What distinguishes case particles from special particles lies in their functions.
While the primary function of the case particle is to indicate the syntactic role of the noun it attaches to, that of the special particle is to add a special meaning such as “also”, “even”, and “only”, or to indicate whether the word it attaches to is the topic of the sentence.
Case particles also differ from special particles in the place they appear in the sentence. A case particle can appear only after a noun. However, a special particle can appear in one of three places. First, it can appear in place of a case particle. For instance, a special topic particle 은/는 can appear where you would expect the subject case particle 이/가.
They can also appear in the place where you would expect the object case particle 을/를.
Second, a special particle can appear after an existing case particle, such as 에, 에서, and 으로, in order to add the special meaning.
Third, a special particle can appear not only after a noun but also after an adverb, such as 빨리(fast) and 싸게(cheaply; at a low price).
The Special Particle 「은/는」
The special particle 은/는 is a topic particle since it marks the noun as the sentence topic (e.g., what the sentence is about). The particle 은/는 is not a case particle; hence it does not indicate the grammatical function of the noun it attaches to.
|*The Special Particle 은/는|
The one-form special particle 만 adds the meaning of “only” or “just” on the noun it attaches to. The special particle 만 can appear in place of the case particles 이/가 or 을/를.
|*The Special Particle 만|
* Click to study more about The Special Particle 「만」
The one-form special particle 도 adds the meaning of “also”, “too”, or “even” to the noun it attaches to. Just like the particle 만, the special particle 도 can appear in place of the case particles 이/가 or 을/를.
|*The Special Particle 도|
* Click to study more about The Special Particle 「도」
The special particle (이)나 is a two-form particle. 이나 appears after a noun that ends in a consonant , and 나 appears after a noun that ends in a vowel. The particle indicates four different meanings depending on the context in which it is being used: (1) “or something(like that)”, (2) “or”, (3) “as many as”, and (4) “about”.
|*The Special Particle (이)나|
The particle 부터(from) is used to indicate a beginning temporal point.
The particle 까지 indicates an ending point, and it corresponds to “to”, “up to”, “until” or “as far as” in English.
The particle 까지 can be used with a non-time and/or a non-place noun.
* Click to study more about The Special Particle 「부터, 까지」
Grammar for Beginners
Particles Part.1 (What are the particles in Korean)
Particles Part.2 (Case Particles)
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