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My Korean brother-in-law was going to be flying back to Gimpo yesterday from Busan the same time I was flying in to visit my sister. We were supposed to be on the same flight, but he was running late. He missed his flight and couldn’t get ahold of my sister so he texted me this: “비행편 다시 예약해” Long story short, I couldn’t tell if he was asking me to rebook MY flight, help him rebook HIS flight, or if he was just telling me he was going to reschedule his flight himself. Without a possessive pronoun, how can I tell whose flight is being rescheduled and by whom? Should it just be understood based on the context? His English isn’t good enough to explain it to me and my Korean is not good enough to understand (yet). Thanks a lot!

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You're right; that could have meant both things grammatically (asking you to rebook or telling you that he was rebooking). However, there are some conventions with the -해 ending that can indicate the meaning with a very good accuracy.

  • If you had asked 뭐해?, the response of "비행편 다시 예약해" would mean that your bro is currently rescheduling his flight himself.
  • Otherwise, -해 by itself almost always signifies a command. To avoid confusion, most Koreans would naturally precede the phrase with 나 (나 비행편 다시 예약해) if they wanted to make a comment about themselves.

To be certain I'd have to see a few messages back in your text history, but it sounds like he was asking you to rebook.

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