I showed my Korean friend this sentence: 해변은 관광객들으로 가득했다.

He told me that 으로 is wrong, and that it should be 로 because 으로 is for places and would mean 'to'. I had learned that 으로 is the same as 로, but for words ending in a 받침, then how come this is wrong? Is it a different 로?

3 Answers 3


I'm not sure if I can answer my own question, but I checked back on my grammar book and I realized that if the 받침 is a ㄹ then you must use 로.

관광객들 ends in a ㄹ, so that's why it's 로 and not 으로.

  • 1
    In some grammatical rules too ㄹ is acting like a vowel ending, for example: 알다 + (으)면 => 알면 => 알으면 X, 들다 + ㄴ/은 => 들 + ㄴ => 든(with ㄹ omitted)
    – user237
    Commented Mar 11, 2017 at 10:42

As you know pronouncing 'consonant + consonant' is a little bit difficult.

When you pronounce a consonant, you have to move your tongue quickly. And that means you have to move your tongue twice quickly to pronounce 'consonant + consonant'.

으 is kind of a midium used to pronounce 'consonant + consonant' easily.

For example 산+으로(to the mountain).

Basically 산으로 is 산로.

But it is difficult to pronounce 산로 cause there's 'consonant + consonant(ㄴ + ㄹ)'. Putting 으 between ㄴ and ㄹ makes it easy to pronounce like /사느로/.

That's why the rule 'putting 으 between a consonant and 로' was created.

But there's one exception to this rule.

If 받침's consonant is ㄹ then you don't have to put 으 between ㄹ and 로.

For example 칼+로(with a knife).

There's 'consonant + consonant' but both are same ㄹ. You don't need to move your tongue twice. Just once.

It's already easy to pronounce and therefore putting 으 is needless.


로 can be used when the 받침 of the word followed is any character other than ㄹ or abscent, and any other case 으로 should be used.

  • Can you provide some examples of the usage?
    – Vladhagen
    Commented Mar 13, 2017 at 18:41

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