How to Say Homework in Korean: Formal and Informal Ways

Learning how to say different words in Korean is an essential part of understanding and communicating in the language. If you’re looking to express the word “homework” in Korean, this guide will provide you with both formal and informal ways of doing so, along with some regional variations and useful tips. Let’s dive in!

Formal Ways to Say Homework in Korean

If you want to express “homework” in a formal or polite context in Korean, you can use the following term:

The term “숙제” is widely used in formal and educational settings to refer to homework. It is the most common word for “homework” in Korean and is suitable for use in schools, universities, and professional environments.

Informal Ways to Say Homework in Korean

In more casual or familiar contexts, you can employ the following phrases to talk about homework:

  • 시간지킬 일 (shigang jikil il) : This phrase translates to “work to pass the time” and is often used among friends to refer to homework.
  • 과제 (gwaje) : While “과제” is also a formal term for “assignment,” it is commonly used among friends as a synonym for homework.
  • 숙고 (sukgo) : This term is more slang-like and is used to mean “homework” or “study.” It’s a casual expression typically heard among young people.

Regional Variations

The Korean language is spoken differently in different regions. While the terms mentioned above are widely understood, there can be slight regional variations. For instance:

In the Gyeongsang Province, instead of “숙제,” the term “정규” (jeonggyu) is sometimes used.

However, it’s important to note that these regional variations are not commonly used in everyday conversation. Using “숙제” or the informal alternatives mentioned earlier will be understood and appreciated by most Korean speakers.

Tips for Using the Terms

Here are some additional tips and examples to help you correctly use the Korean terms for “homework”:

  • Be mindful of formality: Pay attention to the context and level of formality when using these words. In formal settings, it’s best to stick with “숙제,” while the informal versions are more suitable for casual conversations among friends.
  • Use appropriate honorifics: If you need to express “I have homework” in a polite way, you can use phrases like “숙제가 있습니다” (sukjega itsseumnida) or “과제가 있어요” (gwajega isseoyo).
  • Practice pronunciation: To pronounce these words correctly, break them down into syllables. For example, “숙제” can be pronounced as “sook-je” and “과제” as “gwa-je.” Practice speaking them aloud to improve your pronunciation and fluency.

Examples in Sentences:

Now, let’s see these terms and phrases in action through some example sentences:

  • “I finished my homework.” – 숙제를 끝냈어요. (Sukjereul kkeutnaesseoyo.)
  • “Did you do your homework?” – 숙제 했어? (Sukje haesseo?)
  • “I have a lot of homework today.” – 오늘 숙제가 많아요. (Oneul sukjega manayo.)
  • “Let’s do our homework together.” – 함께 숙제를 해요. (Hamkke sukjereul haeyo.)

Remember to adjust your speech depending on the level of formality and the individuals you are speaking to.

Learning how to say “homework” in Korean is just the beginning of your language journey. Keep practicing, expanding your vocabulary, and exploring different aspects of the Korean language to become more proficient. Good luck!

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What is the translation of "homework" in Korean?

"homework" in korean, homework {noun}.

  • volume_up 숙제

homework assignment {noun}

Translations, monolingual examples, english how to use "homework" in a sentence.

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English How to use "homework assignment" in a sentence

Synonyms (english) for "homework":.

  • preparation
  • homeland security
  • homeless person
  • homeless worker
  • homework assignment
  • homochromatic
  • homogeneous

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(Translation of homework from the Cambridge English–Korean Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

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6 Common & Crazy Rules About School in South Korea

Whether you’re planning to teach English at a public or private school in South Korea, once you start teaching English at school, you’ll definitely notice that there are many differences between Korea and your country. You may find this article helpful if you want to know six vital Korean school rules along with the important cultural insight of each rule. Let’s have a look at Korean school rules with KoreanClass101!


1. 6 Korean School Rules that You Need to Know

1- you don’t go to school on saturdays, but you are expected to do yaja.

Students used to go to school on Saturdays; this was simply to maximize the study time. However, this law changed in 2000 , meaning that students don’t go to school on Saturdays anymore in South Korea.

Although you no longer need to go to school on Saturdays, you are expected to attend 야자 ( yaja ). This is an abbreviation for 야간자율학습 ( yaganjayulhakseup ) meaning “ Night self-learning ” which is a self-learning program held at school. This system used to be mandatory back in the old days, however nowadays students can choose whether to do 야자 ( yaja ) or not. What you need to do during 야자타임 ( yajataim ) or “ night self-learning time ” is to study in a quiet classroom. You can do your 숙제 ( sukje ) or “ homework ,” or work on the areas that you need to improve on by planning your own study strategy. Also, if your friend is good at a subject that you’re not so good at, she or he can teach you the subject during 야자타임 ( yajataim ) as well. If you’re in the last year of high school or middle school, you’ll most likely do 야자 ( yaja ) voluntarily.

Vocabulary List ※ Click on a word to practice your pronunciation.

  • 야자 ( yaja ): “night self-learning” [ Image ]
  • 야자타임 ( yajataim ): “night self-learning time”
  • 숙제 ( sukje ): “homework”

2- You Need to Take Off Your Shoes when Entering the School

When you enter a house in South Korea, you must take off your shoes before entering the house. This principle applies to schools in South Korea as well. Once you enter the school, you must take off your shoes and wear 슬리퍼 ( seullipeo ) meaning “ slippers ” or 실내화 ( sillaehwa ) meaning “ indoor shoes .” 신발 장 ( sinbaljang ) or “the shoes cabinets ” are placed by the entrance of the school building. This is done in order to keep the floor clean. If you forget to wear 슬리퍼 ( seullipeo ) or 실내화 ( sillaehwa )—because you washed them at home, for example—you’ll most likely lose a few points for not abiding by the school rule. Depending on the school, the choice of the slipper or indoor shoe design or model differs. Therefore, it’s important to wait until the school announces which model and design you need to wear. In order to ensure purchasing the right indoor shoes, you’ll need to go to 문방구 ( munbanggu ) or the “stationery store,” which is located right outside the school, to purchase these models.

  • 슬리퍼 ( seullipeo ): “slippers” — [ Image ]
  • 실내화 ( sillaehwa ): “indoor shoes” — [ Image ]
  • 신발 장 ( sinbaljang ): “shoes cabinet”
  • 문방구 ( munbanggu ): “stationary store” — Synonym is 문방구점 ( munbanggujeom )
  • Do you want to improve your vocabulary skills? Download our free PDF Lessons .

Check Uniform

3- Teachers and 선도부 ( seondobu ) will Stand at the Doorway to Check Your Uniform

Imagine every time you enter the school door, there’ll be about five to six students, and a teacher, who will look at each student from head to toe to ensure they’re wearing their uniform properly. It does sound scary, doesn’t it?

Most of the time, the teacher who does this is 체육선생님 ( cheyukseonsaengnim ) or a “ physical education teacher ” (a.k.a. the scariest teacher at school) and called 학주 ( hakju ), short for 학생주임 ( haksaengjuim ). Also, the students who are doing this are either 반장 ( banjang ) meaning “ class president ” or 부반장 ( bubanjang ) meaning “ class vice president ” from the final year of school. They are the most respected students among others because they are known as the top students and called 선도부 ( seondobu ) or 바른생활부 ( bareunsaenghwalbu ) meaning ‘leading group’ literally which is similar to a student council.

