Lesson 8: Korean Imperatives

Korean imperatives have three types. They are informal, formal, honorific imperatives.

Imperative Positive
Informal Do – 해 (hae)
Formal Do – 해요 (hae-yo)
Honorific Do – 하세요 (ha-se-yo)

The informal form is used among very close friends or when talking to a younger person who is very close to you in informal situations.

The formal form and the honorific form are used in formal situations. It is safe to use the honorific form if you are unsure which one to use.

Informal Imperatives

Example: Wear – 입다 (ib-da) – 입어 (ib-uh)
Eat – 먹다 (muk-da) – 먹어 (muk-uh)
Play – 놀다 (nol-da) – 놀아 (nol-ah)
Go – 가다 (ga-da) – 가 (ga)
Drink – 마시다 (mashi-da) – 마셔 (ma-shu)
Read – 읽다 (ik-da) – 읽어 (il-gu)

Formal Imperatives

Rule: Informal Imperative + 요 (yo)
Example: Wear – 입어 (ib-uh) + 요 (yo) – 입어요 (ib-uh-yo)
Eat – 먹어 (muk-uh) + 요 (yo) – 먹어요 (muk-uh-yo)
Play – 놀아 (nol-ah) + 요 (yo) – 놀아요 (nol-ah-yo)
Go – 가 (ga) + 요 (yo) – 가요 (ga-yo)
Drink – 마셔 (ma-shu) + 요 (yo) – 마셔요 (ma-shu-yo)
Read – 읽어 (il-gu) + 요 (yo) – 읽어요 (il-gu-yo)

Honorific Imperatives

Rule: 1. Take 다 (da) off from basic verbs and then attach 세요 (se-yo) to verbs if it doesn’t have a final consonant.
2. Attach 으세요 (eu-se-yo) to verbs if it has a final consonant.
3. For verbs with a final consonant of ㄹ, take it off and attach 세요 (se-yo) to it.

Do – 하다 (ha-da) – 하세요 (ha-se-yo)
Go – 가다 (ga-da) – 가세요 (ga-se-yo)
Wear – 입다 (ib-da) – 입으세요 (ib-eu-se-yo)
Wash – 씻다 (ssit-da) – 씻으세요 (ssit-eu-se-yo)
Smile – 웃다 (oot-da) – 웃으세요 (oot-eu-se-yo)
Play – 놀다 (nol-da) – 노세요 (no-se-yo)

Note: As you learned in Lesson 7 there are special honorific forms like
Eat – 먹다 (muk-da) – 드시다 (deu-shi-da)
Sleep – 자다 (ja-da) – 주무시다 (joo-moo-shi-da)
You could make these imperative with rule 1,2, 3.
드시다 (deu-shi-da) – 드세요 (deu-se-yo)
주무시다 (joo-moo-shi-da) – 주무세요 (joo-moo-se-yo)

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