Level 1 Lesson 6 / What is this?, This is …. / 이거, 이거 뭐예요?

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In this lesson you can review a little bit of what you learned in the previous lesson (very important stuff!). And you can also learn how to say “this” in Korean, how to ask “What is this?” and how to answer with “This is ABC.”

“This” = 이거 [i-geo] or 이것 [i-geot]
“What is this?” = 이거 뭐예요? [i-geo mwo-ye-yo?]

Listen to the lesson to learn more about these important words and phrases, and if you have any questions or feedback, as always, make sure you post them in the comment for this lesson. Thank you! 감사합니다. ^_^

You can read more about this grammar point at this Korean Wiki Project page.

You can download a free PDF for this lesson here, or if you want to study with our TalkToMeInKorean textbooks, you can get them here.


  • Y

    I can’t differentiate on listening the differences between yeo & eyeo(?), does it make a huge difference if we use it wrongly?

    • Annie Ramich

      Nope. It isn’t a huge issue but it is better if you know the difference.

  • Annie Ramich

    Hey guys! I got a question and I am going to try to explain it the best I can.. For 이것… if it is pronounced as i-geot why is it spelled as 것 instead of 겉?

    • Valentin Saulas

      Hi Annie,
      It is about the prononcing of the final letter(s) (called patchim).
      ㄷ, ㅅ, ㅆ, ㅈ, ㅊ, ㅌ, ㅎ will be spoken as “t” at the end of a word.
      So 이것, 이걷, 이겄, 이겆, 이겇, 이겉 and 이겋 will all sound the same “i-geot”

    • Touadi Sihem

      Excuse me , but how do you know how to pronounce them then? Is there a rule or something? I mean like you said like ㅂ and ㄱ in pusan and kae-go-gi , if there’s a way or a rule for that ,it would be so helpful and i would be very grateful ^^

    • Valentin Saulas

      Hi Touadi,
      Yes there are many rules of pronunciation in korean.

      I will put the main ones in this comment. For advanced pronunciation rules, you can look to the links at the end of the comment.

      1. initial sounds (first syllable)
      ㄱ sounds like ‘k’ 개고기 = kae-go-gi
      ㅂsounds like ‘p’ 부산 = Pusan
      ㅈ sounds like ‘ch’ 제주 = Ché-ju
      ㄷ sounds like ‘t’ 대한민국 = Tae-han-min-guk

      2. Final sound (for a stand-alone syllable = at the end of a word)

      * ㄱ, ㄲ, ㅋ, ㄱㅅ, ㄹㄱ sound like ‘k’ 닭 = tak
      * ㄴ, ㄴㅈ sound like ‘n’
      * ㄷ, ㅅ, ㅆ, ㅈ, ㅊ, ㅌ sound like ‘t’ 이것 = i-geot
      * ㄹ, ㄹㅂ, ㅅㄹ, ㄹㅌ sound like ‘L’ : 여덟 = ‘yeo-deol’
      * ㅁ, ㄹㅁ like ‘m’
      *ㅂ, ㅍ, ㅂㅅ, ㄹㅍ like p
      *ㅇ as ‘ng’ 영 = yeong

      3. final sound of the syllable within a word

      * If followed by a consonnant, pronounced as in rule 1. : 있다 = itda
      * If followed by a vowel, it is pronunced with the vowel using the consonant’s original sound : 있어요 = isseo-yo

      3. Rule for ㅅ
      * Pronunced as ‘sh’ with ‘i’ : 시옷 = shi -ot
      * Pronunced as ‘s’ with the other vowels : 사람= sa-ram

      4. consonant assimilation

      * ㄴ+ ㄹ is pronunced as ㄹ+ㄹ. The best example is the Shilla kingdom : 신리 pronunced “Shilla”
      * ㅂ+ㄴsounds like ㅁ+ㄴ. This is why a verb in its polite formal form, for example 감사합니디 is pronunced ‘kam-sa-ham-ni-da’ ; it ends in ‘haM-ni-da’ and not in ‘haB-ni-da’

      There are other rules but those are enough to start with.

