We already worked our way through one location particle, -에. However, there is another location particle that you can use. However, you cannot use these particles interchangeably. They have very specific usages. Let’s take an in-depth look to dispel any possible confusion.

At -에서

Like its brother -에, -에서 is a location particle and you can even translate it to English in the same way: ‘in’ or ‘at’. However, the particles are not the same and you cannot use them interchangeably. As you know, you can only use -에 as a location noun when the verb is either a verb of movement such as 가다 or when the verb is either 있다 or 없다. Therefore for all other verbs the location particle is always -에서. As such the particle -에서 expresses the location where a certain action take place. Let’s take a look at an example:

Example: 매일 나는 도서관에서 책을 읽어요.

Translation: Everyday I read a book in the library.

Starting point -에서

While in its primary use you cannot use it with verbs of movement, you can still use it with verbs of movement  and time for another use. That use is to express the starting point of an action. When you use it as such you can translate it as “From”. This use if often combined with the particles 까지 or 부터. So when you use it with a verb of movement, it expresses the point from which you departed and with time it expresses your starting time. Let’s look at an example:

Example: 오늘 민수 씨는 벨기에에서 도착할 거예요.

Translation: Today Minsu will arrive from Belgium.

How To Use

Once again using the particle -에서 isn’t overly complicated. You simply need to attach it to the noun that represents the location where an action is being performed. You needn’t worry over consonants and vowels for this particle. There are, however, some side notes you need to know.

The first remark you ought to know is that the verb 살다 can take both -에서 and -에. However, the nuance you express is slightly different when using one or the other. When you use -에, you merely mention the state of living at that location, somewhat like 있다. When you use -에서 you put the emphasis on the action of living somewhere. It is a tiny difference in nuance between the particles.

Particle: The Location Particle -에서
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A short overview on the use of the particle -에서