Lesson 35: It seems to be/might be: 것 같다

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Vocabulary
Introduction

To seem like/to be likely to: ~ㄹ/을 것 같다
그렇다 + ~ㄹ/을 것 같다
Expressing Possibility with ~겠다

 

Vocabulary

Click on the English word to see information and examples of that word in use. You might not be able to understand all of the grammar within the example sentences, but most of the grammar used will be introduced by the end of Unit 2. Use these sentences to give yourself a feel for how each word can be used, and maybe even to expose yourself to the grammar that you will be learning shortly.

A PDF file neatly presenting these words and extra information can be found here.

Nouns:
수영장 = swimming pool

Common Usages:
수영장에 들어가다 = to go into a pool
실내수영장 = indoor swimming pool
야외수영장 = outdoor swimming pool

Examples:
수영장 물은 별로 깨끗하지 않아요 = Water in swimming pools isn’t that clean
수영장물이 다 넘쳤어요? = Did all the water overflow out of the pool?

많은 사람들이 수영을 배우기 위해 수영장에 가요
= Many people go to swimming pools to learn how to swim

키가 클 때까지 얕은 수영장에서만 수영할 거예요
= I’m only going to swim in shallow swimming pools until I am taller

운동복 차림으로 수영장에 못 들어갑니다
You’re not allowed in the swimming pool wearing exercise clothes

수영장에 들어간 후에 옷이 완전히 젖었어요
= My clothes are completely wet after going into the pool

보건 = preservation of health

Notes: I would almost never say this word by itself. It is usually combined with some other words or syllables to mean “health preservation” (something).

Common Usages:
보건소 = health center
보건실 = “health room.” This is usually the “nurse’s office” in schools
세계보건기구 = the World Health Organization (WHO)
보건복지부 = Ministry of Health and Welfare

Examples:
보건소에서는 무료로 건강검진을 받을 수 있어요
= You can receive a free health checkup at the health center

이 문제는 시민보건에 아주 중요한 것 같아요
= It seems like this problem is very important to the health of the citizens

소나무 = pine tree

Examples:
소나무는 일년 내내 잎이 같은 색이에요 = The leaves of pine trees are the same color all year long
옆 집에서 사는 사람은 그 소나무를 자른 것 같아요 = It seems that the person who lives in the house next door cut that pine tree

바닥 = floor

Common Usages:
길바닥 = a road, street
손바닥 = palm of one’s hand
발바닥 = sole of one’s feet
바닥을 (걸레로) 닦다 = to wipe a floor (with a rag)
바닥에 앉다 = to sit on the floor
바닥에 닿다 = to touch (to be able to reach) a floor
바닥에 깔다 = to spread something out on a floor
강바닥 = riverbed

Examples:
바닥청소는 매일 해야 해요 = You need to clean the floor every day
그는 죽는 듯이 바닥에 누워 있었어요 = He lied on the ground as if he was dead
바닥이 왜 이렇게 차가워요?  = Why is the floor so cold?
오빠는 바닥에 앉아서 점심을 먹었어요 = My brother ate lunch sitting on the floor
저는 바닥에 있는 박스를 들었어요 = I lifted the box on the floor

변태 = pervert

Examples:
그 사람은 변태인 것 같아요 = It seems like that person is a pervert
변태를 만나면 경찰서에 신고해야 해요 = If you meet a pervert, you should report him to the police
변태들을 피하기 위해서는 어두운 골목길을 피해서 다녀야 해요 = In order to avoid perverts, you should avoid dark alleyways

홍수= flood

Notes: Like in English, 홍수 can also be used to refer to a lot of something. For example:
사람의 홍수 = a flood of people
정보의 홍수 = a flood of information

Common Usages:
홍수가 나다 = for a flood to occur
홍수로 인한 피해 = damage due to flooding

Examples:
매년 여름, 이 지역에는 홍수가 나요 = A flood occurs every summer in this area
홍수를 방지하기 위한 회의가 열렸어요 = We had a meeting about/for preventing a flood
내일 홍수가 날 것 같아요 = There will probably be a flood tomorrow

우리 집이 홍수로 피해를 입어서 집에 못 들어가요
= We can’t go into our house because it was damaged by the flood

시민들이 홍수로 인한 피해를 입은 길을 복구하고 있다
= The citizens are restoring the street that was damaged by the flood

