See also:


Alternative formsEdit

  • (-m) (after vowel-final and (l)-final verbal stems)


Of native Korean origin, from Middle Korean 음〮 (Yale: -úm), ᄋᆞᆷ〮 (Yale: -óm).

This suffix is the most common Middle Korean nominalizer, including in the gugyeol sources of the fourteenth century and in the Hangul sources of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, but is very rarely attested in pre-fourteenth-century Old Korean sources. Choe 2017 comments that no intermediary stage appears to exist, and that this sudden post-fourteenth-century dominance of an apparently novel grammatical suffix is puzzling and difficult to explain.

The older nominalizers were realis (*-n) and irrealis (*-l), both of which are now adnominal suffixes.

In Middle Korean, 음〮 (Yale: -úm) proper only derived nouns from verbs, while verbal substantives ("-ing", "that...") were formed by bimorphemic 움〮 (Yale: -wú-m), the first element traditionally being analyzed as the "modulator" suffix 우〮 (Yale: -wú-). The "modulator" disappeared around the late sixteenth century, leaving (-eum) to do double duty.



  1. -ness; -tion; -ment (noun-deriving suffix for verbs and adjectives)
    Synonym: (-gi)
    나누 (nanu-, to divide) + ‎ (-eum) → ‎나눔 (nanum, division, charity)
    기쁘 (gippeu-, happy) + ‎ (-eum) → ‎기쁨 (gippeum, happiness)
  2. (formal) the act of, the process of, -ing, being [] , to be [] (gerund- or noun clause-forming suffix for verbs and adjectives)
    Synonym: (-gi, non-formal)
    우리 우연 아니다.
    Uri-ga mannam-eun uyeon-i anida.
    Our meeting [each other] cannot be an accident.
    명백한 사실입니다.
    I-ga ol-chi aneum-eun myeongbaek-han sasir-imnida.
    This not being right is an evident fact.
  3. (formal or Internet, slang) A formality-neutral sentence ender used in certain contexts when one desires to avoid formality distinctions, such as in formal reports or Internet conversations.
    생물학 관심 가지고 .
    Saengmulhag-e keun gwansim-eul gajigo isseum.
    [Student] has great interest in biology.
    (in a school report)
    2020 12 9
    2020-nyeon 12-wol 9-ir-e sseum
    Written on 9 December, 2020.
    (in the preface of a book)
    거기 ?
    Nim geogi ga-bom?
    Have you been there?
    (in an Internet conversation)

Usage notesEdit

  • In non-formal language, (-gi) is used instead to turn verbs and adjectives into substantives.
  • This suffix has an epenthetical vowel and therefore provokes verbal irregularities in certain stems, e.g. 그립 (geurip-, to long for) > 그리움 (geurium, longing).
  • This suffix does not elide preceding (l); instead, the epenthetical vowel is lost.


  • 최성규 (Choe Seong-gyu) (2017), “명사형 어미 ‘ㅁ’의 형성 과정 탐색”, in Gugeohak, volume 83, DOI:10.15811/jkl.2017..83.006, pages 153—181