Level 6 Korean Grammar

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1

How about …? / ~ 어때요?

2

What do you think about …? / 어떻게 생각하세요? / 어떤 것 같아요?

3

One of the most … / 가장 ~ 중의 하나

4

Do you mind if I …? / -아/어/여도 돼요?

5

I’m in the middle of …-ing / -는 중이에요

6

Word Builder Lesson 9 / -님

7

One way or the other / 어차피

8

I’m not sure if … / -(으/느)ㄴ지 잘 모르겠어요.

9

While you are at it / -(으)ㄴ/는 김에

10

Sentence Building Drill 6

11

I mean… / 그러니까, 제 말 뜻은, -라고요, 말이에요

12

What do you mean? What does that mean? / 무슨 말이에요?

13

Word Builder 10 - 과(過)

14

“/ (slash)” or“and” / -(으)ㄹ 겸

15

The thing that is called, what they call … / -(이)라는 것

16

Suffix -겠-

17

let me tell you… / -거든(요)

18

Either A or B, Or / -거나, -(이)나, 아니면

19

To improve, to change, to increase / -아/어/여지다 Part 2

20

Sentence Building Drill 7

21

Passive Voice – Part 1

22

Word Builder 11 / 무 (無)

23

Passive Voice – Part 2

24

I DID do it, I DO like it / -기는 하다

25

Easy/difficult to + V / -기 쉽다/어렵다

26

I thought I would …, I didn’t think you would … / -(으)ㄴ/ㄹ 줄 알다

27

Can, to be able to, to know how to / -(으)ㄹ 수 있다, -(으)ㄹ 줄 알다

28

It depends on … / -에 따라 달라요

29

Sometimes I do this, sometimes I do that / 어떨 때는 -고, 어떨 때는 -아/어/여요

30

Sentence Building Drill 8

Word Builder Lesson 9 / -님

안녕하세요! Welcome to the 9th installment in the Word Builder series. In the Word Builder lessons, we introduce letters and words that work as building blocks of the Korean vocabulary. They are not necessarily all Hanja words based on Chinese characters, but many of them are. In this World Builder lesson, we will be looking at how to use the formal suffix of -님.

Word Builder lessons are designed to help you understand how to expand your vocabulary by learning and understanding some common and basic building blocks of Korean words. The words and letters introduced through Word Builder lessons are not necessarily all Chinese characters, or 한자. Though many of them are based on Chinese characters, the meanings can be different from modern-day Chinese. Your goal through these lessons is to understand how words are formed and then remember the keywords in Korean to expand your Korean vocabulary from there. You certainly don’t have to memorize the Hanja characters, but if you want to, feel free!


In this lesson, we are looking at a native Korean suffix, -님.


The word 님 basically has the same goal as 씨, which is to show respect to the person being addressed or mentioned, but 님 is much more formal and polite than 씨, and therefore it is used very commonly with formal social titles.


You can use 님 after a person’s name when addressing him or her in the most formal way. For example, if your acquaintance’s name is 현우, and you are speaking casual language with him, you can just say the name alone - 현우. If you want to be more polite and formal, you add -씨 after the name and say 현우 씨. But if you want to be even more formal, you can use 님 instead and say 현우 님.


Sometimes on the Internet, people who don’t know each other but still want to be formal will just use the word “님”. This is mostly only common among young people.


The following are some of the most commonly used words in Korean in which you can find the suffix -님. Many of these words are FIXED, which means they CAN’T be used WITHOUT the suffix -님. And some of them CAN be used without -님, but the nuance can change.


1. 선생님 = teacher

* Almost always used with -님 attached. If you only say 선생, you may sound disrespectful. 선 생님 is used both when you address a teacher directly and when you talk about a teacher when he or she is not present.


2. 장님 = a blind person

* Some people think it’s more appropriate to use the term 시각 장애인 (visually handicapped person), but the word 장님 is still commonly used and you can NOT use the word without -님 attached.


3. 의사 선생님 = doctor

* The job itself is 의사 but when you address and talk to a doctor, you can not call him/her “의사”. You need to use the word 의사 선생님. If you are a doctor, you would say “저는 의사예요. (I’m a doctor.)” because you don’t show respect to yourself.


4. 교수님 = professor

* The job itself is 교수 but when you talk to a professor, you need to put the suffix -님 and call that person “NAME + 교수님” or just “교수님”.


5. 어머님 = mother

* You can call your own mother 엄마 or 어머니 if you want to be more polite, but when you refer to someone else’s mother in a polite way, you use the word 어머님. It is not natural, however, to use the term 어머님 to talk about your own mother to someone else. In that case, 저희 어머니, “my mother”, is better.


6. 아버님 = father

* The same with 어머님. You can call your own father 아빠 or 아버지, but when you refer to someone else’s father in a polite way, you use the word 아버님. When you get married, you should call your wife/husband’s father, 아버님 and mother, 어머님.


7. 형님 and 누님 = older brother and sister (for a man)

* When men address an older man, they use the term 형, but when they want to be very polite (not necessarily “formal” in this case), they attach the suffix -님 at the end. The same goes for 누나, a term for men to use to address an older female, except 누나 changes to 누님 instead of 누나님.


8. 손님 = guest

* In the past, the sino-Korean word 손 could be used on its own to mean “a guest”, but in modern-day Korean, the suffix -님 is ALWAYS attached at the end of the word. In a more business-related context, you can call your customers “고객님”. In the case of the word 고객님, it is OKAY to drop -님 when you are NOT addressing a person directly.


More Examples of Job Titles

9. 사장님 = head of company + -님

10. 과장님 = section chief + -님

11. 부장님 = head of department (or manager) + -님 

12. 총장님 = dean or president of a college + -님

안녕하세요! Welcome to the 9th installment in the Word Builder series. In the Word Builder lessons, we introduce letters and words that work as building blocks of the Korean vocabulary. They are not necessarily all Hanja words based on Chinese characters, but many of them are. In this World Builder lesson, we will be looking at how to use the formal suffix of -님.
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