The Big Three Korean Spacing Rules

The Big Three Korean Spacing Rules


 

Don’t worry. The rule of Korean spacing (띄어쓰기 [ttieosseugi]) is super simple. Keep in mind just three things: marker, name and number.

Theoretically, there are some complex rules even for native speakers. Well… I don’t think it is beneficial to introduce those guidelines to you, which Koreans don’t even follow. In addition, the guidelines have changed too often and there are too many exceptions. I’m pretty sure that the three rules below are enough for Korean learners.

The big three Korean spacing rules_English

Like the correct punctuation in English, proper spacing is essential in Korean.

 

Rule 1 : Korean Markers (Particles)

Basically, in Korean, each word should stand alone. However, markers (particles) should be attached to whatever words they’re related to. As Korean word order is somewhat free, the markers tell us whether a noun is the subject, object, etc. of a sentence. That’s why a marker should always be attached to the end of its noun.

For example :

한국어 공부해요.

[jeoneun hangugeo-leul gongbuheyo]

I study Korean.

서울 살아요.

[seou-le sa-layo]

I live in Seoul.

사과 테이블 위 있어요.

[sagwaga teibeul wie isseoyo]

There is an apple on the table.

 

So what happens if you make a mistake in the spacing of a marker? There are the silly examples below.

아버지 죽을 드신다.

[abeojiga jugeul deushinda]

My father is eating the rice soup.

아버지 가죽을 드신다.

[abeoji gajugeul deushinda]

My father is eating the leather.

아버지 방에 들어가신다.

[abeojiga bang-e deu-leogasinda]

My father is going into the room.

아버지 가방에 들어가신다.

[abeoji gabang-e deu-leogasinda]

My father is going into the bag.

 

Rule 2 : Names in Korean

Sometimes, Korean family names are written separated by a space. (A Korean name consists of a family name followed by a given name. For reference : Macro-to-Micro Korean Word Order for Name, Address, Date and Time)

For example :

김 미영 [kim miyeong]

김미영

Miyoung Kim

 

Rule 3 : Numbers in Korean

Numbers are written separated by ten thousands in Korean.

For example :

십사만 칠천오백 [sipsaman chilcheon-obek]

147,500

백구십칠만 이천삼백육 [bekgushipchilman icheonsambek-yuk]

1,972,306

Keep in mind just three things when writing Korean. Hope this helps you.

 

Reference :

  1. 고종석. 고종석의 문장 2. 서울: 알마; 2014.
  2. You C. Intermediate College Korean. Berkeley: University of California Press; 2002.
  3. Park K, Amen H, Padrón A. Korean For Beginners. Tuttle Publishing: 2010.