Lesson 12: Korean Particles 들, only, from, 부터/까지, (으)로

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Vocabulary

An Important Note: Eliminating Subjects/Topic

Korean Particle 들 (and using 몇 with counters)
Korean Particle (only): 만
Korean Particle (from): 에서
Korean Particles: (from and to) 부터 and 까지
Korean Particle (으)로

 

Vocabulary

The vocabulary is separated into nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs for the purpose of simplicity.

Click on the English word to see information and examples of that word in use (you probably won’t be able to understand the grammar within the sentences at this point, but it is good to see as you progress through your learning).

A PDF file neatly presenting these words and extra information can be found here.

 

Nouns:
점원 = store assistant

The pronunciation of this word is closer to “저뭔”

Common Usages:
점원 모집 = Clerk Wanted (you might see this on a sign outside a store looking for applicants)

Example:
저는 점원한테 질문을 물어봤어요 = I asked the clerk a question
이 가게는 점원 한  명만 있어요 = This store only has one person working here

배우 = actor

Common Usages:
주연배우 = leading actor/actress
조연배우 = supporting actor/actress
배우상 = acting award

Example:
배우들은 돈을 많이 벌어요 = Actors earn a lot of money
배우들은 그들의 영화를 보통 좋아하지 않아 = Actors usually don’t like their movies

= neck/throat

Common Usages:
목소리 = voice (literally, throat sound)
목 마르다 = to be thirsty (literally, a dry throat)
손목 = wrist (literally, hand neck)

Example: 이 아파요 = I have a sore throat

소리 = noise/sound

Common Usages:
목소리 = voice (literally, throat sound)
소리가 나다 = for a sound to be make
소리가 들리다 = for a sound to be heard
소리를 지르다 = to scream

무슨 소리야? = What is that sound?
This phrase literally means “what is that sound?” and it can be used to have that meaning.  However, it is commonly used to show disagreement to what somebody says. In English, this would be similar to saying “What are you talking about!?”

소리가 안 들려요 = I can’t hear the sound
The Korean sentence above is predicated by an intransitive verb (들리다), which means it cannot act on an object. The English translation is predicated by a transitive verb (to hear), which means it can act on an object. A more direct translation of the Korean sentence would be “the sound cannot be heard.” However, this phrase is often used to indicate that one cannot hear something.

Example:
무슨 소리예요? = What is that sound?
소리
를 많이 질러도 그는 제 말을 듣지 못했어요 = Even though I screamed a lot, he didn’t hear my voice

목소리 = voice

Example:
저는 선생님의 목소리를 못 들었어요 = I couldn’t hear the teacher’s voice
목소리
가 잘 들려요 = I hear you (your voice) well

The Korean sentence above is predicated by an intransitive verb (들리다), which means it cannot act on an object. The English translation is predicated by a transitive verb (to hear), which means it can act on an object. A more direct translation of the Korean sentence would be “Your voice can be heard well/clearly.” However, this phrase is often used to indicate that one cannot hear another person’s voice.

의미 = meaning

Common Usages:
삶의 의미 = the meaning of life
의미가 있는 = meaningful
의미가 없는 = meaningless

Example:
그 이야기의 의미는 뭐예요? = What is the meaning of that story?
돈이 많이 있어도 존경을 받지 않으면 의미가 없어요 = Regardless of if you have a lot of money, if you don’t get respect, it is meaningless

상황 = situation

Example:
그 사람의 상황은 나빠요 = That person’s situation is not good
저는 그 상황을 처음부터 끝까지 몰랐어요 = I didn’t know that situation from start to finish

= chicken

The pronunciation of this word is closer to “닥”
Typically, the pronunciation of words with four-letter syllables merge with the pronunciation of an attaching grammatical principle. For example, “값” is pronounced as “kap” but 값을 is pronounced as “갑슬.” However, the ㄹ in 닭 is usually not pronounced in these cases. For example, 닭을 is usually pronounced as “닥을” or “다글” and 닭이 is usually pronounced as “다기” or “닥이.”

Common Usages
닭갈비 = chicken ribs
닭살 = goose-bumps

Notes: When eating Western style chicken (like in KFC), Korean people use the word “치킨”

Example: 그 농장은 을 키워요 = That farm raises chickens

문장 = sentence

Example:
저는 그 문장을 한국어로 말했어요 = I said that sentence (using) in Korean
그 단어로 완벽한 문장을 만들어 주세요 = Make a perfect/complete sentence using that word, please
문장을 다 쓰면 점을 찍어야 돼요 = When you are done writing a sentence, you need to put a period

기름 = oil/grease/gasoline

Common Usages:
기름 값 = the price of oil
동물성 기름 = animal fats
식물성 기름 = vegetable oil
기름이 많다 = to be a lot of oil

Example:
고기에 기름이 많아요 = There is a lot of grease in meat
기름 값은 비싸졌어요 = The price of oil got expensive

