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When you want to say "I want to buy a house near the beach." to Korean, you can say just "I want to buy a house beach."

Well, this is grammatically wrong sentence in English, but I don't understand why English users say like that.

And in Korean, we can omit subject in sentence. The words like "near" "In" can be left out too, and I think this differences are come from different cultures. Is there anybody to explain about this? I want to listen any opinions, or guess about these cultural differences. It disturbs me to learn English...

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In English, it's perfectly fine to say:

I want to buy a beach house.

It's become so common at this point, that most people would think of it as a compound noun—and you'll even find it in some dictionaries that way:

[Collins]

noun
a holiday house overlooking a beach

Some people have even adopted the closed-form word beachhouse.

But it would have originally formed from the noun beach acting as an adjective against the noun house. In other words, beach became an attributive noun.


In general, adjectives come before nouns. But most adjectives are also known to be adjectives, and are not used on their own as nouns.

For example:

✔ It is a hot meal.
✘ It is a hot.

Although not as common, the following would at least be understood:

❔ It is a meal hot.

It would be understood because we recognize hot as an adjective. Even though it would not normally come after a noun, and it sounds odd, the meaning is still clear because we know which is the noun and which is the adjective that is modifying it. (Having said that, it would not normally be phrased in this way.)


With attribute nouns, you take two nouns and use the first one in an adjectival way to modify the second one. But the meaning is only clear because of the order in which they are placed.

In other words, you can't just swap the noun order and assume the resulting compound will have the same meaning.

In this case, beach house means "a holiday house overlooking a beach".

But in contrast, if such a phrase were coined, a house beach would likely mean a beach that has many houses overlooking it.

However, it's not a phrase than anybody has actually coined, so it would be assumed to be a mistake. Even if it weren't assumed to be a mistake, the meaning behind it would be that you wanted to buy an entire beach along with all of its many houses.


So, while I want to buy a house beach may be fine in Korean, there are only two ways of phrasing the same thing in English:

I want to buy a house near the beach.
I want to buy a beach house.

  • Oh, thank you very much. I learn many things at your answer. – user89067 Feb 27 at 8:01
  • And, In korean, there is no preposition. That's the main reason that I couldn't understand those english sentences. – user89067 Feb 27 at 8:15
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Korean doesn't have prepositions as separate words, but it does have words like 근처 and 'post-positions' like 에서 which are attached to the noun, or to 근처. So I would say '해변 근처에서 집을 사고 싶다' (but I'm not a native Korean speaker, so I might be wrong).

  • Can you please translate the Korean phrases. I do not speak nor read Korean. – Mari-Lou A Mar 25 at 8:25
  • Your sentense means "I want to buy a house at the beach", not near the beach. And as you say, there are some words like post-positions in english. – user89067 Apr 6 at 2:32
  • For example, 근처에(near), 옆에(next to), 뒤에(behind) – user89067 Apr 6 at 2:33
  • But we often overleap those words. – user89067 Apr 6 at 2:34
  • Well, sometimes we have to use those words to complete the sentense, but it's not important things as in english I think... – user89067 Apr 6 at 2:36

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