Object Markers 을 [eul] / 를 [reul] Functioning as Location Markers

Object Markers 을 [eul] / 를 [reul] Functioning as Location Markers


 

Now let’s examine a unique (and seemingly awkward) use of object markers 을 [eul] / 를 [reul]. Object particles primarily mark the object of a sentence. (ref. Korean Object Markers (Object Particles) [eul] / [reul])

In addition to this, 을 [eul] / 를 [reul] can also appear as location markers to indicate destination and location with verbs such as 가다 (to go), 다니다 (to attend), 내려오다 (to come down), and 뛰다 (to run).

I’ve received questions about this usage from Korean learners, especially intermediate-level learners, and I’m sure someday you’ll come across the phrase and even feel confused. I hope this post helps you understand more clearly.

 

First, let’s go over some examples which use 가다 (to go).

 

1. 가다 [gada]: to go

  • 제 여자친구는 어제 병원 혼자 갔어요.

[je yeojachin-guneun eoje byeong-weoneul honja gasseoyo]

My girlfriend went to hospital alone yesterday.

Here, 을 [eul] is used to indicate that 병원 [byeong-weon] is the destination.

Word List   
제 [je]my여자친구 [yeojachin-gu]girlfriend
는 [neun](vowel +) topic marker어제 [eoje]yesterday
병원 [byeong-weon]hospital을 [eul](consonant +) object marker
혼자 [honja]alone가다 [gada]to go
  • 제 남동생은 오전 아홉시에 학교 가요.

[je namdongseng-eun ojeon ahopsie hakgyoreul gayo]

My younger brother goes to school at 9 a.m.

In this sentence, 에 [e] is used as a time marker and 를 [reul] indicates the destination.

Word List   
제 [je]my남동생 [namdongseng]younger brother
은 [eun](consonant +) topic marker오전 [ojeon]a.m.
아홉시 [ahopsi]9 o'clock에 [e]at, on (time marker)
학교 [hakgyo]school를 [reul](vowel +) object marker
가다 [gada]to go

 

2. 다니다 [danida]: to attend

  • 금요일마다 한국어 학원 다녀요.

[geumyoilmada hangugeo hagweoneul danyeoyo]

I attend the Korean language school every Friday.

Word List   
금요일 [geumyoil]Friday한국어 [hangugeo]Korean language
학원 [hagweon]private educational institute/academy을 [eul](consonant +) object marker
다니다 [danida]to attend
  • 주말에 중국어 학원 다녀요.

[jumare jung-gugeo hagweoneul danyeoyo]

I attend the Chinese language school on the weekends.

Word List   
주말 [jumal]weekend중국어 [jung-gugeo]Chinese language
학원 [hagweon]private educational institute/academy을 [eul](consonant +) object marker
다니다 [danida]to attend
  • 서울에서 대학교 다녀요.

[seoureseo dehakgyoreul danyeoyo]

I attend a college in Seoul.

Word List   
서울 [seoul]Seoul, the capital of South Korea에서 [eseo]in, at, from (location marker)
대학교 [dehakgyo]college, university를 [reul](vowel +) object marker
다니다 [danida]to attend

 

3. 내려오다 [neryeo-oda]: to come down

  • 해가 지자 산 내려왔어요.

[hega jija saneul neryeowasseoyo]

When the sun set, we come down from the mountain.

Word List   
해 [he]sun가 [ga](vowel +) subject marker
지다 [jida]to set산 [san]mountain
을 [eul](consonant +) object marker내려오다 [neryeo-oda]to come down

 

4. 뛰다 [ttwida]: to run

  • 민호는 살을 빼려고 매일 밤 학교 운동장 뛰었어요.

[minhoneun sareul bberyeogo meil bam hakgyo undongjang-eul ttwieosseoyo]

Minho run around the school yard every night to lose weight.

Word List   
는 [neun](vowel +) topic marker살을 빼다 [sareul bbeda]to lose weight
매일 [meil]every day밤 [bam]night
학교 운동장 [hakgyo undongjang]school yard을 [eul](consonant +) object marker
뛰다 [ttwida]to run

 

Reference:

  1. Henry J. Amen, Kyubyong Park. Korean For Beginners: Mastering Conversational Korean. Tuttle Publishing; 2010.
  2. Jaehoon Yeon, Lucien Brown. Korean: A Comprehensive Grammar (Routledge Comprehensive Grammars). 1st ed. Routledge; 2011.