Korean Grammar Sample


In this lesson, we are going to construct an SVO sentence in Korean. SVO stands for subject-verb-object, a common word order in English. A subject is what the sentence is about and a verb is an action word. An object is the receiver of the action, a word that follows a transitive verb. A transitive verb is a verb that requires an object. Without an object, it is incomplete. Hence, the two are correlated. Here are some examples.

I / like / animals.
She / drinks / coffee.
We / use / Korean.

The subjects are I (나), she (그녀), and we (우리).  The transitive verbs are to like (좋아하다), to drink (마시다), and to use (쓰다). The objects are  animals (동물), coffee (커피), and Korean (한국어).

Korean is an SVO language, which means that the verb appears at the end of a sentence. See what happens when we arrange the words based on Korean syntax.

I / animals / like.
She / coffee / drinks.
We / Korean / use.

SVO in Korean is SOV. Here is the translated version of the sentences in casual speech.

(나는) / (동물을) / 좋아해.
(그녀는) / (커피를) / 마셔.
(우리는) / (한국말을) / 써.

  • The subject and object are enclosed because they can be omitted from the sentence. It depends on the context and flow of the conversation.
  • The marker 는 is attached to the subject. If the word ends in a consonant, 은 is used.
  • In some cases, the use of markers 이/가 is more suitable. We can also say 내가, 그녀가, and 우리가. The nuance is slightly/strongly different.
  • The word 그녀는 is the unofficial term for she. It is used in literal translations only.
  • The markers 을/를 are attached to the objects.
  • The use of markers is not strictly enforced. It is not uncommon for people to drop them and say 나 동물 좋아해 for instance. Nevertheless, they are helpful in determining the role of a word in a sentence.
  • There is no subject-verb agreement. Whether the subject is singular or plural, the same form of the verb is used.