Lesson 40: The Imperative Mood: ~아/어(요), ~(으)세요, ~아/어라, (으)십시오, ~지 말다

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Vocabulary
Introduction

The Imperative Mood
Verb stem + ~아/어(요)
Verb stem + ~(으)세요
Verb stem + ~아/어라
Verb stem + ~십시오

Negative Imperative Mood: ~지 말다
~하지 말고

Giving Directions
The Imperative Mood with ~아/어 보다

 

Vocabulary

Click on the English word to see information and examples of that word in use. You might not be able to understand all of the grammar within the example sentences, but most of the grammar used will be introduced by the end of Unit 2. Use these sentences to give yourself a feel for how each word can be used, and maybe even to expose yourself to the grammar that you will be learning shortly.

A PDF file neatly presenting these words and extra information can be found here.

Nouns:
오줌 = urine

Notes: Other ways to say this word are:
소변 (more likely to be used by a doctor)
쉬 (more likely to be used by a baby)

Common Usages:
오줌을 싸다 = to urinate
오줌을 누다 = to urinate
오줌을 참다 = to hold one’s urine
오줌이 마렵다 = to have the feeling that one needs to urinate

Examples:
여기에 오줌을 싸지 마세요 = Don’t pee here

어린아이들은 오줌이 마려우면 바지에 그냥 싸요
= When young kids have to go pee, they just go in their pants

오줌을 자주 참으면 방광염에 걸릴 수도 있어요
= If you hold your pee often, it’s possible that you can get a bladder disease

권력 = power, authority

The pronunciation of this word is closer to “궐력”

Common Usages:
권력을 행사하다 = to exercise power, authority
권력을 남용하다 = to abuse one’s power

Examples:
권력을 남용하지 마세요 = Don’t abuse your power/authority
힘과 권력이 있는 사람이 세상을 지배해요 = People with power (and strength) rule the world
몇몇 사람들은 자신의 권력을 좋지 않은 방향으로 행사해요 = Some people exercise their power in a bad way (direction)

수준 = level, standard

Common Usages:
수준별 수업 = a class divided by level
수준이 낮다 = for a level to be low
수준이 높다 = for a level to be high
학력 수준 = education level

Examples:
이 제품 수준을 높여 보세요 = Try to raise the level/standard of this product
사람들을 학력 수준으로 평가하지 마세요 = Don’t judge people on the basis of schooling

지난 10년 동안 한국 생활수준은 2배로 높아졌어요
= Over the past 10 years, the standard of living in Korea doubled

캐나다에서 받는 수학교육이 한국보다 수준이 낮아요
= The level/standard of math education (students) receive in Canada is lower than Korea

한국에서 보통 영어와 수학 수업은 수준별로 진행돼요
= In Korea, math and English classes are usually held/carried by (based on) level

학력 = level of education

The pronunciation of this word is closer to “항력”

Common Usages:
학력 수준 = education level
학력이 높다 = to have a high education
학력이 낮다 = to have a low education

Examples:
사람들을 학력 수준으로 평가하지 마세요 = Don’t judge people on the basis of education level

이력서를 작성할 때 자신의 학력 수준도 적어야 해요
= When you write a resume, you should also write your education level

학력이 높을수록 미래에 소득이 더 높을 가능성이 많아요
= The higher your education, the higher the possibility to have more income in the future

직원 = employee, staff member

Common Usages:
직원 복지 = employee benefits

Examples:
직원이랑 잠깐 얘기해 봐 = Try talking with a staff member
이 회사에는 총 5,000명의 직원이 근무하고 있어요 = There are 5,000 people employed at this company in total
직원 복지가 좋은 회사에 많은 사람들이 지원해요 = Many people apply to companies where there are a lot of benefits

허가 = permission

Common Usages:
출입허가 = permission to enter (and exit)
입국허가 = permission to enter a country (an entry permit)
허가를 내주다 = to grant/give permission
허가가 나다 = to be approved
허가를 받다 = to receive permission

Examples:
그 학생들에게 허가를 해 주지 마세요 = Don’t give those students permission

이 땅에 건물을 짓기 위한 허가가 나지 않았기 때문에 건물을 지으면 안돼요
= You can’t build a building on this land because you didn’t receive permission

