Informal Polite Form of Korean Verbs and Adjectives

Informal polite speech level is the most common form of speech in daily conversation. It is also called Haeyoche(해요체). It is mainly used between strangers to demonstrate some kind of social distance, or when talking to people more senior to show respect.

When you look up a verb or adjective in a dictionary, it is always written with a 다 ending. In order to conjugate a Korean verb or adjective to its informal polite form, identify its alternate stem and use 어-type conjugation to attach 아요 or 어요 to it.

어-Type Conjugation
  • If the last vowel of the stem is 아 or 오, attach 아요 to the stem.
  • If the last vowel is 으 and its previous vowel is 아 or 오, attach 아요 to the stem.
  • Otherwise, attach 어요 to it.
  • Do vowel contraction if necessary.

Exception: Use original stems to conjugate ㄹ-irregular verbs and adjectives.*

Examples (more)

Verbs/Adjectives Dictionary Form Meaning Original Stem Alternate Stem Informal Polite Form Vowel Contraction
Regular 먹다 eat 먹어요 N
하다 do 해요 Y
ㅂ-Irregular 춥다 cold 추우 추워요 Y
ㅅ-Irregular 낫다 better 나아요 N
ㄷ-Irregular 듣다 listen 들어요 N
ㅎ-Irregular 그렇다 to be so 그렇 그러 그래요 Y
ㄹ-Irregular 달다 sweet 달아요* N
으-Irregular 쓰다 write 써요 Y
르-Irregular 고르다 choose 고르 골르 골라요 Y

Compare the sentences of using the formal polite form and informal polite form of saying the same meanings:


Related Grammar Points