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Beginner 1 > Lesson 25

Lesson 25. 에 vs 에서 (Time & Place Marking Particles)

에 and 에서 are both used as time particles and place particles, meaning both of them can be used after a time and a place noun. So, let’s dive into it and learn the differences.


1. 에 as a Time Particle

a) Specific Time

At 1 o’clock = 한 시에

 At 3 o’clock = 세 시에

 At 9 o’clock = 아홉 시에


 b) Time of the Day:

아침 (morning): 아침에 (in the morning)

저녁 (evening): 저녁에 (in the evening)

밤 (night): 밤에 (at night)


c) Day:

월요일 (Monday): 월요일에 (on Monday)

목요일(Thursday): 목요일에 (on Thursday)

일요일 (Sunday): 일요일에 (on Sunday)

can also be put after words like:

주말 (weekend): 주말에 (on the weekend)

주중 (weekdays): 주중에 (on weekdays)


d) Month:

1월 (January), 2월 (February), … 12월 (December)

1월에 = in January

2월에 = in February

저는 12월에 태어났어요. – I was born in December.


e) Year:

2020 년에 = in 2020

1992 년에 = in 1992

저는 1992년에 태어났어요. – I was born in 1992.


f) Season:

봄 (spring): 저는 봄에 제프를 만났어요. – I met Jeff in spring.

여름 (summer): 저는 여름에 수영해요. – I swim in summer.

가을 (fall): 가을에 (in fall)

겨울 (winter): 겨울 (in winter)


g) Special periods of time:

방학 (summer/winter vacation at school): 저는 방학에 여행을 했어요. – I traveled during the vacation.

쉬는 시간 (rest time): 저는 쉬는 시간에 낮잠을 잤어요. – I took a nap during the break time.

점심 시간 (lunch time): 점심 시간에 (during the lunch time)

저녁 시간 (dinner time): 저녁 시간에 (during dinner time)


*For months and years, Sino-Korean numbers are used.

**Such words as 오늘 (today), 내일 (tomorrow), 어제 (yesterday) are not followed by (오늘에 would be wrong, etc).


2. 에서 as a Time Particle

As we know so far, Time Noun + 에 = at/during Time Noun.

But when we use 에서, it has a different meaning:


Time Noun¹ 에서 = from (time noun)

and usually it’s followed by another particle:

Time Noun² 까지 = to (time noun)

Together they mean “from (time) to (time)”.

Ex. 1시에서 2시까지 게임을 했어요. – I was playing games from 1 to 2.

Ex. 저는 매일 9시에서 6시까지 일해요. – I work from 9 to 6 every day.


When 에서 means “from” like in this case, it can be replaced with 부터 particle.

Ex. 1시부터 2시까지 게임을 했어요. – I was playing games from 1 to 2.

Ex. 저는 매일 9시부터 6시까지 일해요. – I work from 9 to 6 every day.


에서 vs 부터 when both mean “from”

They are in may cases interchangeably used; however, 에서 is more often used with “place,” and 부터 is more often used with “time.”

서울에서 부산까지 = From Seoul to Busan

한 시 부터 세 시까지 = From 1 o’clock to 3 o’clock 


3. Using 에 and 에서 as a Place Particle

1) The First Meaning

a) Place 에

Ex. 저는 도서관 있어요. – I’m at the library.

Place = in/at (place) (indicates the location of something/somebody’s presence)

: it’s always followed by a verb that means sth/sb’s presence

There are not many verbs which indicate presence, but here are some of the most commonly used:

있다 (to be): 저는 한국 있어요. – I’m in Korea. / 저는 집 있어요. – I’m at home.

살다 (to live): 저는 한국 살아요. – I live in Korea.

(살다 can be used with both 에 and 에서, but 에 sounds more natural.)

존재하다 (to exist): 지구 많은 생물체가 존재해요. – A lot of creatures exist on Earth.

출석하다 (to be present) *often used to indicate one’s presence at class

Ex. 오늘 과학 수업 출석했어요. – I was (present) in a science class.

참석하다 (to be present) *often on an event/meeting

Ex. 많은 연예인들이 그 행사 참석했어요. – A lot of celebrities were at this event.


b) Place 에서

Ex. 저는 도서관에서 공부해요. – I study in a library.

Place 에서 = in (place) (indicates the location of a specific action)

: it’s always followed by various specific action verbs:

Ex. 저는 집에서 공부해요. – I study at home.

Ex. 저는 한국에서 일해요. – I work in Korea.

Ex. 지수는 제프와 영화관에서 데이트를 해요. – Jisoo had a date with Jeff at the movie theater.

Ex. 저는 화장실에서 일을 봐요. – I’m in a bathroom. (화장실에서 일을 보다 is a soft way to say that you are peeing or pooping)


2) The second meaning of and 에서 when used as place particle

Place Noun = to (place) *noun is the “heading point”

Place Noun 에서 = from (place) *noun is the “starting point”


Depending on the context and the following verb, it is easy to understand which meaning 에 or 에서 has.

There is a limited amount of verbs that can be used with 에 or 에서 having this meaning:


가다 (to go):

Ex. 저는 학교에 안 갔어요. – I didn’t go to school.

Ex. 엄마는 매일 병원에 가요. – My mom goes to the hospital every day.


오다 (to come):

Ex. 내일 우리 집에 와. – Come to my house tomorrow!

Ex. 파티에 왜 안 와? – Why don’t you come to parties?


도착하다 (to arrive):

*in Korean it is said “to arrive to () somewhere,” not at somewhere

Ex. 공항 도착했어요. – I arrived at the airport.

Ex. 미국 언제 도착해요? – When are you arriving to the US?

Ex. 어느 나라에서 왔어요? – Where are you from?

Ex. 학교에서 집으로 갔어요. – I went home from school. *to replace (으)로 with 에 in this case would be unnatural


cf) Shortened form of 에서

에서 can be shortened to 서 when it has any of the meanings described in the lesson (in, at, from).
* Both usages are correct, and Koreans tend to use a shortened form so a sentence sounds softer and friendlier.

Ex. 강남에서 마포까지 얼마나 걸려요? – How long does it take from 강남 to 마포?

= 강남 마포까지 얼마나 걸려요?
*Place Noun¹ 에서 + Place Noun² 까지 = from (place¹) to (place²)

Ex. 사무실에서 일해요. – I work at the office.
= 사무실 일해요.

Ex. 제프는 캐나다에서 왔어요. – Jeff came to Canada.

=제프는 캐나다 왔어요.



[Quick Summary]

Time Particle:

Time Noun에 = at (time noun)

Time Noun¹ 에서(=부터) = from (time noun)
+ Time Noun² 까지 = to (time noun)


Place Particle:

Meaning 1:

Place 에 = in (place) (indicates the location of somebody’s presence)

Place 에서 = in (place) (indicates the location of a specific action)

Meaning 2:

Place Noun에 = to (place) *noun is the “heading point”

Place Noun 에서 = from (place) *noun is the “starting point”

*Place Noun¹ 에서 + Place Noun² 까지 = from (place¹) to (place20