몇몇 나라를 여행할 때 입국허가를 받기 위해서는 미리 비자신청을 해야 해요
= When entering some countries, in order to get permission to enter, you need to apply for a visa in advance

보안 = security

Common Usages:
보안업체 = a security company
보안점검 = a security check
보안을 강화하다 = to strengthen/tighten security

Examples:
보안을 위해 대통령을 내일까지 감시하세요 = For security, watch the president until tomorrow

이 아파트의 보안수준을 높이기 위해서는 보안을 강화해야 해요
= In order to raise the security level of this apartment, you need to tighten security

보안업체에 보안을 맡기면 매달 돈을 내야 해요 = If you want to hand over your security to a security company, you need to pay every month

시선 = one's eyes, one's eye-line

Common Usages:
남의 시선을 의식하다 = to sense people’s eyes (to be “conscious of what other people think”)
시선을 떼다 = to take one’s eyes off of something
시선을 피하다 = to avoid one’s eyes

Examples:
김태희는 남자들이 시선을 못 뗄 만큼 예뻐요
= Kim Taehee is beautiful to the point that men can’t take their eyes off of her

더욱 행복하고 싶다면 남의 시선을 의식하지 마세요
= If you want to be happier, don’t worry about what other people think

길을 걷다가 시선이 느껴져서 쳐다보니 귀여운 남자가 저를 보며 서 있었어요
= I was walking down the street and I felt somebody looking at me, so I looked and saw a cute man standing there looking at me

물체 = object

Common Usages:
미확인 비행물체 = a UFO

Examples:
이 물체가 무엇인지 생각해 보세요 = Try thinking about what this object is
어제 하늘에서 미확인 비행물체가 발견됐어요 = I discovered/found a UFO in the sky yesterday
모든 물체는 진공상태에서 떨어지면 무게에 상관없이 동시에 떨어져요 = All objects, when falling in a vacuum, fall at the same time regardless of weight

Verbs:
수고하다  = to work hard

Notes: Notes: 수고하다 is often used when leaving a place of business (like a store or office). Korean people usually say “수고하세요!” which literally translates to telling somebody to “work hard.” This would be very awkward to say in English, but is common in Korean.
It is also possible to say “수고했어요!” to thank a person for helping you in some way. Essentially, you are telling the person that he/she worked hard, and that you are thankful for this.

Examples:
오늘도 수고한 자신에게 “잘했다!”라고 칭찬해주세요
Today as well, praise (the hard working) yourself by saying “you did good!”

보통 다른 직원들보다 먼저 퇴근할 때는 “수고하세요”라고 말 하고 나가요
= Usually when you leave work earlier than other workers, you say “수고하세요” and then leave

말다 = to not do

Notes: In order to make a negative command, ~지 말다 is used. For example:

공부하지 말다
가지 말다
먹지 말다

In order to make those constructions a command, you should use an imperative conjugation:

가지 마 = don’t go
가지 마세요 = don’ t go

You can also add ~고 to 말다 to connect the negative command with another clause. The clause after ~지 말고 is typically a positive command. This type of sentence is used when you want to tell somebody what not to do, and then also tell them what they should do. For example:

매일 같은 운동을 하지 말고 많이 쉬세요 = Don’t do the same exercise every day, and get lots of rest
그렇게 하지 말고 내 말을 들어봐 = Don’t do it like that, and listen to what I have to say

In Lesson 73, you will learn how to use “말고” to mean “instead.” This basically translates to “not that, but…” For example:

밥 말고 빵 먹을래요? = Instead of rice, shall we eat bread?

In Lesson 106, you will learn how to use 말다 to indicate two options for something – one where an action is done, and another where an action is not done. For example:

우리가 가든지 말든지 나는 신경을 안 써 = I don’t care if we go or not
시험이 있든지 말든지 간에 학교에 가야 돼요 = It doesn’t matter if there is an exam or not, you have to go to school

직진하다 = to go straight

The pronunciation of this word is closer to “직찐하다”

Common Usages:
이 길로 직진하다 = to go straight on a road
쭉 진진하다 = to go straight (“쭉” is an adverb that is put in sentences to emphasize that one goes straight)

Examples:
건물을 지나가서 오른 쪽으로 가지 말고 계속 직진하세요
= Go past the building, then don’t turn right, but keep going straight

