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Lesson Transcript

Hi everybody! Jae here. Welcome to Ask a Teacher, where I’ll answer some of your most common Korean questions.
The question for this lesson is…
Does 요[yo] make everything more polite in Korean?
The short answer is yes. With the particle 요 [yo], you can make words sound more polite. Then how can we make a sentence ending with 요 [yo]? Here are some rules.
First, we’ll do a very simple one. When the verb-stem ends in a vowel like the 가 [ga] in 가다 [gada], meaning "to go,” you can simply replace 다 [da] with 요 [yo]. We don't need any additional particles.
However, when the verb-stem ends in a consonant, like 놀 [nol] in 놀다 [nolda] meaning "to play.” we need the extra vowel 아 [a] before 요 [yo] to say 놀아요. [norayo].
But that's not the end. In Korean, we have some vowels called “negative vowels,” for example, ㅓ [eo], ㅜ [wu] and ㅡ [eu] When the last vowel of the word is a negative one, you will need to use 어 [eo] instead of 아 [a].
Let’s do an example so you can see for yourself.
먹 [meok] is the verb-stem of the verb 먹다 [meokda] meaning "to eat." First, the verb-stem ends in a consonant, so you might think you need to add 아 [a] and say 먹아요 [meogayo] to make it polite. But the last vowel of the verb-stem is ㅓ [eo] which is negative, so you need to say 먹어요 [meogeoyo] using 어 [eo].
Sounds complicated, right? Don’t worry. As you hear more verbs with 요 [yo] particles, it will come more naturally to you.
Let’s do one more example, because we have one final rule for using the particle 요 [yo].
A lot of Korean verbs are made with 하다 [hada] verb meaning “to do.” For example, 공부하다. [gongbuhada] meaning "to study.” When you want to make a 하다 [hada] verb polite, just replace 하다 [hada] with 해요 [haeyo]. So 공부하다 [gongbuhada] becomes 공부해요 [gongbuhaeyo].
Since there are so many 하다[hada] verbs in Korean, you can practice with the 하다[hada] verbs first. Then, you only have two more conjugation rules to master.
How was this lesson? Pretty interesting, right?
Please leave any more questions in the comments below and I’ll try to answer them!
See you next time. 다음 시간에 만나요. (Daeum-sigane mannayo.)