English often uses prepositions to show the relationship of a noun to the rest of the sentence. Examples are "to home", "across the river", "on the street", etc. Like English prepositions, Korean particles are short words that describe spacial relationships between objects and designate things like the subject and direct object. Unlike English prepositions, though, Korean particles come after the words they modify (hence their alternative name: "postpositions").
Consider the following sentence:
- Korean: '도서관이 시장 옆에 있어요.'
- Literally: 'library market next to is.'
- English: 'The library is next to the market.'
In Korean, the phrase 옆에 ('next to') is placed after 시장 ('the market').
Below is a basic list of postpositions and words to describe spatial relationships.
- 에게 ("to [a person]")
- 에서 ("from" or "at")
- 을/를 (direct object)
- 근처 nearby
- 멀다 be far from here
- 가깝다 be near/close
- 위 above/on
- 아래 below
- 앞 in front of
- 뒤 behind
- 옆 beside/by/next to
- 안 inside
Here are some examples of how to use these postpositions.
- 새가 지붕 위에 있어요. There's a bird on the roof.
- 어머니는 주방 안에 있어요. Mother is in the kitchen.
Postpositions dealing with time
- 동안 - for
- 는 동안 - while
- 30분동안 잤어요. I slept for 30 minutes.
- 나는 말하는 동안 영화를 봤어요. I talked while watching a movie.