Korean grammar 은/는 이/가
The most important grammar in the Korean language is Korean grammar 은는 이가. It is the first section of learning grammar in the Korean language. 은/는 and 이/가 is the most valuable part of Korean grammar and it is one among the frequently asked questions between Korean language students. Korean learners get confused between these two words though native speakers use them without thinking.
Korean grammar(은 는 이 가 grammar) Definition
은 는 –
Topic markers or topic marking particles
이 가 –
Subject markers or subject marking particles
은 는 indicates the topic of the sentence and 이 가 indicates the subject of the sentence. The grammatical subject is related to 이 가. The fun fact is many native speakers frequently omit these particles in daily conversation
If the word ends with consonants we use 은 or 이
이것은, 이것이 – This is
저것은, 저것이 – That is
If the word ends with vowels we use 는 or 가.
저는, 제가 – (I’m) formal
나는, 내가 – (I’m) informal
When to use 은 는
It is used after a noun that ends in consonants.
It is used after a noun that ends in vowels.
은 는 이 가 예문
1. 이 책은 25,000원입니다.
(“책”은→책 is a noun which ends in consonants.)
This book is 25,000won.
2. 러키 씨는 미국 사람입니다.
(“씨”는→ 씨 is a noun which ends in vowels.)
Rocky is an American.
3. 언니는 간호사이고 저는 학생이에요.
(“언니”는→ 언니 is a noun which ends in vowels.)
My older sister is a nurse, and I’m a student.
Korean grammar 은는 이가 examples
coffee is tasty or coffee tastes good.
이 식당은 커피가 맛있어요.
In this restaurant, coffee tastes good.
As for this restaurant, coffee tastes good
when it comes to this restaurant, coffee tastes good.
외국어 공부는 재미있어요.
Learning a foreign language is interesting.
저는 외국어 공부가 재미있어요.
As for me, learning a foreign language is interesting.
Korean grammar 은는 usages
When 은 는 are exactly used?
1. Introducing your self
When you introduce yourself in Korean you use 저는…(your name)… 입니다.
suppose my name is John, so I can say 저는 존 입니다.
here you are introducing the topic of the sentence and topic of the sentence is 저 or (I).
이쪽은 우리 아버지이에요.
This is my father. / This side person is my father
이쪽은 우리 여동생 이에요.
This side person is my friend / This side person is my friend.
2. When talking about general things
There are so many things that we talk about in day to day life and among them, many are general or obvious things. Like
Apples are Red. 사과는 빨개요.
Today is Saturday.오늘은 토요일이에요.
사과 has ㅘ ending, which is vowel so 는 is used.
오늘 has ㄹ ending, which is consonants so 는 is used.
and both of these phrases are generally acknowledged to be true.
3 은 는 also used to show some contrast/opposite or comparison.
If somebody asks 술 좋아해요? Do you like alcohol/liquor?
and you replied 맥주는 좋아해요. I like beer.
That means you generally don’t like alcohol but you like beer.
해물 먹을 수 있어요? Do you eat any kind of kinds of seafood?
문어는 먹어요. I can’t eat any kinds of seafood but octopus.
동물 좋아해요? Do you like animals?
I only like puppies.
I hate animals but I like puppies.
A: 미국 가고 싶어. I want to go to the USA.
B: 나는 일본 가고 싶어. I want to go to Japan.
Here also people are showing different wish or there is a contrast in between their wish so Korean grammar 는 has used.
In summary, when you are talking about general facts, Introducing yourself and comparing or making a contrast you need to use 은 or 는 particle.
The function of this particle is to express a grammatical relationship with other
words or phrases.
When to use 이 가
1 이 가 are used when you observed or describe something. When a verb is descriptive you will always use this.
when you see a puppy at your friend’s home and you are telling your friend about the puppy.
강아지가 귀여워./ 강아지가 귀엽네. / 강아지가 귀엽다.
The puppy is cute. or what a cute puppy.
When you meet a friend at the airport and found that your friend carries big luggage with lots of stuff yo say like this –
짐이 많으시네요. you have a lot of luggage.
Here 짐 has ㅁ at last which is a consonant so 이 has used.
When you cleaned your house and your mom asked you.
