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Lesson Transcript

Hi everybody! Jae here. Welcome to Ask a Teacher, where I’ll answer some of your most common Korean questions.
The question for this lesson is…
How do I use 이 [i] and 가 [ga]?
The subject-marking particles 이 [i] and 가 [ga] are used to mark the subject of a sentence. These are used when a subject is being introduced for the first time. 이 [i] is used if the subject ends in a consonant and 가 [ga] is used if the subject ends in a vowel.
Let’s do some examples so you can learn how to use the subject-marking particles correctly.
Let’s use 여기가 제 집입니다. [Yeogiga je jibimnida.] meaning "Here is my house," as an example. In this sentence, we used the subject-marking particle 가 [ga] next to the noun 여기 [yeogi] meaning "here" to mark the noun 여기 [yeogi] as the subject of this sentence.
Let’s do another example. When you meet someone for the first time, you may ask 이름이 무엇입니까? [Ireumi mueosimnikka?] "What's your name?" Here, we used the subject-marking particle 이 [i] next to the noun 이름 [ireum] meaning "name." This is because the topic, his or her name, is being introduced for the first time.
There are certain verbs that use the subject-marking particles as part of a set. Some common verbs are 아니다, 있다, and 없다 [anida, itda and eopda] which mean “not,” “to exist” and “to not exist,” respectively. Generally speaking, whenever the verbs 아니다 [anida], 있다 [itda] and없다 [eopda] are used in a sentence, the subject-marking particle is used as well to mark what exists and what doesn't exist. For example, 학생이 아닙니다. [Haksaengi animnida.] meaning "I’m not a student."
An important thing to remember is that Korean often contains "double subjects," with one being marked by the topic marker, and the other marked by the subject marker. For example, 저는 학생이 아닙니다. [Jeoneun haksaengi animnida.] meaning "I am not a student." It has two subjects; 저 [jeo] meaning "I" and 학생 [haksaeng] meaning "student."
The topic of the sentence is 저 [jeo] meaning "I" so it uses 는 [neun] the topic marking particle. 학생 [haksaeng] “student” is the subject, so it uses the subject-marking particle 이 [i]. This can be translated as, "As for me, I'm not a student."
How was this lesson? I hope that helps!
Please leave any more questions in the comments below and I’ll try to answer them!
See you next time. 다음 시간에 만나요. (Daeum-sigane mannayo.)