Verb: Honorific Past Tense

Few days ago my posting is about past tense form of word.  As we all know Korean communicates in some level of politeness.  Today what I have learned is to form honorific past tense of a word.  It would be helpful to know how to derive the honorific base and infinitive of the word first, check this link to review it.

Similar to previous post on forming past tense of the word, the honorific past tense is derived using the same progression:

  • Base
  • Honorific Base – formed by adding 으시 (consonant ending words) or 시 (vowel ending words) to the base form.
  • Honorific Infinitive – formed by adding ㅓ to the base honorific form therefore 으시 becomes 으셔 and 시 becomes 셔.
  • Past Honorific Base – add ㅆ to the honorific infinitive form 
  • Past Honorific Infinitive – add ㅓ  to the past honorific base
  • Past Honorific Polite  – add 요  to the past honorific infinitive

Now let’s have a sample:

  • Base – let’s use the word 가 (ka) which means go
  • Honorific Base – 가시 (kashi)
  • Honorific Infinitive – 가셔 (kasyeo)
  • Past Honorific Base – 가셨 (kasyeoss) remember final consonant ㅅ and ㅆ are swallowed during pronunciation therefore the honorific infinitive and past honorific base may have the same pronunciation.
  • Past Honorific Infinitive – 가셨어 (ka-syeo-sseo) this already means gone or left
  • Past Honorific Polite  – 가셨어요 (ka-syeo-sseo-yo)

Therefore ‘sat’ which is the past tense of the word ‘sit’ will be 앉으셨어 (an-ju-syeo-seo) add 요 then it becomes honorific polite ending verb 앉으셨어요 (an-ju-syeo–seo-yo).

Honorific Verbs

Honorifics in Korean does not end with the correct titles and verb ending.  There are some verbs that are honorific and should be used instead of the usual one.   There are 3 verbs I learned that are considered honorific.

  • 주무시 – chumushi which means sleep
  • 계 – kye meaning stay
  • 잡수시 – chapsushi which means to eat

So in saying goodnight or sleep well to an esteemed person, one may say 안녕히 주무세요 (annyeonghi chumuseyo) or 잘 주무세요 (jal chumuseyo).  Politely this can be expressed as 잘 자요 (jal jayo) removing the 요 ‘yo’ will make it intimate or said to someone close or younger to you.

The same in asking someone to eat, 잡수세요 japsuseyo is the expression to use for someone who is older or esteemed rather than the polite casual style which is 먹어요 (mok-oyo).  Again, removing the 요 ‘yo’ will make it intimate.