Can somebody explain the construction of imperative forms like 섯 (stop) and 담배피우지 말것 (don't smoke)? Because ᄉ and 것 aren't considered to be imperative endings. Are these forms popular in everyday speech?

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  • 1
    Interesting - I haven't noticed this form before! Do you have any idea where the picture of the sign is from? Apr 11, 2018 at 19:16
  • 2
    Stop sign from Pyongyang, DPRK. Apr 11, 2018 at 19:28

2 Answers 2


Adding a consonant to a sentence-ending predicate often changes overall air of the sentence. A stop sound would make an imperative perfectly restrained and well regulated, I think. As a result, you would find -appended imperatives often in military contexts, but not in every day conversations. (And, of course, in the north, given its militant, revolutionary orientation of the socialist/communist movement from last century)

  • 앞으로 갓 (March forward!)
  • 열중 쉬엇 (At ease!)
  • 차렷 (Attention!)

Similarly, people add nasal consonants to make a sentence sounds cute, soft, and winsome (sometimes even seductive), which is considered as a feminine way of speaking more often than not. Google for 애교/aegyo for examples and details.

That being said, I don't see any connection between and -것 imperatives. Fundamentally, here is not an imperative ending, but a supplement for an imperative to set up a particular nuance.

Now, move on to -것 being used as an imperative form. As you might have already noticed, the imperative -것 always comes with the modal attributive endings . Linguists see this as a grammaticalization (*) in that expressing future events became an expression of necessity and imperativ-ity.

* Taeho Kim and Jong-Bok Kim. 2010. On the imperative use of ‘Kes’ constructions in Korean. Studies in Modern Grammar 59. 25-37.


It is a traffic sign plate. 섯 means that after stopping, if there is no dangerous thing, then you would go.

In south Korea, 정지 STOP is written in a road sign plate.

North Korea does not use China character and English as possible as they can. So many words are similar to south but different. For instance, 냉면 (south word) is 찬국수 (cf. cold noodle).

That is, to translate 정지 into Korean, they may use 섯, which is not used in south Korea.

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