그들 = them

Common Usages:
그들의 = their

Example:
그들은 저를 왠지 싫어해요 = They don’t like me for some reason
저는 그들에게 결혼식에 갈 거냐고 물어봤어요 = I asked if they were going to the wedding
청소년들은 그들 자신을 사랑하지 않는다 = Young people don’t love themselves
배우들은 그들의 영화를 보통 좋아하지 않아 = Actors usually don’t like their movies
그들은 많은 후보자들 중에서 저를 뽑았어요 = They chose me from many candidates
그들은 저를 처음부터 싫어했어요 = They didn’t like me from the start
학생들이 시험을 보는 동안 저는 그들을 감독했어요 = I supervised the students while they wrote an exam

생활 = lifestyle/life

Common Usages:
대학생활 = one’s university life
기숙사 생활 = dormitory life

Example: 한국에서는 저의 생활이 좋아요 = My life in Korea is good

Verbs:
속삭이다 = to whisper

The pronunciation of this word is closer to “속싸기다”

Example:
저는 그녀의 귀에 속삭였어요 = I whispered into her ear

복습하다 = to review, to re-study

The pronunciation of this word is closer to “복쓰파다”

Common Usages:
복습수업 = review class

Example:
저는 그것을 처음부터 끝까지 복습했어요 = I reviewed that from start to finish
시험을 보기 전 날에 내용을 복습해야 돼요 = I need to review the content on the day before the exam

바꾸다 = to change

Common Usages:
자리를 바꾸다 = to change places/seats

Example:
우리는 계획을 바꿔야 돼요 = We have to change our plans
저는 내일의 예정을 바꿨어요 = I changed tomorrow’s schedule
비가 온 다음 날에 하늘은 보라색으로 바꿨어요 = The sky turned purple the day after the rain
새로운 핸드폰을 사고 전화번호를 바꿨어요 = After buying a new phone, I changed my phone number
그 식당은 메뉴를 바꿨어요 = That restaurant changed its menu

유학(하다) = to study abroad

Example:
저는 캐나다에서 유학했어요 = I studied abroad in Canada
영어를 할 수 없으면 유학을 갈 수 없어요 = If you can’t speak English, you can’t study abroad

넘어지다 = to fall

Common Usages:
넘어질 뻔하다 = to almost fall

Example:
길이 미끄러워서 저는 넘어졌어요 = I fell over because the road is slippery
네가 넘어질 것처럼 보였어 = It looked like you were going to fall
늙은 아주머니는 넘어졌어요 = The old lady fell over
만약 엄마의 손을 안 잡았더라면 넘어졌을 거예요 = If I didn’t grab mom’s hand, I would have fallen

독서하다 = to read

Common Usages:
독서실 = reading room

Notes: This word less common that “읽다”

Example:
그 학생은 하루 종일 책을 독서할 수 있어요 = That student can read books all day
내일 공부하러 독서실에 갈래요? = Shall we go to the reading room tomorrow to study?

출발하다 = to depart

The noun form of this word translates to “departure”

Common Usages:
출발 시간 = the time of departure
출발역 = the first (departing) station
출발점 = the point of departure
출발지 = the point of departure (usually used when filling out a customs form upon arrival in a new country)

Example:
우리는 언제 출발할 거예요? = When are we going to leave/depart?
비행기가 아직 출발할 준비가 안 됐습니까? = Is the plane not yet ready to depart?
저는 인천공항에서 출발했어요 = I departed from Incheon airport
다음 버스는 저 정류장에서 출발할 거예요 = The next bus will depart from that station
우리는 집에서 출발할 거예요 = We will depart from home
비행기가 9시에 출발할 예정이지만 눈이 많이 와서 못 출발할 것 같아요 = The plane is scheduled to depart at 9:00, but it probably won’t because it is snowing a lot

마시다 = to drink

Common Usages:
음료수를 마시다 = to drink a beverage
술을 마시다 = to drink alcohol
들여 마시다 = to breathe in

Example:
저는 애기에게 우유를 마시라고 했어요 = I told the baby to drink his milk
애기는 우유 대신에 물만 마시고 싶어요 = Instead of milk, the baby wants to drink only water
저는 녹차를 엄마랑 같이 마셨어요 = I drank green tea with my mom
저는 친구들이랑 커피를 마셨어요 = I drank coffee with my friends
마셨어요? = Were you drinking (alcohol)?

마실래요? = Depending on the situation, this could mean “Shall we drink something?” or “What shall we drink.” 뭐 could represent a question (“what”) or something ambiguous (“something”). I talk about making this distinction in Lesson 25.