이 길로 쭉 직진하면 그 박물관이 있을 거예요
= If you go straight down this road, the museum will be there

인생에서는 직진뿐만 아니라 가끔씩은 돌아가는 것도 필요해요
= In life, people need to return to things sometimes too, not just go straight

올라가다 = to go up

Common Usages:
언덕을 올라가다 = to go up a hill
계단을 올라가다 = to go up stairs

Examples:
저는 좀 더 올라갈 거예요 = I’m going to go a little bit higher
무대에 같이 올라가자 = Let’s go onto the stage together
제가 산을 올라가는 길이에요 = I am on my way (going) up the mountain

저희 집이 언덕에 있어서 매일 이 언덕을 올라가야 해서 힘들어요
= Our house is on a hill, so every day I need to go up this hill, and it is difficult

이 엘리베이터를 타고 100층에 올라가면 10초밖에 안 걸려요
= If you take this elevator to the 100th floor, it only takes 10 seconds

고향에 갔다가 서울에 올라가는 길에 휴게소에 들렸어요
= I went to my hometown, and on my way back up to Seoul, I popped into a rest stop

올라오다 = to come up

Examples:
엘리베이터를 사용해 7층에 올라오세요 = Take the elevator up to the 7th floor
개미가 제 팔을 타고 제 어깨로 올라와서 깜짝 놀랐어요 = I was surprised because a spider got on my arm and came up to my shoulder

올려다보다 = to look up

Examples:
칠판을 올려다보세요 = Look up to the board

슬기는 키가 작아서 남편을 쳐다볼 때 마다 올려다봐야 해요
= Seulgi is short, so every time she looks at her husband, she needs to look up

콘서트에 가서 뒷좌석에 앉으면 잘 안 보여서 스크린을 올려다 봐요
= When you go to a concert and sit in the back, you can’t see well so you need to look up to the screen

후들거리다 = to shake, to tremble

Common Usages:
다리가 후들거리다 = for one’s legs to shake

Examples:
고소공포증이 있으면 높은 곳에 올라가면 다리가 후들거려요
= If you are afraid of heights, when you go (up to) somewhere high, your legs shake

무서운 장면을 보면 다리가 후들거려서 서 있을 수가 없어요
= When I watch scary movies my legs shake so I can’t (even) stand up

남용하다 = to abuse

The noun form of this word (“남용”) translates to “abuse”
The pronunciation of this word is closer to “나묭하다”

Common Usages:
약물을 남용하다 = to abuse drugs (drugs for medicine)
권력을 남용하다 = to abuse one’s power

Examples:
권력을 남용하지 마세요 = Don’t abuse your power/authority

법의 구멍을 남용해서 이익을 얻는 사람들이 많아요
= There are many people that abuse holes in the law to get benefits

어떠한 약이라도 필요 이상으로 남용하면 건강에 좋지 않아요
= It doesn’t matter when drug (medicine) it is, if you abuse the drug more than you need, it is not good for your health

감시하다 = to monitor, to watch

The noun form of this word (“감시”) translates to “surveillance”

Common Usages:
감시카메라 = surveillance camera

Examples:
보안을 위해 대통령을 내일까지 감시하세요 = For security, watch the president until tomorrow

이 가게는 비싼 물건을 팔기 때문에 항상 이 가게를 감시하는 사람이 있어요
= There is always a person watching this store because this store sells expensive things

한국에 공공장소에는 대부분 범죄를 방지하기 위한 감시카메라가 설치되어 있어요
= In most public places in Korea, there are surveillance cameras installed to prevent most crimes

Adjectives:
부끄러워하다 = to be shy

Notes: Notes: ~아/어하다 is sometimes added to adjectives when they describe an emotion experienced by another person. This is discussed more in Lesson 105.

Common Usages:
부끄러워하지 마세요 = Don’t be shy

Examples:
잘생긴 소년이 소녀에게 말을 걸자 그 소녀는 매우 부끄러워했어요
= The handsome boy talked with the girl, and the girl was very shy

이 가수가 처음 데뷔 무대에서 노래했을 때 매우 부끄러워했어요
= When the singer sang her first song (her debut) on stage, she was very shy

슬퍼하다 = to be sad

Notes: Notes: ~아/어하다 is sometimes added to adjectives when they describe an emotion experienced by another person. This is discussed more in Lesson 105.