They’ll check each student for the following:

  • Isn’t wearing any 악세사리 ( aksesari ) or “accessories,” including invisible plastic earrings
  • Isn’t wearing any 화장 ( hwajang ) or “makeup,” including whitening sunscreen
  • Is wearing hair style that’s in line with the school rules
  • Length of the skirt is below knees

The rules differ depending on which school you go to; some schools may be a lot stricter than other schools, especially if you go to only girls’ or boys’ school. Also, if you neglect to follow a rule, you’ll end up losing points, which will affect your final score at the end of the semester or year. Some things that may cause you to lose points are:

  • If you wear earrings, piercings, bracelets, and so on: -5 points
  • If you’re not wearing your nametag: -3 points
  • If you wear makeup: -5 points
  • And the list could go on

This is just to give you an idea of how students lose their marks; these points differ depending on the school. You don’t want to lose marks for small things like this, so students do their best to follow the rules. During the final exams, students become extremely sensitive to their grades; therefore, sometimes a teacher will make them run the 운동장 ( undongjang ) or “ schoolyard ” a number of times for punishment, instead of making them lose points.

  • 선배 ( seonbae ): “one’s senior in school; senior”
  • 체육선생님 ( cheyukseonsaengnim ): “physical education teacher”
  • 악세사리 ( aksesari ): “accessories”
  • 화장 ( hwajang ): “makeup” — Synonym is 메이크업 ( meikeueop )
  • 반장 ( banjang ): “class president”
  • 운동장 ( undongjang ): “playground”

Choose Seat

4 – Your Height Matters when it Comes to Choosing a Seat

Depending on which city you’re from, the number of students in a class differs, ranging from 15 to 35 students. Did you know that you can’t sit anywhere you want to at any school (accept universities) in South Korea? Each student is allocated to a seat and this is done by how tall you are compared to other students. The method for doing this is that students need to line up in order of height. Then, each student will be seated in their height order. Those who are shorter end up sitting in the front row, and those who are taller end up sitting in the last row.

In addition, you’ll have a personal 출석번호 ( chulseokbeonho ), meaning “attendance number” literally, throughout the year and this is done by height order as well. For example, if there are 35 students in your class and you’re the shortest, then your number will be 일 번 ( ilbeon ) meaning “ number 1 ” and if you’re the tallest, your personal number will be 삼십오 번 ( samsibobeon ) meaning “ number 35 .”

It’s important to remember your personal number because teachers call you by either your name or your personal number. For example, let’s say you’re in a 수학교실 ( suhakgyosil ) or “ math class ” and the teacher wrote down two mathematical equations to be solved by students. Today is 8월 15일 ( parwol siboil ) meaning “ August 15th ”; who will most likely go to the front and solve the questions? That’s right. The two students whose personal numbers are number 8 and 15.

Also, the teacher may order students to do something, such as cleaning or other tasks, by 짝수 ( jjaksu ) or “ even numbers ” and 홀수 ( holsu ) or “ odd numbers ” as well. Therefore, having your personal number is very important at school. Also, keep in mind that you’ll receive a different number every year.

  • 수학 (suhak): “math”
  • 교실 (gyosil): “class”
  • 8월15일 (parwol siboil): “August 15th”
  • 짝수 (jjaksu): “even numbers”
  • 홀수 (holsu): “odd numbers”
  • KoreanClass101 has a free lesson on how to calculate numbers in Korean.

No Dating Your Schoolmate

5- No Dating Your Schoolmate

Teachers believe that dating in school will affect students’ study, therefore dating your schoolmate is not allowed during your studies. This may not be obvious if you attend only girls’ or boys’ high school, but if you attend co-schools, you’ll need to be extra careful not to get caught. Dating your schoolmate is a serious issue at school, resulting in 징계 ( jinggye ’) meaning “ disciplinary punishment ” or 퇴학 ( toehak ) meaning “ expel from school .”

81% of middle and high schools don’t allow students to date anyone in South Korea. Unfortunately, dating in school is perceived as unethical behavior. Schools sometimes survey students to report students who are dating in school secretly, and they will be rewarded. Also there was a big issue in 2011, when a school surveyed the students to report same-sex dating.

  • 학교 ( hakgyo ): “school”
  • 연애 ( yeonae ): “dating”
  • 징계 ( jinggye ): “disciplinary punishment”
  • 퇴학 ( toehak ): “expel from school”


6- You Need Permission to go to the Bathroom and Must Take Your Own Sanitary Products

When you want to go to the 화장실 ( hwajangsil ) or “ bathroom ,” you need to ask permission from a 선생님 ( seonsaengnim ) or “ teacher .” All you need to do is raise your hand to catch attention from the teacher and ask whether you can go to the bathroom. Unless you’re in the middle of an exam, most of the time the teachers will let you go to the bathroom.

Here’s the phrases you can use:

선생님, 화장실 가도 돼요? Seon-saeng-nim, hwa-jang-sil gado dwae-yo? “Teacher, can I go to the bathroom?”

Also, there’s no 휴지 ( hyuji ) or “ toilet paper ” available at school, therefore it’s your responsibility to bring your own sanitary products to South Korean schools. But don’t worry; you can easily find toilet paper in your classroom that you can use. (Yes, we use toilet paper for many purposes, such as blowing our nose or wiping dirty stuff off the desk, and so on.)

  • 화장실 ( hwajangsil ): “bathroom”
  • 선생님 ( seonsaengnim ): “teacher”
  • 휴지 ( hyuji ): “tissue” — Synonym is 두루마리 휴지 ( durumari hyuji ) meaning “toilet paper”


2. Bonus Rules: An Old Rule and Additional Rules

1- students used to bow to a teacher every class.

This rule became prohibited a few years ago, but students used to bow to a teacher in every class, before and after the class in school. Students were expected to sit and prepare a textbook and a notebook on the desks before class. Unlike some countries where students need to move from class to class for their subjects, students in South Korea have their own classroom for themselves, which means that teachers need to move around instead.

When a teacher arrived to a classroom, 반장 ( banjang ) or “class president” would stand and say 차렷 ( charyeot ) meaning “ attention ” loudly so everyone can hear. Then the class president will either say 인사 ( insa ) meaning “ greet ” or 경례 ( gyeongnye ) meaning “ salute .” Then everyone has to say 선생님 안녕하십니까 ( seonsaengnim annyeonghasimnikka ) meaning “ hello teacher ” before the class, and 선생님 안녕히 가십시오 ( seonsaengnim annyeonghi gasipsio ) “goodbye teacher” after the class.

However, this was banned recently because people believed that this was too conservative and it doesn’t help a teacher and the students establish a good relationship.

