[Grammar] -에 있어요 : place particle

-이/가  있어요/없어요
(Noun is at/in a place)

-에 is a place particle which means ‘existence’, it can be translated ‘at/in/on’ in English.  It is used with ‘있어요/없어요’ which mean ‘there is/there is not’.  For example,

선생님이 학교에 있어요.
The teacher is at the school.

In this sentence, 선생님(teacher) is a subject, 학교(school) is a place name and 있어요 means ‘is(exist)’.  There are two particles which are ‘-이(subject particle)‘ and ‘-에(place particle)‘.  Those particles tell us which one is a subject or a place.

Why is the particle important?  In this sentence, you can easily tell which one is a subject. However, if both nouns are items, you will be confused which one is a subject if there is no particle.  For example,

책상 있어요.

Is ‘책’ a subject or ‘책상’is a subject?  Can you tell?
Therefore, we should use ‘-이/가’ and ‘-에’ to make sure which one is a subject.

책이 책상에 있어요.

If the subject is an item, we often put ‘noun+에’ in front of the subject. For example,

책상에 책이 있어요. = 책이 책상에 있어요.

Can you tell me which one is the subject in each sentence?

Yes! the subject is ‘책’ in both sentences.

Let’s practice more with some sentences.

선생님이 학교에 있어요.
 The teacher is at the school.
민수 씨가 도서관에 있어요.
 Minsu is at the library.
동생이 집에 있어요.
 My younger sister(brother) is at home.
오빠가 집에 없어요.
 My older brother is not at home.
형이 커피숍에 있어요.
 My older brother is at the coffee shop.
집에 컴퓨터가 없어요.
 There is no computer at home.
도서관에 책이 많이 있어요.
 There are lots of books at the library.
방에 침대가 있어요.
 There is a bed in the room.
공원에 꽃이 많이 있어요.
 There are a lot of flowers at the park.

You can also listen to the pronunciation here.