Examples:
오늘이 유쾌한 날이라서 슬퍼하지 마세요
= Today is a delightful day, so don’t be sad

동등하다 = to be equal

Common Usages:
동등한 권리 = equal rights
동등하게 나누다/주다 = to give/hand out equally

Examples:
한 사람에게 다 주지 말고 사람들에게 동등하게 나누세요
= Don’t give them all to one person, hand/divide them out evenly

유쾌하다 = to be pleasant, to be delightful, to be enjoyable

Examples:
오늘이 유쾌한 날이라서 슬퍼하지 마세요 = Today is a delightful day, so don’t be sad
이 사람은 제가 만난 사람 중에 제일 유쾌한 사람이에요 = This person is one of the most pleasant people I’ve ever met

온순하다 = to be gentle

Notes: This word is sort of a mix between a “nice” personality and something that is “tame” in a way that it is easy to take care of. Therefore, it is kind of strange to use this word directly to describe a person, as it kind of implies that you are “taming” or “controlling” the person.

Examples:
그 강아지가 온순해 보여서 한 번 만져 보세요 = That dog looks calm/gentle, so try touching it
이 애기는 다른 신생아들보다 아주 온순해요 = That baby is very gentle compared to other infants

Adverbs and Other Words:
먼저 = first, in advance

Translation: first, in advance

Common Usages:
먼저 가세요 = (You) go first
먼저 갈게요 = I’ll leave first
밥 먼저 먹을게요 = I’ll eat first

Examples:
나는 먼저 할래 = I’m going to do it first/I want to do it first
그 아주머니가 우리에게 음식을 먼저 주었으면 좋겠어요 = I wish that lady gave us the food first
그것을 하려면 먼저 부장님께 물어봐야 돼요 = In order to do that, you need to ask the boss first

하지만 펭귄이 있는 곳은 동물원 입구에서 멀다고 하니 아빠와 나는 우선 다른 동물들을 먼저 봤다
= But, (because) it was said that the place where the penguins are is far from the entrance of the zoo, we saw other animals first

오른 = right

Common Usages:
오른쪽 = right side
오른손 = right hand
오른발 = right foot
오른편 = the right side

Examples:
건물을 지나가서 오른 쪽으로 가세요 = Go past the building, then go right
이 양말을 오른발에 신겨 주세요 = Please put this sock on my right foot
이 길에서 오른 쪽으로 가세요 = Turn right at this street

이번 역은 서울역. 서울역입니다. 내리실 문은 오른 쪽입니다
= This station is Seoul Station. Seoul Station. The doors will open on the right.

정답을 모르는 사람은 오른손을 올려 주세요
= The people who don’t know the answer, please raise your right hand

= left

Common Usages:
왼쪽 = left side
왼손 = left hand
왼발 = left foot
왼편 = the left side

Examples:
왼손만 주세요 = Give me only your left hand
우리는 사거리에서 왼쪽으로 돌았어요 = We turned left at the intersection

줄곧= continuously/constantly/all the time

Examples:
저는 줄곧 그 사람에게 사랑한다고 말했어요 = I continuously told that person that I love him

가만히 = to be still, to be motionless

Notes: As you know, one of the meanings of 있다 (the verb form) is to indicate that one is in or at a location. For example: 저는 집에 있어요 = I am at home

In English, we would never apply an imperative conjugation to this type of sentence. For example, if I wanted to tell somebody to “be” at home, I would never say “집에 있어! = Be at home!”

In English, I would rather use the word “to stay” to express this. For example: “Stay at home!”

However, in Korean it is common to attach an imperative ending to this meaning of 있다 to tell somebody to “stay” somewhere. 가만히 is often used in sentences like this to tell somebody to “stay” still. For example:

가만히 있어! = Stay still!/Don’t move!

Example:
저는 딸한테 움직이지 말고5분 동안 그냥 가만히 있으라고 했어요 = I told my daughter not to move for 5 minutes and to just sit/stay there

For help memorizing these words, try using our Memrise tool.

 

Introduction

In this lesson, you will learn how to tell people to do things. If you are a grammar buff, you know this as the Imperative Mood. If you’re not so into grammar, this “mood” is used when giving people commands/telling people what to do. You will learn how to do this in Korean, often in conjunction with the word ‘주다,’ which we will talk about in the next lesson.

