Level 1 Lesson 9 / topic,subject marking particles / 은, 는, 이, 가

This lesson will introduce the topic marking particles and the subject marking particles in the Korean language. The topic marking particles and the subject marking particles play a very important role in Korean so it’s very important that you learn them well. But even some advanced-level speakers of the language can make mistakes regarding these particles, so please don’t worry even if you don’t get them right away. You will eventually be able to use them naturally after some practice. Today’s lesson is our first introduction to the particles. Make sure you read the PDF file as well. Thank you! Please feel free to ask any questions in the comment!

You can download both the PDF lesson notes and the MP3 audio track for this lesson below, and if you want to learn with our various textbooks and workbooks, you can get them on our online bookstore at MyKoreanStore.com. If you have any questions about this lesson, please leave us comments below!

Download PDF

Download MP3

Go to the Grammar Curriculum page to see all of our grammar lessons.

Level 1 Lesson 9 / topic,subject marking particles / 은, 는, 이, 가
Tagged on:                         
  • Capa21

    In the PDF example of “ABC jo-a-yo? XYZ GA jo-ayo.”

    Shouldn’t XYZ be followed by ‘i’ instead of ‘ga’ since it ends in a consonant?

    • Xyla

      The most importnt is pronunciation. And Z is pronounced like “zee”, so I think it’s same as it ended with the vowel “e”. I’m 100% sure, but I got it this way.

  • Luse Siman

    I’m so confused! Everything was going on well till now. Any other free resources I can use that will further explain this?

  • tyan igot7

    How to buy the book,please. Thanks

  • Ljayk Werewolve

    이거는 너무 힘들어예요

  • M-g Gray

    The thing i found confusing was the term “topic” and “subject” because sometimes this can mean the same thing in english.
    Please correct me if i am wrong, it seems we only use these when comparing things. So 은/ 는 implies something negative to other things, & 이/가 simply makes something stand out without implying other things are not as good.
    So let’s say i am at a restaurant.
    If said “스프맛있다.” I am saying the soup i ordered is good.
    If my friend later arrives and asks, what is good? & i say “스프가 맛있다.” Implies the soup is good.
    However if i answer “스프는 맛있다.” I’m implying that this place is nasty & i come here just for the soup because IT & IT ALONE is yummy.
    Is this correct?

    • Kel U

      I’m confused too…because like you said, topic and subject are basically the same thing


      Subject and Topics are indeed very different. Like the example they used, “Today” would be the subject, and “today’s weather” would be the Topic.

    • M-g Gray

      I watched the youtube follow up video and found it extremely helpful, not on subject/topic but just in the feel and purpose of these particles. Seems like listening to use is most helpful.

    • Mette Junget

      I will say the same thing!

  • Eva Mignini

    안녕하세요! So, I’m trying to put together what I’ve learned in the last lessons plus some vocabulary about animals. If I write a dialogue like this, is it correct?
    – 뭐예요? 말이에요?
    – 아니요, 저는 말 아니에요, 사슴이에여. 이거가 말이에요!


  • Harsh

    is this sentence correct: 이거는 펜 예요.

    • Joonie Joonie

      이거는 팬이에요.

  • Megan Gainer

    It is kind of stressed in the lesson that the purpose of these subject/topic marking particles has changed and most people drop them in daily conversation, but does that also go for things like music and writing? If I pick up a book in Hangul, will the sentences be constructed with subject/topic marking particles in every sentence? Or are they also used in music/writing the same way they are used orally – to compare or highlight something?

    p.s I kind of see the ‘new’ usage of subject/topic marking particles almost like how English books will use italics to emphasize a word (or express sarcasm) and speakers will stress their tone on a word to add sarcasm. Is this accurate?

  • mxc9219

    What to do with ‘ 오늘은 날씨가 좋네요’? What does it means?

    • Pim

      Hi! That means “The weather is good today,” but more of a shocked reaction. Kind of like, “Wow, didn’t expect that!”

    • mxc9219

      Oh, thank you so much for answering. That’s kind of you.

    • Pim

      You’re welcome!

  • BTS trash

    Can I attach the topic particle to a verb?

    • Pim

      No, I don’t believe so. It can only be attached to nouns.

  • BTSarmyTonka

    Which particles do I use in a simple sentence in which the subject is the topic of the conversation?

  • BTSarmyTonka

    What is the difference between:
    이 책은 좋아요.
    이 책이 좋아요. ?

  • esraa salah

    why should use 이 가 for new information

  • Deanne Rohde

    I still don’t see the difference between subject and topic. The topic of your sentence is the subject. Example “The girl sat on the rock”. you are talking about the girl therefore she is the subject and the topic right? Do you use a subject marking particle or a topic marking particle.

    • Camila Erazo

      Hi! In your sentence you decide what particle use. If you use 은/는 you’re comparing all the girls with THIS girl; when you use the topik marking particles you are comparing. But if you use 이/가 in your sentence you’re just talking about the girl, you aren’t comparing with the other girls

  • Mette Junget

    I got confused by the meaning of 은/는 and 이/가
    When you are saying 이 책은 좋아요 You are saying that the other books where not good and you only like this one?

    The same with 이! If you are saying 이 책이 좋아요 You are saying that this book is good?

    Cause when i think about it 은/는 seems to be negative and 이/가 seems to be natural/positive? Is that wrong?

    Or for example
    If said “스프맛있다.” I am saying the soup i ordered is good.
    If my friend later arrives and asks, what is good? & i say “스프가 맛있다.” Implies the soup is good.
    However if i answer “스프는 맛있다.” I’m implying that this place is nasty & i come here just for the soup because IT & IT ALONE is yummy.
    Is this correct?

    Hope you can help 🙂


  • Mette Junget

    So when you are saying 이거는 사괴여요 you are saying that you know it’s an apple but doesn’t know about the others? 🙂

    • Camila Erazo

      When you say 이거는 사괴여요 you’re saying something like “comparing with other fruits THIS is an apple and others fruits aren’t” When you use the topik maeking particles you’re comparing and making your sentence more specific.

    • Mette Junget

      So 은/는 is to comparing with other thing – making it more specific and 이/가 tells that you are talking about this thing? puts a pressur on it? 🙂
      Just to be clear about it cause it’s the only thing i don’t get.. hahah

    • Camila Erazo

      네 맞아요, is more easy apply the particles with this concept!

  • sarah yooa

    i‘m still not really secure with this topic but i think i slowely get it… therefore could anyone tell me if this is correct:
    뭐가 좋네요?
    날씨가 좋네요.

    감사합니다 🙂

    • caitlin

      if you are trying to say “it’s good”/”I like it” then its spelt 좋아요 but others than that it’s a good sentence 🙂
      I hope I could help even just a little

    • sarah yooa

      thank you 🙂 ahhh… i didnt know that. do you know when 좋네요 is used? ^^

    • mark

      level 3 lesson 25

  • Juliana Moreira Rego

    Ne, annyeonhaseyo. I would like to know I in the example
    “oneul nalssineun jonneyo” is the same as saying “at least the weather is good today”

  • 디캔

    Hmm…so in this example sentence “저는 ___ 입니다”, would 는 in 저는 compare anybody?

    I don’t know if this makes any sense, 미안해요.

  • Gali

    this is the most difficult lesson by far god I heard it more then five times yet I still don’t get it

    • Gali


  • Autumn Vivienne

    Ok THIS lesson really threw me off. Cant we just say that subject and topic are the same thing and that the differences between these 2 kind of particles is the emphasis one of them provides to the subjetc, while the other one is quiet more categorical/direct?

  • Maryxx

    This is so confusing help