새우 = shrimp

Common Usages:
새우튀김 = deep-fried shrimp
왕새우 = jumbo shrimp

Examples:
저는 새우에 알레르기가 있어요 = I have an allergy to shrimp
새우는 제가 제일 좋아하는 해산물이에요 = Shrimp is my favorite (type of) seafood
새우가 너무 비쌀 것 같아요 = The shrimp will probably be too expensive

왕따 = outcast

Common Usages:
왕따를 당하다 = to be treated as an outcast
왕따를 시키다 = to make somebody an outcast
왕따가 되다 = to become an outcast

Examples:
그 학생이 학교에서 왕따인 것 같아 = It seems like that student is an outcast at school

어릴 때 왕따를 당하면 상처가 오래 남아요
= If you’re an outcast when you are younger, the wounds stay for a long time

수진이 초등학교 때 반에서 왕따였어요
= Sujin was an outcast in her class when she was in elementary school

모두는 왕따와 밥을 먹는 것을 피할 것 같아요
= Everybody will probably avoid eating with the outcast at school

낚시 = fishing

The pronunciation of this word is closer to “낙씨”

Common Usages:
낚시금지 = no fishing (fishing prohibited)
낚싯대 = fishing rod
낚싯줄 = fishing line
낚시꾼 = fisherman

Examples:
아빠는 낚시하러 갔어요? = Did dad go fishing?
승호는 매주 일요일에 낚시를 간다 = Seungho goes fishing every Sunday
낚시를 하기 위해서는 많은 용품들이 필요해요 = You need many things/items if you want to fish
저는 친구들이랑 내일 낚시를 할 것 같아요 = I will probably go fishing with my friends tomorrow

후배 = one’s junior

Notes: If you are the same age as somebody (especially in school), you can call them your “친구” (friend). You can refer to the people who are in grades below you as your “후배.” Even if they are your friends (of course, it is possible to have friends in a lower grade), you would generally not refer to them as your “friend.” Instead, you would call them your “후배.” This often creates an awkward translation for Korean people when they speak English. I have the following exchange with my students fairly regularly:

Me: Is that person your friend?
Student: No, he’s my junior
Me: So, you’re not friends with him?
Student: I am friends with him, but I can’t call him “my friend” because he is not my age.
Me: In English, you can be friends with anybody. It sounds unnatural to say “my junior.”

The opposite of “후배” is “선배” which typically translates to “one’s senior.”

Common Usages:
후배양성 = training your juniors

Examples:
저는 슬기의 고등학교 후배예요 = I’m Seulgi’s junior from high school
후배들이 봉사하는 것을 싫어하는 것 같아요 = It seems like our juniors don’t like volunteering
유명한 가수들은 후배양성을 위해 최선을 다해요 = Famous singers do their best to develop/train their juniors (singers younger than them)

= honey

Common Usages:
꿀을 채취하다 = to harvest honey
꿀벅지 = a slang word to refer to a good looking inner thigh

Examples:
천연 꿀을 생산하기 위해서는 벌이 필요해요 = If you want to produce natural honey, you need bees
설탕 대신 꿀을 차에 넣어 마시는 게 건강에 더 좋아요 = Instead of sugar, it is better for your health to put honey in your tea

허벅지 = inner thigh

The pronunciation of this word is closer to “허벅찌”

Examples:
허벅지가 아프겠다! = Your inner thigh must hurt!
허벅지 운동은 꾸준히 하는 게 좋아요 = It is good to do inner thigh exercises often/a lot
허벅지 근육은 균형을 유지하는 데 중요한 역할을 해요 = The muscles of your inner-thigh play an important role in maintaining one’s balance

= horse

Common Usages:
말을 타다 = to ride/get on a horse
말에서 내리다 = to get down from a horse
말타기 = horseback riding

Examples:
제가 가장 좋아하는 동물은 말이에요 = My favorite animal is a horse
말을 잘 타기 위해서는 꾸준한 연습이 필요해요 = You need to practice a lot if you want to be able to ride a horse well

휴가 = holiday, vacation

Common Usages:
여름휴가 = a summer holiday
겨울휴가 = a winter holiday
출산휴가 = maternity leave
휴가철 = vacation season
휴가 때 = During a vacation
… 휴가를 보내다 = To spend one’s vacation doing…

