I am new to this particle and I found that its meaning varies. Currently, here is my interpretation:

  1. Emphasizing a difference (Please explain this one, I don't quite get it)

Ex. 남이야 하나 마나 우린 꼭 합시다. -> Even though others don't do it, we are definitely doing it.

  1. 고(서)야 / 아/어서야: To emphasize based on condition or situation(first sentence), do the second action. (Maybe there is a more accurate interpretation?)

Ex: 한국어를 몰라서야 한국 방송을 알아들을 수 있는가?

Are there any other meanings I am missing? If no, then please explain the two meanings.

  • also, 야 is used as a friendly diminutive for names ending in a vowel...similar to "y" in English...Tom>>Tommy 수지>>수지야.
    – B. Alvn
    Feb 24, 2017 at 10:02

1 Answer 1


이야 is just an emphasizing particle(put after nouns or adverbs), nothing else. In other words, you can drop it or replace it with 은/는 with no changes in meaning.

  • 남이야 하나 마나 우린 꼭 합시다. = 남이 하나 마나 우린 꼭 합시다.
  • 이런 일이야 문제없다. = 이런 일은 문제없다. I have no problem doing things like this.
  • 며칠 밤 새우는 것쯤이야 견딜 수 있다. = 며칠 밤 새우는 것쯤은 견딜 수 있다. I can stand not sleeping for a few days.
  • 설마 이번이야 붙겠지. = 설마 이번은 붙겠지. No way I'm not going to pass this time.

Sometimes it's used as a marker for sarcasm:

  • 걔가 퍽이야 잘하겠다. Yeah, he'll be great at it. /s

-아/어야 is not a particle, it's a verb ending, meaning:

앞 절의 일이 뒤 절 일의 조건임을 나타내는 연결 어미. a connecting verb ending indicating that the previous clause is a condition for the next clause.

  • 마음이 맞아야 함께 일을 하지. you work with someone only if you agree with each other.


아무리 가정하여도 영향이 없음을 나타내는 연결 어미. a connecting verb ending indicating that there is no effect whatsoever regardless of the assumption. This is replaceable with -아/어도.

  • 성난다고 돌을 차 보아야(=보아도) 제 발만 아프지. only your feet hurts when you kick a rock because you're angry.

  • 아무리 많아야(=많아도) 아랫동네 김 부자보다 많겠소? Would it be larger than the rich Kim's, however large it is?

한국어를 몰라서야 한국 방송을 알아들을 수 있는가?

몰라서야 is 모르- + -라서 + 야, not 모르- + -아/어서 + 야.

-라서 is a connecting verb ending indicating reason or grounds for the next clause.

새것이라서 더욱 좋아요. it's even better that it's new.
그 얘기가 뜬소문이라서 다행이야. what a relief that the story is just a groundless rumor.

야 just adds emphasis.

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