Korean Location Marking Particles

In this lesson, you will learn how to use the Korean location marking particles 에 and 에서. In a previous lesson about Korean particles, you learned that particles are attached to some nouns to indicate the particular function of that word in a sentence.

The Korean location marking particles 에 and 에서 are both similar to the word ‘at’ in English. However, 에 and 에서 have slightly different meanings and are used in different situations. So, what is the difference between 에 and 에서?

The location marking particle 에 is used to indicate the location where something ‘exists’ or ‘is’. The location marking particle 에서 is used to indicate the location where an action is taking place.

Let’s look at these Korean location marking particles in more detail.

Korean Location Marking Particle – 에

에 is used in a sentence to mark a location where something exists, a direction in which an action goes towards, or a time at which an action takes place.

Let’s look at some example sentences:

고양이가 있어요. – The cat is at home.

As you can see, the location marking parting in this sentence comes after (house) and indicates the location where the cat (고양이) exists.

공원 가요. – I go to the park / I am going to the park.

As you can see, the location marking particle comes after 공원 (park) to indicate that the park is the place that you are going to (direction).

7시 친구를 만났어요. – I met my friend at seven.

As you can see, the location marking particle comes after the time 일곱시 (7 o’clock) to indicate that 7 o’clock is the time at which the speaker met his/her friend.

Korean Location Marking Particle – 에서

The location marking particle 에서 is mainly used to mark a word as the location where an action is taking place, or to express ‘from a place‘.

Let’s look at some example sentences:

학교에서 공부했어요. – I studied at school.

As you can see, 에서 is attached to 학교 (school) to indicate that the school is the place where the action (study) took place.

영국에서 왔어요. – I came from England.

As you can see, in this sentence 에서 is attached to 영국 (England) to mark England as the place where the speaker came from.

Practice Exercises – 에 or 에서

Practice Exercise 1

Here’s a fun practice exercise to review the difference between 에 and 에서. This video is a review quiz with 10 questions. Each question asks you to choose the correct location marking particle to complete the sentence.

Practice Exercise 2

Here are some example dialogues which includes the Korean location marking particles 에 and 에서, plus other language that you have learned in previous lessons. The dialogues also include the following keywords which you may not have studied yet:

  • 어디 = where
  • 언제 = when
  • = house
  • 학교 = school
  • 미국 = America (U.S.A)
  • 자다 = to sleep
  • 운동하다 = to exercise

Read the Korean sentences and try to guess what it means. Then, click on the ‘English’ tab to check the answer.

A: 어디 있어요?
B: 있어요.

A: 어디 가요?
B: 학교 가요.

A: 언제 잤어요?
B: 11시 잤어요.

A: 어디에서 왔어요?
B: 미국에서 왔어요.

A: 어디에서 운동해요?
B: 공원에서 운동해요.

A: 어디 있어요? = Where are you?
B: 있어요. = I am at home.

A: 어디 가요? = Where are you going?
B: 학교 가요. = I am going to the park.

A: 언제 잤어요? = When did you sleep?
B: 11시 잤어요. = I slept at 11.

A: 어디에서 왔어요? = Where did you come from?
B: 미국에서 왔어요. = I came from America (U.S.A).

A: 어디에서 운동해요? = Where do you exercise?
B: 공원에서 운동해요. = I exercise at the park.