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What Is a Topic Marking Particle? Posted by on May 31, 2017 in Grammar, Korean Language, Vocabulary

Have you ever wondered what the small words, 이/가, 은/는, or 을/를 in the Korean language mean? It is important to understand the concept of these Korean particles, although they have little or no meaning by themselves. In Korean sentences, subjects, objects, and topics are determined by these particles. In this post, we will explore the topic markers, and in the Korean language.

Do you remember when we explored subject marking particles, 이  and   in the post  What Is a Subject Marking Particle?  Today, we will explore the Korean topic markers, 은  and . These are used to introduce a topic or contrast/compare with someone or something in a sentences.   and   are attached to nouns: you add to a noun when the noun ends in a vowel, and to a noun when the noun ends in a consonant.

Here are some examples of the topic markers    and , which are used to contrast or compare with someone or something in the following sentences.

태연 한국 가수예요. (Taeyeon is a Korean singer.)

  부르노 미국 가수예요. (Bruno is an American singer.)

떡볶이를 좋아해요. (I like spicy rice cakes.)

  알렉스 김밥을 좋아해요. (Alex likes Kimbap.)

•  고기 좋아해요. (I like meat.)

  생선 좋아해요. (I don’t like fish.)

•  영어 어려워요. (English is difficult.)

  한국어 쉬워요. (Korean is easy.)

As I mentioned in my last post, Korean people will still understand your comment without these markers. However, using these markers will help you to deliver your message in a clearer way.


If you need an extra practice, please try to fill in the following blanks. Just remember the following rules when you fill them in.

  •   after a Noun ending in a Vowel
  •   after a Noun ending in a Consonant

1. ____ 학생이에요. (I am a student.)

           이분____ 선생님이에요. (This person is a teacher.)

2. 레몬____ 시어요. (A lemon is sour.)

            사과____ 달아요. (An Apple is sweet.)

3. 김치찌개____ 매워요. (Kimchi stew is spicy.)

            ____ 안 매워요. (Rice is not spicy.)

4. 태국____ 더워요. (Thailand is hot.)

            러시아____ 추워요. (Russia is cold.)


Are you ready to check your answers?

  1. 학생이에요., 이분 선생님이에요.
  2. 레몬 시어요., 사과 달아요.
  3. 김치찌개 매워요., 매워요.
  4. 태국 더워요., 러시아 추워요.


감사합니다! (Thank you!)

***Related Vocabulary***

  1. (Noun ending in a Vowel +)
  2. (Noun ending in a Consonant +)
  3.     (is a polite form of “I” in Korean.)
  4.     (is an informal form of “I” in Korean.)
  5. 미국 사람    (American)
  6. 캐나다 사람    (Canadian)
  7. 한국 가수    (Korean singer)
  8. 미국 가수    (American singer)
  9. 떡볶이    (spicy rice cakes)
  10. 고기    (meat)
  11. 생선    (fish)
  12. 영어    (English)
  13. 어려워요    (is difficult)
  14. 한국어    (Korean)
  15. 쉬워요    (is easy)

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About the Author:Kyung-Hwa

안녕하세요? My name is Kyung-Hwa, and I am a native of South Korea. I am accustomed to both English and Korean languages and cultures. I greatly appreciate and love both of them. I am passionate about learning different languages, and I have studied English, Japanese, and Spanish. In my spare time, I take joy in singing, playing the piano, and reading books. I also enjoy traveling around the world, meeting people, and embracing new cultures and languages...