The dialog below is from my Korean textbook:

A : 새내기가 뭐예요?
B : 새로 들어온 학생을 새내기라고 해요.

I am wondering why the author used 을 (학생을) instead of 은 (학생은) here.
Could anyone shed some light on this? Thanks.

  • A bit more on this topic: You could also use (이)라는 as an adnominal form meaning "called" for example: 새내기라는 사람 is a "person called a saenaegi". 라는 (sometimes shortened to 란) is an abbreviation of the form 라고 하는 meaning "called" or "named"...some sources might call (이)라는 (/란) a kind of particle.
    – B. Alvn
    Jul 14, 2017 at 11:39
  • For example you might write something like 새내기라는 사람은 새로운 학생이에요. (A person called saenaegi is a new student.)
    – B. Alvn
    Jul 14, 2017 at 12:05

1 Answer 1


The object particle (을/를) is used here because 학생 is the direct object of 하다, and 하다 is meaning "to call" here and is being used along with the reported speech marker (라고). This would literally translate as:

[We] call a student who newly entered the school a 새내기.

If you wanted to use the topic particle (은/는), the copula (이다) would be used instead as:

새로 들어온 학생은 새내기예요.

This would literally translate as:

A student who newly entered the school is a 새내기.

Notice how the first one saying "we call X as Y" so is an action, but the second one is saying "X is Y" so is showing simple equality and is not an action.

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