Particles - 만 [only]

만 [Only Particle]

만 essentially means "only" and it is used after a noun. Sometimes, 오직 is used before a noun to emphasize the "only-ness."

  • 나만 떠났다. = Only I left.
  • 아빠만 TV를 보셨다. = Only Dad watched TV.
  • 룻만 이스라엘에 왔다. = Only Ruth came to Israel.
  • 물만 마셨다. = I drank only water.
  • 스티븐은 구두만 샀다. = Stephen bought only shoes.
  • 오직 나만 먹었다. = Only I ate.
  • 오직 폴만 한국어를 공부했다. = Only Paul studied Korean.
  • 오직 존만 떠났다. = Only John left.
만 can be also used for nominalized verbs.(Nouns - Nominalizing Verbs) In this case, 만 했다 is attched after a nominalized verb.

  • 나는 먹기만 했다. = I did only eating.
  • 폴은 1주일 동안 한국어 공부하기만 했다. = Paul, for a week, did only studying Korean.
  • 동물원에서 본 코알라는 자기만 했다. = The koala, which I saw at the zoo, did only sleeping.
동물원에서 본 코알라 = The koala, which I saw at the zoo
For a detailed explanation of the descriptive verb, see (Verbs - Descriptive I)


  1. hi ^^~~
    only use in past time?

    thank you

  2. Hi 에블린,

    No, you can use it in any tense.

    For example,

    나만 캠프 가 = Only I am going to the camp.

    다니엘은 저녁에 물만 마셔 = Daniel only drinks water in the evening.

    You're welcome. =)

  3. In English, we say something like 'X only'. For example, What did you eat for lunch? Apple only. Can I use the same pattern in Korean by saying '사과만.'?

  4. Yes, you can. :)

    Here's an example conversation.

    아침에 뭐 먹었어? = What did you have breakfast?

    사과 하나 먹었어. = I had an apple. (Lit. I ate one apple)

    사과만? = An apple only?

    응. 사과만. = Yeah. An apple only.

  5. Hi! Thank you so much for posting this. I was wondering if you could explain what 있구만 means.

  6. Hi hi :D are sentences like " I did only eating" and "only I left" the translation of 나는 막기만 했다 and 나만 떠났다? Cause both of them are grammatically very weirdly structured,
    May u clear y isn't it "I ate only" or "I left alone"? The sentences I left only and I only left dont not mean the same thing.
    Sorry for the complicated question, hope u understood my doubt :)

  7. Hi,i have a question.
    so why did you write 떠났다 and not 떠났어?


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