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  5. "There is a pencil inside the…

"There is a pencil inside the box."

Translation:상자 안에는 연필이 있습니다.

December 18, 2017



why does the proposition 안 need a subject marker in this sentence?


This sentence is sort of like saying "As for inside the box, there is a pencil" as opposed to other sentences in this section that are more like "There is a pencil in the box". The 는 marks "In the box" as the subject and focus of the sentence. Perhaps earlier we were talking about what is on top of the box, but now the focus is on what's IN the box. I hope that clarified it and didn't make it more confusing!


It's like saying "As for the inside of the box, blah blah.." You could say it like that if you were telling someone to find the box and then get something out of the box I suppose. 내 피아노 위에 상자가 보이지..그래, 상자 안에는 연필이 있어, 가져와줄래?


And for the record, 은/는 is a topic particle, not a subject particle. Topic particles can be used for a wider variety of cases than just subjects.


The Korean grammar books gave me so much grief. Calling it a “subject” is it common in educational literature, and I’ve fallen for the confusion for the longest time. It doesn’t help that when some sentences are translated to English, the noun marked with 은/는 is indeed a subject—even if only in English.


Yeah, it's kind of weird. But you need to remember that "subject" in one sentence might not be the subject in the translation. As in Spanish "me gustas" => "I like you".

Your sentence "even if only in English" is the key here. Trying to learn Korean grammar using English grammar is the wrong way to go here.


Okay but why is it the only sentence of that type where the 은/는 is used (in this duolingo practice of course ) ? Is it wrong not to use it ?


AFAIK, it would not have been wrong not to use it.


In this practice, the 는 particle seems to be used only after 안에. Do you know grammar references to check that out ?


I asked a related question sometime ago on Reddit, you might want to check it out.

Otherwise, on the top of my head, in addition of the usual cases where it is used in lieu of the subject, I can think of the following where I've often heard it:

  • 여기는/거기는/...
  • 오늘은/내일은/...


안 is connected to 상자 so it means 'the inside of the box', which is a noun and needs a subject marker.


Hi Aira, sorry, but you may be under a misimpression. A "noun" doesn't require a "subject marker" ( 이/가) unless it is functioning as the subject of the sentence. You won't find any nouns in the language followed by both a location and a subject or topic marker. Both Winter and Nick seem to be quite knowledgable in Korean (I believe Nick still lives there) so, their posts are pretty reliable.


Putting the subject marker in adds kind of a "as apposed to somewhere else" type of feeling. Technically it doesn't need to be there but it makes it more clear


Check out the responses of Winter and Nick. As stated for 안에는 the "는" is a "topic" marker, and "need" is a subjective judgment. In the English sentence, "I don't want your darn help", the word "darn" is "unnecessary" with regard to comunicating help isn't wanted, but it creates quite a different feeling / nuance / interpretation of what the speaker is really trying to say. The topic markers can change the nuance, and often how a sentence is interpreted (Interpretation and translation are definitely not synonyms) quite dramatically.


Why is 는 suddenly necessary instead of just 에 ?


Check out the other answers in this thread, it's covered at different levels of detail.


연필이 상자 안에 있습니다 would still be grammatically right , isn't it? It would not focus on the box, but still be right?


Same thing I wrote, I believe you are right :)


Following the thread for valuable info


상자 안에 연필이 있습니다 Is more natual.


Can we say 상자 안에 연필이 있습니다. ?


Sangja anenuen yeonpili isssuebnida.

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