Formal Korean Possessives
Korean grammar has different possessives for honorific and non-honorific. You won’t have many chance to use non-honorific grammars since you are a beginner. So I won’t explain much for non honorific possessives in this lesson.
Formal Possessive : Of
의 is almost same meaning to ‘of’, but the order is a bit different.
|House of Jun||준의 집|
|House of I||나의 집|
|The Lord of The Ring||반지의 제왕|
Korean postposition 의 works same to English preposition ‘Of’ but it also means possession without possessive pronouns such as mine, yours. The order of each word is exact opposite.
준 = Jun
의 = Of
집 = House
준의 집 = Jun’s house
When you want to mean possession then it works like house of mine, pen of yours. But… it’s not so important lol. This is what foreigners learn in ordinary Korean lessons but Koreans really don’t use it on a daily life. It sounds quite formal just like English!
1st Person Possessive : 제
Koreans prefer to say ‘my’ too in casual conversations. Honorific possessive determiner in Korean grammar is ‘제’. You might be confused because 제 is also a subject pronoun. Yes, it’s same but when you use it with other word without a marker then it works as a possessive.
|My||저 + ㅣ
|나 + ㅣ
|My house / home||제 집||내 집|
Non-honorific possessive determiner is ‘내’. Koreans use it with honorific sometimes to sound more casual.
House & Home
Korean language doesn’t have a word home. 집(House) also means home.
2nd Person Possessives with Honorific
In Korean pronouns lesson, you learned that Koreans don’t use pronouns much and they prefer to use their name and titles like Mr., Dr. …etc. Korean Possessives follow the same rule. Korean possessive determiners don’t have a 2nd person form with honorific. So, only 의(of) can be used.
|Your||Name + Title + 의(of) + Noun|
|Teacher Jun’s house||준 선생님의 집|
|Ms. Natalia’s shop||나탈리아 씨의 가게|
You must not forget about titles. If you skip a title then it’s non-honorific but formal. Lol non-honorific but formal. That’s not a good combo.
Real Korean Way
A problem is, no one use ‘의’ normally in conversations because that’s too formal. Even when it’s formal, Korean don’t use it much. Koreans often drop possessives for 2nd, 3rd persons.
|Your||Name + Title + Noun|
|Teacher Jun’s house||준 선생님 집|
|Ms. Natalia’s shop||나탈리아 씨 가게|
With 3rd Possessives with Honorific
it follows a same rule to 2nd person with Korean honorific. EASY!
Possessive Pronouns : -것 / – 꺼
Korean grammar doesn’t have possessive pronouns. So it uses ‘것’ which means ‘thing’ or ‘stuff’. Korean grammar works simpler with this. If you want to say ‘mine’, then combine ‘1st person possessive’ and ‘thing’ like this : 제 것 (‘my thing’ or could be ‘my stuff’). 것 never changes. That’s a Korean way.
However, 것 sounds too formal so Koreans use another for a casual conversation.
|Mine / Yours / His / Hers||것 + 이에요
= 제 것이에요
|꺼 + 예요
= 제 꺼예요
|That car is mine||저 차는 제 것이에요||저 차는 제 꺼예요|
|That car is Jun’s||저 차는 준씨 것이에요||저 차는 준씨 꺼예요|
Informal + Honorific
Maybe you doubt why there is 제 instead of 내 in 저 차는 제 꺼예요. Informal Korean doesn’t mean it’s non-honorific and you still can use informal Korean with Honorific. Of course, you can just mix them up like this.
저 차는 내 것이에요
저 차는 내 꺼예요 (Sounds more natural)
* 것 sounds formal / 꺼 sounds informal
- Chris M
- Emily M
- Carly Sisson