Particle: The Possessive -의
Time to return to some good old basics, the Korean particles. It seems I kind of neglected writing articles on these critical little elements in Korean grammar. One of today’s topics is an easy one. Korean possessive particle: -의. Let’s give this little thing a look.
In Western languages we use a lot of prepositions to express relations between various parts of a sentence. In the Korean language that doesn’t happen as often. Instead it relies on a little element that is known as a particle. A particle is a little grammatical suffix you attach to a noun to mark its function. -의 is such a particle. It expresses a possessive relationship between two nouns; something known as a genitive. This particle is the Korean equivalent of the English possessive ‘s’. Let’s look at an example:
Example: 앤디의 집이 근처에 있어요.
Translation: Andy’s house is nearby.
How To Use
The Korean possessive article -의 is perhaps one of the easiest particles to use. You simply attach it to the noun of the possessor and that’s it. There isn’t a lot more to using it than that. Furthermore the in conversations the particle is often simply dropped.
For it’s pronunciation, though, you have two options. Either you pronounce it as it is written, but you can also choose to pronounce it as [에]. The latter pronunciation is used most often.
Also please keep in mind that the pronouns 나, 저 and 너, when used with -의, often combine rather than being spelled separately. They combine to form 내, 제 and 네 respectectively. 우리 and its humble form 저희 remain unchanged even when you use them as a possessive.
Lastly, keep in mind when using pronouns with nouns for things you can associate with a group of people (home, family, companies, etc.), it is common not to use 제 or 내. Instead you use 우리 or 저희. You use 저희 in the same situations where you have to use 저. However, 나라 is always 우리 나라, never 저희 나라.