Korean sentence structures are built in a whole another way than English sentence structure. To make a subject, a verb or an object, the positions of each word don’t matter much. And it’s because Korean grammar uses something special called Markers or Particles to make the sentence components.
*Technically, the terms Markers and Particles are both wrong in real Korean grammar. Those terms are used to help foreigners understand Korean Grammar better. The real Korean term is 조사(helping word).
Word Position in Korean grammar
Do you know Koreans can distinguish the subject or object no matter where it’s placed? Yes we CAN, because the word position is not so important in Korean grammar to indicate what’s a subject or an object. Hmm… Then, how do they know what’s what? That’s what you will master today with Korean Jun. Let me teach you with a nice natural Korean sentence.
저는 팝콘을 먹어요
I eat popcorn
And… I told you the position is not important. Many other Korean lessons teach you it’s important but that’s not true. Of course there is a natural order that is commonly used but when the sentence is long enough or when you talk to native Koreans, you will see it’s really not much important unlike English.
팝콘을 저는 먹어요
popcorn I eat
저는 먹어요 팝콘을
I eat popcorn
팝콘을 먹어요 저는
popcorn eat I
They all exactly mean ‘I eat popcorn’ even it sounds a bit not natural. But how?
Because Korean grammar uses something very unique called ‘particle’ or ‘marker’ to tell which one is a subject or an object. Let’s take a look for a sentence in details.
저는 팝콘을 먹어요.
저 means I
팝콘 means popcorn
먹어요 means eat
Then what are 는 and 을?
The words 는 and 을 are something that never can be translated into your language at least if you speak any European language. That is what I’m talking about. Something very unique. The ancient mysterious secret of far East Asia: The markers (or particles. As mentioned before, both aren’t a real term in Korean anyway). It’s used to mark what is the subject or object in a sentence. That’s how Koreans can tell what’s the subject or the object no matter where they are.
Oh btw, you will learn about particles a bit later. So, just try to understand only how Korean sentences work this time.
Examples for Markers / Particles
저는 한국어를 공부해요
I study Korean
= 는 makes a subject (normally), 를 makes an object (always)
Chicken is tasty
= 은 makes a subject too
제 강의가 재미없다고 말하지 말아주세요 흑흑
Please don’t say my lesson is not funny sob sob
= 가 also makes a subject too. Of course, there are rules for those.
Can I Ignore Word Positions?
That’s a really great question and the answer is nope. Of course the positions are often ignored by native Koreans. But, Korean grammar has a natural way to put them in order.
Subject + Object + Verb
저는 팝콘을 먹어요
Buuuut, I repeat, you must always remember that the order is often ignored. Sometimes Koreans just switch the order often in a casual conversation.
저는 먹을래요 팝콘!
I’m going to eat popcorn!
Why does it happen? The reason is Korean grammar doesn’t have the impersonal pronoun such as ‘it’ in English. Korean grammar just skips the constituent of sentence when they have to use ‘it’ and say the object later to emphasize what it is. Or it’s just when they forget to say the object. lol. Second one happens so often because of the unique feature that Korean grammar has. (Or they just switch them because they can)
Sentence With No Object?
Making a Korean sentence without an object is same to English. Subject first and then verb.
Subject + Verb
You don’t need an explanation for sentence structures right? EASY! But, only word positions are same here. A marker still decides the constituent of sentence. That’s how Korean grammar works!
How To Use
저는 청소하고 있어요
준씨는 매일 노래해요
Jun sings everyday
어제 저는 피자 먹었어요
I had pizza yesterday
우리 열심히 공부해요!
Let’s study hard!