So, I thought about I should be covering in my next few lessons and figured out what I wanted to work on next.
Basic Korean Sentence Structure.
Wait! Don’t go! There is a reason and a purpose for this! Don’t give up on me yet.
I know we have gone over basics and such before (like in Level 1: TTMIK “It’s Me/What is it?” Beginner Sentence Structure Podcast #5) but How to Study Korean did such an amazing job at this that I felt like it wouldn’t hurt to go back and cover it. Because this is really important. You truly need to be able to get the basic grasp of it to really be able to understand Korean. Honestly. Things make so much sense and a little extra practice doesn’t hurt!
(I was inspired by their first lesson here. Go. Read. They are super thorough and just… amazing.)
We are breaking it down again and doing some review just in case. Let’s go!
*LONG ENTRY AHEAD*
Now I have to ask –
Do you guys remember the sentence word order of Korean?
Just in case you are little fuzzy, let’s cover at the one that we will probably be using the most!
The main one we will be using for a while will be:
Why is this so important?
It is because it differs than English. It really does. If you have kept up and practiced/done reading and sentence stuff from other places, you will notice it and maybe even used to it by now. And if you’re not – that is fine! That is why I am here to review it again!
Now, just to remind everyone how it differs between Korean and English:
English: I ate a hamburger.
한국어: I hamburger ate.
English: That is a woman.
한국어: That a woman is.
English: My mom loves me.
한국어: My mom me loves.
Got it? Cool. We’ll keep practicing this later and even color code it in regards to like “Subject-Object-Verb” so we can visually see it too.
Now, some may be confused about the whole subject vs object in a sentence. How do you know which one is the subject? Which one is the object? HOW DO WE KNOW?!?!
Welp, let’s cover that really quick as well.
Subject refers to the person/thing/noun that is DOING the verb. Nice and simple.
QUICK ENGLISH EXAMPLE TIME! (Underlining the subject in each sentence.)
I went to the park
My mom loves me.
The dog is barking.
If it helps sometimes (for like more complex sentences) just think of this:
Who/What is doing the verb?
Who is loving?
Who is barking?
*General note: in English, the subject comes before the verb.*
Now what about Object?
Object is what the verb is acting on. In the examples below, the object is underlined.
I went to the park.
My mom loves me.
We are studying Korean.
*General note: In English, object comes after the verb*
But wait – you noticed I didn’t reuse the “The dog is barking” sentence, right? Because sentences with verbs don’t require an object. Sometimes there aren’t objects because it was just omitted from the sentence. I didn’t state what the dog was barking AT – which makes the difference.
The dog barked.
Etc. Those sentences don’t have an object, and that is okay. The sentence will always have a subject though. Learning that is important.
Now that THAT is out of the way, let’s go back to basic Korean sentence structure!
… Or I would. But there is something else that is VERY important to make sure you know about: Level 1: TTMIK “Topic and Subject Marking Particles” Podcast #9. Since this was a recent entry, I will not go into it again. But just know:
We will be using the topic particles for this lesson.
Because the lesson I am working off of from HowToStudyKorean.com uses just the topic particles. (In fact, they kept calling them subject – but to keep some sort of consistency, I am going to keep calling them topic.)
I already put a link to the TTMIK entry that talks basic sentence structure, but that entry also have a very handy verb that we are going to use: 이다. The verb that means “to be.” Essentially translates to “is/are/am/etc” in sentences. We are going to use the form 이에요/예요 in the simple sentences we are going to be doing as well as learn the informal way to say it!
I also recommend going over Level 1: TTMIK “What is this?/This is…” Podcast #6 and Level 1: TTMIK “This, That, It” Podcast #7 as well if you are a little fuzzy with “This” and “That”.
*NOTE* We are also using 이다 sentences because they are even easier. They differ than other sentences because you don’t need to use Object Particles. We can start entering those later on… maybe next entry! We’ll at least touch those soon and see how we would use those.
Ready? We are going to start doing sentence breakdown, placement, and then the actual sentences! I liked how HowToStudyKorean did it because it was a nice way to show it so we get used to it.
We got this!
So, how a sentence with the verb 이다 is usually set up is:
[Noun 은/는][Another noun][이다]
If you want to think about it, let’s take the sentence:
I am a woman.
