1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: Korean
  4. >
  5. "Today is Grandmother's birth…

"Today is Grandmother's birthday."

Translation:오늘은 할머니의 생신이에요.

December 14, 2017



@duolingo: why is 생신입니다 suddenly not accepted???????


I thought 생길 was birthday?


does anyone know the difference between 할머니 and 할머님?


할머님 is a more respectful form of 할머니. That said, the exercises in this section mix both forms and usually accepts both as an answer.


Should 오늘은 할머님의 생신이세요 be accepted? It says I have a typo, but my notes say 이세요 is honorific of 이에요. Or have I misunderstood the usage of 이세요?


The honorific 시 is used only if the verb is done by the honored person. A day being someone's birthday is not done by that someone, hence the absence of 시. You have to be exceptionally careful if you're talking about yourself doing something for an honored person. If you use 시 in that context, you're honoring yourself instead of that other person, which is very, very rude.


Thanks very much for explaining. I still do not quite understand when to use honorifics, it seems complex because there is the speaker and there is the listener, and then there is the subject who is neither the speaker nor the listener. Add in the indirect object and I would be totally confused. Haha, it would take some time for me to grasp this.

So when would 오늘은 할머님의 생신이세요 be appropriate? Is it when the listener is the honored person?


Only maybe if you wanted to tell the current day to please be Grandma's birthday^^ (시 used as an indication of imperative, not as an honorific).

Disclaimer: I, too, am just learning Korean and am in no way an expert on any of this. If someone more knowledgeable happens to drop by, please feel free to correct me.

That said, as far as I know it's not that complicated, just different from our western approach. We use our honorifics only directly, dependent on whom we are speaking to. In Korean, you use speech levels to indicate this and use honorifics additionally, dependent on whom you're speaking ABOUT.

Meaning, if you're talking to your grandmother and want to tell her that you love her, you'll most likely use 해요체 and put an honorific on her name but no honorific on the verb "love", because you are the one doing the loving: 저는 할머님을 사랑해요. If you want to ask her if she's hungry, you'll put the honorifics both on her name and on the descriptive verb "hungry", because it's her who might be hungry: 할머님께서 배가 고프세요? (<-- this should possibly be phrased differently to sound more respectful, maybe 할머님께서 진지를 드시고 싶어요/싶으세요? Sorry, just guessing.) If you want to tell her that her shoes are pretty, you'll again not use honorifics on the descriptive verb "pretty", because you want to honor Grandma, not her shoes: 할머님의 신발은 예뻐요.

Similarly, if you're speaking to your friend about your Grandma, you might be using 해체, but the placement of honorifics will be the same: 난 (우리) 할머님을 사랑해. 할머님께서 배고프시지 알아? (do you know if Grandma is hungry?) 할머님의 신발은 예뻐! I hope I didn't fumble these sentences too badly... ^^

There is one more usage to honorifics. Since there is no direct "you" or "your" in Korean except on the most familiar basis, you always need either their name or some kind of title to address the person whom you're talking to. If you come up empty on both ends, you can simply drop the address and use the honorific 시 on the verb to indicate that you're talking about them. Take this situation: you bump into someone on the street and they lose their balance. Your reaction might be "Oh, I'm so sorry, are you hurt?" In this case there will be no honorifics on the "sorry" part, because no matter how young or old the other person is, it is you who's being sorry: it'll be either a 죄송합니다 or a 미안합니다. If I understood the usage of speech levels correctly, you'd be inclined to use 합쇼체; firstly because you're speaking to a stranger for the first time, but also to indicate not just your respect for them, but also to put more distance between the two of you by using a higher formality, thus automatically lowering yourself a bit more. Please don't take my word on this, but I'll use 합쇼체 in the following sentences anyway ;-) When you follow up with asking them if they're hurt, your question is about them, which is why you can use 시 instead of some form of "you" to indicate this: 다치셨습니까? Alternatively, if you want to ask if you hurt them, you'll not use honorifics: 다치게 했습니까? - because if you did, you'd be asking if they hurt you^^

You can also expect to encounter this usage of 시 i.e. in restaurants when the waiter is talking to you, though in all example dialogs I heard so far they always paired it with 해요체 in that situation.

Again, please take this explanation with a grain of salt, I'm still learning, too. This is just the way I understood all this, but I easily might be wrong.


Strange I didn't receive any email notification for your reply. I think I kind of get it. Since 이다 applies to no one here-- it is about a date (오늘은)-- I probably shouldn't use 이시다. But if it is about grandmother (할머니께서는), then using 이시다 is appropriate.

This is what I understand (I might be wrong):
1. Using honorific shows respect to the person (usually the subject) who is doing the action (verb) or whom I am describing (adjective).
2. Speech level on the other hand is strictly between the listener and the speaker. Depending on who I am talking to, I can use 합쇼체, 해요체, or 해체.

When talking politely: 이분은 우리 할머니세요.
When talking to a kid: 이분은 우리 할머니셔.

I hope what I’ve said is correct. I have just come across this website while trying to figure out this whole thing, it is very useful. It actually says that we can honour some objects of a person. Anyway, thank you for taking time to explain. 고마워!


Wow, thanks for the link, I wasn't aware that objects attached to an honored person should be honored, too! In light of this, the pretty-shoes-example from my earlier post is actually wrong...

Your summary certainly sounds right to me, and you're very welcome - writing explanations actually help me deepen my own knowledge :-)


생신입니다 is not ok?


Must be a missing answer option, please flag it.


Iʼm a little confused. In the multiple choice version of this sentence going from English to Korean, "오늘은 할머니의 생신이에요" is the correct answer. However, in the example where I am given the English and asked to translate into Korean without a choice, I am told that 할머니의 is a typo. Here in the discussion, the correct answer is "오늘은 할머님의 생신이에요." Are both 할머니의 and 할머님의 correct?

Learn Korean in just 5 minutes a day. For free.