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Copula Endings Posted by on Sep 8, 2009 in Grammar

For today’s post we’re going to look at some copula endings that are bound to come up in your quest to learn Korean.

The copula ending ~이에요 and ~예요 comes up a lot when you want to say, ‘it’s’ or ‘is’ in Korean. For example, the sentence, “It’s a present” would be 선물이에요. 선물 is the noun present, and 이에요 is equivalent to ‘it’s’. Whether you use 이에요 or 예요 depends on whether the noun ends in a consonant or a vowel. In this example the word 선물 ends in a consonant. Therefore, you’re going to use the 이에요 ending.

Through process of elimination, you’ve probably guessed that 예요 is used after words that end in vowels. If you’ve guessed this, you’re absolutely right. Take a look at the word 여자 which means ‘female/woman’ in Korean. If you want to say, “It’s a girl”, in Korean this is, 여자예요.

Now let’s add this knowledge to some other bits of grammar we’ve learned so far. Let’s say, “MInji is a girl” in Korean. This would be, 민지가 여자예요. (민지 = Minji, = subject marking particle, 여자 = girl, 예요 = is.)

One piece of advice I’d give to beginners of Korean is to make a chart of all the Korean vowels and consonants in separate columns. If you’ve read some of the previous posts on Korean grammar, you’ll notice that there are different endings depending on whether the noun ends in a consonant or vowel. That’s why it’s important to have a solid grasp of the difference between consonants and vowels.

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