Examples:
휴가 때 어디로 갈 거예요? = Where are you going to go during vacation?
우리는 휴가를 중국에서 보낼 것 같아요 = We will probably spend our holiday in China

제가 여름을 제일 좋아하는 이유는 긴 휴가가 있기 때문이에요
= The reason I like summer the most is because there is a long holiday

그런 일을 하면 장기 휴가를 갈 수 없어요
= If you do that kind of work/job, you can’t go on any long/extended holidays

우리는 TV를 켜놓은 채 3일 동안 휴가를 떠났어요
= We went on a holiday for three days with the TV turned (left) on

제 기억에 남는 휴가는 엄마와 함께 바닷가에 놀러 간 휴가에요
= The vacation that still remains in my memory (the most) is the time (vacation) that I went with mom to the seaside

휴식 = break

Common Usages:
휴식을 취하다 = to take a break

Examples:
사람은 때때로 휴식을 취해야 해요 = People need to take breaks sometimes
휴식시간에 마시는 커피가 제일 맛있어요 = The coffee you drink on break time is the most delicious
그는 휴식을 하는 것 같아요 = It seems as though he is taking a break now

Verbs:
넘치다 = to overflow

Notes: In addition to physical matter overflowing, it is also possible to use 넘치다 to describe that a person has a lot of (or “to be overflowing with”) a particular (usually positive) emotion. For example:

활기가 넘치다 = to have a lot of energy/vigor
기쁨이 넘치다 = to be really happy/glad
자신감이 넘치다 = to have a lot of confidence
의욕이 넘치다 = to have a lot of motivation/drive

Common Usages:
물이 넘치다 = for water to overflow

Examples:
수영장물이 다 넘쳤어요? = Did all the water overflow out of the pool?
물이 넘치지 전에 꼭 불을 꺼야 해요 = You need to turn off the flame before the water overflows
어젯밤에 집에 물이 넘쳐 홍수가 났어요 = Last night, the water overflowed and flooded the house

피하다 = to avoid

Common Usages:
사람을 피하다 = to avoid a person
시선을 피하다 = to avoid one’s eyes/eyesight
비판을 피하다 = to avoid criticism

Examples:
저는 가까스로 그 차를 피할 수 있었어요 = I was barely able to avoid that car
변태들을 피하기 위해서는 어두운 골목길을 피해서 다녀야 해요 = In order to avoid perverts, you should avoid dark alleyways

펴다 = to unfold, to unroll

The passive form of this word is 펴지다 (to be unfolded, to be unrolled)

Common Usages:
이불을 펴다 = to unfold a blanket
지도를 펴다 = to unfold a map
우산을 펴다 = to open up an umbrella

Examples:
잔디밭에 담요를 펴고 모여 앉았어요 = We unfolded a blanket on the grass and all sat on it
매일 밤 잠자기 전에 저는 바닥에 이불을 펴요 = Every night before I go to bed I unfold a blanket onto the floor

답장하다 = to respond to a message

The noun form of this word (“답장”) translates to “a response.”
The pronunciation of this word is closer to “답짱하다”

Common Usages:
편지에 답장하다 = to respond to a letter
문자에 답장하다 = to respond to a text message
이메일에 답장하다 = to respond to an email
답장을 받다 = to receive a response

Examples:
남자 친구가 답장하지 않을 것 같아요 = My boyfriend probably won’t respond
그 사람이 아직 답장을 하지 않은 것 같아요 = It seems that that person still hasn’t responded
설마 학생은 그렇게 답장을 했어요? = Don’t tell me the student responded like that, did he?
슬기는 남자친구의 문자에 답장을 빨리 해요 = Seulgi responds to messages from her boyfriend quickly
친구는 제가 쓴 편지에 아직 답장하지 않았어요 = My friend still hasn’t responded to the letter I wrote

봉사하다 = to volunteer

Common Usages:
봉사활동 = volunteer activities (it is usually referred as this by kids in school)
사회봉사 = community service
봉사료 = service charge

Examples:
저는 매주 한 번씩 병원에서 봉사를 해요 = I volunteer once per week (every week) at the hospital
저는 동아리 친구들이랑 같이 봉사를 했어요 = I volunteered with my friends in my club

슬기는 독거노인들을 위해 봉사를 하는 매우 착한 여자예요
= Seulgi is really nice girl who volunteers with older people who live alone

고아원에서 봉사를 하다 보면 감사하는 태도로 살아야겠다는 생각이 들어요
= After volunteering (repeatedly) at an orphanage, I thought/realized that I must live my life with a thankful attitude

시도하다 = to try, to attempt

Notes: 시도하다 is essentially the word form of the grammatical principle ~아/어 보다, which is introduced in Lesson 32. “노력하다” and “시도하다” both translate to “to try” in English. This doesn’t mean that they have the same meaning, but rather that the word “to try” in English has a wide variety of uses.

