Recently I was studying and saw the verb 이다 being written along with the object, like 저는 한국 사람입니다, but I have also seen it written apart (as I thought was the correct form), like this 저는 한국 사람 입니다. Can someone please clear this for me? F.Y.I, I'm an asbolute beginner.
In principle, the copula -(이)다 must be written together with its content word (한글맞춤법 5.1.41: 조사는 그 앞말에 붙여 쓴다).
In many languages, copulas can be a separate word. In Korean, however, that's not the case, at least in the standard Korean. But if you specifically ask if -(이)다 is a verb, the answer falls in a gray area. Technically, many Korean linguists (including the standard Korean) categorize it as merely a suffix (조사, more specifically sub-categorize as 서술격 조사, a special part of speech that has only a single member, -이다), while functionally and conjugation-wise it works as an independent predicate word (용언, such as verbs).
From the point of viewing it as a predicate word, -(이)다 can be actually decomposed into the root -이- and the ending -다. Then it makes perfect sense that -이- can be conjugated with other endings, for example;
- 사람 + 이 + 다
- 사람 + 이 + ㅂ니다
- 사람 + 이 + 야
- 사람 + 이 + ㄹ까
However, note that -(이)다 can be shortened into just -다 when following a complement that has no 종성. For example,
- 나는 한국 사람이다.
- 나는 한국 여자이다.
- 나는 한국 여자다.
- *나는 한국 사람다
But this "shortening" can be a problem from the point of viewing -(이)다 as a word, in that, then it would be the only predicate that can have a null root. Similarly with other endings,
- 여자 + ∅ + 다 = 여자다
- 여자 + ∅ + ㅂ니다 = 여잡니다
- 여자 + ∅ + 야 = 여자야
- 여자 + ∅ + ㄹ까 = 여잘까
Analytically, these look fine. But can you call a word without a root a word?
In conclusion, if -(이)다 is an independent word/verb, it should be written with a space between it and its complement (한글맞춤법 1.1.2: 문장의 각 단어는 띄어 씀을 원칙으로 한다). Linguistically, there are evidence and counter-evidence to this argument. But, at the end of the day, the standard Korean recognizes it not as a word but only as a suffix, and hence there must be no space.