Mar 5, 2022
Korean Particle List
Preceding syntactic (n-)eun 은/는 Used as a topic particle or a subject particle. Eun 은 is used following a consonant, Neun 는 is used following a vowel. Nouns (topic) Naneun haksaengida. 나는 학생이다. I am a student. Nouns (topic) Igeoseun yeonpirida. 이것은 연필이다. This is a pencil. Nouns (genericized nominative) Chitaneun ppareuda. 치타는 빠르다. Cheetahs are fast. Nouns (topic) Jeoneun jjajangmyeon juseyo 저는 짜장면 주세요. I'd like a jajangmyeon. i/ga 이/가 Used as an identifier or subject particle to indicate the nominative case. I 이 is used following a consonant, Ga 가 is used following a vowel. Nouns (agent) Naega masyeotda 내가 마셨다 I drank. Nouns (identifier) Jeogeosi Han-gang-iya 저것이 한강이야. That is the Han River. Nouns (specific nominative) Chitaga neurida 치타가 느리다. This cheetah is slow. kkeseo 께서 The honorific nominative marker. It could be added to Neun, Do, and Man to form 께서는 (topic), 께서도 (too/also), and 께서만 (only), respectively, which are the respective honorific forms. Nouns Seonsaengnimkkeseo osyeotda. 선생님께서 오셨다. (The) teacher arrived . (r-)eul 을/를 Used as an object particle to indicate the accusative case. Eul 을 is used following a consonant, Reul 를 is used following a vowel. Nouns (objective) Naneun ramyeoneul meogeotda. 나는 라면을 먹었다. I ate ramen. ege/hante 에게/한테 Used as a dative particle. Ege 에게 is the literary form, and Hante 한테 is the colloquial form. Noun Neohuiege hal mari itda. 너희에게 할 말이 있다. I have something to tell you. (kke) 께 Kke 께 is the honorific dative marker. Noun Goyongjukke seonmureul deuryeotda. 고용주께 선물을 드렸다. I gave a gift to my employer. (eu)ro 으로/로 Used to mark the instrumental case, which can also denote destination or role. Euro 으로 is used following a consonant other than 'ㄹ', which is abbreviated to Ro 로 following a vowel or the consonant 'ㄹ'. Noun (means) KTX-ro Seoureseo Busankkaji se sigan geollinda. KTX로 서울에서 부산까지 3시간 걸린다. It takes 3 hours to go from Seoul to Busan via KTX. Noun (destination) Naeil Hojuro tteonamnida. 내일 호주로 떠납니다. I am leaving for Australia tomorrow. Noun (role) Unjeonsaro chwijikhaeyo. 운전사로 취직해요. I'm going to be working as a driver. e 에 Used for any words relating to time or place. Sometimes used for cause. Time (noun) Maikeureun parweore watda. 마이클은 8월에 왔다. Michael came in August. Location (noun) Jedongeun ilbone gatda. 제동은 일본에 갔다. Jedong went to Japan. Cause (noun) Jamyeongjong sorie kkaetta 자명종 소리에 깼다. Woke up by the sound of the alarm. eseo 에서 Translates to: "from" (ablative) when used with a motion verb. May also be used as "at", "in" (locative) when used with an action verb which is not motion related. Noun (from) Junggugeseo wasseo. 중국에서 왔어. I came from China. Noun (in) Bang-eseo gongbu-reul haet-da. 방에서 공부를 했다. I studied in my room. buteo 부터 Translates to: Used to show when or where an action or situation started. Noun Cheoeumbuteo kkeutkkaji 처음부터 끝까지 From beginning to end kkaji 까지 Translates to: Used to illustrate the extent of an action, either in location or time, generally meaning "until", "up to". Noun Cheoeumbuteo kkeutkkaji 처음부터 끝까지 From beginning to end man 만 Translates to: "only", used after a noun. Noun Ojik jeimseu-man hangugeo-reul gongbu-haet-da. 오직 제임스만 한국어를 공부했다. Only James studied Korean. ui 의 Functions as: possession indicator, noun link, topic marker. Noun: possession Migugui daetongryeong 미국의 대통령 President of the United States do 도 Used as an additive particle. When dealing with additive qualities/descriptions of the same subject, see ttohan 또한. Nouns Geunyeodo gongbuhanda. 그녀도 공부한다. She studies too. (g)wa/rang 과/와/랑 Translates to: "and" (conjunction); "with" or "as with" (preposition). Gwa 과 is used following a consonant, Wa 와 is used following a vowel. Wa 와 is the literary form, and rang 랑 is the colloquial form. Nouns: conjunction Neowa na 너와 나 You and I (y)a 아/야 The vocative marker. A 아 is used following a consonant, Ya 야 is used following a vowel. Noun Minsuya! 민수야! Minsu! (i)yeo 이여/여 The vocative marker, with added nuance of exclamation. Iyeo 이여 is used following a consonant, Yeo 여 is used following a vowel. Noun Naui georukhasin gusejuyeo. 나의 거룩하신 구세주여. O my divine Redeemer.