      LINKS:

      * Somes basic rules : http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Korean/Essential_Pronunciation_Rules

      * Advanced rules (plus other material about korean language, it is a course by Lee Chul Young) : http://www.dickgrune.com/NatLang/Korean/Lee_Chul_Young,Korean_Grammar_Textbook,indexed.pdf

  • Zahra

    1/A: 이거 뭐예요?
    B: 이거 우산이에요 .
    2/A: 이거 뭐예요?
    B: 이거 잡지예요 .
    고맙습니다 선생님 ^^

  • angel

    안녕하네요, 저는 학생이에요
    감사합니다

    i hope i say this right? i’ve tried so many other websites and i find this one is the easiest to learn from, so 감사합니다 again

    • Nawal

      I find this website the best too ^^

  • yourippehdees

    이거 뭐예요?
    이거 컴퓨터 하고 마우스 이에요.
    이거 뭐예요?
    이거 고영 이에요.
    너고영 이에요?
    안이요. 고영 없어요.
    이거 뭐 예요?
    이거 아내가이에요.
    이거? 이거 안조아요. 이사람 아내 더조아요. 맛아요?

  • Bayan Abd

    just wanna thank you for your great work,what a great website !

  • TheInactiveWall

    Lol that ending! I love your work tho, it is insanely helpful and I don’t think I could do this without you guys! Keep up the good work!

  • Alanda Benny

    Now I have the confidence that I can once speak Korean fluently… Thank u a lot guys…

    • Seokjin Jin

      Great!

  • Katrice Joanne

    Hi, I’m confused. What is the difference between saying “[ABC]이에요” & “이거, [ABC]이에요”? 정말 감사합니다!!

    • anon

      the first one means “it’s ABC” and “이거, [ABC]이에요” means “THIS is ABC”

    • Alena F

      and what is the difference between it is and this is?

  • Susan Eberhardt

    So I said “이거 책이에요?” while holding a book to a teacher at my school and he replied “This is not my book.” in English…. what is the difference between A book and MY book?

  • Ray

    I enjoy learning Korean, with you guys, I wish I would have found this site before my visit to Korea last month

  • msciwoj

    이거뭐예요?

    이거돈전이에요

  • StarSuga

    A: 안녕하세요! 이거 고양이예요?
    B: 아니요.
    A: 뭐예요?
    B: 이거 개예요.
    A: 진짜 개예요.?
    B: 네, 맞아요. 😀

  • ANI

    Sometimes the word mwo-ye-yo I hear it once with a B sound and sometimes with a M sound. It’s very confusing.

  • Noufy

    Thank u I love u guys.

  • tweety

    what does it mean when there is “Goo” on the end of “What is this?” in Korean of course.

    • Insan

      이것 means “This thing” and without 것 means “This”

  • syafiqul hafiz

    안녕하세요, can i ask something ? which one is correct ? 이고책이예요 or 이책이예요? because there is some sentence like this 이고사과이예요

    • Insan

      Both are correct based on the situation
      이거 책이예요 to show thing called book

    • Cecille Mekitpekit

      Both are correct but mostly used 사과이예요.

  • Lauren Burr

    THANK YOU SO SO MUCH!!!! These lessons have helped me A LOT! ^^

  • Marshmallow

    이것 뭐예요?
    이것 펜이에요.

  • tomer yaul

    questions:

    1) can this be used for more then nouns? for example if i want to say this is my mom then “igo oma yeyo”? or showing myself in a picture “igo na yeyo”?

    2) if i got this right, the form of the sentence is “this-subject-is” but the meaning of the sentence is “this-is-subject”?

    아이고… (just saying lol)

    • 신현주

      1) No, you should say ‘이 분은 우리 엄마세요.’ for ‘This is my mom’ and ‘이 사람은 저예요.’ for ‘This is me’. 분 is honorific to 사람, and 세요 is honorific to 예요.
      2) Yes, it’s just a different word order. Now you understand why Koreans always find it hard to learn English. 😉

    • Alicia moreno

      if it were me i would say uri oma yeyo (uri=our)

  • liam

    what is the diferance between ‘what is it’ and ‘what is this’

    • Emma Turnbull

      From my understanding, adding “이거” (this) before “뭐예요” (what is it) makes it “what is this” which would be the same as the difference between saying “what is it” and “what is this” in English. Not sure if I understand what you’re asking correctly though.

    • Alena F

      What is the difference between “whati is it” and “what is this” in English?

