43. Preposition And Postposition

In this lesson, you will learn how to understand Korean prepositions (postpositions) and basic prepositions.

Korean Preposition And Postposition img

No Prepositions

I wrote preposition but actually Korean grammar doesn’t have prepositions. It has postpositions instead of prepositions. Both are almost same. I wrote prepositions to help you understand what you are learning in this lesson.

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At lesson 5 Subject and Object Makers, You’ve learn how Korean postpositions work briefly. Korean markers are also postpositions in Korean grammar. But of course, Korean grammar has words just like English prepositions such as at, by, from.

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The Position of Postposition

Why are they called ‘post’position? Because they are placed after the word to modify it. So simple. Preposition in English is called preposition because it’s placed before a noun.


By the way, the real term of it doesn’t mean ‘postposition’ at all in Korean. Postposition is a term to help foreigners understanding. Korean grammar named it ‘조사’ which means ‘helping word’ in English.

Postposition In A Sentence

Postpositions are often placed behind a subject or an object or before a verb or at the head of a sentence. So… It means it can be placed on anywhere before a verb. Now, you can guess why it can be possible. Yes, because of all markers. Positions aren’t much important for us.


저는 방에서에게 책을 줬어요.
I gave a book to Jun in a room.
= Most common


저는 준에게에서 책을 줬어요.
I gave a book to Jun in a room.


저는 준에게 책을 방에서 줬어요.
I gave a book to Jun in a room.


에서 저는 준에게 책을 줬어요.
I gave a book to Jun in a room.

Korean Postposition System in Korean Grammar

Works very different than English prepositions, not only where it’s placed. For example, Korean language doesn’t have prepositions such as ‘on’, ‘under’. Instead, Korean grammar combines a noun and a preposition to make many Korean postposition


: Top, Up
: At
: At top of
= On


아래 : Bottom, Lower part, down
: At
아래 : At bottom of
= Under


So Korean grammar very often uses ‘에’ which means ‘at’ and makes different meanings by using another word with it. You must remember there is no word such word as ‘on’, ‘under’ in Korean language. Since you need to combine words to make prepositions, you can spend less time to memorize Korean vocabularies.


: Up
: Floor
: At
윗층 : At upper floor
= Upstairs


기차역 : Train station
: At
기차역 : At train station
= At train station

Most Basic Postpositions

Some postpositions aren’t based on 에 postpositions. And the real meanings of each postposition are SOOOOOO different than English prepositions. If you don’t learn how to use them or all meanings that each postposition has, it would make a big big big trouble every time. I’ll teach you how you should use them, so don’t worry.


Korean postpositions can be combined with other postpositions to make a new meaning. it works similar to 에 postpositions. A bit more complicated.


여섯시까지 일해요.
I work until 6.
= 까지 (until)


으로 가요.
Go to the room.
= 으로 (to)


여섯시까지만 일해요.
I work only until 6.
= 까지(until) + 만(only)


부터 걸어왔어요.
I walked here from my house.
= 부터 (from)

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No Spacing?

No spacing between postposition and noun seems confusing. If you use English prepositions in the way how Korean grammar works, it would be written like ‘atcafe’ and yes it’s confusing because English writes a letter left to right.


However, Korean writing systems works in a very unique way by making a word syllable block so it doesn’t make any confusion even if a preposition is attached to another word.