Complete Guide to TOPIK - Self Study Package BX0121

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Today we'll be looking at the top 5 most common and important Korean grammar particles.

These may consist of anything from pre/postpositions, particles to use with nouns, verbs, adverbs and adjectives etc. 

Let's take a look at those grammar particles one by one :

Complete Guide to TOPIK - Self Study Package BX0121

To understand TOPIK Test structure, application process, Levels and Passing scores etc. check these pages:

  1. TOPIK – The Complete Guide & 2. TOPIK Levels and Passing Marks. You can also Practice Online with TOPIK GUIDE Mock Tests.

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은/는 are Korean particles or marks preceding words as a topic of the sentence. It is attached after the order for indicating any work as a topic of the sentence. 
The use of 은/는  is somewhat similar to a subject marking particle 이/가 but there is subtle difference between the usage of the two grammar points.

A word followed by 은/는 tend to seem like it has more attention than that followed by 이/가. Rule of conjugating :

  1. 은 is used when the preceding word ends with a consonant.
  2. 는 is used when the preceding word ends with a vowel.

For example if the word is 학교 which ends with a vowel then we use ~는 after the word , so it becomes 학교는.  Similarly when the preceding word ends with a consonant as in 연필, we'll use ~은 after the word and it becomes 연필은.

For example : 

1. Didn't you buy sesame oil? - 참기름은 안 샀어요?

Here as you can see we're talking about sesame oil. So we'll use 은 after 참기름 to indicate it's the topic of the sentence. 

2. This Kimchi is too spicy. - 이 김치는 너무 매워요.

Here as you can see Kimchi is the topic of the speech. 

3. Korean is interesting. - 한국어는 재미있다.

4. Their house is always spick and span. - 그들은 집은 언제나 아주 깔끔하다.


The subjective marker 이/가 is used to indicate that the preceding noun phrase is the subject of the sentence.

It would be quite difficult for the early stage learners to understand the difference between 은/는 and 이/가.

See also : Difference between 은/는 and 이/가

Rule of conjugating :

  1. 가 is used after a word which ends with a vowel.
  2. 이 is used after a word ending with consonant.

Like in the example sentence :

  1. The cat is behind the house. - 고양이가 집 뒤에 있다.
  2. There is a beautiful garden behind the house. - 그 집 뒤에는 아름다운 정원이 있다.
  3. The weather is good.- 날씨 정말 좋다.
  4. What is your name?- 너 이름이 뭐니?


을 or 를 Is attached to a noun to show the object of the sentence. So when making a sentence in Korean the object of the sentence must have 을/를 at the end.

Rule of conjugating is easy :

  1. Use 를 when the object ends in a vowel.
  2. Use 을 if the object ends in a constant use.

Like in the example sentence :

  1. I eat rice. - 저는 밥을 먹어요. 
  2. My friend eats an apple - 제 친구는 사과를 먹어요. 
  3. He knows my phone number. - 내 전화번호를 알고 있어요.
  4. I really like apples. - 나는 사과를 정말 좋아한다.
  5. I missed the bus. - 버스를 놓쳤어요.
  6. I bought a novel. - 나는 소설을 샀다.


The grammar particle 에 is mainly used in two ways. 

First way this particle is used is with the verbs which include actions like coming or going. 가다, 오다, 도착하다, 돌아가다, 내려가다, 올라가다 etc. It basically shows the direction in which a action proceeds. It could be equivalent to saying (to/from) in English.
The second way this particle could be used is with 있다 and 없다 to indicate the location of a person or thing. It could be equivalent to saying (in/on) in English.

For example :

  1. Where do you want to go? - 어디에 가고 싶습니까?
  2. Can I come over to your house today? - 오늘 너희 집에 가도 되니?
  3. The article I ordered last month has not come yet. - 지난달에 주문한 물건이 아직 안 왔다

Next we're looking at 에서 : 

The particle 에서 is used in conjunction with nouns denoting places to mark the location of an action.

For example :

  1. Where do you work ? - 어디에서 일하고 있어요?
  2. I bought this book from the library. - 이 책은 도서관에서 가져왔어요. 
  3. What do you do in Korea? - 한국에서 뭐 하세요?
  4. My friend is waiting in the office. - 친구가 사무실에서 기다려요. 
  5. What country are you from? - 어느 나라에서 오셨어요?
  6. What time do you come home from school? - 학교에서 몇 시에 집에 갑니까?


The usage of 에게 and 에게서 is quite simple like the grammar patterns explained earlier. 

The usage of 에게 is similar to 한테 which means "To (someone)" and the usage of 에게서 and 한테서 has similar usage which means "From (someone)" 

Both of these two grammar points are generally used with verbs like 주다, 받다, 전화하다 and 말하다 etc. 에게 and 에게서 can be used with the nouns.

For example :

  1. I gave a present to my friend yesterday. - 어제 친구에게 선물을 줬어요. 
  2. I got a call from my mother - 어머니한테서 전화를 받았어요
  3. I wrote a letter to my mother. - 어머니에게 편지를 썼어요
  4. I fed my child - 아이에게 밥을 먹었다
  5. I heard that from a friend of mine. - 그 말은 친구에게서 들었다
  6. Yumin smells good, maybe he sprayed perfume. - 향수를 뿌렸는지 유민이에게서 좋은 냄새가 난다.

Those where the top 5 most common and important Korean grammar particles. 

Thank you for reading if you have any suggestions or questions. Comment down below.

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