Introduction

In English, we have various particles that we use to describe “location”, for example in, at, and from. They are called prepositions because they are placed before the word that they modify. On the other hand, while Korean also has location particles, they are postpositions. Those postpositions are attached at the end of the word that they modify.

Look at the example below:
I go to school.
학교 가요.

There are two main location postpositions in Korean: and 에서. They each have different contexts in which they are used, and this is what you will learn today!

Fun fact! The sentences in this lesson are all real sentences taken from various Korean media sources... Some are from K-dramas, and others have been pronounced by BTS members!

Today you will be introduced to the two most common usages of 에.

List A

house 있었네! to be/to exist

It was at home!

저희는 we 서울Seoul 살고요. to live

We live in Seoul.

너 you 아무것도 nothing 하지 to do 말고 not 여기here 앉아 to sit 있어. to be/to exist

Don't do anything and stay seated here.

화면screen 나오는 to come out/to be 귀여운 cute 슈가를 Suga (BTS member) 보고 to watch 웃음 laughter 터진 to burst 멤버들. members

The members bursting out laughing while watching cute Suga on the screen.

당신이 you dream 나왔다고 to come out/to appear 했잖아요. to tell/to say

I told you that you appeared in my dream.

List B

home 가자. to go

Let's go home.

home 왔습니다. to come

I (someone) came home.

둘이 The two of them room 들어가서 to enter 얘기 story 좀 a little 하고 to do 있어요. to be

The two went into the room and they are chatting.

이거 this 침대 bed beside/next to 두고 to leave/put (something) 주무세요. to sleep

Put this next to the bed and sleep.

니가 you 저 this 자리seat/place/spot 앉고 to sit 싶어? to want

Do you want to sit there?

The verbs below are from the sentences above. Drag and drop them in the appropriate column based on their meaning.

있다
가다
살다
앉다
앉고 있다
나오다
두다
들어가다
오다
Location
Movement

Do you observe a pattern?

The verbs from list A are mostly verbs while the verbs from list B are mostly verbs.

You are correct! The verbs in list A express "location", while the verbs in list B express "movement".

Read the sentences again and complete the following statements.

In the sentences from list A, the subject is the place that 에 is attached to. There is between the subject and the place.
On the other hand, in the sentences from list B, the subject starts out the place that 에 is attached to. There is a movement of the subject the place.

Nice work! Here is a summary of what you have discovered so far:

In the sentences from list A, 에 indicates being inside a place or on a surface.
We can call this usage of 에 "location 에".

In the sentences from list B, 에 indicates a movement towards a place.
We can call this usage of 에 "goal 에".

Ready to move on to 에서?

에서

It is time to learn about the two most common usages of 에서.

List A

에서home/house 하면 to do 되잖아. to become

It is fine to do it at home.

홉이 Hobi (J-Hope, BTS member) 형은 older brother 그냥 just/simply 센터에서center 있지? to be/to exist

Hobi is just in the center, right?

내일 tomorrow 회사에서company/office 얘기해요. to tell/talk/discuss

Talk at the the office tomorrow.

방이 room 따뜻해서 warm 더 more 좋다. to like 여기에서here 먹자. to eat

The room is warm so it is even better. Let's eat here.

에서house/home 일하다가 to work 시간이 time 이렇게 like that 된지 to become 몰랐어. to not know

While working at home I did not realize time flew by like this.

List B

공미자의 deputy 에서home 나와서 to come out/to go out 택시를 taxi 탔어요. to take/to ride

They got out of the deputy's house and took a taxi.

미국에서the United States 왔다는 to come 얘기는 story 들었다. to hear/listen

I heard that you came from the United States.

어떤 some/a 레스토랑에서restaurant 연락이 contact 왔는데요. to come

A call came from some restaurant.

에서home/house 가져오면 to bring 되잖아. to become

You can bring it from home.

너 you 내일  tomorrow 당장 immediately 우리집에서my house 나가. to go out/to get out

Leave my house immediately tomorrow.

In your own words, explain where the subjects of the sentences are located in regards to the place that is marked with 에서 for both list A and list B.


Your definition

My definition

In list A, the subject is located inside or on the location marked with 에서. We will call this usage "location 에서". In list B, the subject is moving away from the location marked with 에서. We will call this usage "source 에서".

Ready to continue?

에 or 에서?

You may have noticed that both 에 and 에서 have a “location” meaning, but this does not mean that they are interchangeable! In the sentences below, decide whether the verb has a dynamic meaning (action) or a static meaning (existence).

Location 에

왜 why house 있었어? to be/to exist

Why where you at home?

inside 아이가 baby 있는데. to be/to exist

There is a baby inside.

세상world 그런 this kind 일은 thing 없어 to not be/to not exist

Don't do anything and stay seated here.

이 this 자리place/spot/seat 함께할 수 없어서 to be together 슈가 씨가 Suga (BTS member) 굉장히 greatly 아쉬워하고 있는데요. to feel sorry

Suga feels very sorry that he cannot be with us here.

내 my 죽은 dying 마음heart 살아남았다. to survive

It survived in my dead heart.

Location 에서

고한에서Gohan (city) 만났지. to meet

We met in Gohan.

나 I 에서home 밥 food/rice 안 not 먹어. to eat

I do not eat at home.

에서outside 뭐 what 하십니까? to do

What are you doing outside?

니 you 내 my 에서front 서울말 Seoul speech 쓰지 to use 마라! not

Do not use Seoul speech in front of me!

에서outside 선생님께 teacher 얘기 story 들었습니다. to hear/to listen

I heard the story from the teacher outside.

Do you observe a pattern?

Location 에 is primarily used with verbs while location 에서 is primarily used with verbs.

You are correct! Location 에 is primarily used with static verbs to express the existence or presence of something, while location 에서 is used with dynamic verbs to describe actions.

Read the sentences again and complete the following statements.

In the sentences from list A, the subject is the place that 에 is attached to. There is between the subject and the place.
On the other hand, in the sentences from list B, the subject starts out the place that 에 is attached to. There is a movement of the subject the place.

Nice work! Here is a summary of what you have discovered so far:

In the sentences from list A, 에 indicates being inside a place or on a surface.
We can call this usage of 에 "location 에".

In the sentences from list B, 에 indicates a movement towards a place.
We can call this usage of 에 "goal 에".

Ready to practice?

Now it is time to practice what you have just learned. Choose between 에 and 에서 to complete the sentences!

Congratulations! You successfully completed the introduction to 에 and 에서!