Sentence Types, Word categories, Speech Levels, Honorifics

There are 4 types of sentences: statement, question, command, and suggestion.


My third book was “Integrated Korean” and the introduction stopped my learning dead in it’s tracks.  To this day, I still haven’t fully processed the contents of that 33 page introduction.  However, I keep revisiting it with the hopes some day I will understand it all.

Word Categories

Color Key: noun = 명사 red, pronoun =대명사 navy, number = 수사 lime, action verb = 동사 orange, descriptive verb/adjective = 형용사 blue, adverb = 부사 fuschia, determiner = 관형사 coral, exclamation/ interjection = 감탄사 teal, particle = 주사 purplecounting unit = greenconjunction = 접숙사 brown

“Integrated Korean” is where I first started thinking about parts of speech.  After trial and error and some research, my coloring system was created.  Now I can see that counting units are just a type of noun.  Pre-nouns are determiners.  Copulas are a type of  형용사 descriptive verb.  I am confident enough in my internal map of parts of speech to object to “Integrated Korean” missing interjections (lumping them in with adverbs).

Korean Word Classes


Sentence Types

There are 4 types of sentences:  declarative (statement), interrogative (question), imperative (command), and propositive (suggestion).


“Korean Grammar in Use” breaks these sentences into formal polite and informal polite styles.

Speech Levels

One point of confusion for me is resolving what various sources call the speech levels.  In Korean Digital Academy, they refer to it as Honorific, Common, and Casual for statements. My tutor uses the terms Formal Polite, Polite, and Casual politeness levels. Here are the tense/politeness levels for declarative in Dongsa for 하다.


KDA Dongsa Integrated Korean
Honorific ~ᄇ/입니다 formal high deferential
Common ~요 informal high polite
Casual ~어 informal low plain

Korean Speech Levels

I am left without matching all the speech levels in “Integrated Korean”.  I am not certain plain is the correct mapping, perhaps intimate?  What is the difference?

Now I have started “Korean Grammar In Use”.  In their introduction it says

One of the characteristics of Korean verbs and adjectives is that they are both conjugated according to tense, politeness level, passive and causative forms, and speech styles.

I’m unclear about what “politeness level” is vs “speech style”.  I have no idea what “passive and causative” forms mean.  Luckily, their introduction is just 10 pages.  Hopefully, I will be able to absorb it more quickly than “Integrated Korean”.


I understand enough about Honorifics and Speech Level to know that honorifics show respect to the subject and speech level shows respect to the audience.  However I am still muddled about this topic and do not know how to apply.  Why does KDA refer to a speech level as honorific?
Korean Subject Honorific

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One Response to Sentence Types, Word categories, Speech Levels, Honorifics

  1. Pingback: Sorting | Hanguk Babble

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