what is the difference between 는/은, 이/가, 을/를 and 에서/에?
Apr 30, 2019 4:55 PM
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은/는 : Used as a topic particle or a subject particle. 은 is used following a consonant, 는 is used following a vowel.
나는 학생이다. I am a student.
이것은 연필이다. This is a pencil.
치타는 빠르다. Cheetahs are fast.

이/가 : Used as an identifier particle or a subject particle. 이 is used following a consonant, 가 is used following a vowel.
내가 마셨다. I drank.
저것이 한강이야. That is the Han River.
치타가 느리다. This cheetah is slow.

을/를 : Used as an object particle. 을 is used following a consonant, 를 is used following a vowel,
나는 라면을 먹었다. I ate ramen.

: Used for any words relating to time or place.
마이클은 8월에 왔다. Michael came in August.

에서 : Translates to: "from" when used with a motion verb. May also be used as "at", "in" when used with an action verb which is not motion related.
중국에서 왔어. I came from China.
방에서 공부를 했다. I studied in my room.
May 1, 2019
는/은 and 가/이 both are used for the subject of a sentence but 는/은 introduces a topic or a subject whereas 가/이 identifies a subject.

In addition to their differences already explored above, here is another big difference between the two particles.

The topic particle, 는/은, is used in cases when we make a general or factual statement whereas 가/이 is not.

For example,
치타는 빠르다 = Cheetah is fast
치타는 느리다 = Cheetah is slow (This would be a wrong statement)

However, if you visited a zoo and saw a cheetah who seems to move very slowly, you might say,
치타가 느리다 = (That) cheetah is slow

So the identifier particle, 가/이, indicates a certain person or thing that the speaker and listener know or are aware of. In this case, it would be that cheetah in the zoo.

Here is another example,
바다는 푸르다 = The sea is blue
바다는 까맣다 = The sea is black (In general, this is a wrong statement.)

But say, you saw the sea at night and you may exclaim,
바다가 까맣다! = The sea is black!

The sea in this sentence is identified as a particular sea at night, and both the speaker and listener know which sea is being talked about. This is not a general statement. Therefore the identifier particle, 가/이, is used in this case.

Of course, 바다가 푸르다 is also perfectly acceptable. However, the difference is that the sea in this sentence is also a particular sea that is known by both the speaker and the listener.
바다는 푸르다 = The sea is blue (A general statement)
바다가 푸르다 = The sea is blue (The sea is identified and known by the speaker and listener)

It's similar to the way articles are used in English.

For example,
An apple is red = 사과는 빨갛다 (A general or factual statement about an apple)
The apple is red = 사과가 빨갛다 (A particular apple that the speaker identifies and indicates to the listener)

May 1, 2019
The particle -에 is the locative particle. -에 describes the static location of where a place or object exists (-에 있어요.)

-에 also indicates the destination or goal when used with directional verbs such as 가다 or 오다. 집에 가요. (Go home.) 

But then there is -에서. This particle indicates the location of an action. 학교에서 공부해요. (Study at school.) With this particle, the -에 can be omitted, usually when following a vowel. 어디에서 공부해요? can be 어디서 공부해요? (Where do you study?)

So -에 is a static location. Where something "is" or is going.
-에서 (or -서) is where something "happens."

Proper examples of "~에서" include:
"오늘 학교에서 싸웠어" (Today I fought at school)
"집에서 낮잠을 잤어요" (I took a nap at home)
"어디에서 왔어요?" (Where did you come from?)
"미국에서 왔어요." (I came from America)
"중국에서 중국어를 배웠어요" (I learned Chinese in China)

Proper examples of "~에" include:
"지금 사무실에 있어" (I'm at the office right now)
"내일 우리 집에 오세요 (Tomorrow, come over to my house)
"어디에 갔다왔어?" (Where did you go [just now]/[on vacation]?)
"호주에 갔다왔어" (I went to [and came back from] Australia)
"어디에 살아요?" (Where do you live?)
"한국에 살고있어" ([Right now] I live in Korea [but it's just temporary])
"어제 현대백화점에 갔어" (Yesterday, I went to [the] Hyundai Department Store)
"책상위에 열쇠 있어" (The keys are on my desk)
"창문 앞에 있어" (It's in front of the window)
"서울에 사람이 많아" (There are a lot of people in Seoul)
"지금 형이 집에 없다고?" (Did you say that your brother is not home right now?)
"집에 가" (Go home)

"집에 왔어요" (I'm home [while talking on the phone to your wife])
"집에서 왔어요" (I am a citizen of a place "HOME"; lit. I come from home)
May 1, 2019
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Language Skills
Korean, Tamil
Learning Language