More on Particle 이나 (ina)

Last of the three uses of the particle 이나 (remember to drop 이 when attaching to a word ending with vowel) is similar to how 도 (do) is used in a sentence. 이나 can also be used twice in a sentence to show tandem agreement.  도 as mentioned on previous post when used twice after two nouns in a sentence means just the way either-or and neither-nor tandem in English.  However, in sentence essence or meaning, 이나 shows freedom or indifference.

The use of 이나 in this manner has two patterns.  first is the <noun1>이나 <noun2> pattern.  This shows tandem agreement:

  • 연필이나, 볼펜이나 다 돼요. -Yonpirina, bolpenina da dweyo.  (Either pencil or ballpen will do.)
  • 연필, 볼펜 안 돼요.  – Yonpildo, bolpendo an dweyo.  (Neither pencil nor ballpen will do.)

Whereas 도 is definite when it comes to tandem choices (as seen on comparison above), 이나  this way tends to be vague or inspecific:

  • 이 것도 저것도 다 좋아요 –  I kotdo chokotdo da chuayo (This thing and that thing are fine)
  • 이 것이나 저것이나 다 좋아요 –  I koshina chokoshina da chuayo (This thing or that thing is fine)

The second patter is <noun>이나 that means noun or something, noun or the like.  So there is just one noun and then the 이나 is a choice that is ‘something’.  See examples below:

  • 영화나 볼까요? – Yonghwana bolkkayo? (Shall we watch a movie or something?)
  • 술이나 마실까요? – Suina mashilkayo? (Shall we have something [alcoholic] to drink or something?)
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