내리다 = to get off, to go down, to come down

Common Usages:
버스에서 내리다 = to get off the bus
전철에서 내리다 = to get off the subway
내려오다 = to come down
내려가다 = to go down

Example:
저는 다음 정류장에서 내릴 거예요 = I’m going to get off at the next stop
저는 서울역에서 내릴 거예요 = I will get off at Seoul station
문이 완전히 열릴 때까지 버스에서 내리거나 문에 기대지 마세요 = Until the door is fully/completely open, don’t get off the bus or lean on the door

나오다 = to come out

Common Usages: There are many different ways this word can be used
집에서 나오다 = to come out of a house
영화에 나오다 = to be/appear in a movie (to come out of a movie)
펜이 안 나오다 = the pen isn’t working (ink isn’t coming out of the pen)
회사에 나오다 = to show up for work
말이 안 나오다 = for words to not come out (of one’s mouth)

Notes: Aside from literally meaning “to come out” Korean people use this word to say that somebody is “in” a movie or TV show. In English, I would say “Will Smith is in Men in Black.” In Korean, they would say “Will Smith은 Men in Black에 나왔어요.”

Example:
학생들은 교실에서 나왔어요 = The students came out of the classroom
결과가 아직 안 나왔어요 = The results haven’t come out yet

나가다 = to go out

Common Usages: There are many different ways this word can be used

집에서 나가다 = to go out of the house
몇 킬로 나가요? = How much do you weigh?
시합에 나가다 = to participate in a competition

Example:
밖에 나갈래요? = Shall we go outside?
밖에 나가기 전에 집을 청소해야 돼요! = Before I go out, I need to clean the house
선생님들은 다 나갔어요 = All the teachers left (went out)
문을 열어서 밖으로 나갔어요 = I opened the door and then went outside
그는 방금 나갔어요 = He just left

쓰다 = to cover one's head

쓰다 follows the ㅡ irregular

Common Usages:
모자를 쓰다 = to wear a hat

Notes: The word 씌우다 is used when covering somebody’s head with something. The most common case this would come up is when holding an umbrella for somebody.

Example:
저의 아버지가 저 모자를 매일 써요 = My dad wears that hat every day

모르다 = to not know

모르다 follows the 르 irregular

Common Usages:
모르는 듯 = as if one didn’t know
모르는 척하다 = to pretend that one doesn’t know

Notes: Although “모르겠다” is technically the future tense of the word, it is often used in the present tense to mean “I don’t know.”

Example:
우리가 언제 도착할지 모르겠어요 = I don’t know when we will arrive
할아버지가 여기에 계신지 몰랐어요 = I didn’t know you were here, grandpa
그 사람이 너의 아버지인 줄 몰랐어요 = I didn’t know that person is your father

신청하다 = to apply

The noun form of this word translates to “application”

Common Usages:
신청서 = application form
신청마감일 = application deadline
장학금을 신청하다 = to apply for a scholarship

Example:
저는 교장선생님께 저의 신청서를 드렸어요 = I gave my application form to the principal
인도에 가고 싶으면 비자를 신청해야 돼요 = You need to apply for a visa if you want to go to India
연수를 받으시고 싶다면 내일까지 신청하시기 바랍니다 = If you want to receive the training, please apply by tomorrow

사다 = to buy

Common Usages:
사 주다 = to buy for somebody (the grammar for this is taught in Lesson 41)
싸게 사다 = to buy something at an inexpensive price
비싸게 사다 = to buy something at an expensive price

Examples:
저는 사과만 샀어요 = I only bought apples
저는 사과와 바나나를 샀어요 = I bought apples and bananas
저는 저의 여자 친구를 위해 꽃을 샀어요 = I bought flowers for my girlfriend
만화책을 샀나요? = Did you buy the comic book?
무엇을 샀어요? = What did you buy?
치마를 몇 개 샀어요? = How many skirts did you buy?
그것을 는 것은 돈 낭비일 뿐이에요 = Buying that is just a waste of money
교감선생님은 선생님들을 위해 식사를 살 거예요 = The vice principal will buy a meal for all the teachers
할인을 얼마나 해 줄지 상관없이 저는 그것을 안 살 거예요= It doesn’t matter how much of a discount you give me, I’m not going to buy it

팔다 = to sell

팔다 follows the ㄹ irregular

Common Usages:
양심을 팔다 = to go against one’s conscience (“to sell one’s conscience” or “to sell one’s soul”)

Examples:
우리는 밥과 빵을 팔아요 = We sell rice and bread
저는 내일 시장에서 사과를 팔 거예요 = I will sell apples at the market tomorrow
이 가게는 싼 음식을 팔아요 = this store sells cheap/inexpensive food
우리 아버지는 예전에 옷을 팔았어요 = Our dad sold clothes in the past
저는 저의 오래된 핸드폰을 팔았어요 = I sold my old phone
그는 자기 차를 팔고 후회했어요 = He regrets selling his car
이 제품을 소매로 팔았을 때 돈을 많이 못 벌어서 지금부터 도매로 팔 거예요
= When I sold this product through retail, I didn’t make any money so from now on I’m going to start selling it through wholesale

Adjectives:
얇다 = to be thin

The pronunciation of this word is closer to “얄따”

Notes:
This is not used to talk about people, only when talking about objects being thin

Example:
이 종이는 너무 얇아요 = This paper is too thin

적당하다 = to be moderate

The pronunciation of this word is closer to “적땅하다”

Notes: This word is often used in the adverb form to make “적당히” (moderately)

Example:
적당히 먹어! = Eat moderately (don’t eat too much!)