  • 선생님 안녕하십니까 ( seonsaengnim annyeonghasimnikka ): “hello teacher” (honorific expression)
  • 선생님 안녕히 가십시오 ( seonsaengnim annyeonghi gasipsio ): “goodbye teacher” (honorific expression)
  • For people who want to learn -> Korean honorific expressions

2- And there are Many More Rules

There are many more rules that South Korean students need to abide by:

You Cannot Alter the Length of a Skirt or the Width of a Pair of Pants 치마길이 ( chimagiri ) or “the length of skirt” has to cover half the knee; if it’s shorter than this, you’ll get in trouble. However, this really depends on the school. These days, students can alter their school uniforms to suit their body shape. You Must Wear what the School Tells You to

There are three ways to wear your school uniforms in South Korea. The default school uniforms are 동복 ( dongbok ) or “winter uniform” and 하복 ( habok ) “summer uniform.” In between, there’s 춘추복 ( chunchubok ) or “ spring/autumn uniform .” Normally, each uniform has its set duration, so even though the weather becomes extremely hot, if you’re in the period of wearing 동복 ( dongbok ) or “ winter uniform ,” you have to wear the winter uniform.

The School will Decide which Hairstyle to do

Nowadays, students are allowed to do many different hairstyles. Girls can dye their hair, curl their hair, and untie their hair. Compare this to the old times when every girl had to have short hair, which must not grow longer than 3 cm (1.2 inches) below their ears.

Boys can grow their hair longer than they could a few decades ago, when every boy had to shave their hair completely. This rule also depends on which school you go to; some conservative schools still follow the traditional way of hairstyle. 두발자유화 is something that Korean students are fighting for, as they believe that free hairstyle will allow them to express who they are, and this topic is still in debate.


3. Nevertheless, We are Getting Better!

Things have changed a lot. Students don’t go to school on Saturdays anymore, and haven’t since 2000. 야자 ( yaja ) used to be mandatory for everyone in middle and high school, but now students can decide whether they want to attend it or not. Students’ hairstyles were limited too, and students with brunette hair had to dye it black just because it was the school rule. But this doesn’t apply to schools anymore. There used to be school corporal punishment, but it’s prohibited now. Many school rules have been changed and there will still be more rules to be changed in the future.

4. How KoreanClass101 Can Help You with Korean

KoreanClass101 is here to help you learn not only the Korean language, but also Korean culture. Therefore, our study materials aren’t simply teaching you how to memorize Korean; we’re also focused on providing study materials for students to learn the language in a fun way, and most importantly, provide the most relevant cultural insights.

Also, KoreanClass101 has free study materials for you to study, whether you’re an absolute beginner or a more advanced learner. So why not make your lifetime account today and learn Korean with us?

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Everything you want to know about South Korea

How much homework do Korean students get?


The introduction will provide a brief overview of the topic and present the purpose of the article. It will also include some statistical information to grab the reader’s attention and set the tone for the rest of the article.

What is the education system in Korea?

This section will provide an overview of the Korean education system, including how it is structured, what subjects are taught, and how students are assessed.

Why is homework important in Korean culture?

This section will explore why homework is so important in Korean culture and what cultural factors contribute to this emphasis on academic achievement.

This section will provide detailed information on how much homework Korean students receive on average, broken down by grade level and subject. It will also discuss how this workload compares to other countries.

What are the effects of too much homework?

This section will explore some of the negative effects that excessive homework can have on students, including stress, burnout, and lack of sleep.

Are there any benefits to homework?

This section will examine some of the potential benefits of homework, such as reinforcing classroom learning and developing study skills.

How do Korean parents feel about their children’s homework load?

This section will provide insights from Korean parents about their attitudes towards their children’s homework load, including any concerns they may have about their children’s wellbeing.

What are some strategies for coping with too much homework?

This section will offer some practical tips for students who feel overwhelmed by their homework load, such as time management techniques and seeking support from teachers or parents.

How does technology impact homework in Korea?

This section will explore how technology has impacted homework in Korea, including the use of online resources and the potential for cheating.

What do experts say about the Korean homework system?

This section will provide insights from educational experts on the strengths and weaknesses of the Korean homework system, and any recommendations they may have for improving it.

What can other countries learn from Korea’s approach to homework?

This section will examine what other countries can learn from Korea’s approach to homework, including any best practices that could be applied in other contexts.

The conclusion will summarize the main points of the article and provide some final thoughts on the topic. It may also include some recommendations for future research or policy changes related to homework in Korea.

How many hours do Korean students study a day?

South Korea’s education system is rigorous, with a reputation for producing high-achieving students. Students typically spend a considerable amount of time each day at school or at a hagwon, which can last from 12 to 16 hours.

Which country gives students the most homework?

The Italian education system may cause frustration among students as they are assigned the most homework in the world, according to research conducted by the OECD. 15-year-old students in Italy reportedly have to manage nearly 9 hours of homework each week, which is more than any other country.

Which country gives the least homework?

In Finland, school typically finishes by 2 pm and students are not given homework or unexpected tests. Teachers believe that this allows students to have more time to engage in hobbies, art, sports, or cooking instead of wasting time on assignments. This is a practice designed to promote a well-rounded education.

How many hours Korean students sleep?

According to a study conducted on students, those in grades 5-6 slept an average of 8.15±1.12 hours per night, while those in grades 7-9 slept an average of 8.17±1.20 hours. However, students in grades 10-12 slept an average of 6.87±1.40 hours per night. This information was reported on January 31, 2011.

What country has the shortest school day?

In Finland, schools generally begin the day between 9 and 9:45 a.m., and students typically spend around five hours per day in class.

What grade would a 16 year old be in Korea?

The typical age range for students in the 9th, 10th, and 11th grades of high school is around 14-15, 15-16, and 16-17 years old respectively, with some students potentially being up to a year older.

How does homework impact academic achievement in Korea?

This section will explore the relationship between homework and academic achievement in Korea. It will examine studies that have looked at the correlation between homework completion and test scores, as well as any potential confounding factors that may influence this relationship.

What is the role of private tutoring in Korea?

This section will discuss the prevalence of private tutoring in Korea, also known as “hagwon culture,” and how it relates to homework. It will explore why many Korean students attend private tutoring sessions after school and how this impacts their overall workload.

How does homework vary across different regions of Korea?

This section will examine how homework load varies across different regions of Korea, including urban versus rural areas, and how this may be influenced by socioeconomic factors.

What is the impact of COVID-19 on homework in Korea?

This section will discuss how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted homework in Korea, including the shift to online learning and potential changes to homework policies. It will also explore how students and parents have adapted to these changes.

What are some alternative approaches to homework?

This section will explore some alternative approaches to homework that have been implemented in other countries, such as project-based learning or flipped classrooms. It will examine the potential benefits and drawbacks of these approaches and whether they could be applied in the Korean context.

How can teachers and parents work together to support students with homework?

This section will offer some strategies for teachers and parents to work together to support students with their homework load, such as clear communication and setting realistic expectations. It will also explore how schools can provide resources for families who may not have access to technology or other materials necessary for completing homework.

Related posts:

  • Is there night school in Korea?
  • Is school hard in Korean?
  • How many hours do English teachers in South Korea work?
  • How long are Korean school breaks?

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what is homework in korean

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Korean School System Explained [English Guide]

Jason Park

Korea has one of the most advanced and impeccable education systems in the world. 

With over 70% of the populace having education beyond high school and nearly a 100% literacy rate, Koreans are incredibly smart. 

Their standards for education, learning and knowledge are impressive.

We’ll discuss the ins and outs of the various education levels and institutions along with what makes them so stellar. 

So, this will be the Korean school system explained in full. It’s intense and demanding, but it does produce the some of the most well-educated people in the world.

