Korean Language Blog

Directional Particles Posted by on Aug 13, 2009 in Grammar

On March eleventh and March fifteenth, I did a post on directional particles. I’ll do a little review of those posts in this post. If you want, you can look back at those posts and read them for more depth into the directional particles.

The post on March eleventh talked about using uro (으로) and ro (). Uro (으로)/ro () is a particle used to indicate a general direction or location. In English, it’s like saying ‘towards …’. For example, let’s say you want to say ‘I go towards the school.’ You would need a directional particle to indicate ‘towards’ in the sentence. The particles for ‘towards’ is uro (으로) and ro (). However, whether you use uro (으로) or ro () depends on whether the location or noun ends in a consonant or vowel. In this case, the noun is school, which is hakgyo (학교). Hakgyo (학교) ends in a vowel, so the particle used here will be ro ().

The sentence ‘I go towards the school’ will need a verb meaning ‘to go’. In Korean this is gada (가다). To conjugate this verb in the present tense, drop the da (), and you’re left with the stem ga (). Let’s conjugate this in the standard polite level. The verb gada (가다) will be gayo (가요) in the standard polite level. Therefore the sentence ‘I go towards the school’ will be hakgyo ro gayo (학교로 가요). The ‘I’ is implied in Korean. In Korean, a subject of a sentence can be dropped. This is especially true in conversational settings when it’s obvious that the speaker is referring to himself/herself.

Now to say ‘I go towards the school’ in the deferential polite, it will be hakgyo ro gamnida (학교로 갑니다). Here, the verb ‘to go’ will be conjugated differently from the standard polite form. The da () will be dropped from ‘gada’ and the stem ga () will be left over. Now, since gada (가다) ends in a vowel, you’ll just add ㅂ니다 to the stem. So the entire verb will look like this: kamnida (갑니다). The problem is, the biup () will sound more like a mium () because the following niun () will make it difficult to pronounce the word with a ‘b’ sound.

Now let’s use a noun that ends in a consonant. Gyoshil (교실) ends in a consonant, so you’ll have to use the uro (으로) particle, right? No, the reason is because gyoshil (교실) ends in a riul (). Riul () is a consonant, but you’ll still you ro (). Don’t worry, this is the only exception where a consonant will use ro (). So the sentence ‘I go towards the classroom’ will be gyoshil ro gayo (교실로 가요) in the standard polite. Note that gyoshil (교실) means classroom. Now let’s use the example of samushil (사무실). Samushil means office. What will you use, ro () or uro (으로)? You’ll use ro () because samushil (사무실) ends in a riul (), which is the only consonant that uses ro ().

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