4. Speech Styles & Ending

In previous lesson, you saw almost Korean sentences end with -어요. It’s an unique feature that Korean language has, called speech styles or ending. You will learn this special Korean grammar.


Speech Styles

Koreans can express any regional dialect, their mood or attitude that their social position has to have in the text thanks to endings and speech styles, even if you don’t read a context. Perhaps you might be thinking that English or your language can do it too. But, Korean grammar has really another level. Let’s check them out with me!

This AD helps Korean Jun to keep making all tutorials free


= Basic form that you can often see when you look up words in dictionaries.


나중에 문자하기
Text him later
= Task to do


나중에 문자하겠습니다
I’ll text you later
= Polite and formal


나중에 문자할게
I’ll text you later
= Conversational informal


나중에 문자
I’ll text you later
= Very informal or Objective description style to record events


나중에 문자할겡
I’ll text you later
= Conversational informal which sounds cute, some young people use it to speak in a soft and cute tone


나중에 문자할게요
I’ll text you later
= Polite and soft and friendly
And this is the tone we will learn in this course.


See? Another level. It might be confusing you so much right now. It will be so fun once you get used to it.


The funny thing is that this is the reason why Koreans get so confused when they learn another language because of exact opposite reasons. Many Koreans even think almost European languages has an informal form only or they don’t have honorific at all.


This AD helps Korean Jun to keep making all tutorials free

Then What’s Ending?

Ending is another term of speech styles. Ending is a term for grammar. Speech style is a term for literature.

How Many Speech Styles Are There?

You can’t count them. Native Koreans always make new ones and some people have their own style that other people don’t use. Some of them are standard Korean but many of them aren’t. It’s another way to express ourselves beyond vocabularies.

Which Style Do I Have To Use?

I always recommend students to learn only 해요 style first. It’s the most basic and useful Korean speech style that you can use anytime in any place, in any situation without any trouble. It’s exactly what you need as a Korean beginner. Most common, not too formal, not too informal, friendly and still honorific.


Some Korean teachers and textbooks often teach ‘합니다’, ‘입니다’ style first. But that’s very formal and less friendly. Koreans don’t actually speak 합니다 speech style often in a daily conversation.

해요 speech style : 해요체

You are learning this entire course with 해요 speech style. It’s informal conversational honorific. I can describe it’s something between formal language and informal language. Not so formal so Koreans can speak this way in a casual conversation but not so informal so you can use this tone to anybody. It sounds quite friendly but also polite.


나중에 문자해
Text me later


저녁 먹었어?
Did you have dinner?


I’m bored


저는 영화 볼거예
I’m going to watch a movie


한국어 공부했어
I studied Korean


You can recognize this Korean speech style very easily. You can just try to find if a sentence ends with 요. And that’s why it’s called ‘해요’ speech style or 해요체 in Korean.

This AD helps Korean Jun to keep making all tutorials free

Unique Korean Cultures with 해요 Style

1. Usually, Underage Koreans in school feel very awkward to use 해요 to another same age kids or younger kids than them. They use it only to older people or strangers on the street.


2. After getting a job, Koreans think the social life begins at this moment, 해요 style becomes more common in their life.


3. Often young Koreans, especially early 20s, consider that speaking 해요 style indicates they are not so close to someone else so they offer others to speak with an informal style (반말) as a first step to befriend. You will learn this culture in details when you learn Korean informal speech style later with Korean Jun.


Korean culture can be super tricky with a social life. Of course, it’s not easy in any culture but Korean culture has so many rules and manners for that. You will find it very difficult but also sooooooo interesting.