어리다 = to be young

Common Usages:
어려 보이다 = to look young
어렸을 때부터 = since I was young
어린이집 = daycare/preschool
어린 시절 = one’s youth

Example:
저의 여자 친구는 어려요 = My girlfriend is young
저의 여자 친구는 저보다 네 살 더 어려요 = My girlfriend is four years younger than me
어렸을 때 강아지를 키우고 싶었어요 = When I was young, I wanted to raise a puppy
저는 어렸을 때부터 야구를 좋아했어요 = I’ve liked baseball since I was young
어린
한국 사람들은 대개 영어로 조금 말할 수 있어요 = Young Korean people can usually speak English a little bit

기쁘다 = to be glad

Common Usages:
기뻐하다 (the grammar for this is introduced in Lesson 105)

Example:
우리가 만나서 기뻐요 = I am glad that we met

Adverbs and Other Words:
= fairly/quite

Example:
그 여자는 예뻐요 = That girl is fairly/kind of pretty

= time, when

Common Usages:
아무 때나 = any time
어렸을 때부터 = since I was young
그때 = at that time
그때까지 = until that time
그때부터 = from that time

Most commonly used following ~ㄹ/을 (See Lesson 42 for more information)

Example:
제가 학교에서 있었을 공부를 했어요 = I studied when I was at school
한국 사람들은 밥을 먹을 젓가락을 써요 = Korean people use chopsticks when they eat
저는 아무 나 일을 시작할 준비됐어요 = I am ready to start working any time
엄마가 갔을 저는 울었어요 = When mom left, I cried
운동할 알맞은 자세로 해야 돼요 = When you exercise, you need to do so with the correct posture

그때 = at that time

Common Usages:
그때까지 = until that time
그때부터 = from that time
그때만 = only that time

Example:
그때 돈을 얼마나 벌었어요? = How much money did you earn at that time?
저는 그 여자를 그때만 사랑했어요 = I loved her only at that time
저는 그때까지 김치를 먹지 않았어요 = I hadn’t eaten Kimchi until that time
나는 그때 기억이 안 났어 = I didn’t remember (that) at that time

= side/direction

Common Usages:
오른쪽으로 = to the right
왼쪽으로 = to the left
안쪽으로 = towards the inside

Example:
우리가 저 으로 가야 돼요 = We have to go that way (in that direction)
오른 으로 가세요 = Go right (in the direction of right)
으로 가세요 = Go left (in the direction of left)

열심히 = ‘hard/well’ (study hard)

Common Usages:
열심히 일하다 = to work hard
열심히 공부하다 = to study hard

Example:
저는 2주 동안 열심히 일했어요 = I worked hard for 2 weeks
대학교에 가고 싶다면 열심히 공부해야 해요 = If you want to go to university, you have to study hard
저는 평소보다 더 열심히 공부하고 있어요 = I am studying harder than usual
열심히 공부한 후에 실력은 빨리 늘었어요 = After studying hard, my skills have increased
저는 회사를 위해 열심히 일할 거예요 = I will work hard for the company
저는 정신과의사가 되려고 열심히 공부하고 있어요 = I am studying hard to become a psychiatrist

완전히 = perfectly, completely

Example:
저는 완전히 이해해요 = I completely understand
그 강은 완전히 말랐어요 = That river has completely dried up
한국 문법은 영어 문법과 완전히 달라요 = Korean grammar is completely different from English grammar
문이 완전히 열릴 때까지 버스에서 내리거나 문에 기대지 마세요 = Until the door is completely open, don’t get off the bus or lean on the door

= some ____, how many (used with a counter)

Common Usages:
몇 명 = some people OR how many people
몇 개 = some things OR how many things
몇 시예요? = What time is it?
몇 살이에요? = How old are you?

Notes: 몇 is placed before a counter to ask “how many” of something. For example:
펜 몇 개 있어요? = How many pens do you have (see Lesson 22 for more information)

몇 can also be used to mean “some.” For example:
저는 사과 몇 개를 샀어요 = I bought some apples (see Lesson 12 for more information)

Examples:
저는 친구 몇 명을 만났어요 = I met some friends
친구가 몇 명 있어요? = How many friends do you have?

= floor

Common Usages
3층 = third floor
4층 = fourth floor
지하층 = basement floor

Notes: Placed after a number to indicate the “third floor,” fourth floor,” etc…

Example:
저는 2에서 살아요 = I live on the second floor

For help memorizing these words, try using our Memrise tool.

