SayJack » 2010 » June » 07

Topic Particle 은/는 and Subject Particle 이/가

To study this grammar point, please make sure you understand the following:

A topic particle (or topic marker) / essentially establishes what the sentence is all about. You can also consider the topic marker 은/는 equivalent to as for in English. You are expected to elaborate further if you use the topic particle.

저는 미국사람이에요.
I am American.
As for me, I am American.
그 사람은 제 친구예요.
This person is my friend.
As for this person, he is my friend.

  • Use for words ending with vowel
  • Use for words ending with consonant

On the contrary, a subject marker / indicates that the item is the focus of the sentence.

시계가 없어요.
I don’t have a watch.
책이 있어요.
I have a book.

  • Use for words ending with vowel
  • Use for words ending with consonant

For the choice of 은/는 and 이/가, please refer to Consonant-Vowel Sequence in Spoken Korean for more details.

You may use both topic particle and subject particle in the same sentence.


It may not be very clear at this point what is the difference between the topic and subject particles. You will need to read more examples to understand their usage when you further your study.