[Grammar] 이/가 vs 은/는 : Subject particle vs topic particle

We have learned Korean particles in the previous post(click).  This post is about subject particles and topic particles. The subject particles are  이 and 가, the topic particles are 은 and 는

Noun(ends with a consonant) + 이 

Noun(ends with a vowel) +

For example,

뭐예요?.  What is your name?
며칠이에요? What date is today?
예뻐요. The baby is pretty.

And many people are confused the subject particle with the topic particle -은/는.

-은 and 는 are not subject particle. 

-은/는 can substitute -이/가(subject particle) and -을/를(object particle), which means you CAN’T use the topic particle and the subject/object particle for one noun.  We should use either topic particle or subject/object particle.

Noun(ends with a consonant) +

Noun(ends with a vowel) +

For beginners, we just need to know -은/는 are used for

1. when you introduce a noun

For example,

이민수예요.  I am Lee Minsu.
한국 사람이에요. I am Korean.
28살이에요. I am 28 years old.
우리 한국어 선생님 남자예요. My Korean teacher is a male.

2. when you compare two nouns

For example,

민수 씨는 사과를 좋아해요. 그런데 유진 씨는 사과를 안 좋아해요.
(Minsu likes apples, but Yujin doesn’t like apples)
– 민수 씨 and 유진 씨 are subjects.
* 민수 씨가는(X), 유진 씨가는(X)

민수 씨가 사과는 좋아해요. 그런데 (민수 씨가) 바나나는 안 좋아해요.
(Minsu likes apples, but he doesn’t like bananas.)
– 사과 and 바나나 are objects. 
* 사과를은(X), 바나나를은(X)

3. When you ask about new information, it is safe to use -이/가 and when you answer the question, you should -은/는

For example,

A: 이름이 뭐예요? What is your name?
B: 제 이름은 이민수예요. My name is Lee Minsu.

A: 오늘이 며칠이에요? What date is today?
B: 오늘은 8월 7일이에요. Today is August 7.

A: 이 분이 누구예요? Who is this person?
B: (이 분은) 제 어머니예요.  (This person is) My mother.

You can also listen to the pronunciation here.

#이 subject particle #가subject particle #subject particle #topic particle #topic #은는 #은topic #는topic #은subject #는subject #이/가vs은/는 #은는 topic #이가subject #subject marker #subject topic #Korean topic #은는 subject

[Grammar] 위,아래, 앞, 뒤 : Location nouns

Location nouns
위/아래/앞/뒤/옆/왼쪽/오른쪽/안/밖

 

We are going to learn location nouns in this post.  You can put these location nouns into ‘-이/가 -에 있어요/없어요 (~ is at/in somewhere) in the previous post(click).  Let’s look at the table below to learn location nouns.

Korean
English
Example
top,above
책상 위 on the desk
아래
under, bottom
책상 아래 under the desk
front
책상 앞 in front of the desk
back, behind
책상 뒤 behind the desk
next to
책상 옆 next to the desk
왼쪽
to the left of ~
책상 왼쪽 to the left of the desk
오른쪽
to the right of~
책상 오른쪽 to the right of desk
inside the ~
집 안 inside the house
outside of the~
집 밖 outside of the house
A하고 B 사이
between A and B
책상하고 의자 사이 between the desk and the chair

 

You can make it into a question with the question noun “어디” which means “where” instead of the noun in “Location noun+에“.

e.g)

시계가 책상 에 있어요.
The clock is on the desk.
시계가 책상 아래에 있어요.
The clock is under the desk.
시계가 책상 에 있어요.
The clock is in front of the desk.
시계가 책상 에 있어요.
The clock is behind the desk.
시계가 책상에 있어요.
The clock is next to the desk.
시계가 책상 왼쪽에 있어요.
The clock is to the left of the desk.
시계가 책상 오른쪽에 있어요.
The clock is to the right of the desk.
고양이가 집 에 있어요.
The cat is inside the house.
고양이가 집에 있어요.
The cat is outside of the house.
고양이가 책상하고 의자 사이에 있어요.
The cat is between the desk and the chair.
선생님이 어디에 있어요?
Where is the teacher?
화장실이 어디에 있어요?
Where is the bathroom?

You can listen to the pronunciation here.

Practice1>> Tranlate it to English.

1) 돈이 가방에 없어요.

2) 컴퓨터가 집에 없어요.

3) 시계가 책상 위에 있어요.

4) 사과가 냉장고 안에 있어요.

5) 학교가 어디에 있어요?

6) 선생님이 어디에 있어요?

 

Practice2>>Translate it to Korean.

1) Where is your house?

2) The book is on the top of the desk.

3) My friend is not in America.

4) Where is the school?

5) The pen is under the book.

6) Is the cell phone in the bag?

 

If you know the answer, please leave a reply under this post. I will post the answer next weekend!

[Grammar] 있어요 possession and existence

있어요/없어요  have(possession), be at(existence)

있어요 has two different meanings. The first meaning is “have(possession)“, and the other one is “is/am/are at/in/on somewhere(existence)“. It is not just ‘is’, it means ‘is at/in/on somewhere(existence)‘. The opposite word for 있어요 is 없어요

 

1. Possession  : noun이/가 있어요. have a noun. 

i.e) (저는) 집이 있어요.  I have a house.
(저는) 돈이 있어요. I have money.
(저는) 아내가 있어요. I have wife.
사과가 없어요. I do not have an apple.
저는 한국 친구가 없어요. I do not have Korean friends.
저는 핸드폰이 없어요. I do not have a cell phone.

2. Existence  : noun이/가 place에 어요. noun is at/on/in a place.

선생님이 학교에 있어요.  The teacher is at the school.
민수 씨가 도서관에 있어요.  Minsu is at the library.
동생이 집에 있어요.  My younger sister(brother) is at home.
오빠가 집에 없어요.  My older brother is not at home.
형이 커피숍에 있어요. My older brother is at the coffee shop.
컴퓨터가 없어요. There is no computer at home.
도서관 책이 많이 있어요. There are lots of books at the library.
침대가 있어요. There is a bed in the room.
공원 꽃이 많이 있어요. There are a lot of flowers at the park.
* You can also listen to the pronunciation of these sentences here.

As you can see, when 있어요/없어요 mean “be at some place“, 있어요 follows after “-에” which is a place particle.

If you are confused by 있어요 and 이에요, please click here to learn more.