Particle: The Subject Particle 이/가
I already discussed the topic particle 은/는; now we need to discuss the subject particle 이/가. This is a basic particle that most Koreans will tackle early in their quest to master Korean. Time to see what this subject particle brings to the table. I decided to move this post up following a tweet I received, it gave me an interesting post idea.
이/가, Subject Particle
The first and primary use of the particle 이/가 is, of course, to mark the subject in a sentence. Please be aware to not confuse this with the topic which is marked by a whole different particle. You need to use 이 when the noun ends in a batchim (consonant) and you need to use 가 when it does end in a vowel (no batchim).
Example: 조엘 씨가 빵을 먹어요.
이/가, Emphasis Provider
Another use for 이/가 is to emphasize something. This is difficult to notice since it always attaches itself to the subject regardless. However, it does bring an added layer of information.
Example: 누가 음식을 준비할 거예요? 민수 씨가 음식을 준비할 거예요.
In the example, the particle 이/가 adds additional information to whoever listens. It informs the listener that only Minsu will prepare the food and no one else.
이/가, New Information
The third use of 이/가 is to mark new information; the introduction of a new topic. This is probably the most confusing use since it enters the obvious territory of the topic particle 은/는. We’ll discuss when to use 은/는 and when 이/가 is more suitable in a later post.
Example: 옛날에 한 남자가 살았어요. 그 남자는 아들이 두명 있었어요.