Today we will learn basic Korean grammar (이)나, 거나, and 아니면 particles. These particles indicate a choice between two objects or verbs. These particles have almost similar meaning that is either/ or. 아니면 means if not / or.
나/이나 attached with nouns and 거나 attached with verbs. When we have to make choices between two things we use these particles.
Korean grammar(이)나, 거나 rule
Then, when do we use Basic Korean grammar (이)나? Let’s find out.
If the preceding word has a final consonant we have to use 이나. or When the noun has the final consonant, ‘이나’ is used. For example, ‘지하철 (subway) has the final consonant. Then ‘이나’ is used after that. So it becomes ‘지하철이나.’
If the preceding word has no final consonant we have to use 나. or On the other hand, when the noun does not have the final consonant, ‘나’ is used. For example, 버스 (bus) does not have the final consonant. So, ‘나’ is used. That’s why it becomes ‘버스나.’
Whether the preceding verb has a vowel or consonant at the ending we have to use 거나. Let’s learn how these particles are used in sentences.
Simple Korean Phrases
주말에는 영화나 드라마를 봐요. Either I watch a movie or watch a drama on the weekend.
저는 지하철이나 버스를 타요.I take the subway or bus.
저녁에 과일이나 빵을 먹어요. I eat fruit or bread in the evening.
우리 아들은 커피나 음료수를 좋아해요.My son likes coffee or beverages.
라면이나 김밥 먹을 거예요. I will take ramen noodle or gimbap.
사과나 배를 사요. I buy apple or pear.
옷이나 신발을 보내요. I send clothes or shoes.
‘강남역에 가려면 버스나 지하철을 타세요.’ If you go to Gangnam station, take the bus or subway.‘You can take the bus.’ Or ‘You can take the subway.’ Here, ‘나’ attaches after the noun ‘버스 (bus)’ that lists two methods of transportation and that indicates one of them can be selected.
‘지하철은 1호선이나 4호선을 타세요.’ Take subway line 1 or line 4‘Take subway line 1.’ Or ‘Take subway line 4.’Both lines can go to 강남 Station. Here, ‘이나’ attaches after the noun ‘1호선 (line 1)’ that talks about two lines and that indicate one of them can be selected.
“산이나 바다에 놀러 갈 거예요.” I’m going to the mountains or the sea.
“저는 집에서 영화나 드라마를 볼 거예요.” I’m going to watch movies or dramas at home.
산이나 is the combination of the noun 산 (mountain) and 이나.
영화나 is the combination of the noun 영화 (movie) and 나.
Now let’s see how 거나 is used in Korean sentences.
빵을 먹거나 우유를 마셔요.Either I eat bread or drink milk.
The basic verb is 먹다(eat). After removing 다 it becomes 먹. If we add 거나 it becomes 먹거나.
집에 가거나 친구를 만날 거예요.Either I go home or meet a friend. The basic verb is 가다(go). After removing 다 it becomes 가. If we add 거나 it becomes 가거나.
시간이 있으면 영화를 보거나 책을 읽어요. Either I watch a movie or read a book if I have time. The basic verb is 보다(watch/look). After removing 다 it becomes 보. If we add 거나 it becomes 보거나.
주말에 음악을 듣거나 여행할 거예요. Either I listen to music or go for a trip on a weekend. The basic verb is 듣다(listen). After removing 다 it becomes 듣. If we add 거나 it becomes 듣거나.
노래를 부르거나 춤을 추거나 마음대로 하세요. Either sing a song or dance, do as you wish. The basic verb is 노래를 부르다. After removing 다 it becomes 노래를 부르. If we add 거나 it becomes 노래를 부르거나. likewise, 춤을 추다 is a basic verb form. After removing 다 and adding 거나 it becomes 춤을 추거나.
먹다, 듣다 has consonant endings and 가다, 보다,부르다 has vowel endings. Regardless of vowel/consonant endings, we used 거나 on all words.
Now let’s learn another part of this grammar. 이나 and 나 can be used to say so much/many/even/ for a whole, a lot.
여친을 세 시간이나 기다렸어요.I waited for my girlfriend for the whole 3 hours.
한국에 친구가 다섯 명이나 있어요. I have 5 (so many) friends in korea.
가방이 예뻤어요. 그래서 5개나 샀어요.The bag was beautiful. That’s why I even bought 5 pieces.
The meaning of 아니면 is or/either. We can use this particle instead of 나/ 이나. Let’s learn more from some example sentences.
오늘 치킨 아니면 해장국 먹고 싶어요.오늘 치킨이나 해장국 먹고 싶어요.Today I eat either chicken or haejangguk. Both have a similar meaning.
(이)나, 거나, 아니면 examples
커피숍에 가면 커피나 녹차를 마셔요.’ When I go to a coffee shop, I drink coffee or green tea.
‘우리 토요일이나 일요일에 만날까요?’ Shall we meet on Saturday or Sunday?
‘언니나 오빠가 청소를 해요.’ Either my older sister or my older brother is cleaning.
버스나 지하철을 타세요.” You can take the bus or subway.
1호선이나 4호선을 타면 갈 수 있어요. You can go there by taking either line 1 or line 4.
The expression ‘noun(이)나’ lists two or more nouns and indicates that one of them can be selected.
‘이나’ attached after a noun. It is the postpositional particle. It lists two or more nouns and indicates that one of them can be selected.
너 올 거야 (아니면) 안 올 거야? Are you coming or not?
차를 갖고 갈까 아니면 버스로 갈까? Shall we drive or go by bus?
아니면 뭐요? If not, what?
Let’s summarize basic Korean grammar lesson
when the noun has the final consonant, ‘이나’ is used. So, ‘지하철’ becomes ‘지하철이나.’
When the noun does not have the final consonant, ‘나’ is used. So ‘버스’ becomes ‘버스나.’
Whether the preceding verb has a vowel or consonant at the ending we have to use 거나. 빵을 먹거나 우유를 마셔요.
아니면 means either/ or. For example- 오늘 치킨 아니면 해장국 먹고 싶어요.