 

The Imperative Mood

There are many (many!) ways to end a sentence. Depending on who you are speaking to (and a whole bunch of other factors) the way you end a sentence can vary tremendously. If you just wanted to say “I will eat rice,” some of the ways you can say this are:

나는 밥을 먹겠다
나는 밥을 먹겠어
저는 밥을 먹겠어요
저는 밥을 먹겠습니다
나는 밥을 먹을 것이다
나는 밥을 먹을 거다
나는 밥을 먹을 것이야
나는 밥을 먹을 거야
저는 밥을 먹을 것입니다
저는 밥을 먹을 겁니다
저는 밥을 먹을 것이에요
저는 밥을 먹을 거예요

All of those mean exactly the same thing. In the imperative mood as well, there are many different ways you can give a command to somebody. Let’s cover these from the least formal, to the most formal.

 

Imperative mood: Verb stem + ~아/어(요)

The easiest (and least formal) way to give a command in Korean is simply by adding ~아/어 to a verb stem. For example:

밥을 천천히 먹어 = Eat your food slowly
열심히 공부해! = Study hard!

Notice that in both English and Korean, the subject isn’t usually used in a sentence when giving a command. This is because the person you are giving the command to is usually the subject, so it is omitted.

You can use this form when you are giving a command to somebody who is younger than you or the same age as you, or somebody who you are close with. Saying something like “빨리 가!” to your superior would most likely warrant a slap in the face.

As you probably guessed, adding “~요” to the ends of the sentences above make them more formal. For example, more polite versions of the sentences above would be:

밥을 천천히 먹어요 = Eat your food slowly
열심히 공부해요! = Study hard!

In that same respect, the formal addition of ~(으)시 could be added to the construction as well. In these cases, ~아/어(요) is added to ~(으)시다. For example:

Original Word + ~(으)시다 + ~(으)시 +~아/어요
가다 가시다 가셔요
공부하다 공부하시다 공부하셔요
알다 아시다 아셔요
찾다 찾으시다 찾으셔요
걷다 걸으시다 걸으셔요
눕다 누우시다 누우셔요

Notice that these imperative conjugations are no different than any regular present tense conjugation. For example, the following two sentences are simply conjugated into the present tense, but the addition to the verb is exactly the same as an imperative conjugation:

저는 월요일마다 운동해요 = I exercise every Monday
저의 할머니가 여기에 자주 안 오셔요 = My grandmother doesn’t come here often

In these cases, distinguishing between a regular sentence and an imperative sentence is done through context. When you first learn this, you think it would be impossible to do, but trust me; it is easy to distinguish by considering the situation.

Here are some examples using everything presented so far:

이것을 봐 = Look at this
이것을 봐요 = Look at this
이것을 보셔요 = Look at this

빨리 올라와 = Come up quick
빨리 올라와요 = Come up quick
빨리 올라오셔요 = Come up quick

먼저 올라가 = Go up first (you can go up first)
먼저 올라가요 = Go up first (you can go up first)
먼저 올라가셔요 = Go up first (you can go up first)

이 길에서 직진해 = Go straight on this road
이 길에서 직진해요 = Go straight on this road
이 길에서 직진하셔요 = Go straight on this road

Although they differ in their respective levels of politeness, all of the above are acceptable ways to make a command. That being said, each of the last examples (the one using ~(으)셔요) is less common. Instead, the construction of ~(으)셔요 is often pronounced and written as ~(으)세요, which we will discuss next.

 

Imperative Mood: Verb stem + ~(으)세요

If you have been studying Korean for a while (and if you are here on Lesson 40 you probably have been), you are probably already quite familiar with the ~(으)세요 form. This is one of the first things people learn when they study Korean, but I waited until Lesson 40 to teach it to you. Trust me, there is a method to my madness.

In the previous section, you learned how to use ~(으)셔요 as a formal way to make a command. These days, especially in speech but also in basically all forms of Korean, it is much more common to pronounce and write ~(으)셔요 as ~(으)세요. This can only be done when you see ~(으)셔요 and not with any other form that ~(으)시다 can create. For example, each of the following are the same:

가셔요 = 가세요
공부하셔요 = 공부하세요

However,

가셨어요 can not be said as “가셨으세요”
가셔 cannot be said as”가세”
가시다 can not be said as “가세다”

I will say it again: Only when you see “~(으)셔요” can you use “~(으)세요.

