Lesson 37: 이, 그, 저
In this lesson, you will learn how to say ‘this’ and ‘that’ in Korean. Just like in English, ‘this’ is used to refer to something close to you, and ‘that’ is used for something far away from you. In Korean, however, there are different words for ‘that’ depending on whether the object you are referring to is close or far away from the listener. You will learn the different words for this and that in Korean and the word for ‘thing’ so that you can say ‘this thing’ and ‘that thing’.
Lesson 37: 이, 그, 저
이 = ‘this’ in Korean
그 = ‘that’ in Korean (When object is far from speaker but close to listener)
저 = ‘that’ in Korean (When object is far from both speaker and listener)
것 = ‘thing’ (often shortened to 거 in spoken language)
이 = ‘This’ In Korean
The word for ‘this’ in Korean is 이. 이 is used when referring to something which is close to the speaker. An important thing to note is that 이 cannot be used on its own and so it must always be followed by a noun. Here are some examples:
이것 (이거) = this thing
이 컴퓨터 = this computer
이 사람 = this person
이쪽 = this side
그 = ‘That’ In Korean
The word for ‘that’ in Korean is 그. 그 is used when referring to something which is far away from the speaker and close to the listener. Just like 이, 그 cannot be used on its own and must always be followed by a noun. Let’s look at some examples.
그것 (그거) = that thing
그 컴퓨터 = that computer
그 사람 = that person
그쪽 = that side
저 = ‘That Over There’ In Korean
When something is far away from both the speaker and the listener, 저 is used. 저 is similar to saying “that over there” in English. Here are some examples:
저것 (저거) = that thing over there
저 컴퓨터 = that computer over there
저 사람 = that person over there
저쪽 = that side over there
A common mistake Korean learners often make when using this and that in Korean is to use 이, 그, or 저 on its own, without a noun. This is understandable, because in English ‘this’ and ‘that’ can be used on their own. However, in Korean, it works differently. For example, in English, you can say “This is my friend.”, but in Korean, you must say 이 사람은 제 친구예요 (This person is my friend.). To help you understand so you don’t make this common mistake, here are some more examples:
This is my friend.
= 이 사람은 제 친구예요. (O) – (Lit. “This person is my friend.”)
= 이는 제 친구예요. (X)
= 그거 뭐예요? (O) – (Lit. “What’s that thing?”)
= 그 뭐예요? (X)
That is too expensive.
= 저거는 너무 비싸요. (O) – (Lit. “That thing over there is too expensive.”)
= 저는 너무 비싸요. (X)
이거는 커피예요? = Is this coffee?
아니요, 콜라예요. = No, it’s coke.
그 바지는 얼마예요? = How much are those trousers?
사만 원이에요. = They are 40,000 won.
저 사람은 누구예요? = Who is that over there?
우리 반 친구예요. = He is my classmate.
화장실이 어디에 있어요? = Where is the bathroom?
저쪽으로 가세요. = Go that way. (Lit. “Go that side over there.”)