Particle (이) 나

Introducing another two-shaped particle (이) 나 — (i) na.  Some of the particles that I have previously discussed are subject particle 가/이, topic particle 는/은,  object particle 를/을 etc. This new particle has the following functions when used:

  • Means about or approximately when used along with numeric expression
  • Its a generalizer
  • It also means ‘or’

이나 is added for words ending in consonants and drops 이 if the word ends in vowel.  Like any other particles, 이나 once added in a word form part of it as if its the original word.  The pronunciation should be smooth without the unnecessary stop right before the particle.

For this post, i will be discussing the first function.  Koreans are said to be less precise when it comes to numbers specifically numerical expression.  See examples below:

  • 몇 시간이나 걸려요? (Myeot shicanina kollyeoyo?) – About how many hour does it take?
  • 몇 개 살께요? (Myeot shicanina kollyeoyo? – About how many should we buy?

This particle behaves like 도 (do – added to word to mean too or also) when added to the word that is the topic or object of a sentence, there is no longer a need to added the topic or object particle.  As such the second bullet above will never be 개를이나.


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