Korean Particles (~는/은 and ~를/을) Most words in a Korean sentence have a particle attached to them. These particles indicate the role of each word in a sentence – that is, specifically which word is the subject or object. Note that there is absolutely no way of translating these particles to English, as we do not use anything like them. The following are the particles you should know for this lesson: 는 or 은 (Subject) This is placed after a word to indicate that it is the subject of a sentence. Use 는 when the last letter of the last syllable of the subject is a vowel. For example: 나 = 나는 저 = 저는 Use 은 when the last letter of the last syllable of the subject is a consonant. For example: 집 = 집은 책 = 책은 를 or 을 (Object) This is placed after a word to indicate that is the object of a sentence. Use 를 when the last letter of the last syllable is a vowel. For example: 나 = 나를 저 = 저를 Use을 when the last letter of the last syllable is a consonant. For example: 집 = 집을 책 = 책을 We can now make sentences using the Korean sentence structure and the Korean particles. 1) I speak Korean = I는 Korean을 speak 는 is attached to “I” (the subject) 을 is attached to “Korean” (the object) 2) I like you = I는 you를 like 는 is attached to “I” (the subject) 를 is attached to “you” (the object) 3) I wrote a letter = I는 letter을 wrote 는 is attached to “I” (the subject) 을 is attached to “letter” (the object) 4) I opened the door = I는 door을 opened 는 is attached to “I” (the subject) 을 is attached to “the door” (the object) 5) My mom will make pasta = My mom은 pasta를 will make 은 is attached to “my mom” (the subject) 를 is attached to “pasta” (the object) The goal of this lesson is to familiarize yourself with the structure of Korean sentences. The same could be done for sentences with adjectives. However, remember that sentences with adjectives will not have an object: 1) My girlfriend is pretty: My girlfriend은 is pretty :”은” is attached to “my girlfriend” (the subject) 2) The movie was scary = The movie는 was scary :”는” is attached to “the movie” (the subject) 이/가 as a Subject Marker One of the most difficult things for a new learner of Korean to understand is the difference between the particles ~는/은 and ~이/가. 고양이는 집 뒤에 있다 = The cat is behind the house (고양이는 집 뒤에 있어 / 고양이는 집 뒤에 있어요) In this sentence, notice that the particle ~는/은 indicates that the “cat” is the subject. However the sentence above could also be written like this: 고양이가 집 뒤에 있다 = The cat is behind the house (고양이가 집 뒤에 있어 / 고양이가 집 뒤에 있어요) The two sentences could have exactly the same meaning and feeling. I emphasize “could” because in some situations the meaning of the two sentences is exactly the same, but in other situations the meaning of two sentences can be subtly different. The reason why they could be identical: 고양이는 집 뒤에 있다 = The cat is behind the house 고양이가 집 뒤에 있다 = The cat is behind the house ~이/가, like ~는/은 is added to the subject of the sentence. In some situations, there is no difference in meaning or feel between adding ~이/가 or ~는/은 to the subject. The reason why they could be subtly different: ~는/은 has a role of indicating that something is being compared with something else. The noun that “~는/은” is added to is being compared. is added to is being compared. In this example: 고양이는 집 뒤에 있다 = The cat is behind the house The speaker is saying that the cat is behind the house (in comparison to something else that is not behind the house). The difficulty here is that there is only one sentence; which gives the listener no context to understand what “the cat” is being compared with. However, if I were to make up a context that fits into this situation, it could be that “The dog is in the house, and, the cat is behind the house.” However, saying: 고양이가 집 뒤에 있다 = The cat is behind the house …is simply stating a fact, and “the cat” is not being compared to anything. Another example: 커피가 냉장고에 있다 = The coffee is in the fridge (This sentence is simply stating that the coffee is in the fridge, and there is no intention of comparison) 커피는 냉장고에 있다 = The coffee is in the fridge (This sentence could simply be stating that the coffee is in the fridge. It is also possible that the speaker is trying to distinguish between the location of another object. For example, perhaps the tea is on the table, but the coffee is in the fridge). In both pairs of examples (using ~는/은 or ~이/가), the translation does not change by altering the subject particle. Rather, the only thing that changes is the subtle feeling or nuance that something is being compared. Note that this “comparative” function of ~는/은 can be used in much more complicated sentences, and can be attached to other grammatical principles – neither of which you have learned yet. In future lessons, not only will you see examples of increasing complexity applying this concept, but its usage with other grammatical principles will be introduced specifically. You need to remember that the example sentences given at this level are incredibly simple and do not really reflect actual sentences that you are likely to hear as one-off sentences from Korean people. Real speech is much more complex and it usually is an intricate combination of many clauses and grammatical principles. As you progress through our Lessons, you will see both “~는/은” and “~이/가” used as the subject particles in the thousands of example sentences we have provided. As almost all of our example sentences are just written as one sentence (without any background, prior context, or explanation of the situation), there is no way to tell if something is being compared to – and thus – their usage is usually arbitrary. In addition to the distinction discussed in this lesson, there are other situations where it might be more appropriate to use ~이/가 or ~은/는. However, I am not able to fully describe the distinction between these two particles with the limited amount of grammar (and vocabulary) understanding you have to this point. The purpose of this lesson is to give you a general understanding of ~이/가, and to introduce you to the comparison between ~는/은. The good thing is, even if you make a mistake with the usages of ~이/가 and ~는/은 (either because you are confused or because you haven’t reached the later lessons yet), 99.9% of the time, the listener will be able to understand exactly what you are trying to express. Likewise, if you listen to somebody speaking, you will be able to understand what they are trying to say regardless of if you have learned the more complex usages of ~이/가 and ~는/은. The difference between these two particles is about nuance and does not dramatically change the meaning of sentence. Making a mistake between other particles, however, would cause other people to misunderstand you. For example, using ~를/을 instead of ~는/은 would (most likely) make your sentence incomprehensible.