If we use the "Great Leader" or "Great General" as subjects in a sentence, the honorific 시 is attached to the predicate in order to describe the action or state of the subject.

For example, the adjective 바쁘신 describes the General's path, and the verb 풀어주시였습니다 describes the action.

1998년 10월 30일 현지지도의 바쁘신 길에서도 위대한 장군님께서는 평양을 찾아온 남조선 현대그룹의 정주영명예회장을 숙소까지 찾아가 만나주시고 금강산관광개발문제를 비롯하여 그가 제기하는 문제들을 다 풀어주시였습니다.

But why the honorific ending isn't attached to the adjective 위대한 or to the verb 경애하는? Why we don't say 위대하신 수령님/장군님/령도자 or 경애하시는 원수님?

2 Answers 2


Normally you can attach -시- to any verb where the subject is "honored", but if a sentence has too many verbs it may become a bit cumbersome.

I'm no expert on North Korean, but I guess a phrase like "위대한 장군님" is basically a set phrase and used as a single unit all the time, so people have stopped worrying about whether that is "polite" enough. Just like every South Korean catholic would say "하늘에 계신 우리 아버지" instead of "저희 아버지".

Also, even if you want to add -시- everywhere, "경애하시는 원수님" would be questionable, because 경애하다 means 존경하고 사랑하다. That is, "경애하는 원수님" means "우리가 경애하는 원수님", not "우리를 경애하는 원수님".


I think such mistakes are frequently found in newspaper articles. Consider this sentence:

Yang have shown that the drug is effective.

Logically, "was" is right but we use "is" because it is a fact. I think that writers in North may have influence of English grammr. Hence to me, 위대하신 수령님 is a present evaluation, which may be changed in the future, and 위대한 수령님 is a fact, which is already evaluated.

  • 1
    hi, please check if the edit reflects what you wanted to write
    – user17915
    Nov 19, 2018 at 1:30

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