Particle: Direct Object Particle – 을/를
We have covered a few particles already such as the topic particle 은/는, the subject particle 이/가 and the indirect object particle 에게. Now, however, I want to talk about a very essential particle, the object particle 을/를. Along with 은/는 and 이/가, the direct object particle 을/를 is the basic trinity of Korean sentences for beginners. Let’s see what it is about.
Direct Object Particle 을/를
While the topic particle and the subject particle have their complexities, this direct object particle 을/를 is as straightforward as it gets. It has only one use and that is marking the direct object of a sentence. The rules behind attaching this particle to a noun is equally easy. When the noun ends in a vowel, you use -를. And, when the noun ends in a consonant, you use -을.
Perhaps you are unfamiliar with the term direct object, so let me explain. The direct object is the part of a sentence that undergoes the action of the verb. So when you say: “I am cleaning the dishes”; ‘the dishes’ is the direct object. In Korean that word would therefore be marked by the particle 을/를.
While it is always advisable to always use particles when you are a beginner, this particle tends to be dropped by Koreans in everyday speech when the direct object is simply obvious. Also, 무엇을 is more commonly shortened as 뭐 instead of the equally acceptable form 뭘.
However, the particle 을/를 is not only omitted in colloquial speech. The particle is oftentimes dropped when another particle is used with the same noun. Examples of such particles would be -도, -밖 and -만.
을/를 And 하다 Verbs
There is, however, a very peculiar thing in Korean that is attached to particle 을/를. As I have explained in a previous post, Korean is heavily influenced by Chinese. Many Korean words have a Chinese root which you can easily see when you learn a bit about Hanja. Many of these nouns can be turned into verbs by using 하다 with them. But, did you know you can add -을/를 to the noun before 하다 without changing the meaning?
Please be aware, however, not all verbs ending in 하다 are such verbs. 좋아하다 and 싫어하다 are not such verbs. And, thus cannot be split.