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This sentence: '만나서 반갑습니다' means 'I am glad to meet you'.

The word '만나서' means 'meet' and then '반갑습니다' if we takes its dictionary base form '반갑다' means 'glad or joyful'.

만나서 is a verb and 반갑다 is an adjective. I thought the verb always goes at the end of the sentence in Korean?

Why it's not 반갑을 만나섭니다?

Also the dictionary base form of "to meet" is 만나다, why do we add 서 at the end, is it an honorific particle or something?

Thank you

2 Answers 2

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In Korean, it is the predicate that always ends a sentence, not necessarily a verb. A predicate can be the main verb of the sentence, or it can be an adjective, or it can be a noun with a copulative ending (e.g. 입니다).

반갑다 is a 형용사, which is often translated as 'adjective' - but it's sometimes called a 'descriptive verb' instead, as adjectives behave a lot like verbs in Korean.

So 반갑다 doesn't mean 'glad or joyful' but 'be glad or joyful' (to see someone - 반갑다 is always used in the context of seeing someone/something or meeting someone/something).

In the case of 만나서 반갑습니다, it literally means [I] am glad to meet [you] (words in square brackets are omitted in the Korean). The predicate is 'be glad', so it goes last in the sentence.

Note that any time a 형용사 (adjective) ends in a verb ending (like 습니다), it will be in the predicate place of the sentence; if it has a modifier/participle ending (usually -ㄴ, sometimes -던 or -ㄹ), it will not be the predicate - it will be a modifier, modifying the following noun.

This can be seen with the word 춥다 - to be cold:

  • 오늘은 추워요: verb ending, so it's a predicate, at the end of the sentence: Today is cold.

  • 추운 날씨: modifier ending, so it's a modifier: cold weather

Also the dictionary base form of "to meet" is 만나다, why do we add 서 at the end, is it an honorific particle or something?

There are many verb endings (called 어미); some of them are used to end the sentence (like 습니다); others create participles/modifiers; and others are like conjunctions, joining the verb (and it's entire clause) to the clause that follows. In this case, -아/어서 is a common verb ending that joins the verb with the following clause, with the second clause being a result of the first clause. So it means "I meet you, so I'm glad!" (where the role of "so" is filled with the -아/어서 ending).

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만나서 is a verb and 반갑다 is an adjective.

Similarly to what gaeguri says, I don't find 'adjective' a very helpful way to think of words like 반갑다 - I find 'descriptive verb' much more helpful. If we think of things that way, 만나다 and 반갑다 are both verbs.

I thought the verb always goes at the end of the sentence in Korean?

That's often true in simple sentences - but I would think of this as a more complex sentence with two verbs. You can still consider that each verb does go at the end of its own phrase, but we have two phrases, separated by a conjunction or 'causal connective'.

why do we add 서 at the end..?

That's the conjunction or 'causal connective' ending. It means that the phrase it connects to is the cause of the phrase on the right - rather like the English word that it sounds like, 'so'.

Summing up, we can interpret 만나서 반갑습니다 literally as 'I met you so I am pleased'.

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