노력하다 is used to indicate that one puts effort into something. For example:
남편을 위해 항상 맛있는 음식을 만들려고 노력해요 = I always put effort into making my husband delicious food

시도하다 is used to indicate that one attempts to do something. For example:
오늘 처음으로 오래 달리기를 시도할 거예요 = I’m going to attempt running a long distance for the first time today

Notice that the word “to try” could be used in both sentences. For example:
I always try to make my husband delicious food
I’m going to try running a long distance for the first time today

Ask a Korean speaker and they would say the two following sentences are identical:
오늘 처음으로 오래 달리기를 시도할 거예요
오늘 처음으로 오래 달리기를 해 볼 거예요

Other examples:
사람은 가끔씩 새로운 것을 시도해야 하는 것 같다 = It seems that people need to try new things every once and a while

Passive Verbs:
펴지다 = to be unfolded, to be unrolled

The active form of this word is 펴다 (to unfold, to unroll)

Examples:
이 우산은 버튼을 누르면 펴져요 = This umbrella opens (unfolds) if you press the button
이 매트리스가 자동으로 펴져요 = This mattress automatically unfolds

Adjectives:
답답하다 = to be stuffy

The pronunciation of this word is closer to “답따파다”

Notes: 답답하다 describes a feeling that is hard to describe perfectly in English. It is used in many situations to indicate that something is physically or emotionally “stuffy.” If used to describe a space, it indicates that the space is “stuffy.” For example:
방이 답답하다 = for a room to be “stuffy”

If used to describe an emotion of a person, it usually indicates that one is feeling overly pressured, uncomfortable or frustrated. For example:
마음이 답답하다 = to feel “stuffy”

Examples:
그 교실이 아주 답답할 것 같아요 = That classroom will probably be very stuffy
새로 산 집이 너무 좁아서 맨날 답답해요 = I feel stuffy every day at my new house because it is so small
오늘 시험을 못 봐서 마음이 답답했어요 = I’m frustrated (or whatever feeling you want to describe for “답답하다”) because I didn’t do well on the exam

평화롭다 = to be peaceful

The noun form of this word (“평화”) translates to “peace”
The pronunciation of this word is closer to “평화롭따”

Common Usages:
세계 평화 = world peace

Examples:
오늘도 이 마을은 평소처럼 평화로워요 = As usual the village is peaceful today too
시골에서 사는 것이 아주 평화로운 것 같아요 = It seems like living in the country is very peaceful
학생들이 다 수학여행을 가서 학교가 평화로워요 = The school is peaceful because all the students went on a field trip

신기하다 = to be amazing, to be cool

Notes: 신기하다 is used when one is surprised at something and thinks that it is “cool” or “amazing.”

Examples:
오늘 길에서 오랜만에 유학을 간 후배를 만나서 신기했어요
= Meeting a (junior) friend from my time studying abroad today on the street was cool

고양이가 어떻게 떨어져도 다치지 않는 것은 신기해요
= It is amazing that cats don’t get hurt, regardless of how they fall

작은 입으로 큰 생선을 먹을 수 있다는 게 너무 신기했다
= The fact that they can eat big fish with their little mouth is very amazing

모든 사람들은 장면이 예쁘고 신기하다고 하는데 나한테는 보통 영화일 뿐이야
= Everybody said the scene was beautiful and amazing, but to me it was just another movie

멋있다 = to be stylish

The pronunciation of this word is closer to “머싣따”

Notes: 멋있다 can sometimes translate to “cool” which makes some learners confused about the difference between 멋있다 and 신기하다. 신기하다 describes something that is “cool” but is usually something surprising. For example:

