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Korean Post Position Articles and Particles

I got a question to my inbox today asking me to explain these things because someone was studying Korean and finding them hard. They aren’t that complicated, but if you are studying Korean, you need to know what they are and how to use them. Most native speakers of English don’t know how to explain why we use “the” and “a” or nothing before a noun, but we use them right anyway. They are the kind of thing the articles and particles in Korean are except we only use ours with nouns, and they use them with several other parts of speech. One blog isn’t really sufficient to explain every particle or article you might run across in Korea, but it is enough to explain some basics.

This is information for people who want to study Korean.//Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

To begin with, theirs go after the word instead of before it like in English. If you speak Romanian, you are used to seeing “ul” or “a” at the end of a noun denoting “the.” If you speak Japanese, they use them too. If you see “は” after a noun, you know it is pronounced “wa” and it means that noun is the subject. It is the same in Korean. If you see any of these syllables after a noun in Korean, then it is the subject: 가 (ga) or 이 (ee). If you see 는 (nun) or 은 (un), it could be the subject, but it could also be something else like time or an adjective. If the subject ends with a consonant, then the post position article would be 이 or 은. If the subject ends with a vowel, the post position article would be 가 or 는.

Many languages in the world use post position articles, not articles before the nouns like in English. I have heard even Cherokee, an American Indian language, uses these.//Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

These post position articles are not only used for nouns, but also for pronouns. There are basic pronouns, and the particle after them tells you what part of speech they are. Here are some examples:

그는 한국인 이다. (He is a Korean.) 그가 다리있어요. (He is on a bridge.)
그의 웃읏흑색 있어요. (His coat is black.)//Photo by O-seop Sim on Pexels.com

그는 or 그가 = He

그를= him, the direct object

그에게 = to him, and in Korean, there is not indirect object unless you count this prepositional phrase.

그의 = his

그 자신 = himself

As you can see, ever word begins with 그 (ku). That is a third person singular masculine pronoun. Each of the particles after the 그 tell you what kind of 그 it is. Here is another example:

그녀힌국인 이라고 말해요. (She says, “I am a Korean.)
그녀나라 한국 이라고 말해요. (She says, “My country is Korea.”) Photo by Tran Huynh Nam on Pexels.com

나는 or 내가 = I

나를 = me, the direct object

나에게 = to me

나의or 내 = my

나 자신 = myself

The prepositions also come after the object of the preposition. Here are some basic examples:

이 버수 하교가요. (This bus goes to school.) 이보스 하교가요. (This bus goes toward school.) Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

하교 에 or 하교로= to school

하교에 can also mean “at school.” The 에 is used for many things.

호박들탁자위에 있어요. (The pumpkins are on the table.) 호박 있어요? (Is there a pumpkin? or Are there any pumpkins?)Photo by Valeriia Miller on Pexels.com

탁자위에= on or over the table

위로= up

우로에 보세요= Look up.

오랜쪽= right

오랜쪽으로 가세요= Go to the right.

오랜쪽사요 한세요. (Use the right door.) 오랜쪽안쪽가세요. (Using the door on the right, go inside the room.) 왼쪽사용 하지 마세요. (Don’t use the door on the left.) Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

오랜쪽의 문 = the right door (의 is used for possessive and after adjectives.)

오랜쪽의 문에 = The door on the right

의자들탁자 아래 있어요.(The chairs are under the table.)탹자아래 가지마세요. (Don’t go under the table.) Photo by Jonathan Borba on Pexels.com

아래에 = under

탁자의 아래에 = under the table

그들 계단 아래가요. (They walk down using the stairs.) Photo by Proxyclick Visitor Management System on Pexels.com
게단에로 가요. (He or she) is going up using the stairs.) Often, in Korean the subject is left out. You have to guess at the subject from context. Photo by Shamia Casiano on Pexels.com

계단의 아래로 가세요= Go down the stairs. 로 used like these is a direction.

계단에 있어요= It is at the stairs.

계단에 가세요 = Go to the stairs.

그녀 좃가락 먹어요. (She eats with chopsticks.)Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

로 also has another usage. It can mean “using.” If I say, 펜로 (pen ro) it means, “using a pen.” If I say, 젓가락 로 (jotkarak ro), it means “using chopsticks.”

그들 배우 공부해요 (They study in order to learn.).Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Another one is 려 (ryeo). 려 means “in order to.” It is found on the end of verbs. 가려 (ka ryeo) means “in order to go.” 하려 means “in order to do it.” 밀 히려 means “in order to speak.”

There are many particles or post position articles like this in Korean, but if you learn just these, you will have a good beginning. I had a Korean book once upon a time that had a lot of grammar lessons. That is how I learned these. There are probably many more than I know, but these are pretty common, so if you learn these, it would get you started understanding Korean post position articles or particles.

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