The case particle (으)로 is a two-form particle: 으로appears after a noun that ends in a consonant; 로 appears after a noun that ends in a vowel or the consonant ㄹ. The particle (으)로 can express the following five things: (1) means, (2) direction, (3) selection, (4) the change of state, and (5) reason.
First, the particle (으)로 indicates that the noun it attaches to is a tool or an instrument. It is translated in English as “by means of” or “with”.
Second, the particle indicates the direction “to” or “toward”. In the previous section however, it was noted that the direction can be marked by the case particle 에. The difference between 에 and (으)로 is that while 에 indicates a specific location or destination, (으)로 indicates a more general direction of the target location, as in the following sentences:
Here are some more examples:
Third, the particle indicates that the preceding noun is a selection from several options. For instance, consider the following sentences.
Notice that by using (으)로, the salesman implies that there are more than one size. Here are some more examples:
The change of state
Fourth, the particle indicates “the change of state”. For instance, consider the following sentences:
Notice that in the examples above, the particle (으)로 marks the result of the change.
Fifth, the particle indicates “the reason”. Consider the following examples.
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Grammar for Beginners
Particles Part.1 (What are the particles in Korean)
Particles Part.2 (Case Particles)
- The Subject Case Particle 「이/가」
- The Direct Object Particle 「을/를」
- The Case particle 「의」
- The Case particle 「에」
- The Case particle 「와/과, (이)랑, 하고」
- The Case particle 「에서」
- The Case particle 「한테, 에게, 께」
- The Case particle 「한테서, 에게서」
Particles Part.3 (Special Particles)
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