[Grammar] -요 vs 습니다

-요 and 습니다 are both polite sentence endings, but they are used for different situations.

-요 is used for friendly/informal situations. Koreans use -요 for normal/daily conversations, you can use this to anyone who are older than you or you want to express respect.

On the other hand, 습니다 is used more for formal situations like work meetings, conferences, writing, army base, and TV news etc.

Basic form Friendly/informal Formal
Noun이다 이에요/예요 입니다
Verb/adjective다 아요/어요/해요 습니다/ㅂ니다


For example,

Friendly/informal Formal
저는 이미나예요. 저는 이미나입니다.
진주는 제 친구예요. 진주는 제 친구입니다.
이건 가방이에요. 이것은 가방입니다.
이 학교는 좋아요. 이 학교는 좋습니다.
컴퓨터가 있어요. 컴퓨터가 있습니다.
피자가 맛있어요. 피자가 맛있습니다.

If you want to learn more about 이에요, please click here.

If you want to learn more about 아요/어요/해요, please click here.

If you want to learn more about 습니다/ㅂ니다, please click here.

If you want to learn more about the honorific speech, please click here.

[Grammar] 저는 폴이에요. I am Paul.

저 : I, me
는 : topic particle (click here to learn more)
폴 : Paul
이에요. : a sentence ending, it means “is/are/am”


1. Use :  N(consonant ending) +이에요
                N(vowel ending) + 예요

2. Meaning : Be verb like is, are, am (Polite way and informal way(friendly))

  • There is no space between noun and 예요/이에요
  • In Korean, there is no difference between is/are/am, so you don’t need to think about the subject at this moment.
  • Present tense

3. Example :  의(vowel ending) +예요 -> 의사예요 ~is/are/am a doctor

카메(vowel ending) +예요 -> 카메라예요   ~is a camera

미국 사(consonant ending) + 이에요 -> 미국 사람이에요 ~is/are/am an American

선생(consonant ending) +이에요 -> 선생님이에요  ~is/are/am a teacher

4. You can use this as a question.

eg) 엄마가 의사예요?  Is your mom a doctor?
이거 카메라예요?  This is a camera?
이름이 뭐예요? What is your name? 
이 사람이 누구예요? Who is this person?
친구가 선생님이에요?  Is your friend a teacher?
저는 고려대학교 학생이에요?  I am Korea University student.
민수 씨 형이에요? Is he your(Minsu) older brother?
어느 나라 사람이에요? Which country person are you? Where are you from?


For more sentences and audio files, please click here.