Korean Object Markers 을/를: Contractions & Colloquialisms

Korean Object Markers 을/를: Contractions & Colloquialisms


 

The more exposure you have to K-pop songs (Korean songs) and K-dramas (Korean dramas), the more you will come across colloquial phrases that you can’t learn from textbooks.

In this post, we’ll learn some colloquial words that Korean speakers use in daily life. These expressions originate from contractions of pronouns and object markers.

 

Korean Pronouns

PronounsMeaningNote
저 [jeo]Ipolite form
나 [na]Icasual form
너 [neo]youcasual form
뭐 [mweo]what
것 [geot]thing

 

Korean Object Particles

을 [eul] / 를 [reul] show what the object of the sentence is. If you’re still confused by the concepts of object marker, please refer to this post.

Korean Object Markers (Object Particles) 을 [eul] / 를 [reul]

Okay, now we’re ready to look into short forms and get more familiar with colloquial phrases.

 

When 을 [eul] / 를 [reul] follows those pronouns, they can be contracted as follows:

 Short FormMeaning as ObjectNote
저 + 를절 [jeol]mepolite
나 + 를날 [nal]mecasual
너 + 를널 [neol]youcasual
뭐 + 를뭘 [mweol]what
것 + 을걸 [geol]thing

For instance, 것을 [geoseul] combined with 것 [geot] and 을 [eul] can be used in formal, written speech. But you won’t usually come across this phrase in colloquial situations or daily life. In other words, 걸 [geol] —the short form of 것을 [geoseul] —is more preferred in casual speech. So if you want to sound like a native speaker, use 걸 [geol].

 

Let’s look at some example sentences, one by one.

 

1. 저를 [jeoreul] > 절 [jeol]

 Short FormMeaning as ObjectNote
저 + 를mepolite form

저를 믿어주세요. [jeoreul mideojuseyo]

→  믿어주세요. [jeol mideojuseyo]

Please believe me.

  • 저 [jeo]: I (polite, formal)
  • 를 [reul]: (vowel +) object particle
  • 믿다[mitda]: to believe, trust

 

2. 나를 [nareul] > 날 [nal]

 Short FormMeaning as ObjectNote
나 + 를mecasual form

나를 이해해줘. [nareul ihehejweo]

→  이해해줘. [nal ihehejweo]

Understand me.

  • 나 [na]: I (casual, informal)
  • 를 [reul]: (vowel +) object particle
  • 이해하다 [ihehada]: to understand

 

3. 너를 [neoreul] > 널 [neol]

 Short FormMeaning as ObjectNote
너 + 를youcasual form

너를 사랑해. [neoreul saranghe]

→  사랑해. [neol saranghe]

I love you.

  • 너 [neo]: you (casual, informal)
  • 를 [reul]: (vowel +) object particle
  • 사랑하다 [saranghada]: to love

 

4. 뭐를 [mweoreul] > 뭘 [mweol]

 Short FormMeaning as ObjectNote
뭐 + 를what

휴가 때 뭐를 하고 싶어요? [hyuga dde mweoreul hago sipeoyo]

→  휴가 때 하고 싶어요? [hyuga dde mweol hago sipeoyo]

What do you want to do during the vacation?

  • 휴가 [hyuga]: vacation
  • 때 [dde]: during, when
  • 뭐 [mweo]: what
  • 를 [reul]: (vowel +) object particle
  • 하고 싶다 [hago sipda]: want to do

 

5. 것을 [geoseul] > 걸 [geol]

 Short FormMeaning as ObjectNote
것 + 을thing

운동하는 것을 좋아해요. [undonghaneun geoseul joaheyo]

→ 운동하는 좋아해요. [undonghaneun geol joaheyo]

I like working out.

  • 운동하다 [undonghada]: to work out, exercise
  • 것 [geot]: thing (making verbs into nouns)
  • 을 [eul]: (consonant +) object particle
  • 좋아하다 [joahada]: to like

 

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Korean Subject Markers : Contractions & Colloquialisms

 

Reference:

  1. Choo Miho, O’Grady William. The Sounds Of Korean. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press; 2003.
  2. Im H, Hong K, Chang S. Korean Grammar For International Learners. Seoul, Korea: Yonsei University Press; 2007.
  3. Choo Miho, Kwak Hye-Young. Using Korean: A Guide to Contemporary Usage. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press; 2008.
  4. Korean/Demonstrative pronouns – Wikibooks, open books for an open world. Enwikibooksorg. 2016. Available at: https://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Korean/Demonstrative_pronouns. Accessed November 4, 2016.