Korean Subject Markers 이: Contractions & Colloquialisms

Korean Subject Markers 이: 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 subject markers.

 

Korean Demonstrative Pronouns

Demonstrative PronounsMeaningNote
thing, object
이것thisa noun that is close to a speaker
그것thata noun that is close to a listener or that is already mentioned in a previous sentence
저것that over therea noun that is far away from both a speaker and a listener

 

Korean Subject Particles

이 / 가 show what the subject of the sentence is. If you’re still confused by the concepts of subject marker, please refer to these posts.

[Basic] Topic Marker 은[eun]/는[neun] vs. Subject Marker 이[i]/가[ga]

[Advanced] Topic Marker 은[eun]/는[neun] vs. Subject Marker 이[i]/가[ga]

 

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

 

When 이 [i] follows those pronouns, they can be contracted as follows:

 FormalInformal / ColloquialMeaning as Subject
것 + 이것이thing
이것 + 이이것이이게this
그것 + 이그것이그게that
저것 + 이저것이저게that over there

For instance, 이것이 [igeosi] combined with 이것 [igeot] and  [i] 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, 이게 [ige] —the short form of 이것이 [igeosi] —is more preferred in casual speech. So if you want to sound like a native speaker, use 이게 [ige].

 

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

1. 것이 [geosi] > 게 [ge]

 FormalInformal / ColloquialMeaning as Subject
것 + 이것이thing

1) 먹을 것이 있어요? [meogeul geosi isseoyo]

→ 먹을 있어요? [meogeul ge isseoyo]

Is there something to eat?

  • 먹다 [meokda]: to eat
  • 것 [geot]: thing
  • 이 [i]: (consonant +) subject particle
  • 있다 [itta]: to have, to be

2) 마실 것이 있어요? [masil geosi isseoyo]

→ 마실 있어요? [masil ge isseoyo]

Is there something to drink?

  • 마시다 [masida]: to drink
  • 것 [geot]: thing
  • 이 [i]: (consonant +) subject particle
  • 있다 [itta]: to have, to be

 

2. 이것이 [igeosi] > 이게 [ige]

 FormalInformal / ColloquialMeaning as Subject
이것 + 이이것이이게 this

1) 이것이 이상해요. [igeosi isangheyo]

이게 이상해요. [ige isangheyo]

This is strange/weird.

  • 이것 [igeot]: this
  • 이 [i]: (consonant +) subject particle
  • 이상하다 [isanghada]: strange, weird

2) 이것이 뭐예요? [igeosi mweoyeyo]

이게 뭐예요? [ige mweoyeyo]

What is this?

  • 이것 [igeot]: this
  • 이 [i]: (consonant +) subject particle
  • 뭐 [mweo]: what

 

3. 그것이 [geugeosi] > 그게 [geuge]

 FormalInformal / ColloquialMeaning as Subject
그것 + 이그것이그게that

1) 그것이 맞나요? [geugeosi mannayo]

 그게 맞나요? [geuge mannayo]

That is right/correct?

  • 그것 [geugeot]: that
  • 이 [i]: (consonant +) subject particle
  • 맞다 [matda]: right, correct

2) 그것이 제일 인기 많아요. [geugeosi jeil ingi manayo]

→ 그게 제일 인기 많아요. [geuge jeil ingi manayo]

That is the most popular.

  • 그것 [geugeot]: that
  • 이 [i]: (consonant +) subject particle
  • 제일 [jeil]: the most
  • 인기 많다 [ingi manta]: popular

 

4. 저것이[jeogeosi] > 저게 [jeoge]

 FormalInformal / ColloquialMeaning as Subject
저것 + 이저것이저게that over there

1) 저것이 신상품인가요? [jeogeosi sinsangpumingayo]

 저게 신상품인가요? [jeoge sinsangpumingayo]

That (over there) is a brand-new product?

  • 저것 [jeogeot]: that over there
  • 이 [i]: (consonant +) subject particle
  • 신상품 [sinsangpum]: brand-new products

2) 저것이 제 가방이에요. [jeogeosi je gabangieyo]

→ 저게 제 가방이에요. [jeoge je gabangieyo]

That (over there) is my bag.

  • 저것 [jeogeot]: that over there
  • 이 [i]: (consonant +) subject particle
  • 제 [je]: my
  • 가방 [gabang]: bag

 

♥ Recommended posts for you

Korean Topic Marker Short Forms (Contractions)

Korean Object 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.