[Grammar] 있어요 possession and existence

있어요/없어요  have(possession), be at(existence)

있어요 has two different meanings. The first meaning is “have(possession)“, and the other one is “is/am/are at/in/on somewhere(existence)“. It is not just ‘is’, it means ‘is at/in/on somewhere(existence)‘. The opposite word for 있어요 is 없어요


1. Possession  : noun이/가 있어요. have a noun. 

i.e) (저는) 집이 있어요.  I have a house.
(저는) 돈이 있어요. I have money.
(저는) 아내가 있어요. I have wife.
사과가 없어요. I do not have an apple.
저는 한국 친구가 없어요. I do not have Korean friends.
저는 핸드폰이 없어요. I do not have a cell phone.

2. Existence  : noun이/가 place에 어요. noun is at/on/in a place.

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.
컴퓨터가 없어요. There is no computer at home.
도서관 책이 많이 있어요. There are lots of books at the library.
침대가 있어요. There is a bed in the room.
공원 꽃이 많이 있어요. There are a lot of flowers at the park.
* You can also listen to the pronunciation of these sentences here.

As you can see, when 있어요/없어요 mean “be at some place“, 있어요 follows after “-에” which is a place particle.

If you are confused by 있어요 and 이에요, please click here to learn more.