As you learned previously, one of the reasons why you would add “~(으)셔요” to a word is if you were making a command. For example:

이것을 보셔요 = Look at this
빨리 올라오셔요 = Come up quick
이 길에서 직진하셔요 = Go straight on this road

This means that ~(으)세요 can replace ~(으)셔요 in each of the examples above. For example:

이것을 보세요 = Look at this
빨리 올라오세요 = Come up quick
이 길에서 직진하세요 = Go straight on this road

More examples:

수고하세요! = Work hard! (A common greeting when people leave a place of business)
열심히 운동하세요! = Work out hard!
먼저 가세요! = Go first
칠판을 올려다보세요 = Look up to the board
시선을 돌리세요 = Turn away your eyes
보안을 위해 대통령을 내일까지 감시하세요 = For security, watch the president until tomorrow

Imperative endings are often added to 있다 to command somebody to “stay” in a place or in a state. As you know, 있다 is often an adjective, but there are times when it is considered a verb. When telling somebody to “stay” like this, 있다 is seen as a verb.  The fact that it is a verb doesn’t really matter. However, it’s always good to know what types of words you are dealing with. Below are some examples:

집에 있어! = Stay at home (be at home!)
잠깐 여기 있어 = Stay here for a second
그냥 집에 있어 = Just stay at home

The adverb 가만히 (to stay still or to not move) is often used in sentences like this to tell somebody to “stay” still. For example:

가만히 있어! = Stay still!/Don’t move!

As you learned in the previous lesson, 계시다 is the formal equivalent of this usage of 있다. When ~아/어요 is added to 계시다 to create a command, the construction 계셔요 is formed which you now know can be presented as “계세요.” This is where the expression “안녕히 계세요” (which translates to “stay in peace”) comes from.

The majority of Korean learners don’t know that ~(으)셔요 and ~(으)세요 are equivalent ways to end a sentence. To be honest, you don’t really need to know this. The use of ~(으)세요 in Korean is much more common when making a command so as an early learner of Korean it isn’t immediately important. For now, I would suggest using the ~(으)세요 form when giving a command to a person who deserves respect, but at the same time be aware of the ~(으)셔요 form in case it comes up.

Now… this brings us to another problem.

~(으)셔요 can be added to make a command.
~(으)셔요 is also a regular present tense conjugation. For example, these sentences are acceptable:

나의 엄마는 매일 운동해 = My mother exercises every day
저의 엄마는 매일 운동해요 = My mother exercises every day

But by adding ~(으)시다, the following is also acceptable:

저의 엄마는 매일 운동하셔요 = My mother exercises every day

I will say it again: when you see “~(으)셔요” can you use “~(으)세요.

Therefore, the sentence above could also be used as:

저의 엄마는 매일 운동하세요 = My mother exercises every day

This can be applied to any situation. For example:

네, 가능하셔요 = Yes, that is possible
네, 가능하세요 = Yes, that is possible
(The above sentences are often heard when you ask if you can do something [like use a particular card or combine multiple coupons] at a store/restaurant)

이분은 저의 엄마이셔요 = This person is my mother
이분은 저의 엄마이세요 = This person is my mother

선생님, 어디 가셔요? = Teacher, where are you going?
선생님, 어디 가세요? = Teacher, where are you going?

그 사람이 언제 오셔요? = When is that person coming?
그 사람이 언제 오세요? = When is that person coming?

Adding ~(으)세요 (or ~(으)시다 for that matter) to a stem can create irregulars. If it is added to a word that follows the ㄷ irregular, the following occurs:

걷다 = to walk
걷다 + ~(으)세요 = 걷 + 으 + 세요
걷 + 으 + 세요 = 걸으세요
걸으세요 = walk!

If ~(으)세요 is added to a word that follows the ㅅirregular, the following occurs::

짓다 = to build
짓다 + ~(으)세요 = 짓 + 으 + 세요
짓 + 으 + 세요 = 지으세요
지으세요 = build!

Refer back to Lesson 7 on irregulars to review these concepts.

