I saw the following sentence:

이 장남감은 누구 거예요?

I know the meaning, which is Whose is this toy?.

However, I don't know what is the original verb of 거예요. It seems that there is no verb registered as 거다. So could you teach me the grammatical structure of the sentence?


You should note that the stem form of '예요' is '이다' which is not a verb, but a particle (predicative or descriptive). For example:

이것은 책이다. This is a book. 이것은 책이에요. 이것은 책이에요? (Is this a book?)

나는 왕이다. I am the King. 나는 왕이에요. 나는 왕이에요? (Am I the King?)

'예요 (used after a block that ends without a final consonant, 받침 such as )' or '이에요 (used after a block that ends with a final consonant, 받침 such as )' can indicate explanation (description) or question when it is followed by a question mark.

The noun '' is a dependent noun (which means it can't be used without a preceding word) colloquially used for ''. It can refer to

  1. a thing, job, phenomenon 사물, 일, 현상 따위를 추상적으로 이르는 말.

  2. a human being (in an impolite or derogative way) or animal. 사람을 낮추어 이르거나 동물을 이르는 말.

  3. a possession of a person when used after a pronoun or noun indicating a human being. (사람을 나타내는 명사나 대명사 뒤에 쓰여) 그 사람의 소유물임을 나타내는 말.

The '거' in your example sentence means No. 3 above as '누구' is a pronoun meaning unknown person.

이 장난감은 내 거예요. (것이에요, 것입니다.) This toy is my thing.

이 장난감은 철수 거예요. (것이에요, 것입니다.) This toy is a Cheol-su's thing.

이 장난감은 남동생 거예요. (것이에요, 것입니다.) This toy is my little brother's thing.

이 장난감은 누구 거예요? (것이에요? 것입니까?) This toy is whose thing? (all literally translated).

You should note the difference between '것입니다./것입니까?' and '이에요 (예요)./이에요 (예요)?'

  • Thank you for the great clarification. Is the difference between 거 and 것 only on whether it is used in a spoken or written form?
    – Blaszard
    Aug 28 '16 at 8:28
  • @Blaszard Always my pleasure. As the dictionary indicates, "거" is more colloquial than '것' and they don't have any difference in meaning.
    – user7
    Aug 28 '16 at 8:29
  • Your answer is great. But why "의" is not used before "거예요". Examples: "내 (나의) 거에요" , "철수의 거예요" and "남동생의 거예요"?
    – Thai Trinh
    Jun 4 '19 at 9:34

거예요 is shortened from 것이에요, which is the -요 form of 것이다.

That is, it's the noun 것 + copula 이다. (Copula 이다 is added to allow a noun to be the predicate of a sentence). 것 generally means "thing", so 것이다 means "to be the thing".

So your sentence roughly means "This toy is whose thing?"

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