Not only do children learn things like math, language and science, but they also learn social studies, history, music and more. 

But, what makes the education so excellent in Korea is the fact that society and the government take a vested role in each student’s success.

Korean School System Explained Overview

what is homework in korean

To fully understand the Korean school system, it’s imperative to study the initial structure, how they lay it out and each level’s requirements. 

Some aspects of education are not mandatory while others very much are.

Standard Curriculum

Other education in korea, korea’s beloved teachers, based on testing, about middle school, high school admissions, typical high school schedule, high school classifications, korean vocational high schools, junior colleges & meister schools, the most important test, going to university in korea, types of universities, applying for & attending university, low birthrates, memorization isn’t everything.

South Korea’s national curriculum comes directly from the Ministry of Education. They monitor and revise it every five to 10 years to accommodate modern Korean society and culture. 

The following list details the basic rundown of Korea’s education strata:

Not only do students learn and perfect their understanding of Korean, they also learn several foreign languages. 

While English is a priority, they’ll also learn ones like Japanese, Spanish, German and French, for example. Children learn these for their entire educational career, starting in kindergarten.

Other educational institutions in Korea are international schools. There are more than 40 of them and not everyone qualifies to attend. 

These are mostly for students who are foreign nationals or a Korean citizen who have lived abroad for at least three years.

Koreans hold their teachers in high regard. They are the pinnacle of the Korean education system, since they are a glowing example of wisdom and knowledge melded with practical application. 

These people have received the highest degrees possible. They not only go to university to specialize in education but they also focus their studies on a particular level of schooling. 

This makes them top-notch and well-qualified. So, a letter of recommendation from any teacher is a student’s certification of high aptitude.  

General Education Layout

Each school year comprises two semesters. The first goes from March to July and the other runs from September into February. 

Just like in the United States, children get holiday breaks for summer and winter. However, they get 10 optional half days at the beginning and end of those holiday breaks.

What’s more, most Korean students also receive other schooling outside of the national standard. 

They attend private schools and/or regularly meet with tutors. Schooling for elementary and middle school children is less rigorous than what high school students experience. 

Plus, the younger ones take classes outside of school for things like piano, karate or cooking.

But regardless of the education level, the Korean school system bases itself on tests. 

Even for the younger children, these tests are incredibly difficult and students are under an enormous amount of pressure to excel. 

This is because their entire learning record of accomplishment influences their career prospects.

It means that every place a person went to school will determine the kind of jobs/careers they can have as an adult. 

This is why supplemental education and tutors come into their education schedules at such a young age.

Preschool, Elementary & Middle School

what is homework in korean

Because preschool isn’t mandatory in Korea, it’s not free and the cost ranges greatly with private or government-run options . 

Children learn the basics of counting, colors and English along with songs, games and puzzles.

For elementary and middle school students, education is mandatory and free in Korea . 

Elementary school begins at six years of age but almost every child goes to preschool and/or kindergarten prior to that. 

Here, they learn 12 different subjects that include ethics, math, English, Korean, music, art, science, social studies and physical exercise. 

Their testing involves multiple-choice questions along with essay writing and problem-solving.

Once elementary school is complete, students move on to middle school at around 12 years old. They gain admission to any given school based on a lottery system and their location. 

Classes continue and expand upon the subjects already learned. However, they can opt to take a technical education track or advance in science.

Their schedules get bigger as well, taking on tutors and additional classes at other schools. 

This supplemental education focuses on their weaknesses at school while giving them a leg up in other subjects. It’s not usual for these children to study for 12 hours each day.

High School in Korea

what is homework in korean

High school is not mandatory in Korea and is, therefore, not free. 

These are highly competitive institutions and they go to great pains preparing students for university opportunities later on. 

This places quite a bit of pressure on the average teenager, which begins at around 15 years old.

At this stage of education, the number of subjects reduces from 12 to nine, but they are more intricate and thorough. 

For instance, social studies include Korean history while art sprawls to fine arts and practical arts.

Admission into high school is much the same as it is in middle school, it happens on a type of lottery system. 

Their location and performance in school determine which one(s) they can attend. Schools select students based on entrance exams, GPA, teacher recommendations, other letters of recommendation and interviews.

This process prepares youth for university. But, this will vary depending on the type of high school.

The typical high school schedule starts at 8 am and ends at around 4 or 5 pm, with each class about 50 minutes long. 

The students stay in the same schoolroom for most of the day with a 50-minute lunch break. The teachers move between rooms depending on what classes they’re teaching.

After school ends for the day, teens go to additional classes at others schools or join the company of a reputable tutor. 

In some cases, they study until midnight with a 50-minute dinner break. This means Korean high school students will study for as much as 16 hours a day.

As students advance in their high school education, reaching their junior and senior years (11th and 12th respectively), they choose specific fields of study amid basic subjects. 

For instance, they will study things like chemistry, geography, politics, economics, physics and other such topics with electives to support these studies.

what is homework in korean

Also, there are different categories Koreans use to divide high school structures. They are as follows:

Gender – A majority of high schools in Korea separate by girls or boys. However, there are some coed schools and this trend is on the rise. Regardless, they all learn the same subjects.

School Type – There are three types of high schools: academic, specialized or vocational. While the academic centers on science and math, specialized schools zero in on things like art, sports, foreign language or other similar subjects. The vocational schools solely focus on blue-collar-type careers and labor jobs.

Elite – Students that attend elite high schools are very well-to-do and generally come from affluent families or exude extreme aptitude with a high IQ. These schools are autonomous in their curriculum and train students for the best universities.

what is homework in korean

If a high school student is in a vocational-based school, their first year will comprise the standard national curriculum. 

Thereafter, they take classes geared toward their vocation. This can include farming, tech and engineering but it can also be fishery, business or transportation.

When a student graduates from vocational school, they do have access to universities but most opt for a junior college. 

These schools offer shorter programs that continue their high school studies. A small percentage also attend something called a “Meister school.”

These offer specific courses in industries like banking, social services, dentistry or semiconductor development. 

Local companies work with these schools to create modules and curriculum. Experts regularly give lectures and the students receive internships throughout their course of study.

Students who graduate from a Meister school cannot enter university until they have three years of real work experience. 

But, once this requirement is complete, these individuals have it easier than their peers in terms of obtaining a degree.

The Suneung

what is homework in korean

Regardless of the type of high school a student attends, they must take the college entrance exam prior to applying for university& offered on the second Tuesday of every November. 

Called the “Suneung (수능),” this exam is the official National University College Scholastic Test. This is one of the toughest university entrance exams in the world.

This test is such a big deal that businesses open later to ensure each student gets to his or her exam on time. 

Even air traffic and truck transport pauses during the listening portion of the exam. And, in the event students are late, they can get a free police escort to the test site.

It’s literally the most important test a student can take in their lifetime. All their education up to this point prepared them for it. 

It defines their future and what kinds of opportunities they can have, not just choice of university but also career.

It comprises mostly multiple-choice questions and provides access to three different colleges. 

It takes eight hours to finish and includes the nine major subjects studied in high school. However, the students do get to choose the focus of their test.

University Determines Career Prospects

The reason why this system is so stringent in Korea is that job opportunities heavily rely on which schools people to attend. 

