I learned that for 존댓말 you should replace 있다 with 계시다, however it seems like most of the examples are in relation to where someone is (such as 할아버지께 댁에 계세요). Can you also use 계시다 for possession? Can you say 할아버지께 사과를 계세요?

  • 계시다 is only used for people as an honorific. 선생님 계시다 -> correct, 선생님 있다 -> correct but disrespectful; m,고양이 계시다 -> weird, 고양이 있다 -> correct
    – user17915
    Jun 6, 2021 at 5:36
  • It might be helpful to understand the word 있다, when meaning "have", as a shortened form of 가지고 있다. The correct 존댓말 of this is 가지고 계시다, for example "할아버지께서 사과를 가지고 계세요?". Unlike 있다, you cannot use 계시다 to abbreviate 가지고 계시다. But you can use 있으시다 instead of 계시다, and in this case you can abbreviate in the same manner, like "할아버지, 사과 있으세요?".
    – Absol
    Jun 6, 2021 at 20:06

1 Answer 1


No, you can not use 계시다 for possession. 있으시다 is used instead.

For reference

할아버지께 사과를 계세요

even if it would be used, it would be "가" or "는" instead of "를" (and usually 할아버지"는/가/께서").

할아버지는 사과가 있으세요.

Would be the most common form. Note that 사과 is technically the subject here, meaning that "계시다" would be showing respect to the apple. Funny, but probably not what you want!

  • But if you say 할아버지는 사과가 있으세요, technically 있으세요 has a 시 in it, which honours the subject, which is still 사과 - why do we say 있으세요 in this case? Is it just because it feels weird to not put an honorific in when we're talking about 할아버지?
    – gaeguri
    Jun 16, 2021 at 6:43
  • @gaeguri "incorrect -usage" is super common in daily life. There are even much worse cases; things like "반응이 아주 좋으세요", or "자리에 앉으실게요" can be heard in about every hospital in Korea but are technically wrong. A general name for this is "사물존칭", more on it here. I would say that this particular case is fine though as 있다 is an exception verb/adjective in general. 국립국어원 agrees that 있으시다 is acceptable here, see the second point.
    – JH-
    Jun 16, 2021 at 7:45
  • @gaeguri Should say "incorrect -시 usage"!
    – JH-
    Jun 16, 2021 at 7:51

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