One weird thing, is that people rarely (if ever) say ~(으)세요 connected to 먹다 (to eat). Instead, it is much more natural to add ~(으)세요 to 들다 (which is a more formal way to say “eat”). Another change occurs when adding ~(으)세요 to verbs that follow the ㄹ irregular:

들다 = to eat (formal)
들다 + ~(으)세요 = 들 + 세요
들 + 세요 = 드세요
드세요 = Eat!

I love tables! Let’s look at another table that shows how words change when ~(으)세요 is added to them. I specifically chose irregular words:

Irregular Verb + ~아/어 +~(으)세요
짓다 (build) 지어 지으세요
걷다 (walk) 걸어 걸으세요
듣다 (listen) 들어 들으세요
잠그다 (lock) 잠가 잠그세요
고르다 (choose) 골라 고르세요
만들다 (make) 만들어 만드세요
열다 (open) 열어 여세요
팔다 (sell) 팔아 파세요
눕다 (lay down) 누워 누우세요

Let’s look at another ending you can use to make a command.

 

 

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Imperative mood: Verb stem + ~아/어라

Another way to give a command in Korean is by adding ~아/어라 to a verb stem. The formality is similar to the ~아/어 form you learned previously. Some examples:

빨리 가라! = Go fast!
그렇게 해라! = Do it like that
내 말을 들어라 = Listen to what I say
밥을 먼저 먹어라 = Eat (rice) first (you can eat first)

However, the ~아/어라 form is generally used by much older people (parents or grandparents) when they are giving orders to younger people. As I said, the formality is very similar (if not the same) as using ~아/어, but I would much prefer to use ~아/어 over ~아/어라.  One time I said something to my girlfriend like “가라” and she just laughed and said “Who are you? My grandfather?”

If you want to give a command to somebody in a formal way, check out the next section.

 

 

 

Imperative Mood: Verb stem + ~(으)십시오

Adding ~(으)십시오 to a verb stem is done in the same manner as when adding ~(으)세요. That is, the same irregulars come in to play. However, adding ~(으)십시오 to a verb stem allows you to give a command very formally. You will most likely only use this form in a few circumstances, as it is usually reserved for times when speaking to people who deserve a ridiculous amount of respect. If you were to meet your girlfriend/boyfriend’s grandparents for the very first time, you might use this ending. You will also see it sometimes in government buildings/stores/restaurants on signs telling you to “come again” or stuff like that.

For example:
여기서 내리십시오 = Get off here (I think this is the message that is broadcasted in the Seoul subway at every stop, telling you to “get off”)

Now that you know how to say “do this,” it is time to learn how to say “don’t do this”

 

Negative Imperative Mood: ~지 말다

You can also use the imperative mood to make a negative command. In these sentences, you can tell somebody not do something. These sentences require the use of the word “말다.” 말다 can be used in other situations as well, but I will present those to you as they become important (for example, you will see 말다  used to eliminate a choice in Lesson 73 and used with ~든지 in Lesson 106).

When used to make a negative command, ~지 말다 should be added to the stem of a word. For example:

공부하지 말다
가지 말다
먹지 말다

In order to make those constructions a command, you should use one of the imperative conjugations that I taught you earlier in the lesson.

Let’s look at how this is done with a simple word first. If you want to tell somebody to “go,” you should add one of the many ‘imperative mood’ conjugations to the word “가다.” For example (in order of formality):

가다 + ~아/어 = 가!
가다 + ~아/어라 = 가라!
가다 + ~아/어요 = 가요!
가다 + ~(으)세요 = 가세요! (가셔요)
가다 + ~(으)십시오 = 가십시오!

The same is done when telling somebody not to do something. If you want to tell somebody to “not go,” you should add ~지 말다 and conjugate it using one of the many ‘imperative mood’ conjugations. For example:

1) 가지 말다 + ~아/어 = 가지 말아! 가지 마!
2) 가지 말다 + ~아/어라 = 가지 말아라! 가지 마라
3) 가지 말다 + ~아/어요 = 가지 말요! 가지 마요!
4) 가지 말다 + ~(으)세요 = 가지 마세요!
5) 가지 말다 + ~(으)십시오 = 가지 마십시오!

Notice that numbers 1, 2 and 3 go against the normal grammatical rules of Korean. 말다 is an irregular verb in this respect and to my knowledge no other verb follows this pattern.
(These irregular conjugations only apply when specifically attaching the additions shown above. In all other situations, 말다 follows the irregular like a normal verb ending in .)

