Level 1 Lesson 9 / topic,subject marking particles / 은, 는, 이, 가

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This lesson will introduce the topic marking particles and the subject marking particles in the Korean language. The topic marking particles and the subject marking particles play a very important role in Korean so it’s very important that you learn them well. But even some advanced-level speakers of the language can make mistakes regarding these particles, so please don’t worry even if you don’t get them right away. You will eventually be able to use them naturally after some practice. Today’s lesson is our first introduction to the particles. Make sure you read the PDF file as well. Thank you! Please feel free to ask any questions in the comment!



You can download a free PDF for this lesson here, or if you want to study with our TalkToMeInKorean textbooks, you can get them here. And after you learn the basics, try writing your own Korean sentences and get corrections from native speakers through HaruKorean, our 1:1 correction service.


  • Evelin Kirah

    English isn’t my mother language, but I think that I understood well this lesson, altough is a bit confusing. xd
    감사합니다!!! *-*

  • wani

    so interesting ,but I still can’t get all of them!!!

  • esther

    Hi! Thank you for the lesson! I love it! 좋아요!

    I want to ask about pronouncation of ㄹ

    For : 오늘은, i felt like i hear you pronounce it “oneu(R)eun” instead of “oneu(L)eun”

    and for the other word, such as 물, i heard you pronounce it “mu(L)”

    so, how to pronounce ㄹ actually?

    Thank you! ^^

    • http://www.pandasigns.ca Momoy

      When the following character in a word starts with a ㅇ and the last character ended in a consonant, the sound carries over and replaces it but in ㄹ’s case, when it’s at the end of a character, it makes more of an L sound but when it’s at the beginning of a character I sounds more like an R.

      So tl;dr – it reads as 오느른 because the ㄹ replaces the ㅇ

      눈물 – nun mul – tears – ㄹ is at the end and makes more of an L sound than R.

      런닝맨 – Running Man – best variety show ever – ㄹ at the beginning makes more of an R sound.

    • esther

      Okay, I got it. Thanks! :)

  • http://www.pandasigns.ca Momoy

    “경은씨 목소리가 너무 좋아요.”

    이거 맞아요? Or am I missing a 의 there for possessive purposes?

  • Vidura

    Hello, I love these lessons! They have helped me improve quickly and widened my vocabulary. You are amazing and helpful!!

    Could you please give some examples of when to use subject marking particles? I am comfortable with topic marking particles, but not subject. Please write a few sentences to show how to use subject marking particles.
    Kamsahamnida!

  • Miss Zeera

    Jwiseonghamnida .my english are not too good. But i want to ask ‘is this right?’
    eun and neun. are showing that we dont care about the others but this is it (?)
    But what about i and ga ? Is it for the other things that we CONFORM wrong but this is it …?

    Im sorry ….. my sentences are too convoluted ^_^’

    • KyungHwa Sun

      Correct!

  • Menna Yehia

    우리 선생님이좋아요

    I hope its right ^^ , i have a question and please answer it Is there any exercise on the lesson to know that i get it or not ???!!

  • Daisy

    What is the purpose of 를 and its difference with these?? I’m confused ><

  • Matt

    Would the following be correct nuances for 은 and 는?

    그거 수업 좋아요. = This lesson is good.
    그거는 수업 좋아요. = This lesson is good. (implies the other lessons were not good)
    그거 수업은 좋아요. = This lesson is good. (implies things which are not lessons were not good)

    감사합니다 for the lesson.

    • Seokjin Jin

      그거는 수업 좋아요. = This lesson is good.(implies the other lessons were not good) >> 그 수업은 좋아요.

      그거 수업은 좋아요. = This lesson is good. (implies things which are not lessons were not good) >> 그 수업이 좋아요.

  • Vanessa

    Hi! Thank you for the lessons! Really helps a lot. Just wanted to clarify what is the difference between subject and topic?

    • Vanessa

      Is subject something you just want to bring up, but not the main focus of the discussion while topic the main focus and what you want to talk about?

  • wonderfulb2uty

    For some reason, the sound track cannot be played. Not sure if it’s just me. =/

  • Melo ✘ ♣

    I’m confused with this lesson :( 은는 – 이가 how I’ll learn ? :'(

  • Ishan

    I read online that 은는 is used to emphasize the subject of the sentence. For example, if someone asked what is someone doing, you would respond with something like 그분은 자요 as in they are sleeping. However, 이가 is used if someone asked who is doing something, you would respond with something like 나의 고양이가 자요 as in my cat is sleeping. Is this correct?

    The link to the page I read it on is http://www.learnkoreanlp.com/2006/11/party-with-particles.html

  • Anto

    I think I understood it, it’s like, for example, if I’m in a super market with my little brother, and I want to say to him that this fruit it’s an apple and no the other fruits, i say 이거는 사과예요?

    • Seokjin Jin

      Yes. Correct. :)

  • Corkboard Smith

    Hey! Thank you for this lesson, it’s very complex to me right now but I’m sure I can grasp it soon.

    I have a good sentence to test my understanding on: the famous quote from Crocodile Dundee, “that’s not a knife. THIS is a knife!”

    Would it be: “그 칼 아니에요. 이 칼이 예요!” ?

    • Seokjin Jin

      Great! Subject/Topic marking particle part is not easy. :)

  • Carly

    Ah I’m so confused *_* So these subject and topic marking particles can be used for emphasis, but they can be used to simply state things as well – it’s just they are usually omitted in everyday conversation?

    When you are learning, is it better to always use these particles, or just when using for emphasis?

    Also, is it just everyday conversation these or omitted? For example, would you leave them in if you were writing a formal letter or essay?

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