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 Introduction

As of now, you have learned a few different Korean particles. The particles you have learned so far are: 는/은, 이/가, 를/을, 의 and 도. There are many more particles that you will need to learn – and this lesson will cover a lot of them. In this lesson, you will learn about ~들, ~만, ~에서, ~부터, ~까지 and ~(으)로! Let’s get started!

 

An Important Note: Eliminating the Subject

One thing that I have yet to tell you is that Korean people often omit the topic/subject of the sentence – especially when the topic/subject is ‘I.’ Korean people love making their sentences as short as possible, and this is one additional way of doing it. In most cases, when the subject/topic can be inferred by the situation, Korean people drop it entirely from the sentence. For example, instead of saying:

저는 아침식사를 안 먹었어요 = I didn’t eat breakfast

They would say:
아침식사를 안 먹었어요 = I didn’t eat breakfast

Both are perfect sentences and both can be used, but you should be aware that Korean people often get rid of the subject/topic altogether when speaking. This will be done from time to time throughout our lessons.


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Korean Particle ~ and using with a counter

You have probably been asking yourself ‘how can I make something plural?’ Up to now, I haven’t mentioned anything about plural words in Korean. The reason for this is Korean people rarely distinguish between singular and plural. For example, if I say:

나는 사과를 샀어

This could mean “I bought an apple” OR “I bought apples.” This seems crazy to English speakers, but this is just how it is done in Korean. In most cases, the context can make it clear if you bought ‘an apple’ or if you bought ‘apples.’ If you really want to make it clear that you bought one apple, you could say:

나는 사과 한 개를 샀어 = I bought one apple

When dealing with the ambiguity of singular/plural sentences in Korean, you could also use the word 몇 which can replace a number in these examples: 두 개/두 명/두 번. When 몇 replaces a number in these cases (몇 번/몇 명/몇 개), it has the meaning of “some ____.” For example, instead of saying: “나는 사과 한 개를 샀어”, you could say:

나는 사과 몇 개를 샀어 = I bought SOME apples

More examples (remember that 펜 한 개 and 한 개의 펜 have the same meaning):
나는 몇 개의 펜을 샀어 = I bought some pens
나는 몇 명의 사람을 만났어 = I met some people
나는 학교에 몇 번 갔어 = I went to school a few/some times (not sometimes)
(remember, acts as an adverb – so it doesn’t need a particle to be attached to it).

Anyways, back to what I was trying to say earlier. ~들 can be attached to a noun to make that noun plural. However, adding ~들 to a noun that is not referring to a person is usually unnatural. Therefore, it would be unnatural to say something like this:

저는 사과들을 샀어요

Instead, ~들 is usually only attached to the word “person” (사람) or other words with the meaning of people (for example: actors, workers, doctors, etc…).

의사들은 돈이 많아 = doctors have a lot of money
선생님은 내일 학생들을 만날 거야 = The teacher will meet the students tomorrow
배우들은 그들의* 영화를 보통 좋아하지 않아 = actors usually don’t like their movies
*By adding the possessive particle to 그들 (them) it becomes 그들의 (their)

 

Korean Particle ~ (only)

The particle ~만 is very common and has the meaning of “only.” It can be attached directly to the end of a noun to express “only (that noun).” For example:

나는 물만 마셔 = I only drink water

It can be attached to the subject or the object of a sentence, and in each case it replaces the particle that would normally be attached there (~은/는 or ~을/를) or For example:

나만 그 여자를 좋아해 = Only I like that girl
나는 그 여자만 좋아해 = I only like that girl

나만 사과를 샀어 = Only I bought apples
나는 사과만 샀어 = I only bought apples

You could also stress that you only bought one apple (or any other number of things) by placing ~만 on a counter:

나는 사과 한 개만 샀어 = I only bought 1 apple
저는 차 두 대만 있어요 = I only have two cars
저는 친구 한 명만 만났어요 = I only met one friend

I said it once before in Lesson 3, but it is something that learners of Korean often forget: When a verb ends in 하다, the part before 하다 is usually a noun form of that verb. The examples I gave before were:

성공하다 = succeed
성공 = success

말하다 = speak
말 = speech/words

성취하다 = achieve
성취 = achievement

With these verbs, the part before 하다 can be separated from 하다 to make a noun form of that verb. Then, “하다,” meaning “do” can act on that noun (I do study = I study). It is hard to explain, but look at the following example:

나는 공부했어 = I studied
나는 공부를 했어 = I studied

Those two mean exactly the same thing, even though in the second example, 공부 is used as a stand-alone noun. But why is all of this important? It is important because now you can treat 공부 as a regular noun, which means you can attach 만 to it:

저는 공부만 했어요 = I only studied
저는 어제 일만 했어요 = Yesterday, I only worked

Note that just because a word ends in 하다, doesn’t mean you can do this. For example, many adjectives end in 하다 (for example: 행복하다: happy), but this:

저는 행복만 해요 = I am only happy – doesn’t really make a lot of sense

Also, many verbs don’t end in 하다 and just end in 다 (for example: 가다, 먹다, 보내다).  The way that you can change those verbs into a form that allows ~만 to be attached will be discussed in Lesson 29.

