Possessive - 의

Possessive - 의

Rule

● Add 의 to a noun. (Note: mainly used in a written form)

Eg.

  • 나 + 의 → 나의 = my
  • 너 + 의 → 너의 = your
  • 그 + 의 → 그의 = his
  • 그녀 + 의 → 그녀의 = her
However, in most spoken Korean, they are simplified for easier pronunciation.

Eg.
  • 나의 → 내
  • 너의 → 네 (pronounced 니)
  • 그의/그녀의 → 쟤,걔 (not commonly used)
  • 누가(who) → 누구 (whose)
For all possessives, only 내 and 네(니) are commonly used in spoken Korean. In most cases 의 is omitted.

Eg.
  • My car = 내 차
  • Your shoes = 네 신발 (pronounced 니 신발)
  • Michael's car = 마이클의 자동차 (written form) or 마이클 차 (spoken form)
Notice that 의 has been omitted, and 자동차 has been simplified to 차.
  • 누구 차야? (Whose car is it?)
  • 마이클 (차) (You can either answer by saying 마이클 or 마이클 차)
In spoken Korean, 'he/she' or 'his/her' are rarely (almost never) used. Instead, his/her name is addressed as a subject in a first sentence, and then omitted for sentences following. This is the same for possessive forms. Instead of 'his/her', 'Michael's/Lisa's' are used.

Eg. 
  • Lisa's friend1: 리사 가방 진짜 예뻐. (Lisa's handbag is really pretty)
  • Lisa's friend2: 진짜? 나도 그거 사고 싶다. (Really? I, too, want to buy that)
Another thing to note is that 네 is attached to a personal name if a noun being possessed is a group/organisation. (Spoken Form)
  • Lisa's friend1: 리사네 집 진짜 커 (Lisa's house is really big)
  • Lisa's friend2: 리사네 학교도 커. (Lisa's school, too, is big)
Note: A school, house, company and country are some of the 'group/organisation' nouns that require 네 attached to a personal name which are being possessive. Any other personal items such as one's bag, car and so on do not need 네 attached to a personal name.

25 comments:

  1. Your posts are really helpful. I learned a lot from them. Are you going to continuing posting more entries?

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  2. Thank you so much for your help.

    I like your explications because I understand them.
    This is the first website who explain what foreigner need to understand. Because Korean grammar is not easy =o= and everybody cannot spell out it, thank you.

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  3. Hey Xue. You're welcome.

    And I'd like to thank you for your encouraging comment. =>

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  4. so it's SOOOOORT of like the japanese 'no'? ahh... or maybe not hhahaaa-

    thanks again for these grammar lessons!

    (where dyou find the time to do all this seriously lol)

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  5. 의 and no are equivalents essentially.

    However, I found that no in Japanese is usually not omitted in speech (ie. pronounced) whereas 의 is silent in spoken Korean.

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  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  7. Great posting, thank you and please keep on posting.!!!

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  8. thanks luke you did it very well..so easy to understand..many thanks!

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  9. How do you write "Sungjoon's girl"? Is it 성준의 여자?

    Thanks for the many lessons, Luke! They're really helpful & easy to understand. =D It will take many years before I know Korean proficiently. I've been learning on my own for over a year now and progress is slight (so I'm going to take a class for leisure this fall; at least it'll make me learn & have a better teaching approach than mine). ^^" I can read Hangul (very slowly), but have no idea of the meaning. How do you recommend learning comprehension? When I learned Spanish in high school, they started out with verb conjugation...but Korean is more difficult to learn primarily b/c of the non-western alphabet to which I'm used. ^^"

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  10. Thanks for your help! You're the best!

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  11. Hello. I love your blog, it's very helpful. I have a question though: My Korean friends use 누구 when meaning "who". Are they correct? Or should they be using 누가? thank you very much!

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  12. so if 나의 means 'my' , can i use 저의? because 나 is not as formal as 저 , and if i want to say something to someone i just knew and is not that close with , do i still use 나의 ?

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  13. Yes, 저의 should be used which is the polite form.
    And the short form is 제.

    For exmaple,
    제 가방이에요.
    It is my bag.

    (also, 나의's shortened form is 내. 내 가방 = my bag)

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  14. Hi Luke, once again thank for this great help to learn Korean!^^
    I'm still struggling with Rosetta Stone. 
    While looking through your possessive's section I still have some questions. You say 제 is short for 저의.
    In RS, in the same exercice one would find phrases such as:
    - 저희 아버지세요 which I thought meant either "this is my father" or he's my father".
    - 제 남동생이에요. Does this mean "He is" or "this is" my little brother?
    What does 저희 mean? 
    Google translate translates 저희 자전거가 검은색이에요 as "our bike is black". 
    But RS is using in another sentence 우리 아들이에요, 우리 for our.
    I'm very confused and not sure my questions seem clear, sorry. 
    In any case thank you soo much for this blog, it's an excellent help!^^

    ReplyDelete
  15. Hi Pippi,

    Here's my explanation. This is actually simpler than it seems.

    So,

    나의 = my (informal) = 내 (short)
    저의 = my (polite)= 제 (short)

    우리 = our (informal)
    저희 = our (polite)


    Therefore, 저희 아버지 means "our father"

    However, in Korean, people usually say 저희 아버지 rather than 제 아버지.

    It is a cultural thing. Koreans usually say 우리 아빠, 우리 엄마, 저희 아버지, 저희 어머니 rather than 내 엄마, 내 아빠, 제 아버지 or 제 어머니. I believe it is due to the distinct "group mindset" of Korean culture.

