When you compare between the Korean script and the English script, it always makes you wonder if the Korean language also has ‘the’ or such things. Well if you really thought that, you are a nerd and we welcome you guys here lol. Today, I’m going to teach you what’s the in Korean.
The in Korean
Sometimes It seems like there is no the in Korean language at all because Koreans don’t understand ‘the’ mostly and they don’t use it when they try to speak English. Because is there no the in Korean? Do They skip all ‘the’ when they translate? The answer is no. We also have a similar thing but it’s not exactly the same.
The + That
If you expect something perfectly the same as the, then yeah there is no the in the Korean language. However, there is a similar thing, not perfectly the same but similar.
The In Korean 2
When we have to translate ‘the’ from English to Korean, we use the word 그. It usually means ‘that’ but actually, the nuance sounds like you combine the, that, it all together into one word.
한 남자가 있었다. 그 남자는 문 앞으로 걸어갔다
There was a man. The man walked to the door.
우리 항상 가는 그 카페에 있을게요
I’ll be at the cafe where we always go.
그 points out something that people in a conversation already mentioned or are aware of. It helps the description and explanation.
Missing The in Korean
The problem is, you don’t have to use it at all. You can say the sentences without 그 perfectly and the meaning would be the same.
한 남자가 있었다. 남자는 문 앞으로 걸어갔다.
There was a man. (The) man walked to the door.
우리 항상 가는 카페에 있을게요.
I’ll be at (the) cafe where we always go.
How is that possible? Because in the Korean language, when you already mentioned something or are aware of something, you can skip that part. So, you don’t have to use 그 from the first place.
And this 그 is like a combination of that and the. So, it doesn’t mean ‘the’ only. Another thing is that many different functions of the doesn’t exist in 그. So, it’s hard to say 그 is the in Korean. But similar.
Then Why Do We Use 그?
If you can make the sentence perfectly without using 그, then why do we have it? The answer is quite simple as you can guess. Yes, it emphasizes the word. And also we use it as a combination of that and the. So, it works as ‘that’ also.
그 카페 있잖아? 거기 망했어
You know that cafe? They’re out of business.
은행 옆에 있던 그 카페 있잖아? 거기 망했어
You know the cafe next to (the) bank? They’re doomed. (lol)
So, sometimes 그 can be that also can be the in Korean language. It changes when you translate based on the context.
Article The, A, An
Ok, ok, now we know how to say the in the Korean language. Then how about a and an? Are there any similar things to them in the Korean language?
한 남자가 있었다
There was a man
It seems like there is a / an in Korean right? Because I wrote ‘한’. However, 한 only means ‘1’ so the sentence actually is more like ‘there was one man’. The Korean language doesn’t have articles such as ‘a’ and ‘an.’
Just like English has many things that Korean doesn’t have. It also has many things English doesn’t have. Why don’t we jump to learn it a bit more? It would be super interesting. Also, if you liked this tutorial, join us in Patreon so we can keep going!