The use of modifier -는 (neun) and 은 (eun) is definitely one of the hardest lessons that i have learned and still learning in the study of Korean Language. I think until now I am only confident in using these as markers for topic. I am currently reading the advance book for learning Korean which is Continuing Korean (sort of sequel to Elementary Korean) and the lessons are mostly on the use of these modifiers.
The modifier -는 (neun) is used for processive verbs, it turns a phrase into a topic something comparable to a noun phrase in English. A processive verb with this modifier (verb+는) followed by 것 (keot) would mean the fact of doing so-and-so or the fact that one does so-and-so.
Same pattern can be used for plain modifier processive or descriptive verb + 은/ㄴ(ㄴif base ends with vowel) followed by 것. This would mean the fact that one did (processive verb) or that is (descriptive verb) .
Here are some examples:
- 자는 것 (chaneun keot) – the fact that someone is sleeping
- 잔 것 (chan keot) – the fact that someone slept
- 한국어 책을 읽는 (hangugeo chaekeul ikneun keot) – someone is reading Korean book
- 비가 오는 것 (biga oneun keot) – the fact that its raining
- 비가 온 것 ( biga on keot – the fact that it rained
In practical use, 것 is sometimes abbreviated to 거 (keo) and it still would mean the same. Now, let me practice how to use this modifier into sentence:
- 엄마가 자는 것을 몰랐어요. (Ommaga chaneun keoseul mollaseoyo). I did not know that mother is sleeping.
- 학생이 한국어 책 읽는 것을 봤어요. (Haksaengi hangugeo chaek ikneun koseul bwasseoyo). I saw a student reading Korean book.
- 비가 온 것이 싫어요. (Biga on koshi shiroyo) I hate that it rained.