Parts of Speech

I’m still working out how English and Korean parts of speech are similar and different. A starting point is to learn the Korean names for parts of speech and the 9 categories.  This page describes how a beginner is learning about Korean grammar, so please be wary of errors.


Not a one-to-one mapping of parts of speech English to Korean


Note that Korean doesn’t have prepositions, but it does have particles (postposition).   Korean has determiners, but there aren’t articles (the, a) in the same way as English.

partsofspeechKorean3Adjectives also work differently in Korean.  A descriptive verb (stative verb) can be conjugated.  You wouldn’t say “the car IS red”, you instead conjugate “to be red” or change the stative verb to an adjective form “red car” (빨간 차).

너 차 파란색이야? Is your car blue?
아니 검정색이야. No, it’s black.


I know little of hanja, but I notice that the 사 is the same symbol in hanja.  I try to look up noun 명사 名詞 and learn that 명 means popular and 명소 is a noted place, a sight to see.  I can stretch my imagination to think of noun as a popular place.  동 動 is to move, 동사 is the action verb, and 운동 is exercise.

Color coding the parts of speech

I color code by parts of speech to  understand the patterns of Korean sentences.

I use a color scheme so that no matter how I am representing a sentence, the color is the same.  By linking the color to a part of speech, I want to make comprehension better.  For example, when I see a red word, I will know that is a noun.

Part of Speech Key: noun = 명사 red, pronoun =대명사 navy, number = 수사 lime, action verb = 동사 green, descriptive verb/adjective = 형용사 blue, adverb = 부사 fuschia, determiner = 관형사 coral, exclamation/ interjection = 감탄사 teal, particle = 주사 purpleconjunction = 접숙사 brown

yeon korean comprehensive grammar

I have reached the point where I understand that grouping some things together in the color system might be helpful.  For example, substantives are nouns, pronouns, and numbers.  To use one color for all substantives and another color for all verbs (action or descriptive) is helpful.

Yeon Key: substantive (noun, pronoun, number), particleverb (action and descriptive),  auxiliary (support) verbs, clausal connective,  modifierssentence endings, other word classes (Adnouns, Adverbs, Prefixes, and Suffixes)

This second coloring system is approaching the classification of grammar from the Korean perspective.

Sentence Diagram

Sentence Diagraming – Perhaps should be diagrammed as subject | descriptive verb

Puzzling my way through Parts of Speech and Grammar

I’ve carried the color scheme to the puzzle pieces I use to represent grammar rules.

p4_esoparticlePresent Tense

Color coding parts of speech in sentences

I’ve experiments with different ways to represent Korean sentences so I can begin to understand the patterns.


mother father sentence



For children to learn English grammar, there is a set of characters who live in Grammaropolis.  While I memorize Korean grammar, I am relating it to the characters in Grammaropolis.  Think of them like Schoolhouse Rock’s “Conjunction Junction” the railroad engineer.  Check out their website for books, music, and videos about grammar.

Grammaropolis cast

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