The case particles 한테, 에게, and 께 are one-form particles that mark the animate indirect object of the sentence, corresponding with “to” in English.
The particle 한테
The particle 한테 is most widely used in colloquial settings.
Notice that the indirect objects are all animate objects (e.g., person, animals). As previously noted, the particle 에 is used if the indirect objects are inanimate objects (e.g., destinations).
The particle 에게
The particle 에게 is used instead of 한테 in more formal usage.
Notice that the sentence above sounds formal, since the particle 에게 as well as the deferential speech level ending 습니다 are used.
The particle 께
When the indirect object is an the esteemed person or senior, such as one’s boss, teachers, and parents, the particle 께 can be optionally used instead of 한테 or 에게. The particle 께 is another indirect object particle, used to indicate honorific meanings to the esteemed indirect object. For instance, consider the following sentences:
In these examples above, the indirect objects are the teacher and the president to whom the speaker wishes to express honorific attitude. Consequently, the use of the particle 께 is more appropriate than the use of 한테 or 에게.
One thing to remember when using 께, is that since it is an honorific element its usage should be collocated with other honorific elements such as the honorific suffix, euphemistic words, proper address or reference terms and so on. For example, in the above examples, 드리다(give, honorific) is used instead of 주다(give, plain form).
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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 「(으)로」
- The Case particle 「의」
- The Case particle 「에」
- The Case particle 「와/과, (이)랑, 하고」
- The Case particle 「에서」
- The Case particle 「한테서, 에게서」
Particles Part.3 (Special Particles)
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