만 - only / just in Korean

In this Korean lesson, you will learn how to use the particle [man] which means ‘only’ or ‘just’ in Korean. When using in a sentence, you simply attach it at the end of a noun to indicate that that noun is the only thing being chosen or stated. Even though is just a simple word, there are some rules to follow to use correctly. Let’s look at some examples.

Only / Just In Korean – 만

Example Sentences

  1. 오늘 회사에 도현 씨 왔어요. = Today, only Dohyun came to the office.
  2. 2분 기다려 주세요. = Please wait for just 2 minutes.
  3. 이 도서관은 월요일 쉬어요. = This library is only closed on Mondays.
  4. 오백 원 빌려 주세요. = Please lend me just 500 won.

As you can see from the example sentences above, can be used to express ‘only’ or ‘just’ in a sentence. In sentences 1 and 3, attaching to the noun (도현 씨 / 월요일) indicates that that noun is the only thing being stated and that other things are excluded (i.e. only Dohyun and nobody else, only Monday, not other days.)

In sentences 2 and 4, the speaker is asking for something, and adding makes the sentence sound softer and more polite. This is because emphasizes that there is a minimal burden to the other person (i.e. just 2 minutes, not 5 minutes or 10 minutes, just 2 minutes).

Using 만 With Subject/Object/Topic Particles

can be used together with the subject particles 이/가, the topic particles 은/는, and the object particles 을/를. When used together with these particles, is placed between the noun and 이/가, 은/는, or 을/를. Alternatively, can be placed after the noun without using 이/가, 은/는, or 을/를. In fact, 이/가, 은/는, 을/를 are usually omitted when using . Let’s look at an example.

동생은 고기을 먹어요. (O) = My younger brother/sister only eats meat.
동생은 고기 먹어요. (O) = My younger brother/sister only eats meat.

As you can see, in the first sentence is added between the noun (고기) and the object particle () and in the second sentence, is placed after the noun without the object particle. Both sentences are correct.

Using 만 With Other Particles Particles

When using in a sentence with particles other that 이/가, 은/는, and 을/를, is placed after the particle. Let’s look at some examples.

동생은 학교에서만 공부해요. (O) = My younger brother/sister studies only at school.
동생은 학교만에서 공부해요. (X)

도현 씨는 10시까지만 공부해요. (O) = Dohyun studies only until 10 o’clock.
도현 씨는 10시만까지 공부해요. (X)

Review

Let’s review the key points from this lesson.

  • means ‘only’ or ‘just’ in Korean.
  • is placed after nouns to show that that noun is the only thing being stated or chosen.
  • can be used with 이/가, 은/는, and 을/를 but usually, these particles are dropped when using .
  • When is used with 이/가, 은/는, or 을/를, is placed between the noun and the particle.
  • With particles other than 이/가, 은/는, and 을/를, comes after the particle.