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Is it optional to use topic/subject/object marking particles?
& is it best to use them when you're talking to people who are older than you?

For learning: Korean
Base language: English
Category: Language

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    Best Answer - Chosen by the Asker
    Like Peter mentioned, Korean 조사 is really tricky and it's safer to stick with the polite form.

    Here are some rules of thumb, but I'm hesitant to call them "rules" because there are quite a lot of exceptions:


    1) In writing, 조사 is almost never omitted.

    2) Conversely, in speech, 조사 is almost always omitted, unless you're being formal (job interviews, presentations, business meetings... you see the point).


    3) But, even in casual speech, 조사 is used when you want to EMPHASIZE.


    A. Topic particles = Using it emphasizes "unlike other things," "as for ~"
    B. Subject particles = Using it emphasizes you're talking about "none other than the subject itself."
    C. Object particles = You use it when your object is far, far away from the verb, and you want to make sure to mark an object to avoid confusion.


    Examples:

    A.
    내일 나 일해. Tomorrow I work.
    내일*은* 나 일해. As for tomorrow, I work. (But probably not today, or the day after tomorrow..)


    B.
    나 이거 만들었어. I made this.
    내*가* 이거 만들었어. I made this (,not somebody else).


    C.
    쿠키 먹었어. I ate cookies.
    쿠키(를) 어제부터 오늘까지 계속 먹었어. (Here, the object "쿠키" is so far way from the verb "먹었어" so you can use the object particle to make sure to mark the object. But then again, you don't have to.)



    Bottom line:

    1) In writing or formal speech: Use all the particles.
    2) In casual speech: Drop the particles, unless you want to emphasize.

    That is really a tricky question. Korean language can be very hard when you think of 'when' and 'how'. It would be the better and the safer to use just honorific form or polite form of language for anytime, to anybody even to children. We just habitually use the language and sometimes we have to think what and how I will say to someone who are much older than us, so when and how to speak should be a part of Korean culture. The order of words is not very important, what is important is 'the meaning' and 'the situation'. 'Marking particles, I think you mean '조사', are very important not only for grammatically, but for 'politeness', sometimes they are optional but sometimes they are compulsory.

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