있다 & 없다 "To Be" or "Exist" at a Location in Korean... Or Not

있다 & 없다 “To Be” or “Exist” at a Location in Korean… Or Not

있다 and 없다 are two of the most common words in Korean and have many usages. This lesson teaches 있다 “To be” or “Exist” at a location and 없다 “To not be” or “Not exist” at a location in Korean.
With these words you can say things like “Mom, I’m home.” or “Where is the milk?”

 

Table of Contents

있다 “To be at a location” in Korean (Present Tense)
Korean Location Words
없다 “To not be at a location” in Korean (Present Tense)
Where? with 있다
Where? with 이다
있다 & 없다 Sample Dialogue
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있다 “To be” at a location in Korean (Present Tense)

The verb 있다 has many uses in Korean. Here we will focus on one “To be” at a location in Korean.
있다 is “To exist” at a location or “To be” at a location in Korean.

 
 

에 is “At” in Korean

~에 gets attached to the end of a location word.

Location

home at home
학교 school at school

 
 

 

있다 Dictionary Form Sentence Structure

 있다 has not been conjugated yet and is the form you would find in the dictionary.
If a Korean verb ends in the syllable 다 then it is in the dictionary form.
The dictionary form is usually not used while speaking.
Sentence Structure:

Topic은/는   Location   있다

있다
I home am.
I am at home. 
학교 있다
I는 school am.
I am at school.

Korean Location Words

on top, on top of
under, below
in front, in front of
behind
next to, beside, by
inside
outside
아레 bottom
근처 near, nearby
건너편 across
맞은편 right across, directly across
반대편 on the other side, opposite side
반대쪽 on the other side, opposite side

 

w/ Korean Location Words Sentence Structure

By adding Korean Location Words you can say sentences like: “I am in front of the home.” or “I am behind the school.”

 

Sentence structure in dictionary form:

Topic은/는   Noun   LocationWord   있다

집 앞 있다
I home in front of am.
I am in front of the home. 
학교 뒤 있다
I는 school behind am.
I am behind the school.

 

Korean Language Learning Tips

If the placement of an object is obvious then you don’t need to say the locations words.

Ex.

A: Where is the soap?
B: 비누 화장실 안 있다. = The soap is in the bathroom.

Changes to:

A: Where is the soap?
B: 비누 화장실 있다. = The soap is in the bathroom.

 

 

있다 with Korean Honorifics (Present Tense)

The 있다 forms below have been conjugated based on Korean Honorifics. Korean Honorifics is a system in which verb endings and words used while speaking change based on relationships, age, and seniority.
These sentences structures are examples of what you can use in everyday life when speaking to people.

 

Informal Level 있어

To conjugate 있다 to the informal level follow this formula:

있다 – 다 = 있
있 + 어 = 있어

 

Topic은/는   Location   있어

있어
I home am.
I am at home. 
학교 있어
I는 school am.
I am at school.

Remember the pronunciation of 있어 is [이써]

 

Topic은/는   Noun   LocationWord   있어

집 앞 있어
I home in front of am.
I am in front of the home. 
학교 뒤 있어
I는 school behind am.
I am behind the school.

 

Polite Level 있어요

To conjugate 있다 to the polite level follow this formula:

있다 – 다 = 있
있 + 어요 = 있어요

 

 Topic은/는   Location   있어요

있어요
I home am.
I am at home. 
학교 있어요
I는 school am.
I am at school.

Remember the pronunciation of 있어요 is [이써요]

Topic은/는   Noun   LocationWord   있어요

집 앞 있어요
I home in front of am.
I am in front of the home. 
학교 뒤 있어요
I는 school behind am.
I am behind the school.

 

Honorific Level 있습니다

To conjugate 있다 to the honorific level follow this formula:

있다 – 다 = 있
있 + 습니다 = 있습니다

 

  Topic은/는   Location   있습니다

있습니다
I home am.
I am at home. 
학교 있습니다
I는 school am.
I am at school.

Remember the pronunciation of 있습니다 is [이씀니다]

Topic은/는   Noun   LocationWord   있습니다

집 앞 있습니다
I home in front of am.
I am in front of the home. 
학교 뒤 있습니다
I는 school behind am.
I am behind the school.
 

Learn Korean Language Tips

The topic particles 은/는 can be replaced by the subject particles 이/가 in the sentence structures above. So how is that different?

and are used for emphasis and comparison. and state facts. 

The differences and uses of 은/는, 이/가, and 을/를 were explained in How to Read Korean Hangul part 10 if you’d like a quick refresher.

Ex.

A: Where is the soap?
B: 비누 화장실 안 있다. = The soap is in the bathroom (in comparison to other things that are not in the bathroom).

Or:

A: Where is the soap?
B: 비누 화장실 있다. = The soap is in the bathroom. (fact)

Get this lesson as a free PDF

Get this lesson as a free PDF

Study on or offline on any device, computer, phone, or tablet.

