Lesson 15 (Beginner 1A L7)

The 7th lesson of the term. This lesson was where I paid my fees for the next term (another 8 lessons). I got the reminder and invoice on the 6th lesson. The final lesson will be 2 weeks from now, because of Chinese New Year next week.

I did some calculations. If I intend to continue until I finish the intermediate syllabus, it will easily be another 2 and a half years at minimum. The estimate is 1 year for beginner, and 1.5 years for intermediate. I've just about finished only the first set of beginner classes.

There are 52 weeks in a year, and 8 lessons a term. Let's say there are 6 terms in a year. (Only 48 weeks, because of public holidays and Christmas break and other such things, like the teacher going back to Korea.) That's about $2000 a year for lessons. I get $500/year from my company to offset for courses. $1500/year.

The hourly cost is $20/hour. $30/lesson. It's okay. I guess I could get around that rate on italki too if I bothered.

German classes are more expensive, both online and if I went to Goethe Institut. Lessons are Goethe are much more expensive. This is why I don't go for classes there even though it is within walking distance from where I live.

But I also kind of like having a class.

I'm only thinking about money because one of my friends is probably not continuing the lessons because of money. I don't want to talk about it in this post, since this should be about the lesson. But I might make another separate post about it, depending on what happens.

There were only 5 of us in the class for this lesson, as 2 of the other students couldn't make it. I prefer it when the class is a bit smaller as I'm always... somewhat afraid of speaking in a big group.

We had another student join on the Christmas celebration lesson (she didn't attend this lesson), and that was also the week that one of the students stopped coming. I'm not sure what happened: if he quit, or transferred to another class.

Because of where I sat, and due to the odd number of students, for one of the speaking exercises I ended up doing it with the teacher. We finished it in record time. It was awkward. I should consider carefully before sitting in that seat again. (We changed classrooms this week, which is why I'd not been in this position before, though I know it sometimes happens, as I'd always sit somewhere further back.)


Recall this first rule from last week:

1. 여기가 N이에요/예요.

This is used for asking questions and making statements about the place where the speaker is located.

You would say something like "여기가 Times Square이에요."* if you were talking to someone and walking down Times Square. Translated, it means "This is Times Square."

It doesn't have to be a place that is physically in sight, as you can use 거기 (there) to indicate a place that was previously mentioned that is out of sight.

There is also 저기 for a place that's within sight of both the speaker and listener, but relatively far away from their current location.

*I am not sure if the correct way is to use 이에요 or 예요, but I originally opted for the latter because foreign words don't technically have Batchim. I'm unsure of the convention. However, the truth is, if you are speaking, once you speak fast enough, they both sound the same anyway.

Edit (7 Mar): The other way of looking at it (which I learnt from How To Study Korean) is to see if the word ends with a vowel or consonant. "Square" is /skwɛə(r)/ so... I guess either would work in this weird case, but if it's a consonant like /skwɛə/ then it should be 이에요, so I've updated the sentence to use 이에요 instead of 예요.

These are the 2 new rules covered in this week's lesson.

2. N에 있어요/없어요.

This is also for indicating location, but this is used to express where something or someone is (or is not) located.

This is actually very unnatural, since when you first encounter 있어요/없어요, you learnt that they meant that [someone] has/does not have something, as in the sentence N이/가 있어요.

The natual tendency of the English speaker, then, is to associate "있어요" with the verb "have". After all, 이/가 is a particle, and it's thus far been perfectly sensible for particles not to change a verb's meaning.

(Now to be fair, I don't actually think this is even a correct statement to make, but that's one possible way to view what's going on, as a kind of simplication. It's perhaps more correct to say that it's simply a verb which has multiple meanings, and for certain meanings, it will take certain particles. This is simply a result of the function of the noun in that sentence. After all, the particle indicates what the noun does in the sentence. It then becomes natural to associate certain meanings of the verb to particular particles.)

The teacher said that in the construction N이/가 있어요, "이/가 있어요" is equivalent to the Chinese 有 (have). But "에 있어요 " from N에 있어요 is equivalent to Chinese 在 (at).

I think that's already somewhat clearer than in English, but I found it even clearer if you think about Japanese and the equivalent あります(arimasu). Now, I didn't remember this for Japanese, apart from the fact that あります means "to have" in the most basic sentences that I'd learnt before.

Over dinner last night, I casually asked my dad (who is learning Japanese rather casually on Duolingo and Memrise) how you would indicate location in Japanese. He told me it was with the particle で and then the sentence ends with あります. Interesting...

