As context... I was exercising last night in a class and my instructor told me that I have tight shoulders and I should stretch more. So I asked her (in English, unfortunately) "What shoulder exercises would you recommend?"

As exercise, I was trying to translate that sentence in Korean. Here is my attempt:

뭐 어깨는 운동를 추천을까요?

Obviously, I am not expert in Korean so I am confident that the sentence is wrong but can anyone tell me why?

As a subquestion I am not sure how to translate "exercise for my shoulders". Can maybe anyone answer also this subquestion?

  • “뭐” becomes “무슨” when it’s modifying some other words. Korean has different words for “what” and “(of) what.” Commented Mar 2, 2023 at 7:16
  • “는” is a topic marker and “어깨” (shoulder(s)) is not a topic here. The implicit topic in this sentence is the person who recommends, that is, the implicit subject. The entire compound “어깨 운동” (shoulders exercise) is an object, that is being recommended. Thinking of the Korean construction as “<the implicit topic of the following> / recommends / shoulders exercise / of what?” might help. Commented Mar 2, 2023 at 7:25

1 Answer 1


어떤 어깨 운동을 추천하세요?

would be a great alternative to your Korean sentence.

  1. Since 운동 has a final consonant, the case-marking postpositional particle (격조사) sholud be 를.

  2. 뭐 is a shortened form of 무엇, and 무엇 is a demonstrative pronoun (지시대명사), not a determiner (관형사). 'What' in the 'What shoulder exercises' is an adjective, not a pronoun. So 'what' in this sentence sholud be translated into a Korean determiner '무슨' or '어떤'.

  3. 'Shoulder exercises' sholud be '어깨 운동'. '는' is not necessary at all.

  • Was my sentence wrong? (I am also reading about some of the points you mentioned) Commented Feb 8, 2023 at 3:50
  • @user8469759 Yes. It was not a correct Korean sentence.
    – user67275
    Commented Feb 8, 2023 at 3:53
  • Also in point 3 if you remove the topic particle but leave the object particle doesn't make the sentence incomplete? Don't you need a subject? Commented Feb 8, 2023 at 3:53
  • @user8469759 '어깨 운동' works as a single compound noun, so you don't need anything between 어깨 and 운동. You don't say "shoulder's exercise" in English.
    – user67275
    Commented Feb 8, 2023 at 4:03
  • Understood, just a final clarification... you just mentioned '어께 운동' is a compound noun, is there like a rule in korean to understand how constuct such compound nouns? (Maybe I key term I can look up by myself). Also in your sentence there's no subject (which I think would be 'you' but that's hidden in the korean sentence hence omitted, right?). I believe the rest is clear, so thank you very much Commented Feb 8, 2023 at 4:18

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