I've noticed that the plural form -들 is sometimes used in surprising places, i.e. following adverbs and verbs. For example:

어서들 와! (Come quickly [to more than one person])

잘들 했다. (Everyone did well).

앉으세요들! (Everyone sit down!)

I've also seen it with 너무들, 많이들, and 흔히들.

It seems to be used only when the subject has been omitted, but is plural. My question is, can I use this form more or less freely, or is it only used in a few set phrases? And is it only used in informal speech?

1 Answer 1


'들' is more broadly used than a few set phrases when a plural subject is elided and you want to imply the subject is plural. It is correct to assume that it is more used in speech than writing, but it is not informal.

'들' has mainly two functions:

  1. Noun suffix (접미사): It makes a countable noun (or pronoun) plural. For example:

너희들 (plural of 너희) 여기서 뭐하니? What are you doing here?

서울에는 사람들 (plural of 사람)이 많다. There are a lot of people in Seoul.

  1. Auxiliary particle (보조사): It is placed after a verb, adverb to imply an elided subject is plural. For example:

시간이 충분하니까 천천히 해도 돼요. Since we have enough time, you (plural, elided) can do it slowly (you can take your time).

공원에 앉아 있었다. (Elided plural nouns or pronouns) were sitting at the park.

먹게 (가만) 둬라. Let (elided plural nouns or pronouns) eat. Leave (elided plural nouns or pronouns) alone when they eat.

When it is ised after an adverb, you can try to place the elided plural subject back and see if it makes sense. For example:

어서들 와. -> 여러분들 어서 와.

잘들 했다. -> 여러분들 잘 했다.

앉으세요들. -> 여러분들 앉으세요.

시간이 충분하니깐 천천히들 해도 돼요. -> 시간이 충분하니깐 여러분들 천천히 해도 돼요.

  • As for 너희들, 사람들이 많다, and 여러분들, 들 is redundant. You can just say 너희, 사람이 많다, and 여러분.
    – Klmo
    Commented Mar 13, 2020 at 8:07

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