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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.)


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KoreanClass101.com Verified
Friday at 06:30 PM
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What Korean learning question do you have?

Tuesday at 06:43 AM
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Hi Yoke Mei,

Thanks for the positive feedback!

Hi Pam,


While 'imnida' is the most polite way to address people, you will notice native Korean speakers using the 'yo' form in various situations. For example, at a department store, a store attendant may ask, 'how may I help you?' using the 'yo' form:

어떻게 도와드릴까요?

Or, 'what's your size'?

사이즈가 어떻게 되세요?

This is because 'imnida' is polite, but seems too stiff (and not as colloquial, you will see it however in formal written documents and in public announcements, etc).

Hope this was of help!



Team KoreanClass101.com

Friday at 09:41 PM
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Hello :)

I'm a little bit confused now because at my local korean class I was taught to use 'imnida' to make everything polite and formal and only to use 'yo' around friends.

For example: If I meet someone new I'm supposed to say 'Annyeonhashipnikka' and not 'Annyeong/Annyeonhaseyo' because it would be considered rude.

Or I should say for example 'Janeun hanguk saram imnida' because it is polite,and not 'Janeun hanguk saram i-eyo' because it is only used for family/friends.

Are there exceptions? Or do we not use 'imnida' when it is a verb?

(Sorry if this is confusing. I'm not korean, it was just an example. Also I don't have korean keyboard so I had to use romanization.)

Thank you :)

Yoke Mei
Friday at 12:50 PM
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KoreanClass101.com Verified
Wednesday at 11:36 AM
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Hi Mariana,

Thank you for posting. Sometimes 미안해 sounds like 미안애, however, it is 미안해 and should be pronounced as such.

As for the batchim ㄹㅂ, it is pronounced as 'ㅂ' when it is followed by word (meaning when it is followed by a consonant pronunciation, it is pronounced as 'ㅂ'.)



When it is not followed by a consonant it is pronounced as 'ㄹ'.

Sorry for the confusion, please let us now if you have any other inquiries.



Team KoreanClass101.com

Monday at 10:16 PM
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I have two questions:

1. Why do some koreans say ㅎ when it's not supposed to be said, like 미안해? Some koreans pronouce it as 미-안-애 and others pronouce it as 미-안-해, making the ㅎ sound.

2. According to the 'Hana Hana Hangul' series, the combination of ㄹ and ㅂ in the batchim sound like ㅂ. So, why does 여덟 sound like 여덜 intead of 여덥? Is it an exception?

I hope it made sense, i'm not good at explaining ahah ^^'

Thank you for the amazing work on every lesson!

Keep up with the good work!! ^^