    So when you want to say "my mum", you wouldn't say 내 엄마 or 제 어머니 but rather 우리 엄마 or 저희 어머니.

    Therefore, although 우리 아들이에요 means "our son", you'd still say 우리 아들이에요 when you're talking about "my son."

    I think this use of "our" usually occurs when referring to a family member or any other group-ish things.

    For example,

    우리 아빠 (or 저희 아버지) = our dad (our father) rather than 내 아빠 or 제 아버지
    우리 엄마 = our mum (my mum)
    우리 아들 = our son (my son)
    우리 딸 = our daughter (my daughter)
    우리 나라 = 'Our country' (my contry) rather than 내 나라
    우리 말 = 'our language' (my language) rather than 내 말
    우리/저희 가족 = 'our family' (my family)
    우리/저희 학교 = 'our school' (my school)
    우리 집 = 'our house' (my house) rather than 내 집
    우리 강아지 = our puppy (pet)


    I hope this helps. :)

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  16. Hi again Luke.
    Your comment really did help, thank you very much!^^
    However you say that
    우리 and 저희 mean our (polite and informal), however when talking about us, how would you explain the difference between:
    1) 우라는 선생님이에요
    and
    2) 저희는 선생님이에요
    would it be possible that 1) is when you are talking about us as in "you and I", whilst 2) if when you introduce "us" to other people??

    Once again thank you sooo much for this great help!! And if there's anything I can do for you please let me know!

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  17. Hi Pippi,

    I think you have a good point there.

    In addition to what you've said above, I'd also add that

    1)우리는 선생님이에요.
    You can use this for both of these meanings.

    1) when you are talking about us as in "you and I",
    2) if when you introduce "us" to other people.

    But when using the 2nd meaning, you'd probably use it in instances such as when you're introducing yourself to children at primary school. (a bit informal situations)

    But I'd say that 저희 and 요 usually go together as they're the polite forms.


    In the case of
    2) 저희는 선생님이에요

    You could still use for both of these meanings.
    1) when you are talking about us as in "you and I",

    But mostly you'd use it when,
    2) when you introduce "us" to other people.

    But it all depends on the situation and context.

    Unless, it's an informal situation, just go with 저희 and 요 when polite forms are preferred.

    Overall, there is little difference between 우리 and 저희 except that they're polite and informal forms.


    I'm glad you find it helpful. :)
    한국어 공부 열심히 하세요~

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  18. Although it's late here are the answers to your questions:

    Aquafina:
    Hi Aquafina
    Yes, Sungjoon's girl is 성준의 여자.
    I recommend this resource for listening comprehension among others.
    http://www.talktomeinkorean.com/

    Chris:
    Hi Chris,
    누구 and 누가 both mean, "who." 누구 is usually used alone while 누가 is used in sentences.

    for example,
    누구? = Who?
    누가 먹었어? = Who ate it?

    I'm sorry for very late answers but here they are. =)

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  19. Can you also use 그녀들의?
    Or does nobody use it? XD

    PS: This blog is a-ma-zing!

    ReplyDelete
  20. Yes, you can use 그녀들의 for sure, though it'd be more likely to be used in writing rather than in normal conversations.

    If you want to say "their" in normal conversations, although it all depends on the context, use 걔네들의 as an informal form, 그분들의 as a polite form, or use the names of people you're referring to.

    For example, 학생들 거 = Students' things

    애들 거 = children's things

    선생님들 거 = teachers' things

    Note: 의 is usually dropped off in conversations.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Hi Luke,
    sorry about posting this question in this section, but I don't really know in which section it would fit, it's a follow up to my previous questions..

    It's about 저희 again!^^
    This time RS is showing me 4 pictures;
    1) A boy asking a doctor; 저희 의사세요?
    2) The doctor answers; 네.

    3) A boy asking a teacher; 저희 선생님이세요?
    4) The teacher answers; 네.

    If I understood right the translation would be;
    1) You are you a doctor? (polite form)
    2) Yes.
    3) Are you a teacher? (polite form)
    4) Yes.

    Why on earth is the boy using 저희?? It's supposed to mean "our" or have I just gotten everything completely wrong?^^

    And once again, thank you so much for all your great work Luke, you're the best!^^

    ReplyDelete
  22. Hi Pippi

    This is a late answer but I'll answer it anyway. :)

    Here are the literal translations.

    1) 저희 의사세요? = Are you our doctor?
    2) 네. = Yes

    3) 저희 선생님이세요? = Are you our teacher?
    4) 네. = Yes

    However, I'd say it's more common to say "의사선생님" when we address someone who is a doctor. It may sound rude to say just 의사 to somebody. lol

    저희 의사선생님이세요? = Are you our doctor?

    And practically, we could drop 저희 off if it's already known that the doctor you address is already taking care of you.

    의사선생님이세요? = "Are you a doctor?" or "are you our doctor?"

    ReplyDelete
  23. hi, i have a question

    what does 내 mean in this sentence:

    기차들은 기차역을 떠날 때 치포 치포 소리를 내고, (....)

    "(....)" means the continuation of the sentence, i just want to ask what is 내 there...

    i'm really confused by this, please help me

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 내고 is a "AND" form of 내다 which means to "release / put out / give out"

      소리를 내다 means "make a sound"

      Therefore, 소리를 내고 means "make a sound and."

      Hope this clarified your confusion. :)

      Delete

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