I saw this post where someone asked about the meaning of 지금 다른 나라는 며칠입니까. And I was wondering what does 입니까 mean and is it okay to use 지금 다른 나라는 며칠이에요? And can you also say 나라에 or 나라에서 (not sure when to use 에 or 에서) Or does 에 (or 에서) give a different meaning than 는?

  • Can I suggest asking the second question, about use of 에 or 에서, as a different question on the site? Commented Oct 23, 2017 at 21:32
  • yes of course!!
    – user1200
    Commented Oct 24, 2017 at 5:29

1 Answer 1


There are often said to be seven levels of speech in Korean.

하십시오체 (or '합쇼체' for short) is a formal way of speaking - the most formal way that you are likely to hear in everyday situations.

- ㅂ니까 is the interrogative (question) ending for the 하십시오체 speech level. So when you greet someone by saying 안녕하십니까? rather than 안녕하세요?, you are being especially formal.

It would be ok to use the 이에요 ending when you don't need to be formal. This is often more a question of the situation you are in, rather than who you are talking to. As you live in Korea you will learn to recognise the situations where you need to elevate your speech to a formal level. Two examples of these situations are

  • Public announcements (including news reading, and some advertisements)
  • Ceremonies (including small family ceremonies)

Often, you don't need to use the formal ending just to be polite - the (ㅡ)시 honorific particle, and use of special honorific verb forms (such as 드시다 rather than 먹다), are often enough to show politeness to the listener unless you are in one of the particular situations where formality is required.

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