Time to cover a long neglected, yet essential language aspect: expressing demands, obligations, permissions and prohibitions. We kick this important topic of with a very basic set of Korean grammar patterns: -(으)세요 & -지 마세요. Time to politely ask people to not do something or to do something. Let’s take a gander.

Please Do -(으)세요

Asking people to do something is a very important skills. Asking people to do something politely is an even more important skill. With the Korean grammar pattern -(으)세요 you can do just that. In essence this pattern is translated into English as “Please (do)…”. It is the Korean, polite imperative. Let us take an example of a polite imperative:

Example: 책을 15쪽을 보세요.

Translation: Please  look at page 15 of your book.

Please Don’t -지 마세요

The negative form of the -(으)세요 is the Korean pattern -지 마세요. This is also a polite imperative, but it is a polite imperative to not do something. Thus the English translation of this pattern is “Please don’t…”. Let us look at an example:

Example: 약을 먹으면 술을 마시지 마세요!

Translation: Please don’t drink alcohol when taking pills!

The How To

The patterns -(으)세요 & -지 마세요 are fairly easy to use. We will first start discussing the conjugation beginning with the easiest: -지 마세요. For this pattern you simply need the verb stem and attach to it -지 마세요. That is all to -지 마세요.

For -(으)세요, though, you need to consider batchims. If the verb stem ends in a batchim, you need to use the ending -으세요, but if it in a vowel you need to add -세요. For this pattern you also need to keep the irregular verbs in mind, more specifically the ㄹ irregular verbs and the ㄷ irregular verbs.

However, there are a few things you need to keep in mind as well. These imperatives cannot be used with adjectives, nor with the copula verb 이다. If you want to still use adjectives with this form you will have to change them into verbs by using the pattern -어하다/아하다. Yet, a select few adjectives are used idiomatically with form without changing them into adjectives such as 건강하다 and 행복하다.

For these forms, it also might be handy if you know the formal style as they are often used as well. The formal style of -(으)세요 is -(으)십세오, while the the negative form is -지 마마십시오.

Lastly, since this Korean verb pattern is technically nothing more than the honorific form, some Korean verbs will take a special from due to this. This is only true for -(으)세요, not its negative version. These verbs are among others 말하다 (말씀하세요), 자다 (주무세요), 먹다 (드세요), 마시다 (드세요), 있다 (계세요), etc.

Demands and Permissions: -(으)세요 & -지 마세요
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A short overview on -(으)세요 & -지 마세요.