The examples above show ~만 attached to nouns, but really it can be attached to a wide variety of things – including grammatical principles and other particles, which we’ll get in to after a few more lessons on Korean basics.

When ~만 gets attached to more complicated things, it usually doesn’t replace something, but overlaps it. What I mean is, when ~만 is attached to the subject or object, ~을/를 or ~은/는 get eliminated. However, when ~만 is attached to something else, everything usually stays in place.

I’ll show now how it can be attached to the ~에 particle we’ve covered, and follow up in later lessons with other particles.

우리는 학교에만 갔어요 = We only went to school
학생들은 교실 안에만 있어요 = The students are only in their classrooms
저는 밤에만 운동해요 = I exercise only at night
저는 커피를 낮에만 마셔요 = I drink coffee only during the day
저는 그 여자를 그때만 사랑했어요 = I loved her only at that time
When using 그때, ~에 is often omitted because it can be assumed.

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Korean Particle ~에서

Foreign learners of Korean are often very confused as to when they should use ~에서 instead of ~에, as they both denote places in Korean sentences. ~에서 is used to denote the location in which the subject is doing something in.

For example:

저는 학교에서 공부할 거예요 = I will study at school
저는 저의 친구를 병원에서 봤어요 = I saw my friend at the hospital
저는 남편을 공원에서 만날 거예요 = I will meet my husband at the park
저는 한국어를 한국에서 배웠어요 = I learned Korean in Korea

In order to help you understand the purpose of ~에서, I would like to make a distinction between ~에 and ~에서. As I said, ~에서 is used to indicate the location in which the subject is doing something.

This does not mean the location that he/she is going to
This does not mean the location that he/she looking at
This does not mean the location that he/she places something on
This does not mean the location that he/she places something in

All of the locations from those examples above would require the particle “~에” to denote the location.

~에서, on the other hand refers the location in which the subject – the acting agent of the sentence – is in when actually doing the action. Let’s look at the following example:

저는 건물에 간판을 봤어요

In this sentence, where is the subject (저) when doing the action (보다)? ~에서 is not used in this sentence, so it is unknown as to where the subject was when he/she saw the sign. It might be known from context, but this specific sentence is not describing it. Therefore, the person is saying that he/she saw the sign “on the building” – as if he/she was walking by and saw the sign attached to the building in some way. The action did not occur at/on/in the building, it’s just that the location in which he/she was looking at.

Conversely, look at this sentence:
저는 건물에서 간판을 봤어요

In this sentence, where is the subject (저) when doing this action (보다)? ~에서 is attached to “건물.” Therefore, the subject was in the building and saw the sign.

Another example:

저는 병을 탁자에 놓았어요

In this sentence, where is the subject (저) when doing the action (놓다)? ~에서 is not used in this sentence, so it is unknown as to where the subject was when he/she put the bottle on the table. It might be known from context, but this specific sentence is not describing it. Therefore, the person is saying that he/she put the bottle “on the table.”

Conversely, look at this sentence:
저는 병을 탁자에서 놓았어요

This sentence is nonsense. It is indicating that, the action actually occurred on/in the table. That is, the subject somehow within the table placed the bottle somewhere. But the sentence is so nonsensical that it is not even indicating where the bottle is placed. It could translate to something like “(While I was) in the table, I placed the bottle.” Don’t get too hung up on that translation because it’s hard to translate a sentence that doesn’t make sense.

However, because ~에서 can be used to indicate where the subject is acting, and because ~에 can be used to in this sentence to indicate where the bottle is placed, both ~에 and ~에서 can be used in the same sentence. For example:

저는 방에서 탁자에 병을 놓았어요 = I placed the bottle on the table in the room

This is the same reason that the particle ~에 is placed on the location in which a person is going. For example, if I said something like this:

저는 한국에서 갈 거예요
(This sentence is correct, but it is stating that the person left from Korea because the action of “going” (가다) is occurring at/in Korea). This function is talked about a little bit later.

Instead, in order to indicate the place in which you are going (and, therefore, not currently in/at), you must use ~에. For example:

저는 한국에 갈 거예요 = I will go to Korea


 

~에서 can also be attached to a location where an adjective “occurs.” The word “occurs” is a bad way to describe this (because adjectives don’t really “occur”, but I can’t think of a better word. Just like how a verb can be used with a subject…:

저는 잤어요 = I slept

…and a location can be used in this sentence to indicate where that action occurred:

저는 집에서 잤어요 = I slept at home

In that same sense, adjectives can be used with a subject…:

과일은 비싸요 = Fruit is expensive

… and a location can be used in this sentence to indicate where that adjective “occurs”:

과일은 한국에서 비싸요 = Fruit is expensive in Korea

Here are some other examples:

저는 학교에서 추웠어요 = I was cold at school
고등학교는 한국에서 어려워요 = High school is difficult in Korea
녹차는 한국에서 유명해요 = Green Tea is famous in Korea

I don’t want to provide a ton of examples for this because in order to make perfectly natural sentences, it requires the use of other, more complicated grammar that you haven’t been introduced to yet. For now, try to understand this specific function of ~에서 and how it can be used to indicate where a verb or adjective “occurs.”