고양이가 어떻게 떨어져도 다치지 않는 것은 신기해요
= It is amazing that cats don’t get hurt, regardless of how they fall
In this sentence, the speaker thinks it is surprising that cat’s don’t get hurt regardless of how they fall

멋있다 describes something or someone that looks cool. For example:
새로 지어진 건물이 멋있어요 = The newly built building is really cool/stylish

Common Usages:
멋쟁이 = a cool/stylish person
(“멋” in general means “style.” 멋있다 then simply means “to have style.” 멋쟁이 simply means “a person who has style”)

Examples:
제 남편은 세상에서 제일 멋있어요 = My husband is the coolest in the world
이민호는 정말로 멋지더라 = 이민호 is/was very stylish (from what I experienced)
너의 오빤 멋있으니까 예쁜 여자를 만나야 돼 = Your older brother is cool, so he needs to meet a pretty girl

Adverbs and Other Words:
오히려 = on the contrary

Notes: There are many words in Korean that are added to sentences for feel. 오히려 has no real meaning, and it can be omitted from sentences and the sentence would usually have the exact same meaning and translation. However, 오히려 is added to sentences where somebody is saying the opposite of some previously stated information. For example:

저는 캐나다에 가고 싶지 않아요. 오히려 미국에 가고 싶어요
= I don’t want to go to Canada. Rather/on the contrary, I want to go to America

In the sentence above, 오히려 could be omitted and it would still mean the same thing. For example:
저는 캐나다에 가고 싶지 않아요. 미국에 가고 싶어요
= I don’t want to go to Canada. I want to go to America

Here, 오히려 adds a feeling to the sentence that something is going to be stated that opposes previous information given by context. The previous information might not always be written or spoken, and it might be assumed. For example:

오히려 사과보다 바나나가 더 맛있어요 = (Rather,) Bananas are more delicious than apples

In the sentence above, although there is no prior information given, the use of “오히려” alerts the listener that the speaker is opposing something that was said earlier. For example, the listener can assume that the following (or something similar) was said immediately before:
사과가 맛이 없어요 = Apples are not delicious

Examples:
기린의 털 때문에 기린이 노란색 옷을 입은 것 같이 보였다. 나는 기린이 목이 길어서 무서울 줄 알았는데 오히려 귀여웠다.
= Because of their fur, it looked like the giraffes were wearing yellow clothes. Giraffes have long necks, therefore I thought they would be scary, rather, they were cute.

내일은 또 다시 바쁜 하루가 시작되겠지만 오늘 하루 열심히 충전을 했으니 내일이 두렵지 않다! 오히려 열심히 일을 하고 싶다! 몇 달 전에 29살이 되어서 우울했는데 이제는 전혀 우울하지 않다. 오히려 29살에 열심히 일하는 당당한 여자가 될 것 같은 좋은 느낌이 든다.
= Tomorrow, another busy day will start, however, now that I have recharged for a day, I am not afraid of tomorrow!  Rather, I want to start working hard! A few months ago I turned 29, so I was depressed, however now I am not depressed. Rather, there is a good feeling because age 29 is when I will be a confident working woman.

For help memorizing these words, try using our Memrise tool.

 

 

Introduction

Over the past 10 lessons, you have been learning a lot about how to use ~는 것 and things related to ~는 것 in Korean. We have just about reached the extent to what you need to know about ~는 것 and how to use it. In this lesson (as well as in Lesson 36), you will learn a variety of grammatical forms that can be used to say “to seem like” or “to look like.”

 

 

 

To seem like/to be likely to: ~ㄹ/을같다

In Lesson 15, you learned how to use ‘같다’ in sentences by placing it after a noun connected with ~와/과/랑/이랑/하고. For example:

저 식당은 이 식당과 같아요 = That restaurant is the same as this one
그 나무가 소나무와 같아요 = That tree is like a pine tree

Since then, you have been learning a lot about ~는 것 and how to use it. Here, you will learn about how to use this ~는 것 principle with the word 같다.

If you conjugate a sentence in the future tense (using ~ㄹ/을 것이다), you end up with a sentence like this:

나는 밥을 먹을 것이다 = I will eat rice

Remember again what the ending of this sentence is made up of. The ending is actually made up of ‘~는 것’ in the future tense (~ㄹ 것) followed by 이다.

