- -가 (for words ending with a vowel)
- -이 (for words ending with a consonant)
- -께서 (honorific form)
These particles mark the subject of a sentence. In colloquial speech, -가/-이may be omitted when the subject of the sentence is obvious.
자동차가 트럭 앞에 있어요. The car is in front of the truck
아직 돈이 있어요. I still have money. (Although not clear in the english translation, 돈 (money) is the subject, because literally it says “money still exists”)
저는 모기가 싫어요. I hate mosquitoes. (lit: For me, mosquitoes are hateful)
- 나 (I) turns into 내가
- 저 (I,humble) turns into 제가
- 너 (you, often avioded) turns into 네가
- 누구 (who?) turns into 누가
- 이거 (= 이것, this thing) turns into 이게
- -를 (for words ending with a vowel)
- -을 (for words ending with a consonant)
These particles mark the direct object of a sentence. In colloquial speech, -를/-을 may be omitted when it is obvious that the noun in question is the object. In colloquial speech -를 is sometimes abbreviated to -ㄹ, especially in common expressions. For example: 나 + -ㄹ = 날 and 이거(= 이것) + -ㄹ = 이걸
사과를 먹었어요. I ate an apple.
저는 칫솔을 사고 싶어요. I want to buy a toothbrush.
This particle marks a noun as modifying another noun. Most often, as the possessor of another noun. It is frequently omitted in spoken language; more frequently than any other particle. 나의 can be abbreviated to 내. 저의 can be abbreviated to 제. 너의 can be abbreviated to 네.
파리는 프랑스의 정치와 경제의 중심이다. Paris is the center of politics and economy of France.
- - 에게 (for nouns denoting something animate)
- - 께 (honorific form)
- - 에 (for nouns denoting something inanimate)
- - 한테 (animate, used in spoken language)
These particles mark the indirect object of a sentence. 에게/ 한테 are used when talking about giving or otherwise conveying something to a person or an animal. Ask your self “whom?”
미나가 민수에게 선물을 주었어요. Mina gave Minsu a gift.
고릴라에게 수화를 가르쳐요. I teach sign language to Gorillas.
친구한테 물어봤어요. I asked a friend.
이 드레스는 미나에게 어울리지 않아요. This dress doesn’t suit Mina.
그는 소매치기를 하다가 경찰에 붙잡혔다. He was caught picking pockets by the police.
- -는 (for words ending with a vowel)
- -은 (for words ending with a consonant)
These particles can follow other particles like 에, 에서, 에게/ 한테, 에게서/ 한테서 and 으로/ 로, but never the subject and object particles. In a casual conversation, -는 can be abbreviated especially with common expressions: 나 - 난. 이것 - 이건.
어머니에게서는 아이들이 선물을 주었어요. From their mother, the children received their presents.
In most cases, the topic markers are attached to the subject, however. Subject and topic are two different things. When choosing weather to mark the subject with 는/은 or 가/이, it is of importance weather the noun has already been mentioned. If it hasn’t been mentioned before, 가/이 is used in most cases. 는/은 are used used when something is common sense:
지구는 둥글어요. Earth is round.
자전거는 싸고, 작고, 조용하다. Bicycles are cheap, small, and silent.
- -와 (for words ending with a vowel!)
- -과 (for words ending with a consonant!)
- -하고 (less formal than -와/ -과, used in everyday speech)
- -랑 (for words ending in a vowel, colloquial)
- -이랑 (for words ending in a consonant, colloquial)
All of them translate to “and” or “with” in English. When they mean with (with a person or an animal), they are often followed by 같이 or 함께.
부모님과 조부모님과 함께 살아요. I live with my parents and grandparents.
- -과/ -와 비교하- “compared with” 그것은 다른 것과 비교할 수가 없다. It can’t be compared with others.
- -과/ -와 비슷하- “similar to” 그것은 큰 고양이와 비슷해요. It is similar to a large cat.
- -과/ -와 같- “the same as”
- -과/ -와 다르- “different from” 동물들의 삶의 방식은 인간과 달라요. The aminals’ way of life is different from that of humans.
