Particle: The Particle Of Means -(으)로
There are still a quite a few particles left in the Korean language and today is an important one. The particle I want to talk about today is -(으)로. This particle has two uses, one of which is rather similar to the use of -에, but not the quite the same. Don’t worry, it isn’t as confusing as it sounds. Let’s take a gander at it, shall we?
The first and main use of the particle -(으)로 is to express the means with which we perform the action. Plenty of actions require us to use things to actually perform said actions. The things we use to perform the action are marked by the particle -(으)로. These things can be materials, tools, transportation mode or any other kinds of means. You can translate the particle therefore as ‘with’, ‘using’ or ‘by’. Let’s take a look at an example:
Example: 부산에 기차로 가요.
Translation: I go to Busan by train.
However, there is another use for the particle -(으)로. When you use -(으)로 with a verb of movement, such as 가다 (to go), it refers to the direction in which you are moving. This use is similar to the use of -에 with a verb of movement. When you use -(으)로 like that, you can translate it to English as ‘to’ or ‘towards’.
Example: 왼쪽으로 꼭 가세요. 은행이 있어요.
Translation: Make sure you go to the left. The bank is there.
How To Use
Using the particle -(으)로 isn’t that difficult. You just need to keep the ‘Batchim/No Batchim’ rule in mind that governs so many Korean grammar topics. When it comes to using this particle, you simply need to keep these two rules in mind:
- If the noun ends in a vowel or a ㄹ, you simply use -로.
- If the noun ends in a consonant other than ㄹ, you need to use -으로.
That is all you need to know about this particle. There is little else about it.
Please keep in mind you can also express the means of transportation in Korean using verbs such as 걷다 (to walk), 뛰다 (to jump), 달리다 (to run), 운전하다 (to drive) and 수영하다 (to swim). Then you use the grammar pattern -아/어서, however. However, there is some nuance between using the verb or the noun with -(으)로. When you use the particle version with for example a car, you express that you got into the car and went somewhere. This can be either as the driver or the passenger. However, when you use the verb version, you say the same thing, but the subject of the sentence not only took the car, but they are the one who also performed the action of driving.
As mentioned, you can use -(으)로 similarly to how you would use of -에 with a verb of movement. However, they are not exactly the same. While -에 focuses on the intended destination, -(으)로 focuses on the direction which someone or something takes. When someone uses -(으)로 they are merely saying they are moving towards that point, but doesn’t imply that, that point is their destination. With -에 we do know that location is the destination, but we don’t know precisely the directions that were taken to get there.