Identifier Particle - 가 / 이

Please refer to Korean Listening Exercise - Identifier Particle 가/이 for the audio recording of the sentences found in this lesson.

For the video recording of this lesson, please see below. :)

가/이 is used similarly as 는/은 in that they indicate a subject but 가/이 is used when it is necessary to identify the person or thing that is talked about in a sentence.

For example,
  • 나는 샀다 = I bought
  • 내가 샀다 = I bought 

Note: 나 is changed to 내 when it is used before 가.

Both of these two sentences mean "I bought" but 내가 샀다 puts more emphasis on the subject of the sentence, "I".

In the sentence, 내가 샀다, it is more concerned about 'who' bought rather than 'what' I did.

On the other hand, 나는 샀다, is more concerned about 'what' I did.
  • 내가 샀다 = I bought [It wasn't anyone else but I who bought]
  • 나는 샀다 = I bought [I bought rather than doing something else]

It is similar to the way in English where a person stresses a certain word to give it more emphasis or importance.

For example, 
  • Who bought a new t-shirt? 
  • 내가 샀어 = I bought it. 

Note: It is incorrect to say, 나는 샀어, because the person is asking about who bought a new t-shirt rather than asking about what they did.
  • What did you do in the park?
  • 나는 잤어 = I slept (I took a nap)

Note: The person may be asking to several people about what they did in the park. One person might say they took a stroll while another person may have had lunch there. But as for me, what I did was 'sleeping'.
  • 나는 잤어 = I slept

It is wrong to say 내가 잤어 in this case because the person is not asking about who slept but what they did in the park. If the person asked me, 'Who slept in the park?', I would answer, 내가 잤어 or 마크가 잤어 (Mark slept).

The identifier particle, 가/이, identifies the subject of a sentence. 가/이 is concerned about who did the things asked.

Like the 는/은 example above, 가 is used for words without a final consonant and 이 for words with a final consonant.

Here are example sentences:
  • 내가 마셨다 = I drank (It wasn't anyone else but me)
  • 동생이 먹었다 = Younger brother/sister ate (It wasn't someone else but them)
  • 민지가 왔다 = Min-ji came (It wasn't some other person but Min-ji)
  • 안토니가 갔다 = Anthony went (It wasn't some other person but Anthony)
  • 저것이 한강이야 = That is the Han River
  • 빌딩이 높다 = The building  is high
  • 공원이 넓다 = The park is large/spacious

마시다 = drink
동생 = younger brother/sister
먹다 = eat
민지 = Min-ji (a female name)
오다 = come
안토니 = Anthony
가다 = go
저것 = that
한강 = the Han River (in Seoul)
빌딩 = a building
높다 = high
공원 = a park

넓다 = spacious, large

Use Google Translate to listen the pronunciations of these words. 

Continue to the next section:


  1. This is so helpful! After two years of studying Korean, I finally understand the different between 이/가 and 은/는. Thanks!!!

  2. Finally someone who could teach me the difference between 이/가 and 은/는! Thank you!

  3. I Need to improve my Korean by learning from this websites


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