Everything about Korean Pronouns 

 August 16, 2021

By  Smriti

Learning Korean pronouns for English speakers could be pretty difficult as there are three separate levels of speeches used depending on whom you talk to and also the formality between their two while talking.

Pronouns in Korean is called 대명사.

대명사

This will be useful to follow the grammar and form sentences properly. 

Based on the politeness level. There are three forms of speech :

Casual speech 

Casual speech is used towards close friends whom you are closely acquainted with and also people who are younger than your age.

For example : 

Your younger sibling, your classmate, a child etc.

The sentences in casual speech mostly ends with 자 with "요" or "습니다" which indicates that the sentence is indeed casual. 

*** It's not always necessary for people to talk in casual speech just because they are the same age. You first have to ask whether the other person is comfortable with you using casual speech with them or not. 

You can ask the person by saying :

반말 해 도 돼요 ?(Banmal hae do dwaeyo?)

Can I speak casually with you ?

Polite speech

Polite speech is used towards strangers who are not well acquainted with or you have recently known to each other and for a person who is older than you. 

Polite speech is very common to use with the people who are ranked higher than you at work or at universities. 

You can easily recognise the speech by "요" at the end. 

It is a must to add "요" at the end of the sentences to sound polite. 

You should use polite speech with anyone you don't know well,  a stranger, anyone who is older than you, your parents, your older siblings, your manager, your teacher and so on and so forth. 

Formal speech

Speech used to address a large group,  elderly people and with an extra level of respect to the people at higher positions than you like your boss or principal of the university. 

It can be identified with "습니까/습니다" sentence ending.

Lets try to understand the difference with the help of a chart :-

( 들 is added after the word to make it plural. )

[ First person singular ] : I

나 (casual)

저 (Polite/formal)

For I add 는 after the word.

  • 나는 (casual) / 저는 (formal)

For I am add 가 after the word.

  • 내가 (casual) / 제가 (formal)

For Me add 를 after the word.

  • 나를 (casual) / 저를 (formal)

For  My add 의 after the word.

  • 나의 (casual) / 저의 (formal)

[ First person plural ] : We

우리/우리들 (casual)

저희/저희들 (Polite/formal)

For We add 는 after the word.

  • 우리는 (casual) / 저희는 (formal) 

For We are add 가 after the word.

  • 우리가 (casual) / 저희가 (formal)

For Us add 를 after the word.

  • 우리를 (casual) / 저희를 (formal)

For  Our add 의 after the word.

  • 우리의 (casual) / 저희의 (formal)

[ Second person singular ] : You

너/자네/네가 (Casual)

Technically there is no formal or polite way to call someone "you".

Instead Koreans use the 'job title', 'position' or 'status' of the person whom they talk to by attaching -씨 (ssi) or -님 (nim) at the end of their names.

But there are some words to keep in mind :

당신/그대

For You, add 이/가 after the word.

  • 네가 (casual) / 당신이 (formal) 

For You are, add 은/는 after the word.

  • 너는 (casual) / 당신은 (formal) 

For  Your, add 의 after the word.

  • 너의 (casual) / 당신의 (formal)

[ Second person plural ] : You

너희/너네/자네들 (Casual)

As explained above there is no formal or polite way to call someone "you".

Instead Koreans use the 'job title', 'position' or 'status' of the person whom they talk to by attaching -씨 (ssi) or -님 (nim) at the end of their names.

But there are some words to keep in mind : 

그대들/당신들

For You all are, add 은/는 after the word.

  • 너희는 (casual) / 당신들은 (formal) 

For You all, add 이/가 after the word.

  • 너희가 (casual) / 당신이 (formal)

[ Third person singular ] : He/she/it

그/그녀

For He/she/it, add 는 after the word.

  • 그는 (He) / 그녀는 (She)

For He  is/she  is/it  is, add 가 after the word.

  • 그가 (He) / 그녀가 (She)

For Him/her, add 를 after the word.

  • 그를가 (He) / 그녀를 (She)

For His/her, add 를 after the word.

  • 그의 (He) / 그녀의 (She)

[ Third person plural ] : They

그들/그녀들 

Lets see some examples to understand.

1) I am a student.

나는 학생이에요.

2) I am still a student.

저는 아직 학생이에요

3) Leave me alone!

날 내버려둬!

4) My pet dog.

저의 강아지.

5) We go to school.

우리는 학교 가요.

6) We are going to school.

우리가 학교 가요.

7) Come and see us!

우리를 만나러 와요!

8) All our rooms.

저희의 모든 객실.

9) You are wrong.

네가 잘못이다.

10) Who are you ?

당신은 누구에요 ?

11) He is a student.

그는 학생이다.

12) She is a student.

그녀는 학생이다.

13) His bag.

그의 가방.

I hope you found this article helpful. 

You can keep these in mind while using pronouns for framing sentences in Korean.

Related Korean grammar posts :
A/V/N ~을/ㄹ지 모르겠다

A/V + 기는 하지만

A-아/어하다

(으)ㄴ/는/인 데다가

Verb + 기 전에 and Noun + 전에


To understand TOPIK Test structure, application process, Levels and Passing scores etc. check these pages:

  1. TOPIK – The Complete Guide & 2. TOPIK Levels and Passing Marks. You can also Practice Online with TOPIK GUIDE Mock Tests.

If you are going to take the TOPIK Test for the first time, or if you want to give your score a boost so that you can pass a higher level, we would strongly advise you to get the Complete Guide to TOPIK – Self-Study Package. It is a digital study package that has everything you need to get a great score in the TOPIK test – all the past TOPIK papers with answer sheets, grammar and vocabulary study material, video tutorials explaining the test structure, strategies to solve them and much more. You can check out more details about this study package HERE.

Learning Korean can be tricky, especially when the goal of your learning is conversation. If you’ve ever attempted to speak Korean but were unable to, then hopefully you’ll find this post helpful.

Thank you for reading. If you have any questions or suggestions. Comment down below.

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}
>