    • Sofia Styf

      “What is it” usually refers to something that is away from you, something that you can’t see, or something that someone else has. It is almost entirely interchangeable with “it”. “What is this” usually refers to something close to you, or something that you have. So for instance, if you see an object rolling across the street in front of you and you want to know what it is, you can ask “what is it” or “what is that”. If that same object is by your feet, you can ask “what is this”. However, in English, you will usually be perfectly understood even if you mix up “what is it”, “what is that” and “what is this”.

  • taetheral

    sometimes I hear “뭐” pronounced with a “b” sound…why is that?

    • tim

      same

    • I believe that the sound is actually a mixture of “m” and “b” but I can’t be sure..

  • Dennis

    How to download pdf?. It says about sribd thing.

    • Maria

      you have to right click on the file and then click “save linked content” ☺

  • Pamela Colmenares

    Is there an informal way to say this? Or can this be used for both?

    • JooyeonPark

      You can say “이거 얼마야?” when speaking informally.

  • hikaru1412

    I have been wondering for a while now and people have asked before but have been left unanswered, why does 뭐 sound like 붜 sometimes? Also, why does 미안해 sometimes sound like 비안해? Why is the m sometimes pronounced as a b in Korean? Also, I have heard 누나 pronounced 두나. Why would that be?

    • Maria

      I guess it can either be due to someone speaking in 사두리 or it’s due to the speed koreans speak in. :/

  • Cocaine Jesus

    I learned that “this” is just 이? This is my first time seeing 이거 used so I’m not sure what the difference is. Like for example is “이름이 뭐예요” a grammatically correct sentence? Or is it just a 4minute song

  • Salma

    I loveeeee the song!!

  • isabelleee//

    isn’t -입니다 the 존댓말 way of saying -to be and 이에요/예 being the 분말 saying?

    • Maria

      as far as I know -에요 is polite and -입니다 is an even more polite form. idk for sure tho..

    • laura

      that’s right 이아/야 is the 반말 form. 🙂

  • Rich Brown

    The legendary taught “m” sound, which really sounds like a “b” to English speakers when spoken at the normally fast speeds. Some say it’s an “mb” sound together, but that’s impossible. Unless they’re referring to making a quick humbing sound just before the mouth opens to produce the “b” sound.

  • Suga Swag

    A : 그거 커피예요? 커피 좋아해요? (Is that coffee? Do you like coffee?)
    B : 아니요, 커피 안 좋아해요. 이거 차예요. (No, I don’t like coffee. This is tea.)

    Am I correct? 감사합니다!

    • Annoeny

      Just one mistake that I found, if you’re being real technical here; for “Do you like coffee?”, you missed out ‘You’, which would be 당신은, (Dangshineun), so “당신은 커피 좋아해요?” (Literal: You like coffee? – There is no “Do” in 한국어. 🙂

    • Suga Swag

      당신 is not very commonly used. It’s used with lovers and enemies. ^^

  • Shira

    just wondering what is the reason for saying this- i-geot when you can say __ eyeyo to get the same point across about something?

    • Sosolilly

      I guess it’s when you specifically want to point out something special like idk you’re reading the menu and you show that dish you’re wondering about and say “이거 뭐에요 ?” And the waiter answer “이거…”

  • Jason

    Is the correct way of pronouncing mul-eyeo with an m or a b (bul-eyeo)?

    • Sosolilly

      The correct orthography is with a “m” but I feel like I often hear it more like a b sound, or maybe something between the m and the b… I guess the pronunciation must have changed with time

  • 안녕하세요!
    One more update in my Korean Classroom 「”What is this ? , This is …” , “No .” and ” Yes , it is .” in Korean 」!
    Follow the link → http://my-korean-study-journey.blogspot.de/2016/04/what-is-this-this-is-no-and-yes-it-is.html ← and check it out ♪
    Please fix my mistakes if you`ll find some (*^-^*)

  • 안녕하세요!
    One more update in my Korean Classroom 「”What is this ? , This is …” , “No .” and ” Yes , it is .” in Korean 」!
    Follow the link → http://my-korean-study-journey.blogspot.de/2016/04/what-is-this-this-is-no-and-yes-it-is_14.html ← and check it out ♪
    Please fix my mistakes if you`ll find some (*^-^*)