In news articles, I often face 보내여오다 past form instead of 보내다. 김정은동지께 우간다대통령이 선물을 보내여왔다.

But I cannot find it in vocabulary. What is the difference? Why can not be just 보냈다?

  • To understand the difference between those words, you should find the difference between 가다 and 오다. The meaning of 보내오다 in South Korean ends with 오게 하다; that of 보내다 ends with 가게 하다.
    – Klmo
    Commented Feb 9, 2020 at 11:25
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    In North Korean (문화어), 보내여오다 is correct as you have written (Reference). South Korean (표준어) has 보내오다 in the standard dictionary.
    – Klmo
    Commented Feb 9, 2020 at 13:14

2 Answers 2


보내다 and 보내오다 (보내여오다)

Let's look at the case when the target (object receiver) is not the speaker. This figure that I draw will help you understand the difference, although it is inapplicable to some types of sentences such as imperative sentences. The terms in the figure are just what I use. Here are notes on the figure:

  • The object can be either a thing or a person (선물, which is a thing, in your example).

  • The subject can be a person, group, or place (우간다 대통령, which is a person, in your example).

  • The target can be a person, group, or place (김정은, which is a person, in your example).

  • The speaker's area is the speaker's country, workplace, family, or any others where (and when) the speaker is present (North Korea for your example). It varies.

The logic is simple: The speaker uses 보내다 when the object is sent away from the speaker's area and 보내오다 (보내여오다) when the object is sent to the target in the speaker's area.

You should note that the target of 보내다 can be the speaker as well. I did not mention such a case above.

What if the speaker's area has neither the subject nor the target or both the subject and the target? Then, 보내다 is used, as in the following:

  • 미국인이 영국인에게 편지를 보냈어.

  • 네가 남긴 음식을 (내가) 내 배로 보냈어.

If the news articles published in North Korea used 보내다 instead of 보내여오다, they would be considered inappropriate since they could imply: "We journalists do not belong to North Korea."


보내다 (to send) and 오다 (to come) are different verbs; they have different grammatical structures as the following:

  • (...이) ...을 ...에/에게/으로 보내다
  • (...이) ...에/에게/으로/을 오다

When two verbs are used to form a compound verb, one or two of them lose some of their properties. (Of course, the compound verb may have new meanings and functions.) For 보내오다, 보내- refers to what the subject does (오- refers to what the object does because of the subject's action), so the grammatical structure of 보내오다 follows that of 보내다 as the following:

  • (...이) ...을 ...에/에게/으로 보내오다

The direction of 보내다 is "away from the subject to the target"; that of 오다 is "to(wards) the target in the speaker's area". Thus, adding 오다 to 보내다 indicates the closeness of the speaker to the target of the action. Especially when the target is the speaker, nothing is wrong to use 보내다 instead of 보내오다.

  • OK, as I understood from the verb construction, 보내다 and 오다 are referred to different objects? Because I met complex verbs with 2 joint verb-particles which refer only to one object. Commented Feb 11, 2020 at 6:58
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    @HaykAbelyan I have just added explanations on 보내다 and 오다 to my answer.
    – Klmo
    Commented Feb 11, 2020 at 8:25

First, the right form is "보내어오다" not "보내여오다". Second, as far as I know, semantically, the difference should be made regarding the person who says it putting more emphasis on whom. When you use "보내다", the focus falls on the subject who sent while "보내오다" has its focus on the person who gets. Thirdly, Koreans barely say "보내어오다"; rather, they say "보내다" or "보내오다". I think I only saw the expression "보내어오다" in literature or used by the North Korean anchor.

  • 1
    The North uses -여 conjugation for some vowels. Commented Feb 9, 2020 at 18:45

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