Particles 에 and 하고

Indeen Korean uses particles in so many ways, this time I have learned two new ones.  The first of which is the particle 에 which is used to mark location.  Below are some examples on how this particle can be used:

  • 나는 식당 안 있어요 (I am inside the restaurant)
  • 제인 학교 없어요 (Jane is not in school)

Unlike in the English language, this particle is placed after the noun to indicate location.  Just like other particles, it is pronounced as if part of the word itself which means you don’t need to pause after the word.   However there are exemptions where the particle 에 is not sounded this is specifically true if the word is ending in 이,에 or 애 but for most vowels the 에 must be sounded.   The word between in korea is an exemption to this rule, 사이에 is pronounced with the 에 sounded .  On my observation since the 3 other vowels sounds similar with 에, this is perhaps the reason why its addition has no effect on spoken word but rather a useful marker in written Korean.

Another important particle I  learned is 하고 (hago where go is pronounced with a rounded ‘o’ like goat).  This particle can either mean and or with depending on the use.  Below are examples:

  • 하고 연필 (literally means books and pencils) – note that the particle is connected as part of word book which is 잭 (chaek) therefore it should be pronounced seamlessly (no pausing).
  • When asked — ‘어디에 있어요?’ (Who are you with?).  The answer could be…  나는 친구하고 있어요 (I am with a friend)

I am now getting more used to particles… looking forward for more.


없어요 ~ 있어요 – Indicates Possession Too

I skipped some readings on Chapter 6 of my book, I probably thought I was through reading it because it explains some of the other uses of the verb 있어요 and  없어요.  The other practical use of this verb is to indicate possession comparable to I have and I don’t have in English.  Like the example below:

  • 내가 책이 있어요. (I have a book)
  • 내가 책이 없어요. (I don’t have a book)

I am going to hit two birds with one stone in my example above.  Another thing I learned is that there can be two subjects in one Korean sentence note that 내 가 and 책이 are both marked as subject in the first bullet.  In the case of sentences expressing possession both the possessor and possessed object can be made subject. However, the book says it is also usual for the possesor to be marked the topic while the possessed object is still the subject.  With this the above statement examples can be said ‘내는 책이 있어요’ and ‘내는 책이 없어요’ respectively.  This may contradict the rules using 이 specially when 나 is mentioned first time.  I think in that case the sentence in its form on the first bullet should apply.  

Verbs: Infinitive Form – Part 2

Verbs ending in vowel seems to be more complicated (as it has more rules and variation in making the infinitive form) than the consonant ending one.  These so far are the ways i have learned out of the 8 possibilities mentioned in the book:

  • Verbs with base form ending in 아,어 or 애 has the same infinitive form as its base form.  No wonder I always hear in Korean movies and dramas 가 and 자, which means go and sleep respectively.  Other example would be 서 (stand) and  매 (tie). These verbs have the same base and infinitive form.
  • Verbs ending in 이 is suppose to be added with 어 to have the infinitive form but the ending is abbreviated to 여 instead of -이어. Example is 가르치 (teach) which becomes 가르쳐 instead of  가르치어.
  • Another abbreviation happens for verbs ending in 우, to form the infinitive 어 should be added.  However, instead of yielding a -우어 ending, it will become . As such, 주 is 줘 in infinitive form.
  • The next rule is similar to principle mentioned in consonant ending verbs where the last vowel is ㅗ.  Verbs ending in ㅗ will have its infinitive form by adding 아 BUT this should be shortened to 와. Classic example is the Korean word ‘come’ and ‘look’ which is 오 and 보 respectively.  To get the infinitive form this words become 와 and 봐.
  • For verb ending in 으, either 아 or 어 is added but ㅡ has to be dropped.  So for the verb 쓰 which means write, instead of 쓰어 the infinitive form becomes 써.  The principle of last vowel after dropping ㅡ  will apply. So if the last vowel is either ㅜ or  ㅏ after ㅡ is dropped then should be added instead of 어. An example of this would be the word 바쁘 which means busy.  Since the last vowel when ㅡ is dropped will beㅏ then the infinitive form of this word would be 바빠.

The 3 other ways to form infinitive are a bit complicated.  Its really more of an exception.  This will require more time for me to fully understand.  So far these 5 ways are easy to remember.

Verbs: Infinitive Form

Few months ago I only know that Korean words have dictionary form and there is a base word something that I associate with rootword in English however it seems base word is not necessarily used in conversation or usual communication.  This holds true for dictionary form of the word.  Still on lesson 7 of Elementary Korean, I have learned that Korean verbs have infinitive form.  I really didn’t get why it is called infinitive but readers of the book have been cautioned on taking the term infinitive into English language context. 

What I clearly understood is that the infinitive form can actually stand as the statement or expression already.  In most use, it ends with 요 (yo) to make it polite so dropping this ending and other honorific marker will translate the communication in the intimate form (communication in Korean has various degree or level depending on who you are talking too).

Briefly verb’s infinitive form usually ends in ~ㅏor ~ㅓ depending on the last character of the base word if its consonant or vowel ending.   This lesson reminds me of the particles which is added on noun.

