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Basics, Grammar

Lesson 1: Sentence Word Order

One of the main differences between Korean and English is the order of words in sentences. All sentences in any language are made up of different types of words. Primarily, these are:

  • Subject: what is acting in the sentences (that is, what is ‘doing’ the verb) e.g. I, they, she, the dog
  • Object: what is being acted on (i.e., what is being affected by the verb) e.g. the girl, the boy, Korean
  • Verb: action or ‘doing’ words e.g. learn, love, eat
  • Adjective: words that describe a noun (usually the subject) e.g. sweet, pretty, tasty

Sentences in Korean:

SUBJECT > OBJECT > VERB
SUBJECT > ADJECTIVE

E.G. I (subject) Korean (object) learn (verb)
E.G. The girl (subject) pretty (adjective)

Sentences in English:

SUBJECT > VERB > OBJECT
SUBJECT > VERB > ADJECTIVE

E.G. I (subject) learn (verb) Korean (object)
E.G. The girl (subject) is (verb) pretty (adjective)

The key rule to sentence word order in Korean is that Korean sentences must always end in either a verb or an adjective.

In both Korean and English, the subject of a sentence is often the personal pronoun ‘I’. Of course, in English the only way to say this is ‘I’. In Korean, however, there are two ways to say ‘I’:

  • 나 (na): informal
  • 저 (cheo): polite/formal

With this in mind, we know how to build basic sentences in Korean.