Here is a short quote from TTMIK's iyagi #23:

현우: 다 경은 씨처럼 친구가 없는 사람들.

경은: 아니요. 두 명이서 온 사람들도 있어요.

What is this "이서" and how does it work? My gut feeling is it has something to do with the state-of-being 이다, but does not follow the conjugational rules to my knowledge (would be 이라서/이어서).

2 Answers 2


(이)서 is a particle indicating number as the agent of an action. It is used after a word indicating number of people. 이서 comes after a consonant-ending syllable (둘이서) and 서 after vowel-ending one (혼자서).

  • 혼자서 = by oneself. 그는 혼자서 싸워야 했다 = He had to fight by himself.
  • 둘이서 / 두 명이서 = in twos. 둘이서 하면 쉽다 = It's easier if two people do it.
  • 셋이서 / 세 명이서 = in threes. 세 명이서 온 손님 = Customers who came in threes.

아니요. 두 명이서 온 사람들도 있어요 = No. There are also those who came in twos.


이 in 이서 is 파생접미사(derived suffix) which means doing something together and 서 is 보조사(auxiliary postional particle). The combined form '이서' works as a 주격조사 (postional particle for nominative)

Reference: https://www.kci.go.kr/kciportal/ci/sereArticleSearch/ciSereArtiView.kci?sereArticleSearchBean.artiId=ART002020505

  • could you say what it means, or give some examples?
    – coconochao
    Commented Feb 22, 2023 at 21:45

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