If we remove the ‘이다’ we are left with “…~ㄹ/을 것. For example:

나는 밥을 먹을 것

This is an incomplete sentence, so it is hard to translate, but it loosely translates to “the thing of me eating rice.” Remember again that “것” is a noun (meaning “thing”). If we place 같다 after that noun, it gives the sentence a special meaning:

나는 밥을 먹을 것 같다

Whenever you finish a sentence using ~ㄹ/을 것 같다, the meaning changes to something that might happen. This meaning is quite similar to ~ㄹ/을지 모르다, which you learned in Lesson 30. For example:

나는 밥을 먹을 것이다 = I will eat rice
나는 밥을 먹을 것 같다 = I will probably eat rice/I might eat rice
나는 밥을 먹을지 모르겠다 = I don’t know if I will eat rice

Here are many more examples:

It is very common for Korean people to pronounce 같아(요) as “같애(요).” This is not only true just when using 같다 as it is presented in this lesson, but also in other grammatical forms that you will learned about in Lesson 15, and that you will learn about in the next lesson.

저는 친구들이랑 내일 낚시를 할 것 같아요 = I will probably go fishing with my friends tomorrow
우리 아빠는 저것을 싫어할 것 같아 = Dad will probably not like that
선생님이 그 수업을 하지 않을 것 같아요 = The teacher probably won’t do (teach) that lesson
남자 친구가 답장하지 않을 것 같아요 = My boyfriend probably won’t respond
우리는 휴가를 중국에서 보낼 것 같아요 = We will probably spend our holiday in China
모두는 왕따와 밥을 먹는 것을 피할 것 같아요 = Everybody will probably avoid eating with the outcast at school

Although the previous examples used a person as the subject, the subject of the sentence can be anything. For example:

비가 올 것 같아 = It will probably rain/it seems like it will rain
문이 열려 있을 것 같아요 = The door will probably be open
내일 홍수가 날 것 같아요 = There will probably be a flood tomorrow

You can also use this same form on adjectives:
우리는 늦을 것 같아 = We will probably be late
새우가 너무 비쌀 것 같아요 = The shrimp will probably be too expensive
그 교실이 아주 답답할 것 같아요 = That classroom will probably be very stuffy

.

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When describing “것 같다” in the future tense these situations are guesses from the speaker. It is possible to change the conjugation of the word before “것 같다” to express that something may have happened in past or might be happening in the present. When doing this, instead of using the future conjugation of ~ㄹ/을 것, you can use the past (~ㄴ/은 것) or present (~는 것) additions of ~는 것. (If you forget the purpose of these additions, I suggest that you review Lesson 26). For example:

엄마는 기다리고 있는 것 같아요
선생님이 열심히 공부한 것 같아요

When using these past and present conjugations before 것 같다, there is a slight nuance that the speaker has received some information to make him/her express this possibility.

For example, if I am talking with my teacher and he is telling me how difficult it was to get accepted into University back in his day, I could say something like:

선생님이 열심히 공부한 것 같아요 = You (teacher) probably studied hard (when you were younger)
Here, you have heard the evidence of him getting accepted into University, which must have been difficult. Therefore, this evidence leads you to believe that “he studied hard” when he was younger.

In order to describe this nuance, when ~ㄴ/은 or ~는 is used before 것 같다 I prefer the translation of “it seems that” or “it seems as though.” Below are examples of this being done in the past tense (using ~ㄴ/은 것 같다):

부장님이 그 일을 이미 다 한 것 같아요 = It seems that the boss already did all that work
In this situation, you could be looking at a pile of papers on your boss’s desk that looks like the completed work.

그 사람이 아직 답장을 하지 않은 것 같아요 = It seems that that person still hasn’t responded
In this situation, you could be looking at your phone and noticing that you have no new notifications – which would lead you to believe that the person hasn’t responded.

옆 집에서 사는 사람은 그 소나무를 자른 것 같아요 = It seems that the person who lives in the house next door cut that pine tree
In this situation, you could be looking outside to your yard and noticing that the tree is missing.

Below are examples that show this being done in the present tense (using ~는 것 같다)

엄마는 기다리고 있는 것 같아요 = It seems as though mom is waiting now
In this situation, your mother may have called you and told you that she would have been finished 10 minutes ago.