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없다 “To not be” at a location in Korean

(Present Tense)

없다 is the opposite of 있다.
없다 is “To not exist” at a location or “To not be” at a location in Korean.
없다 is the dictionary form.
In English we would just add the word “not” before “be.”
Ex. am not/is not/are not
Korean skips the word “not” in this situation and just uses one word, 없다.

 
 

없다 with Korean Honorifics (Present Tense)

The 없다 forms below have been conjugated based on Korean Honorifics. Korean Honorifics is a system in which verb endings and words used while speaking change based on relationships, age, and seniority.
These sentences structures are examples of what you can use in everyday life when talking to people.

 

Informal Level 없어

To conjugate 없다 to the honorific level follow this formula:

없다 – 다 = 없
없 + 어 = 없어

 

Topic은/는   Location   없어

 없어
I home am not.
I am not at home. 
학교 없어
I는 school am not.
I am not at school.

Remember the pronunciation of 없어 is [업서]

Topic은/는   Noun   LocationWord   없어

집 앞 없어
I home in front of am not.
I am not in front of the home. 
학교 뒤 없어
I는 school behind am not.
I am not behind the school.

 

Polite Level 없어요

To conjugate 없다 to the honorific level follow this formula:

없다 – 다 = 없
없 + 어요 = 없어요

 

 Topic은/는   Location   없어요

 없어요
I home am not.
I am not at home. 
학교 없어요
I는 school am not.
I am not at school.

Remember the pronunciation of 없어요 is [업서요]

Topic은/는   Noun   LocationWord   없어요

집 앞 없어요
I home in front of am not.
I am not in front of the home. 
학교 뒤 없어요
I는 school behind am not.
I am not behind the school.

 

Honorific Level 없습니다

To conjugate 없다 to the honorific level follow this formula:

없다 – 다 = 없
없 + 습니다 = 없습니다

 

  Topic은/는   Location   없습니다

 없습니다
I home am not.
I am not at home. 
학교 없습니다
I는 school am not.
I am not at school.

Remember the pronunciation of 없습니다 is [업씀니다]

Topic은/는   Noun   LocationWord   없습니다

집 앞 없습니다
I home in front of am not.
I am not in front of the home. 
학교 뒤 없습니다
I는 school behind am not.
I am not behind the school.

Learn Korean Language Tips

Remember the topic particles 은/는 can be replaced by the subject particles 이/가 in the sentence structures above. Do you remember how they are different?

and are used for emphasis and comparison. and state facts.

 

 

 

Where? with 있다 

어디 is “Where” in Korean.
어디 can be used to ask where an object is or where a person that you are not talking to is.

 

Subject이/가   어디   있다?

Informal Level Polite Level Honorific Level
우유 어디 있어? 우유 어디 있어요? 우유 어디 있습니다?
우유 냉장고 있어. 우유 냉장고 있어요. 우유 냉장고 있습니다.

 

Sample Dialogue:

As long as the subject of the sentence is known, it doesn’t need to be said.

A: 우유 어디 있어요? = Where is the milk?
B:우유 냉장고 있어요. = The milk is in the refrigerator.

Changes to:

A: 우유 어디 있어요? = Where is the milk?
B:냉장고 있어요. = In the refrigerator.
 
 
 

Where? with 이다

You may talk about “Where” someone or something exists with the words 어디 “Where” in Korean and 이다 “To Be” in Korean.
This usage is only used in certain situations. Check out some examples below.

 

If you are talking directly to a person and:

  1. You can’t see them.
  2. You are texting messaging them.
  3. You are on the phone with them.
  4. Are in a similar situation.

 

Then 이다 can be used to ask that person where they are.

이다 gets attached directly to 어디.

Informal Level Polite Level English
어디야? 어디예요? Where are you? 

 

If you want to ask where a place is then 이다 is also used.

Subject이/가   이다?

Informal Level Polite Level English
어디야? 어디예요? Where is the home? 
학교 어디야? 학교 어디예요? Where is the school?

 
 
 

있다 & 없다 Sample Dialogue

혜란:  토마스, 컴퓨터 어디 있어요?
Hyeran: Thomas, where is the computer?

토마스:  책상 위 있어요.
Thomas: On the desk.

혜란:  핸드폰 책상 위 있어요?
Hyeran: Is the cell phone on the desk?

토마스:  아니요, 없어요.
Thomas: No, it’s not.

혜란:  어디 있어요?
Hyeran: Where is it?

토마스:  가방 안 있어요.
Thomas: It’s in the bag.

Get this lesson as a free PDF

Get this lesson as a free PDF

Study on or offline on any device, computer, phone, or tablet.

Please check your email to confirm your email address and receive your PDF lesson.

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