Instead of saying

없다고 하셨어요

I think this has the same meaning:


However, would it normally be a problem that the honorific particle is left out? If so, is there a way of incorporating the honorific?

  • If it isn't related to 압존법 then in casual conversations, I could say -대요 or -래요 as an honorific, but I wouldn't say that unless the listener is very friendly to me, because 대요 래요 sounds way too childish... :P I think for most of use-cases, in general, the former 없다고 하셨어요 (or maybe 없다고 해요) works better than 없대요.
    – Coconut
    Apr 9, 2019 at 8:21
  • Although it is attested, I would also say that the contraction is not necessary when you want the honorific, and that the honorific is not felt to be necessary when you want the contracted form.
    – Michaelyus
    Apr 9, 2019 at 12:48
  • @Coconut It “sounds too childish” and you “wouldn't say that unless the listener is friendly,” because it is not honorific. Apr 25, 2019 at 20:39
  • @Константин Ван Honorific == "존대의". Then "~대요" "~래요" may not be honorific to the person being mentioned but is still honorific to the listener... This is how I tend to listen: 1) "~다고 해" non-honorific to both the listener and the person being mentioned 2) "~다고 하셔" honorific to the person being mentioned but to the listener 3) "~다고 해요" honorific to the listener but to the person being mentioned 4) "~다고 하셔요" honorific to both people
    – Coconut
    Apr 26, 2019 at 18:00
  • @Coconut You did read the question. What the OP meant by “honorific” here is one for who said the quote, not the listener. You said you “could say -대요 or -래요 as an honorific” and I said you cannot, in a casual conversation or not, and you know the why. Apr 26, 2019 at 18:42

1 Answer 1



Basic forms 기본형

  • Quotative, present, and non-honorific: “없다고 하여요.”
  • Quotative, present, and honorific: 🔵“없다고 하어요.”
  • Quotative, past, and non-honorific: “없다고 하어요.”
  • Quotative, past, and honorific: 🔴“없다고 하시었어요.”

Bold text means it has the corresponding conjugation.

Contractions 준말

  • Quotative, present, and non-honorific: → “없다고 요.” (“-하여-” → “-해-”)
  • Quotative, present, and honorific: → 🔵“없다고 하요.” (“-시어-” → “-셔-”)
  • Quotative, past, and non-honorific: → “없다고 어요.” (“-하여-” → “-해-”)
  • Quotative, past, and honorific: → 🔴“없다고 하어요.” (“-시어-” → “-셔-”)

Bold text marks where the contraction's taken place.

More contractions: “-고 하-”/“-고” omission. “-고 하-”/“-고” 생략

In Korean, “-고 하-” or “-고” often gets elided to contract. National Institute of Korean Language is aware of this and it's considered standard, but is not in Standard Korean Language Dictionary yet. However, some in the dictionary reflect this: “-대” means “-다고 해” by the standard definition.

  • Quotative, present, and non-honorific: → “없다 해요” (“-고” omission) → “없대요.” (“-고 하-” omission)
  • Quotative, present, and honorific: → 🔵“없다 하셔요” (“-고” omission) → 🔵“없다셔요.” (“-고 하-” omission)
  • Quotative, past, and non-honorific: → “없다 했어요” (“-고” omission) → “없댔어요.” (“-고 하-” omission)
  • Quotative, past, and honorific: → 🔴“없다 하셨어요” (“-고” omission) → 🔴“없다셨어요.” (“-고 하-” omission)


Should it keep honorifics when contracted?


You said you thought 🔴“없다고 하어요” has the same meaning with “없대요,” but it's not. 🔴“없다고 하어요” is quotative, past, and honorific; “없대요” is quotative, present, and not honorific. Not taking the tense into account, honorifics still matter. After all, they're just contractions; their forms may vary, but their meanings hold the same.

🔴“없다고 하어요” should be contracted into either 🔴“없다 하셨어요” or 🔴“없다셨어요,” not “없대요.”

And a note about contraction itself: this is obvious, but the more you contract, the more it gets informal. It's not that it'll sound rude, so just make sure you're in the right tense and using proper honorifics.

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