Also note that when you indicate where something is by using 있다, you should use ~에 instead of ~에서. For example:

저는 집에 있어요 = I’m at home
저는 차 안에 있어요 = I’m in the car


The other main usage of ~에서 has the general meaning of “from.” In it’s most basic sense, it can be used to indicate the place in which the subject is departing from. This is the usage I mentioned earlier. For example:

저는 한국에서 갈 거예요 = I will go from Korea
다음 버스는 저 정류장에서 출발할 거예요 = The next bus will depart from that station

This same usage can be applied to more complicated scenarios that are similar to “departing.” For example:

When you are getting off of something (bus/train):
저는 서울역에서 내릴 거예요 = I will get off at (from) Seoul station

When something/someone is coming/going/being taken out of something:
학생은 교실에서 나왔어요 = the student came out of the classroom

You can also use this to indicate the country (or any other place, for that matter) that you come from. In English, we say “I come from Canada/I’m from Canada” but in Korean the past tense of “come” must be used:

저는 캐나다에서 왔어요 = I come from Canada

I don’t want to go on a rant here, but one of the things that bugs me is the textbooks that teach “저는 ___에서 왔어요” in the first or second lesson – before any of the grammar concepts within the sentence have been taught. For example, when I first started learning Korean, I had a textbook that taught me “저는 ____에서 왔어요” on the very first page. Without explaining why I was using 저 instead of 나, why I was using 는, what 에서 meant, what 오다 meant, how/why 오다 changes to 왔다, how/why 왔다 changes to 왔어요. But I digress…

It is also important to know that when ~에서 is added to the words 여기/거기/저기 (here, there, there), it is common to write/say:

여기서 instead of 여기에서
거기서 instead of 거기에서
저기서 instead of 저기에서

In addition to the examples provided, there are more ways in which ~에서 can be used to mean “from.” Below is a sneak preview of more ways ~에서 can be used to mean “from,” but I’ve used some grammar forms not yet introduced. Making a mental note of these types of sentences might help you when you come across similar sentences later.

저는 학교에서 멀리 살고 있어요 = I live far from school
1에서 10까지 센다 = Count from 1 to 10
그들은 많은 후보자들 중에서 저를 뽑았어요 = They chose me from many candidates
1시에서 2시까지 오세요 = Please come from 1:00 to 2:00
10에서 5를 뺀다 = Subtract 5 from 10

As you can see, ‘from’ (in English) has many usages as well. When a word has a lot of meanings in Korean – and the corresponding English word also has a lot of meanings – mastering the usage can be challenging, but also rewarding when it all comes together.

 

Korean Particles ~부터 and ~까지

Two more important Korean particles you need to know are ~부터 and ~까지.

~까지 can be used in sentences with or without ~에서 to have the meaning of “to/until a place/time.” For example:

3시까지 기다릴 거예요 = I will wait until 3:00
그 여자를 지금까지 좋아했어요 = I liked that girl until now
저는 그 회사에서 5월까지 일할 거예요 = I will work at that company until May
저는 그때까지 김치를 먹지 않았어요 = I hadn’t eaten Kimchi until that time
저는 오늘 이 책을 여기까지 읽었어요 = Today, I read up to here in this book
저는 한강까지 달렸어요 = I ran until (I reached) the Han River

~부터 is a particle that is often confused with ~에서 because both can translate to “from” and have seemingly overlapping usages. You learned earlier that one usage of ~에서 is to indicate the location from which an action is departing. For example:

우리는 집에서 출발할 거예요 = We will depart from home

~부터 is very similar, but is specifically identifying the place (or time) in which something starts from. If we look at this sentence:

나는 인천에서 서울까지 갈 거야 = I will depart from Incheon and go to (until) Seoul

The particle ~에서 identifies that the person departed from 인천. In theory, this could also be seen as the starting point. Therefore, this sentence could also be written as:

나는 인천부터 서울까지 갈 거야 = I will go from Incheon to Seoul

These two sentences (despite the slight nuance of “departing” and “starting”) are essentially the same. In both cases, the subject is going from Incheon to Seoul. They can both be seen as correct, but most Koreans would rather use ~에서 when talking about the location in which something starts/departs.

