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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…
What’s the difference between 이에요 (ieyo) and 예요 (yeyo)?
Both 이에요[ieyo] and 예요[yeyo] are used like the English verb "to be." So how do you know which one to use? The answer is actually pretty simple: If the last word of the sentence ends in a consonant, you add 이에요 (ieyo). If the last word ends in a vowel, you add 예요 (yeyo).
Let’s break it down with some examples so you know which ending to use and when to use it.
Let’s say you want to introduce your new friend, 민수[Minsu]. How would you say, “This is Minsu?” 민수[Minsu] ends in a vowel, so you'd say, 민수예요 [Minsuyeyo] with the 예요 (yeyo) ending.
Let’s do another example with the word, 선물[seonmul], which means “gift” or “present.” Imagine that you bought something for your friend—how would you say, “It’s a gift?” Since 선물[seonmul] ends in a consonant, you'd say, 선물이에요 [Seonmurieyo] with the 이에요 (ieyo) ending.
One final example would be where you use both. For example, you see a drink on the table, and you want to ask, “Is it juice or water?” The Korean word for “juice,” 주스[jeuseu], ends in a vowel, and the word for “water,” 물[mul], ends in a consonant. So what do you do? Here’s a hint. You have to ask two questions, one ending in 예요 (yeyo) and the other in 이에요 (ieyo). Do you know the answer? The answer is: 주스예요? 물이에요? [Jeuseuyeyo? Murieyo?].
Remember, even if you make a mistake, you'll still be able to get your point across. However, knowing the difference is a great way to improve how natural you sound in Korean!
How was this lesson? Pretty interesting, right?
Do you have any more questions? Leave them in the comments below and I’ll try to answer them!
See you next time. 다음 시간에 만나요. (Daeum-sigane mannayo.)

18 Comments

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

KoreanClass101.com Verified
Friday at 06:22 PM
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Hello Kortney,


Thanks for comment!

You can say, 이거 뭐예요?(What is this) / 과일이에요? (Is this fruit?)


Keep up the good work!


Kind regards,

Hyeon Yeong Seo

Team KoreanClass101.com

Kortney
Saturday at 04:06 AM
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This does help and I do understand but what will I say if I want to say what is this? Is this a........?

Will I say 뭐예요? 과일에요?

Kortney
Saturday at 03:58 AM
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Thank you this DOES help.

KoreanClass101.com Verified
Wednesday at 10:59 AM
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Hi KC,


Thanks for posting. When introducing names, you use:


예요 for names that end with vowels, and

이에요 for names that end with consonants.

에요 is not used.


Cheers,

Lyn

Team KoreanClass101.com

KC
Wednesday at 10:59 PM
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Hello! I hope you can help me out. When do we use 에요/이에요 and when do we not? What exactly does it mean?


I understand you use 에요/이에요 when ending an introductory phrase like 저는 셀레스트에요.


What other

words and phrases do I use it for? Thanks.

KoreanClass101.com Verified
Wednesday at 12:22 AM
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Hi Bethany,


Thanks for posting. The difference depends on whether the word preceding the sentence ending ends with a consonant or a vowel. The word is usually a noun:


If it is a consonant you use 'ieyo': 사람이에요. (it is a person) 그림이에요. (it is a picture)

If it is a vowel you use 'yeyo': 강아지예요. (it is a puppy) 여자친구예요. (it is my girlfriend)


Hope this was of help.

Best,

Lyn

Team KoreanClass101.com

Bethany
Friday at 04:59 AM
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when exactly do you use ieyo and yeyo? I read on a website that it is only the descriptive word (adjective) that ends in ieyo or yeyo.

KoreanClass101.com Verified
Thursday at 02:14 AM
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Hi Sevval,


Thanks for posting. This gets many people confused, but just remember the following two rules. When following a word that ends with a consonant(batchim), you use 이에요. For words that end with vowels you add 예요. 이예요 is incorrect as 예요 is the abbreviated version of 이에요.


So it would be 물이에요. 사과예요.


Cheers,

Lyn

Team KoreanClass101.com

Sevval
Wednesday at 07:37 PM
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Hi sometimes i saw it like 이예요 is it different grammar rules or what .

물이예요

KoreanClass101.com Verified
Thursday at 08:59 AM
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Hello Rovie,


Thank you for commenting. The difference between “저는” and “나는" is the level of formality--the former is considered polite(humble), and the latter is considered informal.


Cheers,

Lyn

Team KoreanClass101.com