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The English sentence

What that person likes is not convenient.

was given a translation of

그 사람이 좋아하는 건 편리하지가 않아요.

I understand all the other grammar components and vocabulary in that translation; just not the -가 in -지가 . Is this just the standard 이/가 subject particle? I only know of long/phrasal negation being shaped like -지 않다 , so seeing the 가 in there confuses me.

2 Answers 2

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It can be confusing. That "가" is not classified as subject particle at least in the current Korean grammar taught in schools (I'm not sure how Korean linguists classify them though.)

https://ko.dict.naver.com/#/entry/koko/9f6712a21d904f0784a5eb152624cf3a

This is the definition of that "가": 앞말을 지정하여 강조하는 뜻을 나타내는 보조사. 연결 어미 ‘-지’ 뒤에 오는 ‘가’는 ‘를’이나 ‘ㄹ’로 바뀔 수 있다.

So basically, that "가" emphasizes the word that is attached to. By the way, "이" has a similar function too. So I'm guessing that this usage originally comes from the subject particles "이" and "가".

The dictionary says you can change "가" to "를" but you can't do that in the sentence you provided:

그 사람이 좋아하는 건 편리하지가 않아요. (O)

그 사람이 좋아하는 건 편리하지를 않아요. (X)

Let me show you instances where you can use "를" in a similar fashion:

애가 도통 밥을 먹지를 않아서 걱정이야. (O)

애가 도통 밥을 먹지가 않아서 걱정이야. (X)

So even though these "이" & "가", "을" & "를" aren't technically subject or object particles, it seems like the usage is closely related to them. For example:

강아지는 고양이가 좋지가 않다. (O)

강아지는 고양이가 좋지를 않다. (X)

강아지는 고양이를 좋아하지가 않는다. (X)

강아지는 고양이를 좋아하지를 않는다. (O)

Hope this helped!

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    By the way, I used O for "correct" and X for "incorrect." It seems like they don't use O's and X's the way we do in other countries except in Japan, so just for clarification.
    – Samuel Kim
    Commented Mar 30 at 5:00
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편리하지 않다 and 편리하지가 않다 mean the same, just that -가 puts an emphasis on "편리하지" or "not convenient."

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  • 어, 감사합니다 ......
    – Pistos
    Commented Mar 27 at 17:18

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