It speaks to who they are, how smart they are and what kind of investment they’ve put into their futures. 

Their university degree combines with their formative schooling as it relates to their field. The best universities scrutinize every application down to the letter.

But, once accepted, the school not only trains an individual for a prospective career, but also helps place them in a job after graduation. 

For instance, the Seoul National, Korea or Yonsei Universities are some such places that open important doors for many people once they graduate and attempt to find a job.

Korea boasts more than 400 universities, junior colleges and other such higher educational organizations. 

Most of these are in Seoul with tuition costs ranging about $8,500 per year. 

The amount paid depends on the university, the department and available scholarships for which a student qualifies.

While most universities offer a wide range of fields and industries, some specialize in a specific field of study. 

The Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) is one such university. The core of each degree incorporates mandatory subjects along with electives.

These specialized universities are somewhat more rigorous than general ones. 

Students must successfully complete 130 credits just to qualify for graduation, though it doesn’t guarantee they’ll graduate. 

They must show an outstanding proficiency for their field as well.

Universities only accept students with an impeccable education record, recommendation letters, high-test scores and university-specific admission exams, among many other criteria.

Once accepted into a school, they then spend at least four years studying for a bachelor’s degree.

They will commit more time to school if they are also opting for a master’s and/or doctorate degree. 

Much like in Western universities, master’s degrees are two years and doctoral degrees range between two and four years. 

However, in Korea, these may be separate study tracks or in combination with each other.

Some Criticism

The positive results of Korea’s hardcore education system are difficult to deny. But, the demands on children do sometimes have tragic outcomes. 

The pressure to do well, especially on the Suneung, definitely correlates with the rise in teen suicides.

Per a report from Statistics Korea , suicide was the leading cause of death among those between nine and 24 years old in 2013. 

Almost 40% were due to the stress of school admissions followed by family troubles, financial difficulties and general loneliness.

Because of this, the government and schools are making clear changes to the curriculum in the hopes of avoiding such tragedies in the future. 

For instance, private schools suspected of operating too late are subject to government raids.

The exorbitant price for education in Korea is a major reason why the country has a low overall birthrate. 

Each student will owe anywhere from $10,000 to $30,000 or more per semester of high school and university. 

Because of this, the debt placed on a family’s finances is overwhelming and they don’t often have more than two children.

A major part of studying in the Korean education system is the ability to memorize and regurgitate information they absorbed. 

Unfortunately, Koreans believe this to be an equivalency for intelligence. 

Even though memory and academics are useful, the average Korean student doesn’t exude other pertinent skills. 

They should also be able to combine it with communication, creativity and teamwork.

While there are efforts in place to reduce the amount of stress, it’s difficult to say how they will influence the general outcome. 

For instance, there are restrictions on the operating hours of private schools and the national government recently implemented a test-free semester in middle school.

Korea’s education system is rigid and tough. But, it does produce some of the smartest and most innovative people in the world. 

There is much-heated criticism and debate over this, but the results are in the country’s success as a whole in varying industries.

They are the 10th largest economy, the third most popular in skincare/cosmetics, and export entertainment worldwide, such as the case with K-pop and K-dramas. 

They’re a leader in fashion, technology and engineering, to name a few. All of this comes on the back of an excellent educational system.

Even though their educational systems are comparable to Canada or the United States, the study demands are much more intense. 

With vast governmental and social support, students have the opportunity to achieve greatness.

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what is homework in korean

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90 Day Korean

Korean Particles – Using Subject, Object, and Topic Markers

Last modified: Apr 09, 2024 | 15 min read | By Laura Toyryla

You may be new to the concept, but particles are a part of the Korean language used every day. These Korean particles are found in nearly every sentence you’ll hear  if not all!

But it’s essential to learn how to use them correctly. We’ll cover Korean particles for everyday use that you should learn to become a competent Korean speaker .

A boy with glasses reading a book with puzzle pieces underneath

Here is a free PDF guide that you can download and take with you:

  • 1 What are Korean Particles?
  • 2 Korean Particles List
  • 3.1 Korean Topic Markers
  • 3.2 Korean Subject Particles
  • 3.3 Korean Object Particles
  • 3.4 Korean Location Particles
  • 3.5 Korean Linking Particles
  • 3.6 Korean Plural Particle
  • 3.7 Korean Particle “Only”
  • 3.8 Korean Possessive Particles
  • 3.9 Other Essential Korean Particles

We will get into some of the most important parts of Korean grammar that you’ll use regularly. If you don’t know how to read in Hangeul yet, then you can learn Korean here in under an hour. For some helpful resources on a Korean language study plan, go here .

What are Korean Particles?

Korean particles mainly function as markers in a sentence. These words help identify what a certain word’s role is in the sentence (whether it’s the topic or the object), and it also helps connect words to give a clearer meaning to what you want to say.

Korean particles may come off as confusing initially, but these are essential in building sentences, which you’ll learn with enough practice !

Korean Particles List

There are a great number of particles in the Korean language. However, you don’t need to know all of them immediately. You’ll only need the most common particles to get started.

In this section, we’ve listed the Korean subject-marking particle and object-marking particle alongside the other basic particles.

The Different Korean Particles

Now that you have some idea of what Korean particles are let’s learn more about the specific particles and their different uses.

Korean Topic Markers

There are two Korean topic markers used in sentences. They function the same but are used depending on the last letter of the word that precedes them. We’ll learn all about them below.

~은/는 (~ eun / neun | Topic)

1. The ~은/는 (~eun / neun) markers are used to mark the topic in the sentence which is what you are going to talk about. These markers have the same meaning as “regarding ~” or “as for ~.”

You can use the topic marker  은 (eun) when the last syllable of the preceding noun ends in a consonant and the topic particle 는 (neun) when it ends in a vowel.

For example:

나 (na) → 나 는 (naneun)

선생님 (seonsaengnim) → 선생님 은  (seonsaengnimeun)

Sample Sentences:

나 는 학생이에요 (naneun haksaengieyo)

I am a student.

나 는 행복해요 (naneun haengbokhaeyo)

I am happy .

우리 선생님 은 미국인이에요 (uri seonsaengnimeun migukinieyo)

Our teacher is American .

2. The topic particles ~은/는 (~eun / neun) are also used for comparing or contrasting two things .

어제는 더웠어요. 오늘은 추워요. (eojeneun deowosseoyo. oneureun chuwoyo)

Yesterday was hot . Today is cold .

나는 커피를 마셨어요. 친구는 주스를 마셨어요. (naneun keopireul masyeosseoyo. chinguneun juseureul masyeosseoyo)

I drank coffee . My friend drank juice.

Korean Subject Particles

There are two Korean subject particles used in Korean sentences. Each subject particle is used depending on the last letter of the word that precedes them.

~이/가 (~i / ga | Subject)

1. 이  (i) and 가 (ga) are used as subject particles to mark the subject in the sentence. Both 이 (i) and 가 (ga) are added after the subject.

The difference between the two is that 이 (i) is a subject marking particle used when the preceding noun ends in a consonant, while the subject particle 가 (ga) is used when it ends in a vowel.

Sample sentences for each subject particle:

가방이 무거워요  (gabangi mugeowoyo)

The bag is heavy.