- 도, 만 and 는 can be added to -과/ -와
에 can be translated as “to”, “in” or “at”. It is also used to indicate a time. 에서 can be translated as “from“ but also as “in” or “at”. The difference between 에 and 에서 is that 에 is used when talking about something statically “happening” in a place.
우리는 집에 있어요. We are at home.
오늘 왜 학교에 안 갔어요? Why didn’t you go to school today?
이 꽃은 가을에 핀다. This flower blooms in the fall.
독일에서 왔어요. I’m from Germany. (lit.: I come from Germany)
- -야 (for words ending with a vowel)
- -아 (for words ending with a consonant)
The vocative identifies a person being addressed. These particles can not be used in honorific speech, but can be used when addressing younger people, children and people of the same age who are close to the speaker. They may also be used with kinship terms when the relation between the speaker and the adressed person is close. 아/ -야 can also appear with playful uses of derogatory expressions.
미나야, 너 지금 뭐하니? Mina, what are you doing?
자기야, 감자 샐러드 좀 건네줄래? Honey, could you pass the potato salad?
바보야, 왜 울어? Hey, you fool, why are you crying?
Note that the vocative exists outside of the grammatical structure of a sentence.
- -로 (for words ending with a vowel or with -ㄹ)
- -으로 (for words ending with a consonant)
These particles mark the noun with which the subject achieves an action. They can be translated as “by”, “with” or “as”. 로/ 으로 can also have a translative meaning, which can be translated as “turn into”. These particles can also express the reason for a state or action, usually with a negative consequence.
포크로 바나나를 으깨라. Mash the bananas with a fork.
이글루는 얼음으로 만들어진 집이에요. Igloos are houses made of ice.
오래된 기차역이 박물관으로 바뀌었다. The old train station was turned into a museum.
이 책은 두 권으로 나누어져 있다. The book is divided into two volumes.
암으로 늙은 남자는 죽었다 . The old man died of cancer.
- -로서/ -으로서 = as
- -로써/ -으로써 = by means of (unlike 로/으로 not used for means of transportation and -써 makes it sound more formal)
- Important: after expressions ending in 쪽, 로/ 으로 is used: 이쪽으로 오세요. Come this way.
When the number is specified, 들 can only be used with human nouns and if that is the case, it’s optional and rare. In general, 들 can be omitted when plurality is obvious or irrelevant.
사람들이 많아요. There are many people. (optional)
When the noun is preceded by demonstratives 이, 그, 저, plurality has to be marked. 이 엔진들은 증기로 움직인다. These engines are driven by steam.
들 can be used with words other than nouns when multiple hearers are addressed and it’s like adding “everyone” or “guys” to the end of an English sentence.
- 어서들 오세요. Welcome, everyone!
- 내 늪에서 뭣들하고 있는거야? What are you guys doing in my swamp? (What are you doing in my swamp?!)
들 can also be attached to a word other than a noun when the noun that is being talked about was marked with 들 in the previous sentence:
친구들이 어디에 있어요? Where are you friends? - 부엌에들 있어요. They’re all in the kitchen.
This particle tranlates to “also”, “as well” or “even”
이것도 사전입니다. This is also a dictionary.
하나도 없어. There isn’t even one.
Only is translated as -만. It can occur after other particles but it precedes 이, 을 and 은, but in this case they are usually omitted.
난 작년에 두명만 고용했어요. I only hired two people last year.
뿐 is another way of saying only, but it is attached to verbs. 뿐만 is attached to nouns and translates to “it is not just”.
- -부터 (used with temporal expressions or numbers)
3월 25일부터 31일까지 봄 세일을 실시합니다. We are having a spring sale from March 25 to 31.
부터 can be attached to 에서 and becomes 에서부터, which can be abbreviated to 서부터.
This particle is the opposite of -부터. It can be tranlated as “until”, “to” or “by” when talking about time or numbers.
나는 그것을 아주 최근까지 몰랐었다. I did not know it until quite recently.
These particles can be translated as “indeed”, “this very one” or “exactly“
그것이야말로 내가 찾고 있던 것이다. That is exactly what I wanted.