First thing you would do is arrange it Subject-Object-Verb:
woman = Object
am = Verb.
So it arranges to: I woman am.
Now, let’s put the Topic Particle into the sentence.
I 는 woman am.
Cool! But why did we do that? Think of it as practice. And so our mind gets adjusted using those particles and remember to actually put them into our sentences. So what is next?
Replacing the English Words with its Korean Counterpart.
I = 저/나
woman = 여자
am = 이다
So, let’s put it together:
저/나 는 여자 이다.
But we’re not done! 이다, if you haven’t noticed/don’t remember, is NOT conjugated. It is the standard form of the verb. To make it a proper sentence, you need to conjugate it. (We haven’t gone over this too much or in depth, but at least we know the explanation.) 이다 is special and doesn’t quite conjugate the same as other verbs (even though we have done 입니다) so the forms isn’t EXACTLY the same. But it is good for practice. (Again, TTMIK #5 is good for these particular sentences.)
ANYWAY, because the words in the sentence changes depending on if it is formal or informal, I will show both! I am actually going to show you how we will be doing all the sentence set-ups so we get used to it!
Subject – Object – Verb
I am a woman
I 는 woman am.
저/나 는 여자 이다.
Informal: 나 는 여자 야.
Formal: 저 는 여자 예.
Simple, right? Remember that the first “Korean Sentence” isn’t a correct sentence because it has the standard form of the verb.
Let’s do one more!
In fact, let’s use sentence with This or That. Just for fun.
That person is a doctor.
That person 는 a doctor is.
그사람 은 의사 이다.
Informal: 그사람 은 의사 야.
Formal: 그사람 은 의사 예요.
Alright – now before I go into busting down a lot of sentences, some may have noticed:
Do you remember that rule? Quick breakdown: 는 after vowels. 은 after consonants.
There is ONE MORE THING I want to cover sentence-wise that I think needs to be addressed. This (thing) and That (thing). The previous sentence, “that” was used as an adjective. “That” person. And we can use it with a lot of things. “That” car. “This” pen. But what about sentences where ‘this’ and ‘that’ are pronouns?
Enter – This “thing” and That “thing.”
것 is one of the most common words in the Korean Language. It means “thing.” Adding “이,” “그,” or “저” before it kind of has a compound effect – there is no space between the words.
이것 – this thing
그것 – that thing
저것 – that thing
Note: This will not be the last time we see something with that compound effect.
Now, if you see this compound, you don’t really need to translate “thing” when writing it in English. Now let me tell you why:
Let’s look at the word “that”. It can be placed before a noun to describe it (that person, that man, etc) but it can also act as a pronoun.
I like that.
Though we didn’t state it, thing is kind of implied. We could have easily said:
I like that thing.
It isn’t something we really think about, but use constantly. It is automatically attached to the word “thing” and we all understand – we just don’t say it aloud. That whole ‘implied’ thing that we talk about.
So because it is like this – the thing is implied – we don’t have to translate it either. Because “thing” is more of an implied thing (ha, I made myself laugh a little). So a lot of people, when translating 이것, 그것, 저것, they just say “This” or “that.” And that is perfectly acceptable!
If you want the TL;DR version: SO! If you want, just think of 이것, 그것, and 저것 as the pronoun versions of “this” and “that” because like in English, the “thing” is implied!
NOTE: Please please please remember! Do NOT use 이것, 그것, 저것 for A PERSON. Objects only! To refer to a person:
이사람, 그사람, 저사람
Now that we did alllll that, shouldn’t we use 이것, 그것, and 저것 in sentences?
Yes, yes we shall.
This is a pen.
This 는 pen is.
이것 은 볼펜 이다
Informal: 이것 은 볼펜 이야.
Formal: 이것 은 볼펜 이에요.
Note: Pay attention to endings – I almost put an ending that goes with a vowel instead of a consonant. We get used to vowel ones because it seems like there are more vowel endings.
This is a car.
This 는 car is.
구것 은 차 이다
Informal: 그것 은 차 야.
Formal: 그것 은 차 예요.
OKAY! That is it! That is the long entry that took me so much longer to write than I ever thought it would take me. But it is done – AND AN AWESOME REVIEW.
It may have even helped to clear up a few things or just give information period. I hope it was as good an experience for you as it was for me!
But I need a mental break after that. So for now,