버스가 오고 있어요 (beoseuga ogo isseoyo)

The bus is coming.

2. 이  (i) and 가 (ga) also focus on the subject of the sentence.

Sample sentences:

누가 주문할 거예요?  (nuga jumunhal geoyeyo)

Who is going to order?

내가 주문을 할게요 (naega jumuneul halgeyo)

I will place the order.

누가 아파요? (nuga apayo)

Who is sick?

민경 씨가 아파요 (mingyeong ssiga apayo)

Minkyung is sick.

Basic Korean Particles

Topic markers vs subject particles

The particles ~은/는 (~eun / neun) and ~이/가 (~i / ga) can be quite tricky.

Why are these so tricky? Both of them are used to indicate the subject in the sentence , making them almost the same in use, which can cause confusion. When creating sentences, you should be careful which one you’ll use unless it doesn’t matter in that particular sentence. With practice, you’ll get the hang of them!

As mentioned above, in many cases, you can use the particles ~이/가 (~i / ga) and ~은/는 (~eun / neun) interchangeably. With time, as you begin to learn and speak Korean, you’ll be able to differentiate between the two just by noticing how each sentence sounds, but it’s still good to focus on how they are different.

Here are the differences between the subject marking particles ~ 이/가 and topic markers ~ 은/는 explained with a few examples.

1. ~은/는 is used to state a general fact. While ~이/가 is used for specific ones.

Sample sentences for both topic marking particle and subject particle: 

개는 냄새를 잘 맡아요 (gaeneun naemsaereul jal matayo)

Dogs are good at smelling

개가 냄새를 못 맡아요 (gaega naemsaereul mot matayo)

The dog can’t smell it.

2. ~ 이/가 is used when introducing new information. After the subject has been declared and known to those involved in the conversation (became a topic),  은/는 (eun / neun) is often used.

Sample sentences: 

옛날 옛적에 한 남자가 살았어요. 그 남자는 요리사였어요   (yennal yetjeoge han namjaga sarasseoyo. geu namjaneun yorisayeosseoyo)

A long time ago, a man lived. The man was a chef.

지금 내 친구가 오고 있어요. 내 친구는 한국 음식을 좋아해요. (Jigeum nae chinguga ogo isseoyo. nae chinguneun hangung eumsigeul joahaeyo)

My friend is coming over now. My friend likes Korean food .

3. ~이/가 is used to ask a question and ~은/는 is used to answer.

이름이 뭐예요?  (ireumi mwoyeyo)

What is your name ?

내 이름은 지나예요  (nae ireumeun jinayeyo)

My name is Jina.

화장실이 어디예요? (hwajangsiri eodiyeyo)

Where is the toilet ?

화장실은 엘레베이터 옆에 있어요. (hwajangsireun ellebeiteo yeope isseoyo)

The toilet is next to the elevator.

Here is some additional information to explain the difference between the Korean particles ~은/는  (~eun / neun) and ~이/가 (~i / ga) :

  • While you can use the subject particle ~은/는 (~eun / neun)   to describe someone’s profession or nationality and the like or describe someone or yourself with an adjective, you cannot use ~이/가 (~i / ga) to do the same. Think of ~은/는  (~eun / neun) as the markers to use with descriptive sentences.
  • Similarly, when you want to describe that you or someone else will do something, it’s better to use ~이/가 (~i / ga) rather than ~은/는 (~eun / neun) .  So think of ~이/가 (~i / ga) as the subject particles to use with actions.

But remember, this isn’t always the case. It’ll become easier with practice. This example below shows both ~은/는  (~eun / neun) and ~이/가 (~i / ga) concept in a sentence:

한국 음식 은  비빔밥 이 제일 맛있어요.  (Hangung eumsigeun bibimbabi jeil masisseoyo)

As for Korean food, bibimbap is the most delicious.

*Note: In this example, Korean food is a topic, and Bibimbap is a subject.

Korean Object Particles

There are two Korean object particles used to indicate the object in a sentence. Similar to the Korean topic markers and Korean subject particles, both object particles are used depending on the last letter of the word that precedes them.

~을/를 (~eul/reul | Object)

When the last syllable ends in a consonant, you use the object marking particle 을. On the other hand, when it ends in a vowel, you should use the object particle 를.

Example sentences using ~을/를 (~eul/reul):

나는 책 을 읽었어요 (naneun chaekeul ilgeosseoyo)

I read a book

바나나 를 먹어요! (bananareul meogoyo!)

Eat a banana!

새 옷 을 입으니까 기분이 좋아요.  (sae oseul ipeunikka gibuni johayo.)

I feel good to wear new clothes.

비밀 을 지켜주세요. (bimireul jikyeojuseyo.)

Please keep the secret.

따뜻한 차 를 마실까요? (ttatteuthan chareul masilkkayo?)

Shall we drink some hot tea?

주말에 친구와 영화 를 볼 거예요. (jumare chinguwa yeonghwareul bol geoyeyo.)

I’m going to watch a movie with my friend on the weekend.

Notice the subject marking particles in the above example? Multiple types of particles often come into play in a single sentence.

Korean Location Particles

There are five Korean location particles . All of them help indicate the location in sentences. They can emphasize the place where the subject is going, where action has or is taking place, and direction or movement.

Some of the Korean location particles can also be used to express time.

In this section, you’ll learn about how each of the Korean location particles functions.

~에 (~e | Time/Location)

This particle indicates both time and location. The location can express where you are or were at, where you are going, or where something is. And for time, it can express the time or day something happens.

Example Sentences Using ~에 (~e):

저는 학교 에 있어요 (jeoneun haggyoe isseoyo)

I am at school.

우리 월요일 에 부산 에 갈거에요 (uri woryoire busane galgeoeyo)

We will go to Busan on Monday.

You’ll need to get used to understanding the use of particles (and also different vocabulary) based on the context of the sentence. In the above sentence, you can recognize the two separate uses of 에 (e) based on the words it’s used with, 월요일 (wollyoil | Monday) and 부산 (Busan).

~에서 (~ eseo | Location)

Although ~에서 (~ eseo) also indicates location, its use is quite different from ~에 (~ e) . When you use ~에서 (~ eseo) , you are stressing the location you are doing or did something in, excluding when the verb of the sentence is 있다 (itda), in which case 에 (e) is used.

Example Sentences Using ~에서 (~ eseo) :

카페 에서 숙제를 했어요 (khapheeseo sukjereul haesseoyo)

I did my homework in the cafe.

You can also take advantage of ~에서 (~ eseo) when describing how something is like somewhere. For example:

물가는 노르웨이 에서 가장 높아요 (mulganeun noreuweieseo gajang nopayo)

Prices are highest in Norway.

~에서 (~ eseo) can also be used to express “from.” For example:

저는 인도네시아 에서 왔어요 (jeoneun indonesiaeseo wasseoyo)

I am from Indonesia.

Note the nuance of how the location is stressed when using 에서 (eseo).

Lastly, for 여기 (yeogi)/거기 (geogi)/저기 (eogi), only attach ~서 (~seo).

Korean particles

~으로/로 (~euro/ro | Direction and multiple other meanings)

~으로/로 (~euro/ro) is a multi-functional particle. For starters, you can use it to express the location where something is happening, making its meaning similar to ~에 (~ e) .

