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Korean grammar - The verb ‘to be’ - 이에요/예요

The verb ‘to be’ - 이에요/예요

Pattern: Noun + 이에요 or Noun + 예요

The Korean verb 이다 means 'to be'. Its present tense forms are 이에요 & 예요.

To say A is B we attach one of the two present tense forms of the verb to the object noun B.

We attach 이에요 when the object noun ends with a consonant.

We attach 예요 when the object noun ends with a vowel.

In the examples below the subject noun (A) who or what is doing the verb is absent. This is common in Korean when it is obvious from the context.

(I) am a student.

학생 (ends with the consonant ) + 이에요 학생이에요

학생 means 'student'

(It) is winter.

겨울 (ends with the consonant ) + 이에요 겨울이에요

겨울 means 'winter'

(It) is Monday.

월요일 (ends with the consonant ) + 이에요 월요일이에요

월요일 means 'Monday'

(It) is a tree.

나무 (ends with the vowel ) + 예요 나무예요

나무 means 'tree'

(She) is (my) older sister.

누나 (ends with the vowel ) + 예요 누나예요

누나 means 'a male's older sister'

(It) is a river.

(ends with the consonant ) + 이에요 강이에요

means 'river'

Is (it) chocolate?

초콜릿 (ends with the consonant ) + 이에요 초콜릿이에요

초콜릿 means 'chocolate'

Questions can be formulated in Korean by just using a pronounced upwards inflection.

Is (he) a student?

학생 (ends with the consonant ) + 이에요 학생이에요

학생 means 'student'

(He) is Seojun.

서준 (ends with the consonant ) + 이에요 서준이에요

서준 is a common boy's name.

Is (she) Jia?

지아 (ends with the vowel ) + 예요 지아예요

지아 is a common girl's name.