그는 휴식을 하는 것 같아요 = It seems as though he is taking a break now
In this situation, the worker may have been very loud a few minutes ago. However, now it seems like he is not making a sound, so he probably taking a break now.

학생들이 요즘에 운동을 하지 않는 것 같아요 = It seems like students don’t like exercising these days
In this situation, you could be looking at some students playing on their phones during lunch time instead of playing outside.

후배들이 봉사하는 것을 싫어하는 것 같아요 = It seems like our juniors don’t like volunteering
In this situation, you could be looking at your juniors and noticing that they are not enjoying themselves.

———————–

When describing 것 같다 in the past tense, it is possible to do so in two ways:

~/ 같다 (for example: 같다)
~
/었을 같다 (for example: 했을 같다)

This next little section is a discussion about the difference in nuance between these two usages. Understanding this nuance is not critical at this point. This nuance is very hard to describe and your understanding of it will develop with your understanding of Korean in general. I never studied this specifically in all of my Korean studies, but my experience with Korean has led me to feel a difference between the two. Simply being aware of this nuance can be helpful for later, but it is not critical to your understanding of this grammatical principle.

Notice the use of ~ㄴ/은 in the sentence below:

아빠가 돈을 이미 낸 것 같아요 = It seems like dad already paid

Here, the speaker probably saw his/her family get up and leave a restaurant (or some similar evidence). This evidence would lead the speaker to believe that the father already paid, and they are ready to leave.

However, by using ~았/었을 것 같다, the speaker is indicating that this sentence is more of a blind guess and hasn’t received any evidence that would lead him/her to think this way. For example:

아빠가 돈을 이미 냈을 것 같아요 = Dad probably already paid

Notice the way I translate these sentences to express this nuance.

More examples:
선생님이 살이 찐 것 같아요 = It seems like the teacher gained weight
You would say this if you are looking at the teacher and noticed that (for example) his face looks a little bit fatter than usual. Of course, you can’t be sure if the teacher gained weight or not, but the evidence in-front of you leads you to believe that he/she did gain weight.

선생님이 살이 쪘을 것 같아요 = The teacher probably gained weight
You would say this if you are talking about the teacher and how he went on vacation recently. You haven’t seen him since he left, but you are guessing that – because he went on vacation, he “probably gained weight.”

We see a similar phenomenon with 것 같다 used in the present tense. Even if “것 같다” is being described in the future tense, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the meaning of the sentence is based in the future. For example, look at the following sentence:

후배들이 봉사하는 것을 싫어할 것 같아요

This doesn’t necessarily mean that the speaker thinks the juniors “will not like” volunteering. It is possible that the juniors are volunteering right now, and the speaker is not with them. Therefore, the speaker has no real way of knowing if the juniors are enjoying themselves or not – and this is merely a guess. However, if the present tense was used:

후배들이 봉사하는 것을 싫어하는 것 같아요

In this situation, the speaker is most likely with the juniors and can directly see (receiving evidence) that the juniors are not enjoying themselves.

후배들이 봉사하는 것을 싫어할 것 같아요
= The juniors probably won’t like volunteering, or, depending on the situation:
= The juniors probably don’t like volunteering

후배들이 봉사하는 것을 싫어하는 것 같아요
= It seems like the juniors don’t like volunteering

 

————————

Here’s an example of how I used this grammatical form in my real life.

A few days ago, I was waiting in line to get into a restaurant. There were a lot of people waiting, and some people were getting fed up with the ridiculous wait time. The wait was so long, that some people just got up and left, which would have bumped us up on the wait list. One couple got up and left, and my girlfriend said:

저 사람들이 그냥 가? = Are those people just leaving?

My response was:

응… 가는 것 같아 = Yes, they are probably leaving/it seems like they are leaving

Notice here that the evidence of the people leaving the restaurant leads me to believe that “they are just leaving.”