Consonant ending verbs normally will add ~ㅓ to make the infinitive form but with exceptions.  If the last vowel of the verb is or, instead of ㅓ, the letter to be added will beㅏ. Here is a sample:

작 (to be small in size) –> 작아

좋 (to be good) –>  좋아

In most cases 어 will be added like in the verb 없 (indicate non existence) will turn to 없어 and so is for 있 (indicate existence) which will turn to 있어.

There are other exemptions to these specifically for special consonant ending verb which I am about to discover in my further reading.

Verbs and its Dictionary Form

Learning 한글 is getting exciting day by day.  Some of the questions I have in mind when I was reading various websites explaining basics of the language are made clear by the ever reliable book Elementary Korean.

The chapter I am reading now deals with verbs.  Previous readings say this is the most important word in a Korean sentence.  It can sometimes stand on its own as a complete statement.  Reminds me of how we were thought that ‘Run!’ or ‘Sit!’ can be considered a statement in English during my primary learning years.

The first book I had in learning Korean is my thin dictionary which I think is more of a thesaurus (English-Korean and Korean-English).  I was too proud to think that I would be able to create a statement after learning how to decrypt their script.  Using my dictionary I read the characters in Hangul and corresponding English translation.  The only thing I know is that they have a different word order compared to English.  I just realized that it was foolish to assume I can be competent this way. 

I remember one of my language exchange partners saying that the word I used is not meant to be said that way when communicating in Korean.  There was no further explanation so I thought it was probably a wrong grammar until one of my Korean friends online told me to replace 다 (-da)  with 게.  Obviously this is not always the case. 

Chapter 7 of Elementary Korean deals with this.  Verbs in Korea have a dictionary entry or form.  This explains why most words I read ends with 다. This is because the base form of the word will have its dictionary form by simply adding -다.  This is a classic example:

가 (base form) + 다 = 가다 which means ‘go’.  When using this verb 다 should be removed.  So you can hear 가요 or 가세요 (honorrific due to addition of 세–se), these can already mean You can go now or Go now or Let’s go now.

The next form is pretty exciting too… the infinitive form.

Verb of Existence (없어요 ~ 있어요)

I am yet to learn more about verbs in 한극.   The verb indicating existence or non-existence have been introduced first,  these are -있어요 and -없어요 respectively.  The dash before the verb indicates it cannot stand alone it should be preceeded by a word usually a noun.

This word ending is very striking as I usually hear them on songs and conversations in dramas and movies.


책이 있어요 –> there is a book 

펜이 없어요 –> there is no pen

The Possessive 의

Now I had the impression that Koreans are not fond of using pronouns unlike in English that its even gender specific.  It is preferred to address people in their titles or names. 

Another thing I learned is the use of 의 to indicate possession.  In English we normally add ‘s in pronouns to indicate possession.  For example when asked ‘whose pen is this?’, we can simply answer “it’s her’s” or “it’s Joan’s”.  This is where 의 comes in.  This particle is added to a noun to indicate possession.


Mr. Kim’s book —>  김 선생님

Jane’s skirt —> 제인 치마

Particle 는~은

I was a little confused on the function of these particles compared to the 이~가.  I thought 는 ~ 은 are object marker but it turns out to be a topic marker as well (not limited to such function as compared to 이~가 which highlights a noun).  It really takes serious reading to understand each lesson in Elementary Korean.  Its not about reading fast.  The mind needs to absorb.

So what difference does particles 는 ~은 have against the first subject particle I wrote about weeks ago?  Without looking at my book I remember 3:

  1. It is used to mark subject that is an old information already.  So If ‘I’ is the subject of my first sentence it will be written as 제가 or 내 (나 + 이).  When ‘I’ becomes a subject again of my suceeding sentence it is written as 제는 or 나는.  I remeber when I was wrote to a language exchange partner, I attempted to write sentences in Hangul by just looking at the dictionary and phrase books.  My sentences where simple then something like ‘I want to be good in Hangul’ and ‘I will try my best’.  At that time he told me that 내, 나, 나는 means the same, it all means ‘I’ or ‘me’.  Thinking that it was like synoyms in English. However in my second sentence he said that instead of 내 it would be better to use 나는.  Not dwelling on this much, i thought its probably just the better choice or the less formal one.  But, thanks to my Elementary Korean book, it is now clearer to me how to choose the correct form for every noun or pronoun that is subject in a sentence.
  2. It is a topic marker.  I am a little confused on this.  The book says any word in the sentence can be made topic by putting this particle after the word except for the verb which usually comes at the end of the sentence.   It is said that less important words or information in a Korean sentence is placed first in the sentence and in most cases these are the information that can be dropped.  How does it differ then from rule number 1?
  3. It is used to mark direct contrast of topic in a sentence.  I need to practice this more.  Like in the statements ‘I am an employee my sister though is still a student. ‘   So this can be said ‘나는 희산원이에요. 여동생은 학생이에요.”

I am looking forward for the 를 ~ 을 explanation.