While typing that out, my computer suggested the Kanji as well, and it turns out that the verb ある (aru, the infinitive form) can also be written as 有る or 在る, though apparently it's not that common as simply using ある. (Sorry that it's the French version of this page that mentions this, not the English one...)

So did the two words originally (as they were in Chinese) somehow combine to one that sounds the same and are henceforth written the same in both Korean and Japanese?

I digress.

Let's talk about using N에 있어요/없어요 to form sentences.

To say that something (N1) is found at a place (N2), you would use: N1이/가 N2에 있어요. N2 is a place, but N1 can be a person, a place (e.g. a building), a thing...

To say the opposite, that is, that N1 is not found in N2, you would use: N1이/가 N2에 없어요.

Using 이/가 is based on whether N1 has batchim or not.


  1. 마리 씨가 도서관에 있어요. (Mary is in the library.)
  2. 백화점이 명동에 있어요. (The department store is in Myeongdong.)
    • Myeongdong is a famous shopping district in Seoul which I did not know about - I have not been to Korea in over 10 years and I don't really keep up on the cultural aspects, unfortunately. I know I should pay more attention to culture when I study a language, but this seems to be my style more often than not. This is another digression, but:
      • I started learning French when I didn't even know on the first lesson that "bon voyage" was French!
      • When I learnt Japanese in high school, I only knew bits and pieces from my prior trips and that I liked the food. That's why I gave it up a year later... and it was a pity that I discovered manga 2 years after that. I really should learn Japanese again.
  3. 책이 방에 없어요. (The book is not in the bag.)
  4. 줄리앙이 교실에 있어요. (Julian is in the school.)
    • The emphasis here is on "in the school", and is more suited to answer the question 줄리앙는 어디에세 있어요? ("Where is Julian?")
  5. 교실에 줄리앙이 있어요. (Julian is in the school.)
    • The emphasis here is on Julian being in the school, and is more suited to answer the question "Who is in the school?"
  6. 여기가 남산이에요. 남산에는 서울타워가 있어요. (This is Namsan. N Seoul Tower is in Namsan.)
    • The first sentence implies that both the speaker and listener are in Namsan when it is being said.
    • The second sentence's particle 는 is to indicate a topic (남산) that has previously been mentioned.
    • Otherwise, it is not necessary.
    • This is a perfectly grammatical sentence: 남산에 서울타워가 있어요. (N Seoul Tower is in Namsan.)

3. N에 가요/와요.

This is used to indicate when someone is going (or coming) to a place.

You use N에 가요 to say that someone is going to a place. N에 와요 is used to indicate that someone is coming to a place (where the speaker is at).

The dictionary forms of the verbs are 가다 (to go) and 오다 (to come) respectively.


  1. 마틴 씨는 병원에 가요. (Martin is going to the hospital.)
  2. 오늘 하교에 와요? (Are you coming to school today?)
    • The person asking the question is in in the school.
    • A possible answer would be: 아니요, (하교에) 안 가요. (No, I'm not going [to school].)
    • Notice that the person who's responding uses the verb 가요 ("go") instead, because he or she is not physically in the school.
    • In Korean, you must always use 가요 ("go") when referring to a place that you are not physically at.
    • In English, this distinction is supposed to exist (I guess?) but sometimes informally, we would say "Are you coming?" or something along those lines, even when we aren't at the destination yet.


Ask these two questions with a partner, and take turns answering.

  1. 어디에 가요? (Where are you going?)
    • 카페에 가요. (I'm going to the café.)
  2. 거기 에서 뭐 해요? (What are you going to do there?)
    • 카피를 마셔요. (I'm drinking coffee.)
    • 친구를 만나요. (I'm meeting a friend.)


  • 에 is used to indicate a location, such as where something is, or where someone is going or coming from, as learnt in rules 2 & 3 (this lesson).
    • Example: 유진 씨가 책방에 있어요. (Yujin is at the bookshop.)
  • 에서 is used with an action, to indicate that an action is taking place at a given location (rule 1, last lesson).
    • More specifically, that the subject of the sentence is performing the action at a given location.
    • Example: (유진 씨는) 책방에서 책을 사요. (Yujin is buying a book at the bookshop.)


Korean English
알다 to know
찻집 teahouse


Mistakes I made in class during this lesson:

  1. I forgot that the verb 배우다 ("to learn") needs a noun while doing one of the exercises (written) in-class.
    • Kind of silly, considering that it's pretty much the same in English (and German, and French...), no?
  2. I mistook the picture on the pharmacy (약국) for a rice bowl and thought the building was a restaurant (식당).

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