KoreanJun
6. Subject & Object Markers

6. Subject & Object Markers

In this lesson, You will learn the most important and essential Korean grammar, Korean Markers.

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Korean Markers (Particles)

Korean markers (also known as particles) are Korean post-positions which is same to English prepositions. However, the function and roles of markers are very unique than English prepositions. You will learn how Korean grammar uses markers to determine what’s a subject or an object in this Korean grammar lesson. Oh by the way, the ‘marker’ isn’t a real term. I think some guy made it up to help Korean language students understanding.

Post-Positioned

They are always attached to other words behind them with no spacing. You can see 2 differences already between English and Korean. It’s placed behind and it’s attached to a word.

 

카페에서
At a cafe
= 1. 에서 is the post-position and it’s placed behind ‘카페(cafe)’
= 2. No space between 카페(noun) and 에서(post-position)

Topic Marker

Topic marker 은/는 is used to make a subject. When a noun has a final consonant at the end, use 은. When it doesn’t have a final consonant at the end use 는.

 

Without 받침With 받침
Topic Marker

 

영화 재밌어요.
Movies are fun.
= Marker 는 make a subject after a noun without a batchim at the end

 

게임 재밌어요.
Video games are fun.
= Marker 은 make a subject after a noun with a batchim at the end

 

Here is the tricky part. You saw so many example sentences that I use ‘은’ as a subject marker. In fact, it’s not a subject marker. ‘은 or 는’ just works as a subject marker sometimes but the real subject marker is ‘이/가’. But using a subject marker 이/가 is very tricky and natural with many phrases.

Subject Marker

Yeah… Korean grammar has a subject marker but it’s way different than you think, the way how Korean subject and how English subject works is really different. So… I highly recommend you to pass it for now. Just try to remember it also makes a subject.

 

Without 받침With 받침
Subject Marker

 

이 영화 재밌어요.
This movie is fun (good / nice).
= Marker 가 make a subject after a noun without a batchim at the end

 

이 게임 재밌어요.
This video games are fun.
= Marker 이 make a subject after a noun with a batchim at the end

 

이/가 are often used with a determiner such as my, this, that. Because it targets one specific thing.

 

Using 이/가 is very difficult to use it naturally. It’s not just a part of Korean grammar, when you use 이/가 they change it entirely. Use only 은/는 at first. That’s more similar to English subjects. You will learn 이/가 in details in the next course ourse.

What’s different between 이/가 and 은/는?

이/가 and 은/는 both make a totally different meaning of a sentence. Sometimes it changes grammar too. For now, It would be very hard to learn both at same time for you.

 

I recommend you to use ‘은/는’ at the beginning and learn 이/가 later because 은/는 is much more similar to English grammars. For now, I’ll show you few differences so you can see what can be different between 은/는 and 이/가.

 

풀을 먹어요.
That cow is eating grass.
= You point out one specific cow or cows especially that you are looking at (describing a scene what you are seeing at the moment)

 

풀을 먹어요.
Cows eat grass.
= You tell what normally cows do (describing a general fact)
= 는 is more similar to a subject in English grammar. You can learn 은/는 markers faster than 이/가.

 

Both sentences are exactly same but a marker. However, it changes the meaning of tense and a phrase completely. You will learn about them in details in the next course and how to use them perfectly. Keep studying with Korean Jun! I guarantee my lessons will be so great.

Things That Piss You Off

Have you ever heard ‘You should learn it naturally’?

 

Many Korean teachers or textbooks teach you 이/가 very wrong or insist ‘you should learn it naturally’ or ‘there is no way to learn it in text’ instead of teaching you. But… How the hell can you learn it if no one explains you what it exactly is?

 

You spend your money or at least your time to learn something but the answer from them is like ‘well, I know what it is but I don’t think teaching 이/가 is good so you should learn it all by yourself.’

Direct Object Marker

Object marker 을/를 is used to make a direct object. When a noun has a final consonant at the end, use 을. When it doesn’t have a final consonant at the end use 를.

 

Without 받침With 받침
Direct Object Marker

 

저는 과자 좋아해요!
I like snacks!

 

저는 과일 좋아해요!
I like fruits!

 

Many Korean lessons teach you 을 and 를 as object markers. That’s 50% correct because you can’t use it as an indirect object marker.

Indirect Object Marker (Dative)

Indirect object marker 에게 is used to make an indirect object. It’s always 에게 no matter what word is followed.

 

If you have studied Korean before, then maybe you are familiar with ‘에게’. However, Native Koreans prefer to use ‘한테’ in a daily conversation because 에게 sounds very formal to be used. Yes, Korean has a formal and informal version even for this word.

 

Without 받침With 받침
Indirect Object Marker 에게 / 한테

 

에게 그 책을 주세요
Pass me the book / Give me the book

 

한테 그 책을 주세요
Pass me the book / Give me the book