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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…
When should I use the humble form of verbs in Korean?
There are some verbs in Korean that have humble forms and don’t sound like their casual counterparts. We use these verbs when we refer to ourselves in formal situations. Two examples are 드리다 [deurida] and 여쭈다 [yeojjuda]. These two verbs are used instead of 주다 [juda] and 묻다 [muttta] for “to give” and “to ask,” respectively.
Let’s do some examples so you can learn how to use the humble forms of these verbs correctly.
Let's say you want to ask your professor a question. How do you say, "I'd like to ask you something?" To show respect to your professor, you should use the humble form of "to ask" 여쭈다 [yeojjuda] and say 뭐 좀 여쭐게요. [Mwo jom yeojjulgeyo]. 좀 [jom] is an adverb that makes your sentence sound softer. It sounds more polite than saying 뭐 좀 물어볼게요. [mwo jum mureobulgeyo] because it uses the humble verb.
Let’s do another example. Now, you want to ask whether or not your classmate has turned in a group report. How do you say, "Did you give it to the professor?" Here, even though you are talking to your friend, you’re talking about the professor. So you still need to use the humble form and say 교수님 드렸어? [Gyosunim deuryeosseo?] "Did you give it to the professor?"
Here's a challenge. How can you say to your friend, "Give it to me. I will give it to the professor?" That's right. We need both 주다 [juda] and 드리다 [deurida] for these sentences; 주다 [juda] for the first sentence and 드리다 [deurida] for the second sentence. So you’ll get 나 줘. 내가 교수님 드릴게. [Na jwo]. [Naega gyosunim deurilge]. meaning "Give it to me. I will give it to the professor."
How was this lesson? I hope that clears things up!
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.)