Lesson 54: 한테/에게, 에

In this lesson, you will learn how to use the particles 한테/에게 and 에, which mean ‘to’ in Korean. By the end of the lesson, you will be able to say things like “I wrote a letter to my friend. “, “I will send a package to the US. “, etc.

Lesson 54: 한테/에게, 에

한테/에게 and 에 can all follow nouns to indicate that that noun is the recipient or target of an action. In English, the word ‘to‘ is used to express this (e.g., “to my friend“, “to school“, etc.). When the recipient/the target of an action is a person or other living creature, the particle 한테 or 에게 is used. 한테 is usually used in spoken language, whereas 에게 is used in written language. When the recipient/the target of an action is an inanimate object (things/places/plants), the particle 에 is used. See the table below for a summary of this information and the conjugation rules.

Conjugation RuleExamples
Noun  + 한테/에게친구 (friend) → 친구한테 (spoken language)
친구 (friend) →친구에게 (written language)
개 (dog) → 개한테 (spoken language)
개 (dog) → 개에게 (written language)
Noun  + 에학교 (school) → 학교에
극장 (theater) → 극장에

Examples With 한테/에게 and 에

친구 = friend
친구한테 편지를 썼어요. = I wrote a letter to my friend.

학생들 = students
수지는 학생들에게 한국어를 가르쳐요. = Suji teaches Korean to students.

= dog
동생은 매일 개한테 밥을 줘요. = My little brother/sister feeds the dog every day. (Lit. My little brother/sister gives food to the dog every day.)

극장 = theater
영화 시간을 몰라서 극장에 전화했어요. = I didn’t know the movie schedule, so I called the theater. (Lit. I made a phone call to the theater.)

Things To Note

한테/에게 and 에 cannot be used with all verbs because there are only a limited number of verbs that express the act of giving something or targeting something. Here is a list of verbs that are commonly used with 한테/에게 and 에.

주다to give
말하다to speak
선물하다to give a present
이야기하다to talk/tell
쓰다to write
전화하다to call (on the phone)
알리다to to inform
보내다to send
물어보다to ask
팔다to sell
가르치다to teach
빌려주다to lend
소개하다to introduce
인사하다 to greet
가다 to go
오다to come
다니다to attend

Another thing to note is that when the recipient of an action is someone who has a ‘higher’ social status than the speaker, then the particle 께 is used instead of 한테/에게, and the verb 드리다 (to give) is used instead of 주다 (to give). For example,

저는 할머니 선물을 드렸어요. (O) = I gave a present to my grandmother.
저는 할머니에게 선물을 줬어요. (X)

Example Sentences

숙제가 어려워서 친구한테 물어봤어요. = My homework was difficult, so I asked my friend about it.

연극이 끝난 후에 배우들이 관객에게 인사했어요. = After the play ended, the actors and actresses greeted the audience.

몸이 아파서 출근을 못 하면 회사에 알려야 돼요. = If you can’t go to work because you are sick, you should inform the office.

그 소포를 어디에 보내요? = Where are you sending that package to?
미국에 보낼 거예요. 동생이 미국에 있어요. = I will send it to the US. My young brother/sister is in the US.

내일 민호 씨 생일이에요. 선물 샀어요? = Tomorrow is Minho’s birthday. Have you bought a gift?
네. 민호 씨한테 책을 선물할 거예요. = Yes. I will give Minho a book as a gift.

음식이 맛있네요. 이 식당을 어떻게 알았어요? = The food is delicious. How did you know about this restaurant?
친구가 저한테 소개했어요.  = My friend introduced it to me.

꽃을 왜 샀어요? = Why did you buy flowers?
어머니께 드릴 거예요. = I will give them to my mother.