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Korean grammar - The plural marker - 들

The plural marker - 들

Forming the plural in Korean is straightforward - just add the marker to the noun.

However note that Korean is typical ambiguous about number and is avoided unless really needed.

-- For example 연필이 있어요 could mean 'There is a pencil' or 'There are a number of pencils' depending on context.

We use the plural marker when we want to be unambiguous about a number greater than one.

That said it is commonly used with pronouns (eg. 우리들) and certain nouns related to people (eg. 사람들).

Also is often used when directly addressing or calling a group of people.

-- It is very common in a sentence that refers to or addresses a group of people but in which the subject is omitted, to attach to some other word in the sentence.

오늘 공원에는 많은 사람들이 있었어요.
There were many people in the park today.

사람들 is common to emphasise multiple people.

우리들은 오늘 오후에 공원에 가지 않을 거예요.
We will not go to the park this afternoon.

우리들 is common to emphasise 'we all'

마침내 그들은 부산에 도착했어요.
Finally they arrived in Busan.

그들 emphasises that there is more than just one person

마침내 means 'finally'

사람이 많아요.
There are many people.

사람들 is unnecessary as 많다 already implies a plural

이 옷들 입어 보세요.
Try on these clothes.

Emphasises that it is more than just one piece of clothing

아이들이 정말 예뻐요.
The children are really pretty.

Emphasises that it is more than just one child

어르신들, 여기서 식사하세요.
Seniors, please eat here.

식사하다 means 'to eat' and is the polite form of 먹다

젊은이들, 좀 도와주세요!
Young people, please help!
저기에 신혼여행을 다들 많이 가요.
A lot of people go there on (their) honeymoon.

다들 here implies 'people'

오늘 다람쥐들을 봤어요.
Today (I) saw squirrels.
친구들을 만나요.
(I) meet friends.
학생들이 어디에 있어요?
Where are the students?
교실에들 있어요.
(They) are in the classroom.

Here the subject is omitted but the implies that we are talking about more than just one person.

천천히들 가세요!
Please (you people), go slow!

Here the subject is omitted but the implies that we are addressing about more than just one person.