[Q&A] 이에요 vs 있어요

Many of my students are confused 이에요 and 있어요, so I am writing this post to make sure you understand 이에요 and 있어요.

이에요means “something/someone is/are/am a noun”. For example,
저는 한국 사람이에요. I am Korean.
(이 분이) 제 선생님이에요. This person is my teacher.
한국어 책이에요. It is a Korean book.
여기가 도서관이에요. Here is the library.
이게 제 가방이에요. This is my bag.

On the other hand, 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)‘.

Let’s look at some examples.
(저는) 한국 친구가 있어요. I have Korean friends. (possession)
시간이 많이 있어요. I have a lot of time. (possession)
앤디 씨는 가방이 많이 있어요. Andy has a lot of computers. (possession)
앤디 씨 집 가방이 많이 있어요. At Andy’s house, there are lots of computers. (existence) 
미나 씨가 집에 있어요. Mina is at home. (existence) 
마이크 씨가 한국에 있어요. Mike is in Korea. (existence)
제 집이 도서관 앞에 있어요. My house is in front of the library. (existence)
책상 책이 있어요. There is a book on the desk.(existence)
교실 옆 화장실이 있어요. There is a bathroom next to the classroom. (existence)

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

Let’s look at these two sentences.
1. 여기가 도서관이에요. Here is the library.
2. 제 집이 도서관 앞에 있어요. My house is in front of the library.

In these two sentences, 이에요 and 있어요 are used with a noun(place), however, 이에요 means “is a noun” while 있어요 means “is at a place


Do you know what the opposite word of 이에요? It is 아니에요(is not a noun). You can learn 아니에요 by clicking here.

How about the opposite word for 있어요? It is 없어요. For more examples of -에 있어요/없어요 by clicking here. For more examples of 있어요(possession) by clicking here.


[Grammar] -요 vs 습니다

-요 and 습니다 are both polite sentence endings, but they are used for different situations.

-요 is used for friendly/informal situations. Koreans use -요 for normal/daily conversations, you can use this to anyone who are older than you or you want to express respect.

On the other hand, 습니다 is used more for formal situations like work meetings, conferences, writing, army base, and TV news etc.

Basic form Friendly/informal Formal
Noun이다 이에요/예요 입니다
Verb/adjective다 아요/어요/해요 습니다/ㅂ니다


For example,

Friendly/informal Formal
저는 이미나예요. 저는 이미나입니다.
진주는 제 친구예요. 진주는 제 친구입니다.
이건 가방이에요. 이것은 가방입니다.
이 학교는 좋아요. 이 학교는 좋습니다.
컴퓨터가 있어요. 컴퓨터가 있습니다.
피자가 맛있어요. 피자가 맛있습니다.

If you want to learn more about 이에요, please click here.

If you want to learn more about 아요/어요/해요, please click here.

If you want to learn more about 습니다/ㅂ니다, please click here.

If you want to learn more about the honorific speech, please click here.

[Grammar] 저는 폴이에요.


1. Use :  N(consonant ending) +이에요
                N(vowel ending) + 예요

2. Meaning : Be verb like is, are, am (Polite way and informal way(friendly))

  • There is no space between noun and 예요/이에요
  • In Korean, there is no difference between is/are/am, so you don’t need to think about the subject at this moment.
  • Present tense

3. Example :  의(vowel ending) +예요 -> 의사예요 ~is/are/am a doctor

카메(vowel ending) +예요 -> 카메라예요   ~is a camera

미국 사(consonant ending) + 이에요 -> 미국 사람이에요 ~is/are/am an American

선생(consonant ending) +이에요 -> 선생님이에요  ~is/are/am a teacher

4. You can use this as a question.

eg) 의사예요?  ~is a doctor?
카메라예요?   ~is a camera?
예요? What is/are ~?
누구예요? Who is/are/am ~?
선생님이에요? ~is a teacher?
학생이에요?  ~is a student?
이에요? Is he your older brother?
어느 나라 사람이에요? Which country person are you? Where are you from?

For more sentences and audio files, please click here.