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Particles - Endings attached to words to specify what significance the word has in the sentence. The particle is attached to the end of the word, without a space in between the word and the particle.

Subject Particle

One of the first and most common particles you will run into is the subject particle. In English, one of the most basic parts of a sentence is the subject. It is a required part in English, but is not required in Korean. The subject tells us who or what is doing the action.

As you learned in Lesson Three, 먹다 means To Eat. You also learned that you could say 먹어요 to mean "I'm eating." Up until now though, we haven't learned how to specify who or what is the subject if we need to for clarification.

The subject particle has two forms. 이 and 가. 이 comes after a word ending in a consonant, and 가 comes after a word ending in a vowel.

For example, let's say Eunji is eating. 은지 ends in a vowel, so we attach 가 and get 은지가. 은지가 means Eunji, as the subject of the sentence. The 가 is what makes Eunji the subject. Then, we can simply add the verb 먹다 in the proper present tense form, and we have our sentence. 은지가 먹어요 in the polite form, 은지가 먹어 or simply 은지 먹어. Eunji is eating. As you will notice, when speaking in the casual form, particles are commonly left off.

In Lesson Four, we learned the irregular verb 있다. 있다 can mean To Be, as in location. There is a pencil. From Lesson Four, you should have memorized 연필 means pencil. 연필이 means pencil, as the subject. 연필이 있어요 means "There is a pencil (there, as in location)." 연필이에요 means "It is a pencil." Be sure to keep 이다 and 있다 separate when it comes to the verb To Be.

Say "There is (a) _____" by filling in the blank with the words below, using the correct subject particle.



See Answers Here

Object Particle

Another very common particle is the object particle. This states which word in the sentence is the object of the sentence, or the word receiving the action. It has two forms as well. 을 after a word ending in a consonant, and 를 after a word ending in a vowel.

In Lesson Three you were asked to learn the verb 마시다, To Drink. You should be able to say "I drink" or "I'm drinking" but you haven't been able to specify what it is you are drinking. You specify this using an object particle. 우유 means milk. If you attach the proper object particle to it, you get 우유를 . You can then say 우유를 마셔요. In Lesson Four you learned 물 means water. Now you should know that 물을 마셔요 means "I'm drinking water." or "I drink water." Now, try these sentences.

앤나가 물을 마셔요.

남이 빵을 먹어요.

친구가 가요.

See Answers Here

Location Particle

You know the verb 가다 from Lesson Three, so you know how to say you're going or someone is going, but knowing how to say where it is you are going is very important! This is very simple! 에. It takes the same form no matter what word it comes after. 집에 가요. You should know this! "I'm going home." 학교에 가요. If I told you 학교 was school, you would know this too :) .

One other location particle that I want to tell you about right now is 에서. When you add the 서 on the end, it then turns into a place where the action is happening. 학교에서 doesn't mean "to school" anymore. It means the action is happening at school . 앤나가 집에서 먹어요 means "Anna is eating at home." 학교에서 공부해요 means "I am studying at school."

Topic Particle

The topic particle may be the most common particle you will run into. It also has two forms. 는 after a vowel, and 은 after a consonant. Keep in mind it will replace the subject or object particle if it is attached to a word that would otherwise have a subject or object particle attached, but it will fall after any other particle. It is also one of the most difficult particles to learn when you begin to study Korean. I will keep it simple, and you will do just fine. It does exactly what it is called. It sets the word or words before it as the topic of the sentence...what the sentence is all about. You can take any part of a sentence and make it the topic, except for the verb of course. Say you have a simple sentence saying "Joe is eating bread at his house." You can make Joe the topic, meaning the sentence is about Joe, and we are saying what he is doing and where. If we like, we may decide bread should be the topic, in which case the rest of the sentence will tell us who and where is eating the bread. Or, if we are talking about "at home", we may want to make "at home" the topic. In this case, we are saying what is going on at home. Joe is eating bread.

Often when you begin to learn Korean, you will be confused about when to use the subject particle vs. the object particle. As you learned above, 은지가 먹어요 means Eunji is eating. But...은지는 먹어요 also would mean Eunji is eating. In one case, Eunji is simply the subject of the sentence. In the second case, Eunji is the topic of the sentence. Very similar. Honestly, it usually won't make much of a difference. Both are right :) . Now for a few examples in Korean.

나는 집에 가요. 나 still means "I". This sentence simply says "I am going home." But if it helps you understand the topic particle better, think of it as "Speaking about me, going home." Another example could be 학교에서는 앤나가 수학을 공부해요. This sentence is a little longer, but if you knew all the nouns and verbs, you could understand it just fine :) . 수학 is math. 학교 is school. 공부하다 is to study. This sentence says "Speaking about what is going on at school, Anna is studying math."

This is why my lessons are so grammar heavy at first. If you know the grammar, you can understand any sentence with the use of a dictionary. If you do not know the grammar your chances of understanding the sentence are much smaller, and a dictionary won't help much. I will begin to introduce larger amounts of vocabulary words, but I just ask that you stick through the grammar until then :) . I promise it will be worth it.

This is a great place to take a break in this lesson. If you memorize the first section on the homework page tonight, then I say you've learned plenty for the day. You can always come back and study some more, or go ahead if you like! Keep your own pace, but this is simply where I will put a stopping point.

Study/Print the homework page

로 / 으로

The particle 로 is commonly used to mean "by means of." It will fall after a noun, and take the form 로 after vowels and a word that ends in the consonant ㄹ, but will take the form 으로 if it falls after any other consonant.

차로 가요 means To go by car. You are expressing which means of transportation you will be using. 기차로 갑시다 is a sentence saying Let's Go by train. It is not only used for means of transportation though. It can be used for anything to mean "by means of." 연필로 쓰세요 means Please write with a pencil, or please write by means of a pencil.


까지 is a particle you stick onto nominals of place or time. It means "All the way up to." As in, I'm going all the way to China, 중국까지 가요. I'm going (as far as) China. You can use it to say a destination you will go to, and meaning thats how far you will go. It is found in the question 어디까지 갈까요? How far should we go?

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