Basic English sentence structure: (Chinese is also basically the same)
Subject + Verb + Object
I + eat + an apple.
Basic Korean sentence structure: (Japanese is also basically the same)
Subject + Object + Verb
I + apple + eat. (나는 사과를 먹어요.)
Of course, also like English, you can have sentences with no Object:
Subject + Verb
I + go. (나는 가요.)
And sometimes, sentences need no Subject, just an Object and verb – because the Subject is inferred from the context of the conversation. For example:
|이/가||Subject particle||Used to introduce a NEW subject||A: 오늘 날씨는 춥지.
B: 네. 와~ 너의 제킷이 너무 예뻐!~
|은/는||Subject particle||Used to continue speaking about the current subject of discussion||A: 오늘 날씨는 춥지.
B: 네, 날씨는 너무 추워!~
|을/를||Object particle||Used with ALL Objects||어제 (나는) 영화를 봤어요.
(Here the Subject “I” can be omitted.)
|에/에서||Adverbial||Used after an Adverbial||에런이 사무실에서 문서를 만드러요.|
- All particles (above) that begin with an empty consonant (ㅇ) come after nouns that end with consonants.
- All particles (above) that begin with a consonant (ㄱ, ㄴ, ㄹ) come after nouns that end with vowels.
- Adverbial particles (에/에서) have their own grammar rules but can follow either consonants OR vowels.
**Of note: Even when changing the subject, if 이/가 is used by the first speaker, 이/가 can also be used by the second speaker in the first response following the subject change. Take the first two examples above:
- A: 오늘 날씨가 춥지.
- B: 네, 날씨가 너무 추워!~
And from then on, if the weather continues to be the subject of discussion, 은/는 can be used.
|Consonants||에런이 미국 사람이예요.
에런은 영어 선생님이예요.
오늘 책을 읽을 거예요.
학교에 갈 거예요.
|Vowels||제시카가 러시아 사람이예요.
제시카는 영화 배우예요.
어제 영화를 봤어요.
For more practice with Particles, see Low Intermediate Grammar, Unit 3.
Just like proper punctuation in English is imperative, so is proper spacing in Korean. For example:
- 아버지가_방에 들어가십니다. = My father is going into the room.
- 아버지_가방에 들어가십니다. = My father is going into the bag.
Just one simple spacing mistake in the sentences above completely changes the meaning of the sentences.
- Sentence 1 has the Subject marker 가 and noun 방 (room).
- Sentence 2 has no clear Subject marker and the noun looks like 가방 (bag).
Be careful of proper spacing when writing:
General Spacing Rules:
- Spaces go between independent words (nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, etc).
- Particles are included as part of the preceding word (space only after the particle, not before).
- There are some exceptions – particularly 하다 verbs can have a space, but don’t need one. (Example: 공부를 하다 vs. 공부하다)
**One thing of note that I often forget. When conjugating verbs in the future tense, a space goes between the ㄹ of the verb and the 거예요 of the ending. See two examples from earlier:
- 오늘 책을 읽을_거예요.
- 학교에 갈_거예요.
For more practice with Spacing Rules, see 30-Day Challenge #15: 띄어쓰기.
For more practice with Sentence Tenses, see <upcoming> Sentences Tenses.