이거 누가 다 했어? who did this?
제가 다 했어요. I did it all. / I’m the one who did it.
Difference between 이 가 and 은 는
Let’s imagine a situation where there is person A, B and you are having a conversation, and person A asks you.
What is donghwa doing? 동화는 뭐해요?
Donghwa went for study. 동화는 공부하러 갔어요.
In this case person, A was curious about what Donghwa is doing so the main topic was donghwa that’s why 는 is used.
But if person B asked you who went for study? Then 가 is used.
누가 공부 하러 갔어요?
Who went for study?
동화가 공부 하러 갔어요.
Let’s imagine you are having lunch with your friend in a restaurant and you ordered Korean food samgyupsal. But chilli is really hot then you have to say
and then you ordered another chilli and this time it is not hot as before. In this case, you have to say
고추는 안 매워요.
Here you are comparing chillies so you have to use 는.
은 는 이 가 을 를
Now I’m going to show you what actually mean 은 는 이 가 and 을 를 because it is the most confusing part for beginners. In a simple word 은 는 is topic particles 이 가is subject particles and 을 를 is object particles. Now let’s find out how these particles are used to make Korean sentences.
은 는 (Topic markers)
은 is used when the previous word ends with a consonant and 는 is used when the previous word ends with a vowel. For example-
|나는 I (Informal ), 저는 I (Formal)
오늘은 날씨가 맑아요. It’s sunny(clear) today.
밥은 몇 시에 먹어요? When is lunchtime?
저는 오바마 입니다. I’m Obama.
우리는 굉장히 친한 사이입니다.We’re very close.
저희는 예약을 받지 않습니다.We don’t accept reservations.
All these bold words (오늘,밥, 저, 우리, 저희) are topic of the sentences so they have either 은 or 는.
이 가 (Subject particle)
이 is used when the previous word ends with a consonant and 가 is used when the previous word ends with a vowel. They are often used when making questions (who/ what/ which) and answering these questions. For example-
이것은 누가 먹었어? Who ate this?
Here 누가(who) is the subject of the sentence.
제가 먹었어. I ate.
을 를 (Object particle)
As its name implies it marks the object of a verb. You have to remember that this object marker is always used with action verbs. It marks the noun (the object) that is being affected by a verb. Let’s see example here
저는 사과 를 좋아해요. I like apple
Here in this sentence 사과 is a noun and 좋아해요 is an action verb. The verb 좋아해요 is affecting the noun 사과. And 사과 has a vowel at its end so 를 is used.
So whenever an action verb do something to something or someone you have to use 을 를 (Object particle).
은 는 difference
은는 is a topic marker and it is pronounced as 은(Eun) 는(Neun). Both 은 는 has the same meaning when it attached to other words.
The only difference between은는 is that 은 is used if a noun has final consonant and 는 is used if a noun has no final consonant.
은 는 Both are used when someone speaks about the general or factual report or the information and when someone tells old information. They are also used to make contrast in between or when comparing in between two or more than two things. And they are used to make focus on the subject of the sentence.
은 는 이 가 exercise
- 나….. 과일을 좋아해.(은 / 는)
- 물이…..얼음이 되었다. (이/ 가)
- 아기 ….. 옷을 입었다. (이/ 가)
- 사과….. 빨갛다. (이/ 가)
- 오늘….. 8월 7일이에요. (은 / 는)
- 네리….. 29살이에요. (은 / 는)
- 저….. 일본사람이에요. (은 / 는)
- 사과….. 달다. Apple is sweet.
- I want to buy a bread.나….. 빵을 사고 싶어.
- 저….. 미국 출신입니다. I’m from the USA.
- 우리 회사….. 언덕 위에 있다. Our factory is[stands] on the hill.
- 오늘….. 금요일입니다. Today is Friday.
- 코끼리….. 커요. Elephants are big.
- 그 강아지….. 멋있고 커요. That puppy is nice and big.
- 중국….. 큰 나라입니다. Chia is a big country.
- 나…… 학생이다. I am a student.
- A: 사과 먹고 싶어. I want to have an apple.
B: 나….. 커피 마시고 싶어. I want to go to drink coffee.
11. 그 집….. 작아요. That house is small.
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