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Formal Polite Form of Korean Verbs and Adjectives

Formal polite speech level is also called Hapsyoche(합쇼체). It is usually used by TV broadcasters, or in a business situation talking to customers. It is also used between strangers, but informal polite speech level is now more commonly used.

When you look up a verb or adjective in a dictionary, it is always written with a 다 ending. In order to conjugate a Korean verb or adjective to formal polite form, identify its original stem and do a 고-type contraction.

  • When the stem ends with a consonant (C), attach 습니다 to it.
  • When the stem ends with a vowel (V), attach ㅂ니다 to it.

Exception: Use alternate stems to conjugate ㄹ-irregular verbs and adjectives.*

Examples (more)

Verbs/Adjectives Dictionary Form Meaning Original Stem Alternate Stem Ends With Formal Polite Form
Regular 먹다 eat C 먹습니다
하다 do V 합니다
ㅂ-Irregular 춥다 cold C 춥습니다
ㅅ-Irregular 낫다 better C 낫습니다
ㄷ-Irregular 듣다 listen C 듣습니다
ㅎ-Irregular 그렇다 to be so 그렇 C 그렇습니다
ㄹ-Irregular 달다 sweet V 답니다*
으-Irregular 쓰다 write V 씁니다
르-Irregular 고르다 choose 고르 V 고릅니다

Compare the sentences of using the formal polite form and informal polite form of saying the same meanings: