the Korean version of pass away.

할아버지께서 돌아가셔서 3일 정도 학교에 나오지 못했다.
Because my grandpa passed away, I couldn't attend school for about 3 days.

말하다 -> 말씀하시다

내일 아침에 늦지 말라고 선생님께서 말씀하셨다.
Teacher told us not to be late in the tomorrow morning.

Honoring Objects in Sentences

These verbs are honoring the subject. And there are some verbs that honor the object of the sentence.

주다 -> 드리다.

할머니께 직접 만든 목도리를 드렸다.
I gave grandma the muffler I made.

데리다 -> 모시다

오후에 할머니 좀 모시고 병원 좀 다녀 올래?
Can you take your grandma to hospital in the afternoon?

만나다 -> 뵙다

그럼 내일 찾아 뵙겠습니다.
Then, I'll meet you tomorrow.

묻다 -> 여쭙다/여쭈다

여쭙다 and 여쭈다 are both correct.

죄송한데, 말씀 좀 여쭙겠습니다.
Excuse me.

It's the most polite version of the expression you can use when you want to ask something to anyone you don't know.

선생님께 물어 보지 말고, 여쭤 봐. 물면 아퍼.
When you ask, ask politely. It's painful if you bite. (Check the explanation below)

It's a pun. The conjugations of 물다(bite) and 묻다(ask) are the same as 물어. So, some teachers use this phrase.

있으시다 and 계시다.

Both 있으시다 and 계시다 are the polite version of 있다. 있으시다 is used for the possession. 계시다 is used for the presence.

할아버지는 방에 계시다. (o)
할아버지는 방에 있으시다. (x)
Grandpa is in the room.

사장님은 전기차가 한 대 있으시다. (o)
사장님은 전기차가 한 대 계시다.(x)
The president has an electric car.

Many Koreans use 계시다 wrong with 말씀 like 교장 선생님 말씀이 계시겠습니다(The principal will talk to you).

In this case, 말씀 is not a human. It's more like idea that the principal has. So, you should use 있으시다. In Korean, only case that you can use "말씀이 계시다" is the Bible verse of John 1:1, "처음에 말씀이 계시니라"(In the beginning was the Word). It's OK because 말씀(the Word) here means Jesus, the person.

아프시다 and 편찮으시다

아프시다 and 편찮으시다 are similar to 있으시다 and 계시다. When you say that the part of your body is sick, then you should use 아프시다. When you say someone is sick, it is recommended to use 편찮으시다. I said "it is recommended" because you can use 아프시다 in this case. However, 편찮으시다 is more natural.

어머니, 목이 아프세요? (o)
어머니, 목이 편찮으세요? (x)
Mother, is you neck OK?

할머니께서 많이 편찮으십니다. (o)
할머니께서 많이 아프십니다. (not recommended)
My grandma is really sick.