It is well‐known in the literature of Korean linguistics that the difficulty with the semantic treatment of –ess lies in the fact that it can be used to refer to a past eventuality or a perfect eventuality, depending on the context of use. For this reason, after pointing out that it is of no use to posit that –ess is a past tense marker, a perfect marker, or both, this paper argues that –ess itself is neither a past tense marker nor a perfect marker, which completely departs from the previous treatments of –ess. To put it differently, -ess is indeterminate between a past tense marker and a perfect marker across the sentences in which it occurs. The context of use serves to resolve its indeterminacy by presenting the most salient semantic interpretation that may arise from –ess.
2. What is –ess?
3. Lifetime effects and –ess
4. Predicate Types and Presuppositions
5. Semantics of –ess
6. Closing Remarks