우유를 슈퍼 로 사러 가려고 해요 (ujureul syupeoro sareo garyeogo haeyo)

I intend to go to the supermarket to buy milk.

You can also use it to express the tool, method, language, and so on that something is being done. For example:

기차 로 이탈리아에 갈거에요 (gicharo italliae galgeoeoyo)

I will go to Italy by train.

수채화 로 그림을 그렸어요 (suchaehwaro geurimeul geuryeosseoyo)

I painted using watercolors.

그사람한테 한국말 로 대답을 줬어요 (geu saramhante hangukmallo daedabeul jwosseoyo)

I answered that person in Korean.

You can even use this particle to express what you ate for a specific meal. For example:

맨날 아침식사 로 죽을 먹어요 (maennal achimsiksaro jukeul meokeoyo)

I eat porridge for breakfast every morning.

By attaching ~(으)로 (~(eu)ro) to 쪽 (jjok) you will create the meaning “the direction of_.” You can attach 쪽 (jjok) with Korean nouns and also some direction words . For example:

그 쪽 으로 (geujjokeuro)

남 쪽 으로 (namjjokeuro)

toward south

사람 쪽 으로 (saramjjokeuro)

toward people

~부터 (~buteo | Start)

The most common use for ~부터 (~buteo) is to indicate when something starts.

Example Sentences using ~부터(~buteo):

저는 지난달 부터 한국어를 배웠어요 (jeoneun jinandalbutheo hangukeoreul baewosseoyo)

I started to learn Korean last month.

~부터 (~buteo) can also be used in a similar fashion to ~에서 (~ eseo), where the difference is more so in the nuance of the sentence rather than the meaning. It is usually reserved for Korean sentences where you would include ~까지 (~ kkaji) in its structure. For example:

집 부터 학교까지 걸어 다녀요 (jibbutheo haggyokkaji georeo danyeoyo)

  I walk from home to school.

In fact, it is common to combine ~부터 (~ buteo) with ~까지 (~ kkaji) where ~부터(~ buteo) indicates the starting point and ~까지 (~ kkaji) the end.

기말고사는 내일 부터 다음주말까지 있을거에요 (gimalgosaneun naeilbutheo daeumjumalkkaji isseulgeoeyo)

Our final exams will start tomorrow and last until the end of next week.

Lastly, you can attach the word 처음 (cheoeum) , which means “first,” to ~부터 (~ buteo) to express “from the start.” For example:

영어를 배우기가 처음 부터 어려웠어요 (yeongeoreul baeugiga cheoeumbutheo eoryeowosseoyo)

Learning English was difficult from the start.

~까지 (~ kkaji | Until)

~까지 typically means “end,” more specifically “until,” and it works for both time and place. You can also use it to mean “to,” often used together with ~에서 (~ eseo) , although the use of ~에서 (~eseo) isn’t always necessary and ~까지 (~ kkaji) on its own will remain clear in its meaning.

Example Sentences Using ~까지 (~ kkaji):

집에서 여기 까지 걸어서 왔어요 (jibeseo yeogikkaji georeoseo wasseoyo)

I walked until here from home.

시험결과를 내일 까지 기다려야 해요 (sihyeomgyeolgwareul naeilkkaji gidaryeoyahaeyo)

I have to wait until tomorrow for the exam results.

우리는 8일부터 12일 까지 부산에 있을거에요 (urineun 8ilbutheo 12ilkkaji busane isseulgeoeyo)

We will be in Busan from the 8th until the 12th.

If you wish to combine ~까지 (~ kkaji) with the previously mentioned 처음부터 (cheoeumbuteo) to express “from start to finish,” the word to attach to ~까지 (~ kkaji) becomes 끝 (kkeut), which means “end.”

하루안에 그 책을 처음부터 끝 까지 읽었어요 (haruane geu chaekeul cheoeumbutheo kkeutkkaji ilgeosseoyo)

I read that book from start to finish in one day.

Korean Particles Linking

Korean Linking Particles

There are four Korean linking particles that can be used to connect two or more ideas. Two out of the four linking particles have two variations. Their usage depends on the last letter of the word before them.

~과/와 (~gwa/wa | and/with/as with)

You use these particles to indicate “and” or “with.” ~과 (~ gwa) is used after a consonant and ~와 (~ wa) is used after a vowel.

Example Sentences Using ~과/와 (~gwa/wa):

아침식사로 죽 과 커피를 먹었어요 (achimshiksaro jukgwa kheophireul meogeosseoyo)

I ate porridge and coffee for breakfast.

오늘 남자친구 와 영화를 보러 가요 (oneul namjachinguwa yeonghwareul boreo gayo)  

Today I will see a movie with my boyfriend.

~이랑/랑 (~irang/rang | and/with/as with)

This particle is nearly identical in use with ~과/와 (~gwa/wa). You should attach ~이랑 (irang) with a syllable ending in a consonant and ~랑 (rang) with one ending in a vowel. The main difference between these and ~과/와 (~gwa/wa) is that ~이랑/랑 (~irang/rang) is more casual to use and is also more common to hear spoken than to see in text.

~하고 (hago | and/with/as with)

~하고 (hago) is another particle meaning “and” and “with.” It can be used with both vowels and consonants .

~고 (~ go | connective)

The ~고 (~ go) is a connective particle mainly used to connect two actions, happening one after another, into one sentence, attached either to an action verb or a descriptive verb .

Example Sentences Using ~고 (~ go):

샤워하 고 잠을 잘거에요 (shawohago jameul jalgeoeyo)

I will take a shower and then go to sleep.

You can also use this particle to connect two adjectives describing the same topic or two sentences describing a similar topic into one sentence.

그 사람이 똑똑하 고 부지런한 학생이에요 (geu sarami ttokttokhago bujireonhan haksaengieyo)

That person is a smart and diligent student.

And yes, you can also use the ~고 particle together with the past tense!

Korean Plural Particle

There’s only one Korean plural particle added to nouns in a sentence that would make them plural. It is the particle 들 (deul).

~들 (~ deul | Plural)

The marker 들 (deul) indicates a plural form. However, it is solely used as a marker when talking about people (it’d be weird to use it with a noun like a fruit ). In fact, apart from people, it is not that common to use a plural form, and it isn’t totally necessary to use it with people, either. In the cases, you would want to indicate plural, check out the examples.

Example Sentences Using ~들 (~ deul):

오늘 친구 들 을 만나요 (onweul chingudeureul mannayo)

Today, I will meet with my friends.

그 들 은 다른 나라에서 살아요 (geudeureun dareun naraeseo sarayo)

  They live in another country.

When Koreans talk to you in Korean , you may notice that they omit this particle. This is common in a Korean language conversation.

It is possible to add the possessive form, which we will introduce soon.

Korean Particle “Only”

~만 (~ man | Only)

This marker is used to express the word “only,” and it is attached to nouns.

Example Sentences Using ~만 (~ man):

어제 맥주 만 마셨어요 (eoje maekjuman masyeosseoyo)

I only drank beer yesterday.

그는 거짓말 만 해요 (geuneun geojitmalman haeyo)

He only says lies.

하루종일 공부 만 했어요 (harujongil gongbuman haesseoyo)

I did nothing but study all-day.

