Suggestions and Asking for Opinions: -(으)ㅂ시다
Today I want to talk about a Korean grammar pattern I want to discourage you from using. The reason why I discuss something to then ask not to use it, is that you will hear it and you need to know what it means. The pattern you should know and not use is -(으)ㅂ시다. Let’s take a look at this discouraged Korean grammar pattern.
Higher Status Let’s -(으)ㅂ시다
The pattern -(으)ㅂ시다 is going to be the odd duckling in the group of patterns regarding “suggestions and asking opinions”. While technically this pattern expresses a proposition or suggestions to do something, it isn’t. And you can translate it in English with “Let’s” or “Shall we”, but you shouldn’t read it as such. It is more often than not a ‘kind’ imperative, not a proposition. Let’s take look at an example.
Example: 점심을 같이 먹읍시다.
Translation: Let’s have lunch together.
Now you might wonder why this is a ‘kind’ imperative and not a suggestion like -(으)ㄹ까요. The reason is behind who uses this form. This form can only be used to people who you outrank socially. You can never use it when you are the social lesser or the youngest. Your superiors will use this form to kindly tell you to do something with them. However, don’t delude yourself, you often have little choice, but to say yes. This is why it is more a kind ‘imperative’ than a suggestive form.
How To Use
The pattern -(으)ㅂ시다, however, is not difficult to use. As you can imagine this pattern is exclusively reserved for verbs. Furthermore it relies on a conjugation style you have already come across, but we’ll go over the basics as we always do:
- If the verb ends in a vowel, you use -ㅂ시다.
- If the verb ends in consonant, you use -읍시다.
Of course, you need to keep your Korean irregular verbs in mind. The verb groups of the ㅅ irregulars, the ㄷ irregulars and the ㄹ irregulars more specifically.
Also there are negative forms for this pattern. You can either choose -지 맙시다 or simply say -지 마요.
The only real thing you need to memorize is who can use this pattern. In general there are only 3 situations in which it is acceptable to use this pattern.
- When you are suggesting something a group of people to do something, or you invite them to do something.
- The listener is younger and/or of a lower social rank than the speaker.
Most likely, you will hardly ever be in a situation where it is proper to use this pattern. But, you will probably hear it so you still need to know what it means.