Korean Language Bank: -에서
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In Korean grammar, it is an important difference to keep in mind when indicating location. Different particles are used depending on the type of location. The particle -에서, you either use to indicate the point of departure or to indicate the location where an action is taking place.

Location Of Action

The most important use of the particle -에서 is indicating the location where an action takes places. This is what sets it apart from the particle -에 which indicates the place you where you are going or coming. As such, for all verbs, except verbs expressing movement, will have the location in the sentence marked by -에서 since that is the place where the action of the verb is taking place. For verbs of movement, you typically use -에.

An example:

가: 민수 시가 어디에 있어요?

나: 점심에 민수 씨는 커피를 항상 마셔요. 혹시 카페에서 커피를 마실걸요.

A: Where is Minsu?

B: Minsu always drinks coffee at lunch. Maybe he’s having coffee at the cafe.

Point of Departure

While -에 is meant as the location to where you are going to, you can use -에서 with verbs expressing movement as well. However, in that case, the place marked with -에서 indicated the point of departure. It does not indicate your destination. When you use -에서 in a sentence, the destination is indicated not by -에, but the particle -까지.

An example:

가: 한국에서 일본까지 시간이 얼마나 걸려요?

나: 비행기로 두 시간이 걸리는 것 같아요.

A: How long does it take from Korea to Japan?

B: I think it takes two hours by place.

How To Use

Using the particle -에서 is not difficult at all, like for most particles. It follows the ‘no rule’ Korean grammar rule, meaning you needn’t worry over vowels or consonants. However, the main difficulty with this particle is to not mix it up with the particle -에. Both particles are used very differently and you shouldn’t mix them up.

The ㄹ irregular verb 살다 (to live) is one of the few verbs with which you can use either -에 and -에서. However, there is a slightly nuanced difference in meaning.

저는 브뤼셀에 살아요 (this sentence describes the state that I live in Brussels).

저는 브뤼셀에서 살아요 (this emphasizes the act of living in Brussels).

Korean Language Bank Overview: -에서
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Korean Language Bank Overview: -에서
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