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Verb Ending: ~입니다, ~이에요, ~예요, ~입니까, ~이었어요, and ~였어요

learning korean Jan 30, 2024
Verb Ending: ~입니다, ~이에요, ~예요,  ~입니까, ~이었어요, and ~였어요

- Author: Good Job Korean team 
- Editor: Good Job Korean team

👍 Contents (Click to navigate instantly)

✅ Present tense: ~입니다 / ~이에요 / ~예요
✅ Past tense: ~이었습니다/~였습니다 / ~이었어요 / 였어요
✅ Future tense: ~ㄹ 것입니다 / ~ㄹ 거예요
✅ Question in polite form: ~이에요? / ~예요?
✅ Question in formal form: ~입니까


 Have you noticed when Koreans converse, they sound like they are rhyming? It is as though their sentences would often end with “요” and “다.” The reason is that the Korean language has a unique way of ending sentences that adds emotions and nuances to the speech.

 As Koreans put a lot of emphasis on respecting their elders, there is a unique system of honorifics. It is crucial to use the respectful language forms known as 존댓말 whereby you need to attach “요” or “~ㅂ니다/습니다” at the end of the sentence to be polite and formal. Sentences without fixed endings are in casual form, known as 반말.


 For example:

 고맙다 means to be thankful. So when we say “Thank you,” we conjugate the base verb to 고마워. By attaching “요” or “~ㅂ니다/습니다“ ending to it, the level of formality differs.


고마워 - 반말 (casual speech)
고마워- 존댓말 (polite speech)
고맙습니다 - 존댓말 (formal speech)


 In this blog post, we will learn the verb ending “~입니다 or ~이에요/예요.”


1. Present Tense: ~입니다, ~이에요, and ~예요

 ~입니다, ~이에요, and ~예요 come from the base form 이다, which means “to be.” Therefore, these verb endings are equivalent to “am,” “is,” or “are” in English. ~이에요 / ~예요 / ~입니다 commonly comes after a noun or a pronoun.


 We can form ~입니다 by dropping 다 from 이다 and attaching ~ㅂ니다 to make it a verb ending ~입니다 in formal speech. On the other hand, the 이다 base word conjugates to form 이에요/예요.


 While there is no specific rule for ~입니다, the usage of ~이에요 and ~예요 is dependent on the word right before it. Although there is no change to the meaning or nuance, it is essential to know when to use ~이에요 and ~예요.


 The rule is pretty simple:

 when the noun ends with a consonant, use ~이에요;

 when the noun ends with a vowel, use ~예요.


 Let’s take a look into the usages of ~입니다 / ~이에요 / ~예요. During self-introductions, you would introduce your name, ie. My name is _____. In this situation, we use the verb endings ~입니다 / ~이에요 / ~예요.


 For examples:

제 이름은 수민입니다.
My name is Sumin.


제 이름은 민규입니다.
My name is Minkyu.


 As you can see from the above, we use ~입니다 for both Sumin and Minkyu, regardless of the name ending with a vowel or a consonant. However, the verb endings would differ for the polite form ~이에요 / ~예요 as shown below:


제 이름은 수민이에요.
My name is Sumin.

수민 ends with the “ㄴ” consonant, use ~이에요 ending.


제 이름은 민규예요.
My name is Minkyu.

민규 ends with the “ㅠ” vowel, use ~예요 ending.

*제: my
*이름: name


 Since we use ~입니다 / ~이에요 / ~예요 to mean “is,” “are,” or “am,” what about “is not,” “are not,” or “am not”? As the base word 이다 means “to be,” we shall learn that 아니다 would mean “to be not.” Therefore, to say “is not,” “are not,” or “am not,” we would conjugate 아니다 base form to ~아닙니다 and 아니에요.


 For examples:

저는 진 선생님 아닙니다. 저는 쿤 선생님입니다.
I am not Teacher Jin. I am Teacher Kun.

*선생님: teacher


저 사람 태형 아니에요. 정국이에요.
That person is not Taehyung. He is Jungkook.

*저: that
*사람: person


 Other than using ~입니다, ~이에요, and 예요 verb endings to introduce your name, you can also use it for objects, age, time, etc.


 For examples:

저희 어머니는 69세입니다.
My mother is 69 years old.

*저희: our (my)
*어머니: mother
*세: counter for age while referring to someone older


이 책은 제 언니의 책이에요.
This book is my sister’s book.

*이: this
*책: book
*제: my
*언니: older sister (for female)
*의: possessive marker


지금은 오후 2시예요.
It is now 2 p.m.

*지금: now
*오후: Afternoon
*시: counter for time


2. Past Tense: ~이었습니다/~였습니다 / ~이었어요 / 였어요

 The examples above are sentences in the present tense. So what about the past tense equivalent of “was” or “were”? The past tense for 이다 is as below.


 Vowel ending noun + 였습니다/이었습니다/였어요/이었어요 Consonant ending noun + 이었습니다/이었어요.


 For nouns ending in a vowel, you can use 였습니다, 이었습니다, 였어요, or 이었어요. However, 였어요 and 였습니다 are more commonly used for vowel-ending nouns. For nouns ending in a consonant, use 이었습니다 or 이었어요.


 Let’s take a look at the examples:

이곳은 학교를 짓기 전의 들판이었어요.
This place was a field before the school was built.

*이곳: this place, here
*학교: school
*짓다: to build
*전: before
*들판: field


그 집은 우리 집이었어요.
That house was our home.

*집: house/home
*우리: our


주혁 씨는 수영선수였어요.
Joohyuk was a swimmer.

*수영: swimming
*선수: athlete


3. Future Tense: ~ㄹ 것입니다 / ~ㄹ 거예요

 Now, let’s see the future tense of 이다 equivalent of “will be.” The basic rule for future tense is adding ~ㄹ 것입니다 / ~ㄹ 거예요.


 For examples:

생일 케이크는 초콜릿 케이크로 만들 것입니다.
The birthday cake will be made as a chocolate cake.

*생일: birthday
*케이크: cake
*초콜릿: Chocolate
*만들다: to make


남순 선생님이 교장선생님이 되실 겁니다.
Teacher Namsoon will be the principal.

*선생님: teacher
*교장: principal
*되시다: to become (honorific form)
*~ㄹ 겁니다: contraction of ~ㄹ 것입니다


이 학생은 나중에 한국어를 잘할 거예요.
This student will be good at Korean later.

*학생: student
*나중에: later
*한국어: Korean language
*잘 하다: to be good at


4. Question In Polite Speech: ~이에요? / ~예요?

Next, you can also use ~이에요 / ~예요 forms to ask questions. To ask questions in spoken conversations, you just need to raise your tone at the end like this:


Example sentence:

A: 이거 커피예요?
A: Is this coffee?

B: 이거 커피 아니에요. 주스예요.
B: It is not coffee. It is juice.

*이거: this
*커피: coffee
*주스: juice


5. Question In Formal Speech: ~입니까?

However, when you ask a question in formal speech, instead of ~입니다, you have to change it to the question form ~입니까 / ~이었습니까?/였습니까?


For example:

A: 선호 씨가 사장입니까?
A: Is Mr. Seonho the boss?

B: 네, 사장입니다.
B: Yes, he is the boss.

*사장: boss
*네: yes


 ~입니다 / ~이에요 / ~예요 are among the most frequently used verb endings in Korean conversations. Although you may still be understood if you make a mistake, mastering the verb endings is a great way to make yourself sound natural in Korean. Keep practicing, and don’t give up!~


- Author: Good Job Korean team 
- Editor: Good Job Korean team