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Beginner 2 > Lesson 3

Lesson 3. How to say “to/from a person” & Subject Marker’s Honorific [에게,한테, 께, 께서]

Today, we’re going to learn Korean particles 에게, 한테, 께, and 께서.

These particles can be put after a noun that identifies a person or an animal, as well as plural nouns.

에게, 한테 and 께 have the same meanings, whereas 께서, has a different one.

Both 께 and 께서 are particles in honorific form.

Now, let’s look at the first usage of 에게 and 한테.


  1. When 에게 and 한테 mean “to” 

    First, here are some examples:

제프에게 선물을 줬어요. – I gave (to) Jeff a present.

누구한테 말했어요? – To whom did you tell/speak?

고양이한테 밥을 줬어요. – I gave a meal to a cat. (or, I fed a cat).

거지에게 돈을 줬어요. – I gave money to a beggar.


  1. When 에게 and 한테 mean “from”

 제프에게 선물을 받았어요. – I received a present from Jeff. 

*받다 (to receive) gives a context to translate 에게 as “from”, whereas, in the similar example above it was “to,” because “주다(to give)” verb gives a context of “giving sth to.”

누구한테 들었어요? – Who did you hear it from?

고양이한테 맞았어요. – I was beaten by (from) a cat.

누구에게 돈을 빌렸어요? – From whom did you borrow money?

As such, just by looking at the verb’s meaning, you can guess the meaning of 에게 and 한테.


  1. : A particle that means “to” and “from,” and it’s an honorific form of “에게 /한테”  

께 is an honorific form of 에게 and 한테, so the preceding noun that comes before 께, should be a noun to whom you show respect.

선생님 드렸어요. – I gave it to the teacher. (=  less polite form: 선생님에게 줬어요.)

*note that 드리다 is an honorific form of 주다.

선생님 받았어요. – I received it from the teacher. 

할머니 전화했어요. – I called (to) my grandmother.

할머니 전화를 받았어요. – I received a call from my grandmother. 

** depending on the verb that follows 께 particle, you can guess if it’s “to” or “from”.


  1. 께서: Subject Marking Particle in Honorific form

Even though 께 and 께서 look similar, they have different meanings. Now we know that 께 can be used as a particle to mean “to” or “from”.

How about 께서?

께서 is an honorific form of “이/가” subject particles.

The honorific form of “은/는” would be 께서는.

If the subject of a sentence is someone you have to/want to show respect to, you should use the honorific forms of particles.

Let’s look at some examples:

할아버지께서 편찮으세요. – My grandfather is sick.

선생님께서 예쁘세요. – The teacher is pretty.

교수님께서 저에게 주셨어요*. – The professor gave it to me.
*along with the honorific subject marking particle, the “~(으)세요” honorific verb ending is used.


Now, let’s look at some extra examples:

그 영화는 많은 사람들에게 감동을 줍니다. – That movie gives inspiration to many people.

의사 선생님께서* 저한테 약을 주셨어요. – The doctor gave medicine to me.
*께서 honorific marking particle is used.

할머니한테(or 께) 혼났어요. – I was scolded (from) by my grandmother. (My grandmother scolded me).

이 목걸이 누구한테 받았어? – From whom did you receive/get this necklace?

남자친구한테 받았어. – I got it from my boyfriend.

엄마한테 말하지마. – Don’t tell (to) mom.

아무한테도 말하지마. – Don’t tell (to) anyone.

제프가 지수에게 청혼했어요. – Jeff proposed to Jisoo.

지수가 제프에게 청혼받았어요. – Jisoo received a proposal from Jeff.


  1. When 에게 should be replaced with

에게, 한테 and 께 can only be used after a noun that is a person or an animal.

When we talk about an organization, 에 is used.

학교 말했어요. – I told it to school.

희사 이메일을 보냈어요. – I sent an email to a company.

경찰 신고했어요. – I reported to the police.


Quick Summary


(person, animal)



– to

– from



(a non-living thing / usually a big organization)

Meaning :


Honorific Subject Marking Particles:

이/가 > 께서

은/는 > 께서는