Most Common Korean Prepositions
You’ve learned 에 Prepositions and how it works in previous lessons. But, of course, there are many common Korean prepositions that aren’t based on 에. Today you will learn the most basic and common Korean prepositions.
Most Common Korean Prepositions?
Can you tell me what’s incorrect with the phrase ‘Most Common Korean Prepositions’? Yes, Korean grammar doesn’t have prepositions. It has postpositions instead. So, it should be ‘Most Common Korean Postpositions’. I wrote preposition instead of postposition to help you understand it faster but keep that Korean language doesn’t have prepositions in your mind and never forget.
한테 means ‘To someone’ or ‘From someone’ or ‘By someone’. It’s very similar to 에게 except that 한테 sounds informal and is commonly used more than 에게 in a daily conversation. 한테 is normally used with a living thing only.
이것은 준한테 어려워요.
It’s difficult to Jun / for Jun.
이 책을 준한테 받았어요.
I got this book from Jun.
I got bitten by a zombie.
으로 / 로 Postposition
으로 describes the direction of movement or changes to a specific destination or a goal. It’s same to ‘to’ in English for destination. 으로 and 로 also means the method ‘by’ or the tool ‘with’.
If the word has batchim at the end, then 으로 is correct. 로 is correct with no batchim. Some words has an exception but you don’t need to memorize them all because those can be a very minor mistake.
한국으로 여행갈 거예요.
I’ll travel to Korea.
고양이를 사자로 키웠어요.
I raised a cat as a lion.
망치로 머리를 내리쳐요.
Hit the head with a hammer.
= Tool / Method
사랑으로 준씨를 응원해줘요.
Support Jun with love / by love.
Korean postposition 까지 is very similar to English preposition ‘until’. It mostly means ‘until place / time / amount’, ‘to place / time / amount’. It describes the goal or maximum limit. You shouldn’t consider it only as ‘until’ or ‘to’ since you understand Korean language is perfectly different from your language even for so small things.
I walked until now.
Finish it by 10 / before 10.
= By / Before
From 1 to 10.
I will drive you to the airport.
= To place
부터 means the exact opposite of 까지. It describes the source, origin and beginning for amount, time, place, information or almost everything. Normally it’s translated as ‘from’ or ‘since’.
서울부터 뉴욕까지 거리.
Distance from Seoul to New York.
= From with location
Count (numbers) from 11.
= From with numbers
저번달부터 여기서 일했어요.
I’ve worked here since last month.
Adverbs That Are Postpositions in Korean
Some vocabularies, specially adverbs, has another part of speech in Korean grammar. For example, ‘only’ in English is an adverb but it’s a postposition in Korean. If you use ‘Korean only’ like you use ‘English only’, it would be really really really weird and hard to understand.
고기 먹어요 만. (Wrong)I eat meat only. (Wrong)
I eat meat only.
도 is used to say something is same just like ‘too’ or ‘either’ in English. Only one difference between ‘도’ and ‘too’ is ‘도’ is not an adverb. It works like a postposition after a noun.
준씨도 좋다고 했어요.
Jun said he likes it too.
저도 거기서 일해요.
I work there too.
저도 이거 좋아해요.
I like it too.
You can see 도 is attached to the subject on each sentence. That’s how Koreans say ‘too’
만 means ‘only’ or ‘just’ in English. It’s used to describe no one or nothing besides. However, 만 is also a postposition, not adverb. So you must use it after a noun just like 도 postposition.
Do it only like that.
= Keep doing just like that
There is only Jun.
Give me only meat.
와 and 과 are Korean postpositions that links 2 words or phrases or clauses. It’s can be translated as ‘something and something’ or ‘with something or someone’. You should use 2 nouns to mean ‘something and something’. If you use it only with one noun, it sounds like ‘with something’. 와/과 sounds formal sometimes.
받침 is important with 와/과 postpositions. I’m sure you are familiar with this grammar rule by now.
Meat and meat.
야채를 면과 같이 볶아주세요.
Fry vegetables with noodles together.
= With something
나탈리아씨와 함께 한국어를 배워요.
I learn Korean with Natalia.
= With someone