Korean Lesson 'From In Korean'

Lesson 55: 한테서/에게서, 에서

In the previous lesson, you learned how to say ‘to’ in Korean to indicate a noun as the target of an action. In this lesson, you will learn how to say ‘from’ in Korean using 한테서/에게서 and 에서. By the end of this lesson, you will be able to say things like, “I received a gift from my friend.“, “I heard it from Minho.“, etc.

Lesson 55: 한테서/에게서, 에서

한테서/에게서 and 에서 are used with nouns and refer to the thing that is the starting point of a certain action. In English, the word ‘from’ is used to express this (from Minho”, “from my friend”, etc.). When the preceding noun is a person or other living creature, 한테서 or 에게서 are used. 한테서 is usually used in spoken language, whereas 에게서 is usually used in written language.

When the preceding noun is an inanimate object (places, things, etc), then 에서 is used to express ‘from’, and not 한테서/에게서. See the table below for a summary of this information and the conjugation rules.

Conjugation RuleExamples
Noun  + 한테서/에게서학생 (student) → 학생한테서 (spoken language)
 학생 (student) → 학생에게서 (written language)
말 (horse) → 말한테서 (spoken language)
말 (horse) → 말에게서 (written language)
Noun  + 에서학교 (school) → 학교에서
극장 (theater) → 극장에서

Examples With 한테서/에게서 and 에서

친구 = friend
친구한테서 = from my friend
친구한테서 선물을 받았어요. = I received a gift from my friend.

선생님 = teacher
선생님한테서 = from the teacher
오늘 선생님한테서 새로운 단어를 배웠어요. = I learned a new word from the teacher today.

라디오 = radio
라디오에서 = from the radio / on the radio
전에 라디오에서 이 노래를 들었어요. = Earlier, I heard this song on the radio.

Things To Note

The first thing to note is that in normal everyday conversations, the from 한테/에게 is often dropped. For example, the sentence “I received a gift from my friend.” may be stated as “친구한테 선물을 받았어요.” in everyday conversations.

Another thing to note is that when the starting point of the action is someone who has a ‘higher’ social status than the speaker, the particle 께 is used instead of 한테서/에게서. For example,

저는 아버지 선물을 받았어요. (O) = I received a gift from my father.
저는 아버지에게서 선물을 받았어요. (X)

One final thing to note is that only a limited number of verbs can be used with 한테서/에게서 and 에서because only a limited number of verbs express ‘from’ something. See the table below for verbs that are commonly used with 한테서/에게서 and 에서.

받다to receive
듣다to hear/listen
사다to buy
배우다to learn
빌리다to borrow
전화가 오다to receive a phone call

Example Sentences

요즘 한국인 친구한테서 한국어를 배우고 있어요. = These days, I’m learning Korean from my Korean friend.

어제 퇴근 후에 갑자기 회사에서 전화가 왔어요. = Yesterday after work, I suddenly received a phone call from the office.

선생님들은 가끔 학생들에게 곤란한 질문을 받아요. = Teachers sometimes receive embarrassing questions from students.

그거를 누구한테 들었어요? = Who did you hear that from?
민호 씨한테 들었어요. = I heard it from Minho.

이 책을 어디에서 샀어요? = Where did you buy this book?
안 샀어요. 도서관에서 빌렸어요. = I didn’t buy it. I borrowed it from the library.