For example, I showed these two sentences to a Korean person and asked him to explain the difference:

다음 버스는 저 정류장에서 출발할 거예요 = The next bus will leave from that stop
다음 버스는 저 정류장부터 출발할 거예요

He said: “The first one sounds more natural. The second one sounds as if the place the bus is leaving from is the bus garage… like the absolute starting point of the bus. In most situations, it would be most natural to say the first sentence.”

Instead, ~부터 is commonly attached to a time to indicate when something starts. For example:

저는 어제부터 아팠어요 = I have been sick since (from) yesterday
저는 내일부터 한국어를 공부할 거예요 = I’m going to study Korean from tomorrow
내년부터 우리는 서울에서 살 거예요 = From next year, we will be living in Seoul
저는 3시부터 학교에 있을 거예요 = I will be at school from 3:00
저는 작년부터 한국어를 배웠어요 = I have been learning Korean since last year

It is very common to see ~까지 used in the same sentence as ~부터. Here, ~부터 indicates the starting point and ~까지 indicates the end point. For example:

저는 아침부터 밤까지 공부만 했어요 = From morning to night I only studied
나는 캐나다에 1일부터 8일까지 있을 거야 = I will be in Canada from the 1st to the 8th

It is common to see “부터” attached to 처음 to translate to something like “from the start” or “from the beginning.” For example:

그들은 저를 처음부터 싫어했어요 = They didn’t like me from the start
우리는 그 일을 처음부터 시작할 거예요 = We will start that job/task from the beginning

When used to say “from start to finish,” the word “끝” is often used to mean “finish.” For example:

저는 그 상황을 처음부터 끝까지 몰랐어요 = I didn’t know that situation from start to finish
저는 그것을 처음부터 끝까지 복습했어요 = I reviewed that from start to finish
저는 그 책을 처음부터 끝까지 읽었어요 = I read that book from start to finish

 

 

Korean Particle ~()

The Korean particle ~(으)로 can be added to nouns with a few different meanings. One of the main meanings is to indicate with what tool/device/method/material something is carried out. The English equivalent varies depending on the usage:

Write with a pen
Go to the store by car
Go to school on foot
Make a house out of wood

This meaning of ~(으)로 can be used in so many situations it would be impossible to list them all. As you get comfortable with the basic examples of this usage, you will slowly be able to grasp when it should be used in all situations.

~로 is added to words ending in a vowel, whereas ~으로 is added to words ending in a consonant. ~로 is also added to words ending in ㄹ. The only reason for this difference is for ease of pronunciation. If you say “것로” there is a split second where your tongue cannot go directly from 것 to ~로 – so it is changed to 것로.

나는 우리 집을 나무로 지었어 = I built our house out of wood
배로 제주에 갈 거야 = I will go to Je-ju by boat
저는 그것을 손으로 만들었어요 = I built that with my hands


 

In this same respect, ~(으)로 can be used to indicate the language in which something is spoken in. Here, just like in some of the examples above, the language acts as the “tool” in which something was communicated. For example:

저는 그 문장을 한국어로 말했어요 = I said that sentence (using) in Korean
저는 그것을 영어로 할 거예요 = I will say that (using) in English


It is also used to indicate what you ate for a specific meal:

저는 아침식사로 밥을 먹었어요 = I ate rice for breakfast
저는 보통 점심식사로 과일만 먹었어요 = I usually only ate fruit for lunch


If somebody does an action in line with a bunch of other people, you can use ~(으)로 to indicate the order something is done by attaching it to a number + 번째.  For example:

저는 그것을 두 번째로 했어요 = I did that second (I was the second person to do that)
저는 학교에 두 번째로 왔어요 = I came to school second (I was the second person to come to school)
저는 그것을 첫 번째로 할 거예요 = I will go (do it) first


 

The other main meaning of ~(으)로 is to indicate the direction that something is happening in. This sometimes has the same meaning as “에.”For example:

저는 집으로 갈 거예요 = I will go in the direction of home (simply ‘I will go home’), which would be the same as:
저는 집에 갈 거예요 = I will go home

~(으)로 is often added after ~쪽 to make “~쪽으로”.  ~쪽 can be added after some nouns and some direction words (above/below/East/West/etc) to mean “the direction of ___.”

그쪽 = that way/direction
위쪽 = upper direction
사람 쪽 = the direction of the people, etc..

To make sentences like:

저의 친구는 저 쪽으로 갔어요 = My friend went that way
학생들은 교실 쪽으로 걸어요 = Students walk towards/in the direction of their class

Notice the difference between these two:

저는 집 안 쪽으로 달렸어요 = I ran inside the house
저는 집 안에서 달렸어요 = I ran inside the house

In the first example, you are running into the house/in the direction of ‘inside the house.’ In the second example, you are running inside the house.

That’s it for this lesson! I wanted to cover a few more particles, but this lesson already has way too much in it! In the next lesson, I will introduce you to more of these common particles. Until then, make sure you review this lesson before you move on!

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