Particle -(이)나


In this post, we are talking about (이)나, (이)나 is very common particle that comes on TOPIK. Let’s find out!

1. ‘choice’ , ‘A or B’.
주스를 주세요. Please give me tea or juice.
중국이나 미국에 갈 거예요. I am going to China or U.S.
경제학이나 경영학을 공부하고 싶어요. I want to study economics or business.

2. The previous noun is not the best choice or my favorite, but I still choose it.
밥은 없는데 그냥 이거 먹어. We don’t have rice, just eat this. (this is not the best choice, but I still give it to you.)
할 일도 없는데 영화 보지요. 뭐. I don’t have things to do, well, let’s watch a movie. (movie is not the best choice, but it is okay. )
밥이나 먹자. Let’s eat. (Eating is not my favorite thing to do now, but let’s do it.)

3. 이나 is attached 몇, 며칠, 얼마, it expresses “to ask/guess the number/amount” (Most cases you can omit 이나, because there is already a question word.)
사람이 몇 명이나 모였어요? How many people were there?
상하이를 여행하려면 며칠이나 걸려요? How many days does it take to travel Shanghai?
아이가 몇 살이나 됐어요? How old is the kid?

4. 이나 is attached to a number, it express that the number is more than the speaker expected.
어제 거기서 한 시간이나 기다렸어요. I waited for one hour over there yesterday. (one hour was very long time.)
비용이 백만 원이나 들어요? Does it cost one million Won? (one million Won is too much.)
** It is often compared with -밖에, please click here to learn the difference.

5. 이나 is attached to question words, 언제, 어디, 누구, 무엇, 아무, 아무 noun, it expresses ‘every’. We can translate as ‘—ever’
민수는 언제나 친절하게 사람을 대해요. Minsu always(whenever) treat people very friendly.
누구나(아무나) 들어올 수 있습니다. Anyone(Whoever) can come in.
무엇이나 물어보세요. Ask me anything(whatever).
공기는 어디에나 있어요. Air is everywhere(wherever).
아무 거나 다 잘 먹어요. I can eat any thing(whatever).

6. It doesn’t matter whether it is A or B.
지금이나 변한 게 별로 없네요. There is not much different before and now.
샌드위치 피자 다 괜찮아요. I am okay with sandwich or pizza, it doesn’t matter.

If you have any questions, please leave a comment in this post. 아무 질문이나 상관없어요! ^^

[Grammar] -(이)나 and -밖에

CYMERA_20130709_122812In this picture, 반 밖에 should be 반밖에. There is no space between 반 and 밖에.


-(이)나 and 밖에 both are particles. -() is used after a noun, it means ‘or’.  For example,

라면이나 우동을 시킬까요? Shall we order noodles or Udon?
초록색이나 빨간색을 입으세요. Please wear green or red.

Sometimes ‘이나’ is used after numbers/amount, it means  ‘the number is more than the speaker expected’. For example,

어제 술을 네 잔이나 마셨어요. I drank alcohol 4 glasses last night. (it means that she/he drank more than usual)
커피 값이 만 원이나 해요? Is a cup of coffee 10,000? (it is expensive)
커피를 하루에 다섯 잔이나 마셔요? Do you drink coffee 5 times a day? (you drink a lot)
세뱃돈을 5만원이나 받았어요. I got 50,000 Won at the New Year’s money. (it is more than I expected.)
집에 친구들이 20명이나 왔어요. 20 friends came to my home.(a lot of friends!)
오늘 공원에 차가 50대 있었어요. There were 50 cars at the park today. (a lot of cars!)
물이 반이나 남았어요. There is a half cup of water. (still a lot)



On the other hand, if you use -밖에 instead of -(이)나, it means totally opposite.  밖에 is used after noun, it means ‘only’.  When you use Noun+밖에, you have to use a negative word or expression with a verb/adjective.  For example,

오늘은 커피를 한 잔밖에 안 마셨어요. I only drank a cup of coffee. (=오늘은 커피를 한 잔만 마셨어요.)
파티에 선생님밖에 안 왔어요. Only my teacher came to the party. (파티에 선생님만 왔어요.)

Therefore, when 밖에 is used after numbers/amount, it means ‘only this amount of number’ which expresses unpleasant meaning.  For example,

A: 어제 술을 얼마나 마셨어요?

B: 조금밖에 마셨어요.

A: How much did you drink yesterday?

B : I only drank a little bit.

매달 월급을 백오십만 원밖에 받아요.  I only get 150,000 Won every month for salary.
일주일에 운동을 3시간밖에 해요.  I only work out 3 hours a week.
일 년에 한 번밖에 여행을 갈 수 없어요.  I only can go travel once a year.
돈이 조금밖에 없어서 비싼 음식을 먹을 수 없어요.  I only have a little bit of money, so I can’t eat expensive food.
이 요리는 아주 쉬워요. 5분밖에 걸려요. This food is easy to make. It only takes 5 minutes.
물이 반밖에 지 않았어요.  There is only a half cup of water.

You can listen to the pronunciation for those examples here.