Korean Possessive Particles

Unlike in English, where showing possession is indicated by adding an apostrophe and an “s,” Koreans use a possessive particle. The Korean possessive particle ~의 (~ ui) is added or used in sentences to show possession.

~의 (~ ui | Possessive)

Fairly straightforward, the ~의 (~ ui) particle indicates possession. This possessive particle is attached to the person who possesses the object, similarly to ‘s in English.

Example Sentences Using ~의 (~ ui):

선생님 의 차 (seonsaengnime cha)

the teacher’s car

그 사람 의 여자친구 (geu sarame yeojachingu)

that person’s girlfriend

나 의 집 (naui jib)

my home/my house

In the case of “my,” specifically when using the more casual 나(na), you can shorten from 나의 (naui) to 내 (nae). Like this:

내 고양이 (nae goyangi)

Other Essential Korean Particles

~께/에게/한테 (~kke/ege/hante | To give someone something)

These forms all indicate you are giving someone something.

Example Sentence Using 한테 (hante):

오빠 한테 돈을 빌려줬어 (oppahante doneul billyeosseo)

I lent money to my big brother.

The difference between each one is simply their level of politeness. 께 (kke) is of honorific level, 에게 (ege) is formal polite form, and 한테 (hante) is informal and casual. You can read more about Korean honorifics here .

~께서/에게서/한테서 (~kkeseo/egeseo/hanteseo | To receive something from someone)

These markers possess the same level of politeness as their counterparts above. Technically you do not need the ~서(~seo) attached to the end to make the meaning clear, but it’s good to keep it for differentiation when you’re still a new learner of Korean.

~도 (~ do | Also)

~도 (~do) indicates the use of the additive principle in the form of “too” and “also.” You can drop ~은/는 (~ eun / neun) or other particles when using the additive particle ~도 (~do) .

Example Sentences Using ~도 (~do):

나 도 빅뱅을 좋아해요 (nado bikbaengeul johahaeyo)

  I like Big Bang , too.

나 도 연세어학당을 다녀요 (nado yeonseeohakdangeul danyeoyo)

I also attend Yonsei Korean Language Institute.

나 도 영국사람이에요 (nado yeongguksaramieyo)

I am also from England.

Phew! That was quite the lesson, don’t you think? As you learn Korean, learning the particles will significantly improve your knowledge of Korean grammar which will make you more confident with talking to native speakers!

How many Korean particles discussed did you already know, and which were brand new to you? Try to make some of your own Korean sentences in the comments, and we’ll check them for you. We’d love to see them! In addition, to help you speak Korean and build a Korean sentence, we have a list of English words translated into Korean here .

If you want to learn Korean, we have the Inner Circle web program that will teach you how to have a 3-minute conversation in the first 90 days.

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102 thoughts on “Korean Particles – Using Subject, Object, and Topic Markers”

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wowwwwwwww!!!! this was damn helpful and the best online material to self learn Korean! i was able to learn more especially if you’re someone who already know some basics by watching kdrama and kpop,its gonna be fruitful!! thankyou @90 DAY KOREAN.

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Thanks for your comment, Divi! ^^ I’m glad that our article has been helpful to you.

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Thank you very much for breaking down the different particles and how to use them! I find these explanations very helpful. While learning, I couldn’t seem to understand why some particles need to be dropped so that other particles could be used, for example: 저는 + 도 is not 저는도, but 저도. However, 한국에 + 는 is 한국에는. Is there a reason?

Hi Luli! 도 replaces topic, subject, and object markers (while other markers like 에, 에서 don’t), so you can’t use 도 with them at the same time. ^^

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Thanks So Much For This Well Explained Particles. Ive Been Learning Korean For 3 Months And They Were So Comfusing. Please Are There More Lessons That Can Help One To Learn How To Make Sentences?

You’re welcome, Anna! ^^ You can check out our article on Korean Sentence Structure to learn more about making Korean sentences.

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Thank you so much for this. Until now, I didn’t know something like this even existed and I have been learning Korean for months. It sure killed so many of my doubts. Thanks again!

Awesome, thanks for your comment! ^^ If you want more Korean lessons, you can check our check our blog and visit our YouTube channel for articles and videos with great Korean content.

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Thank you LORD! I normally don’t leave comments but I’ve been learning Korean for 3-4 months and this… THIS whole particles thing has been utterly KILLING me, LOL. Thank you for breaking it down so well to where I can actually understand the difference. I feel better now ????.

Great, thanks for the comment! I’m glad that our article has been helpful to you. ^^ If you want to know more Korean lessons, you can also check our blog and visit our YouTube channel for articles and videos with great Korean content.

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Korean Past Tense | Korean Verb Conjugations

In this lesson, you will learn how to make the Korean past tense . By the end of this lesson, you will be able to conjugate Korean verbs into the past tense and to make past tense Korean sentences. In a previous lesson, we looked at how to conjugate verbs in the present tense . If you can remember how to conjugate verbs in the present tense, it is quite easy to conjugate verbs in the past tense.

Related: The Meaning Of Korean Conjugation

Korean Past Tense

To change a Korean verb into the past tense, you must add the correct past tense ending to the verb. The past tense verb endings can be seen in the table below.

As you can see from the table above, the past tense verb endings are similar to the present tense verb endings. They also follow similar conjugation rules.

Past Tense Conjugation Rules

To change a verb into the past tense, the first thing you must do is remove 다 from the infinitive form of the verb which will give you the verb stem. Then, you must add the correct past tense ending to the verb to make the past tense.

Past Tense Conjugation Rule 1

If the last vowel in a verb stem is ㅏ or ㅗ, then you add 았어요.

Let’s look at some examples:

In each of the examples above, the last vowel in the verb stem is ㅏ or ㅗ . So, to make the present tense we add 아요 , and to make the past tense we add 았어요 .

Past Tense Conjugation Rule 2

If the last vowel in a verb stem is NOT ㅏ or ㅗ, then you add 었어요.

In each of the examples above, the last vowel in the verb stem is NOT ㅏ or ㅗ . So, to make the present tense we add 어요 , and to make the past tense we add 었어요 .

*Notice that 서다 is 섰어요 in the past tense and not 서었어요 . This is because the verb stem already ends in the ㅓ vowel sound.

Past Tense Conjugation Rule 3

If a verb ends in 하다 add 였어요.

This conjugation may look a little strange to you at first as 하다 + 였어요 becomes 했어요 (and not 하였어요 ). Originally 하 + 였어요 was 하였어요 but over time this became 했어요 . All you need to remember is that 하다 becomes 했어요 in the past tense.

Korean Past Tense Practice Quiz

Check what you have learned with this fun Korean past tense practice exercise. There are 10 questions. Each question shows you a verb and you must choose the correct Korean past tense conjugation.

Korean Past Tense Sentences

In previous lessons, you learned how to change verbs into the present tense , and how to make Korean sentences . Using what you have learned in this lesson, you should now be able to make simple past tense sentences. Here are some example present tense sentences that have been changed into the past tense.

Want more Korean verbs to practice making the past tense with? Check our list of 100 Korean verbs for beginners .

Korean Past Tense PDF

Download PDF Lesson

Download and print the key information from this lesson along with the past tense conjugation rules.

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