Korean Lesson 27: Formal instructions

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In this lesson we are going to learn about more formal instructions, i.e. instructions that you would give in polite circumstances, not ones used at home with family members or with very close friends.

The particle that you would use is ‘shi’ 시

When we put this onto the stem of the verb (verb minus -da/ta ending) it looks like this: hashi 하시

Now we add the polite ending yo 요

N.B. When you put shi+yo 시+요 it becomes seyo 세요 = haseyo 하세요

This is not only used for instructions but it is also a slightly more polite form of the present tense which you would use in the spoken language to talk to people of a higher social status than you.

Examples: Mwø haseyo? – What are you doing? = 뭐 하세요?

Musûn ch’aeg-ûl ilgûseyo? – Which book are you reading? = 무슨 책을 읽으세요?

myøt shi-e nae-il kaseyo? – What time are you going tomorrow? = 몇시에 내일 가세요?

t’ellebijøn-ûl boseyo? = Are you watching the TV? 텔레비전을 보세요?

But let’s get back to the imperative.

You use this form to make polite requests: tasøt-shi-e oseyo – Come at 5 = 다섯시에 오세요

These requests can be made even politer by adding the word ‘chom’ which roughly translates as ‘please’:

che hyøng-e i-goshi chom chuseyo – please give this to my older brother = 제 형에 이것이 좀 주세요

Further examples:

ûmag-ûl chom tûrûseyo – Please listen to the music = 음악을 좀 들으세요

alarm shigye-rûl ssøseyo – Use the alarm clock 알라름 시계를 써세요

chø-hante ton-ûl chom chuseyo – Please give me some money 저한테 돈을 좀 주세요

kû handu-p’øn-ûl saseyo – Buy that mobile phone (handu-p’on = “hand-phone”) 그 한드폰을 사세요

As you may have noticed the endings work as follows:

Stems ending in a vowel + seyo

Stems ending in a consonant + ûseyo


  • haseyo – do (it) 하세요
  • møgûseyo – eat 먹으세요
  • ch’iseyo – play 치세요
  • padûseyo – receive 받으세요
  • kaseyo – go 가세요
  • poseyo – look/watch = 보세요

We will cover this in greater detail at a later date but out of interest, the informal command is: the -yo form in the present tense (take off the yo) + ra


  • pwara! – look! = 봐라!
  • kara! – go! = 가라!
  • ch’ira! – play! = 치라!

Please leave a comment! = 주해를 좀 주세요!

Annyønghi kaseyo!

안녕히 가세요!


One response to “Korean Lesson 27: Formal instructions

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