Pronouns (He, She) - 얘, 쟤, 걔

Following the previous post, Pronouns (He, She) - 그, 그녀, 걔, 그분, we're going to learn more about the various ways in which "He and She" are used in spoken Korean.

There are three basic ways to refer to someone (he or she), namely 얘, 쟤 and 걔. They are used in a similar way to Pronouns- This, It, That.

  • 얘 = He or She (This person)
  • 쟤 = He or She (That person)
  • 걔 = He or She (The person we're talking about who is not present here)

얘, 쟤 and 걔 are the personal equivalents of 이것, 저것, 그것 which are used to refer to "things or inanimate objects."

Example sentences:
  • 효민: 톰 안녕, 는 안나야 
  • Hyo-min: Hey, Tom. This (person) is Anna.

  • 톰: 효민아 안녕. 안녕 안나, 만나서 반가워.
  • Tom: Hey Hyo-min, Hi Anna, nice to meet you.

  • 톰: 저기 대학빌딩 앞에 는 누구야?
  • Tom: Who is that (person) in front of the university building over there?

  • 효민: 아, 는 성준이야.
  • Hyo-min: Well, that (person) is Sung-jun.

  • 톰: 아, 그리고, 가 누구더라? 예전에 시티에서 같이 저녁 먹었던 애.
  • Tom: Oh, right. And, who was that person (not present)? The guy we had a dinner together with in the city a while ago.

Note: As has been explained in the previous post

  • 얘, 쟤 and 걔 are very informal forms of "he and she," and so, it is usually used among close friends, and when referring to other people of similar age in a close social network.

  • Therefore, 얘, 쟤 and 걔 would probably never be used when referring to someone who is older or senior than you.

  • Even when you're referring to someone who is younger or junior than you, you would probably avoid using 얘, 쟤 and 걔 if some degree of respect is expected for each other in a given conversation. Alternatively, you'd use that person's name, or use the full version of 걔, which is 그 아이.


  1. Why did you use 'ga' on "아, 그리고, 걔가 누구더라?" Can u use 'neun' instead?


    1. 걔가 누구더라 -- Implies "I do not recollect who he was."
      걔는 구구더라 -- INdicates "I recognize everyone else except him."

  2. Hello, I'm still very new to Korean, but I feel that this lesson might have 쟤 and 걔 mixed up? Isn't 쟤 the one that refers to a person who is not present? I just wanted to confirm that the lesson is correct because it seems inconsistent with the usual 이 그 저 pattern I was expecting. 😯 Thank you.

    1. Not really, 저 just means that the person is further away from you. "저 사람 누구예요?" "Who is that person?". That person can be on the opposite side of the room, for example. Same applies to 쟤. When you refer to someone who is not present, you usually use 그.
      "너랑 방금 얘기했던 사람 누구야?"
      "who's the person who just talked to you?" (and left)
      "아, 그 사람! 내 친구."
      "Ah, that person. (it was) my friend."

    2. 그 is used to refer to previously mentioned situations/scenarios whereas 저 is used to refer to something far away currently present. So in this lesson the usage of 그 to create 걔 is correct

    3. 쟤 refers to a person at a visible distance.
      걔 is the one for a person not present.


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