All five of those conjugations are possible. However, the two most common conjugations that you will hear are number 1 and number 4. If you are speaking to somebody informally, you will most likely hear “가지 마.” If you are speaking to somebody formally, you will most likely hear “가지 마세요.”

Some examples of this negative imperative mood being used:

너무 빨리 먹지 마세요 = Don’t eat your food too fast!
부끄러워하지 마세요 = Don’t be shy!
그렇게 하지 마! = Don’t do it like that!
집에 가지 마! = Don’t go home!
앉지 마! = Don’t sit down!
여기에 오줌을 싸지 마세요 = Don’t pee here
권력을 남용하지 마세요 = Don’t abuse your power/authority
오늘이 유쾌한 날이라서 슬퍼하지 마세요 = Today is a delightful day, so don’t be sad
사람들을 학력 수준으로 평가하지 마세요 = Don’t judge people on the basis of education level
그 학생들에게 허가를 해 주지 마세요 = Don’t give those students permission

Before we finish this lesson, let’s talk about some specific ways these imperative sentences can be used.

 

~지 말고

In Lesson 17, you learned the purpose of adding ~고 to connect two clauses or ideas. For example:

저는 밥을 먹고 갈 거예요 = I will eat then go
저는 자고 한국어를 공부했어요 = I slept then studied Korean

You can also add ~고 to 말다 to connect the negative command with another clause. The clause after ~지 말고 is typically a positive command. This type of sentence is used when you want to tell somebody what not to do, and then also tell them what they should do. For example:

매일 같은 운동을 하지 말고 많이 쉬세요 = Don’t do the same exercise every day, and get lots of rest
그렇게 하지 말고 내 말을 들어봐 = Don’t do it like that, and listen to what I have to say
한 사람에게 다 주지 말고 사람들과 동등하게 나누세요 = Don’t give them all to one person, hand/divide them out evenly

 

Giving Directions

Now that you know how to give people commands, you are able to give people directions. Check out the following list for commonly used direction-like sentences:

오른 쪽으로 가세요 = Go right
왼 쪽으로 가세요 = Go left
직진하세요 = Go straight

건물을 지나가서 오른 쪽으로 가세요 = Go past the building, then go right
건물을 지나가서 오른 쪽으로 가지 말고 계속 직진하세요 = Go past the building, then don’t turn right, but keep going straight

 

 

 

The Imperative Mood with ~아/어 보다

In Lesson 32, you learned how to add ~아/어 보다 to words to create a meaning that is similar to ““attempt/try.” For example, you learned these sentences:

엄마가 요리한 음식을 먹어 봤어? = Did you try the food mom cooked?
결혼하기 위해 남자들을 만나 봤어 = In order to get married, I tried meeting a lot of men

Just because of the meaning of “attempt,” it is very common to see an imperative ending attached to ~아/어 보다. For example:

그것을 확인해 봐!! = Try checking that
이것을 먹어 봐! = Try eating this!

Although the typical translation of “~아/어 보다” in these cases is “try…” it is often eliminated. For example, this sentence:

이것을 먹어 봐! Could be translated as: “Try eating this!” or just “Eat this!”

Especially when used in the least formal imperative form (~아/어 봐), it is very common to see this used simply as a command without any meaning of “try/attempt.” Nonetheless, the meaning of “try/attempt” is often very subtle and doesn’t really change the meaning of much in the sentence.

Here are some more examples:

여기 와 보세요 = Come here (Try coming here)
지금 앉아 봐 = Sit down (Try sitting down)
문을 열어 봐 = Open the door (Try opening the door)
먼저 가 봐 = Go first (Try going first)
이거를 봐 봐 = Look at this (Try looking at this)
이것을 드셔 보세요 = Eat this (Try eating this)
이 차를 마셔 보세요 = Drink this tea (Try drinking this tea)
이 제품 수준을 높여 보세요 = Try to raise the level/standard of this product
그 강아지가 온순해 보여서 한 번 만져 보세요 = That dog looks calm/gentle, so try touching it
직원이랑 잠깐 얘기해 봐 = Try talking with a staff member
이 물체가 무엇인지 생각해 보세요 = Try thinking about what this object is

That’s it!

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