Subject Honorific – Korean Polite Language #2

Let's start with honoring the subjects. For this grammar, you should remember 2 things: 께서 and -(으)시- ending. -(으)시- ending is necessary and 께서 is optional.

You should add -(으)시- to the verb in the sentence.

아버지는 책을 많이 읽으십니다. (읽다 -> 읽으시다 -> 읽으십니다)
My father reads books a lot.

선생님이 우리를 칭찬하셨어. (칭찬하다 -> 칭찬하시다 -> 칭찬하셨다 -> 칭찬하셨어)
Our teacher complimented us.

It is natural, but I want to note. You cannot honor yourself in Korean. So, the sentence like below doesn't work.

나는 공부를 많이 하신다. -> 나는 공부를 많이 한다.
I study a lot.

In some cases, if you want to be more polite or if you are in an official situation, you should replace "이/가" with "께서", and "은/는" with "께서는"

아버지께서는 책을 많이 읽으십니다.
My father reads books a lot.

선생님께서 우리를 칭찬하셨어요.
Our teacher complimented us.

In the beginning, I told you that -(으)시- is necessary but 께서 is optional, so it is wrong to speak like these:

아버지께서는 책을 많이 읽는다.
선생님께서 우리를 칭찬했다.

When there are multiple verbs with a single subject, you can use -(으)시- once in the end.

우리 어머니는 무척 부지런하셔서 아침 일찍 일어나시고, 밤 늦게까지 일하신다.
우리 어머니는 무척 부지런해서, 아침 일찍 일아나고, 밤 늦게까지 일하신다.
My mother is really diligent, she gets up early in the morning and works hard until late in night.

You can use whatever you want.

However, if there are more than 2 subjects, you should add -(으)시- to every verb.

우리 아버지는 자상하시지만 어머니는 엄하시다.
My father is kind, but mother is strict.

김 선생님은 축구를 좋아하시고, 박 선생님은 테니스를 좋아하신다.
Mr. Kim loves soccer and Mrs. Park loves tennis.

Finally, you can honor some objects of a person. For example,

우리 사장님은 마음이 무척 넓으시다.
Our boss has a really kind mind.

사장님, 모자가 참 잘 어울리십니다.
Boss, your hat really looks good on you.

마음(mind), 모자(hat) are part of them. They are honored to honor the owner. It is called indirect honorific for the subject.

However, some people misunderstood this grammar and use this rule too much like these:

커피 나오셨습니다. -> 커피 나왔습니다.
Coffee came out.

가격은 만 원이십니다. -> 가격은 만 원입니다.
The price is 10,000 won.

사이즈가 품절이십니다. -> 사이즈가 품절입니다.
The size is out of stock.

In these cases, 커피, 가격, 사이즈 are not part of the person you want to honor. They are not the owner yet. So, you shouldn't use honorifics. Unfortunately, it's correct in grammar this way, but you can hear wrong sentences a lot in department stores.