————————

Remember that the way to describe a noun in the present tense is to use ~ㄴ/은. Therefore, when you want to use an adjective to describe “것 같다,” ~ㄴ/은 것 같다 should be used. For example:

친구가 아픈 것 같아요 = It seems like my friend is hurt
엄마는 저랑 얘기하기 싫은 것 같아요 = It seems like mom doesn’t want to talk with me
그 음식은 건강에 나쁜 것 같아요 = It seems like this food is unhealthy
시골에서 사는 것이 아주 평화로운 것 같아요 = It seems like living in the country is very peaceful
이 문제는 시민보건에 아주 중요한 것 같아요 = It seems like this problem is very important to the health of the citizens

You can attach ~았/었던 (which you learned in Lesson 27) to an adjective (or verb for that matter) to describe an noun that was (probably) like something in the past, but currently is not like that. For example:

너의 아빠가 너무 행복했던 것 같아 = Your dad was probably very happy

Also remember that 이다 is conjugated as an adjective. Therefore, the ~ㄴ/은 것 같다 form should be added to it. For example:

그 학생이 학교에서 왕따인 것 같아 = It seems like that student is an outcast at school
그 사람은 변태인 것 같아요 = It seems like that person is a pervert
우리가 받은 것은 그 사람의 답장인 것 같아요 = It seems like that thing we received is probably that person’s response

 

 

 

 

 

그렇다 + 같다

Also, in Lesson 23 you learned a lot about the word 그렇다, and how it’s meaning is similar to ‘like that.’ You can treat 그렇다 like a regular verb/adjective, but remember that when conjugating this word you need to remove the ㅎ. So, by adding ~ㄹ/을 것 같다 to 그렇다 you get 그럴 것 같다.

Literally ‘그럴 것 같다’ means “it is probably like that.” It is used very often in Korean to indicate that something “might be the case” or “is probably true.” For example:

엄마가 어디에 있어요? 병원에 갔어요? = Where is mom? Did she go to the hospital?
그럴 것 같아요 = Probably/I think so/It seems as such

다음 주 목요일은 휴가인가? = Is next Thursday a holiday?
그럴 것 같아 = Probably/I think so/It seems as such

Here as well, you should consider the tense and apply the appropriate conjugation to 그렇다. Also remember that 그렇다 is an adjective, so the present tense conjugation in this case is 그런 것 같다, and not 그렇는 것 같다. For example:

아빠는 낚시하러 갔어요? = Did dad go fishing?
그런 것 같아요 = Probably/I think so/It seems as such

수영장물이 다 넘쳤어요? = Did all the water overflow out of the pool?
그런 것 같아요 = Probably/I think so/It seems as such

그 사람이 말을 잘 타요? = Can that person ride horses (well)?
그런 것 같아요 = Probably/It looks like/It seems as such

 

 

 

 

 

Expressing Possibility with ~겠다

It is also very common to hear ~겠다 (which you learned as a future conjugation way back in Lesson 5) used in a way that is similar to expressing possibility. You’ll most commonly hear this used with some simple adjectives; the most common of all being:

맛있겠다!

It is hard to translate that directly into English. People don’t usually say this when they’re eating food – instead, they say it when they’re looking at (or hearing about) food and want to express that it “would be delicious” if they ate it. You could argue that this is technically the future tense conjugation, but it’s not really about expressing an idea that is occurring in the future.

A better way to describe this is to look at another example.

Imagine you were talking with your friend and he was telling you how he hasn’t eaten in 12 hours. In English, you would respond by saying:

“You must be hungry!” or “You are probably hungry!” In Korean, you could say either of these:

배고플 것 같아! = You are probably hungry!
배고프겠다! = You are probably hungry!

Here, you can see that the speaker is not saying “you will be hungry”, as your friend is definitely hungry in the present. Here, we can see how ~겠다 can take on this function of possibility in the present. I’ve noticed (and you can see from the examples above) that this form is most commonly used when you see something or hear some fact, and are stating that something “must be the case” based on that evidence your saw or heard. Other good words that this is commonly used with:

아프겠다! = That must hurt!
배부르겠다! = You must be full!
힘들겠다! = That must be difficult!

Below are some examples along with my explanation of the situation that would cause a Korean person to say such a sentence:

힘들겠다! = That must be difficult!
You would most likely say this if you are looking at somebody do some difficult task.

나는 캐나다에 못 가겠다! = (I guess) I can’t go to Canada
You would most likely say this if you just found out (evidence that shows you) how difficult it would be to get to Canada – for example, because the price is too high or because it was too far or something like that.

돈이 부족하겠다! = (I guess) there won’t be enough money
You would most likely say this if you were trying to figure out how much money you need, and you just found out (evidence that shows you) that you probably won’t have enough money. 

허벅지가 아프겠다! = Your inner thigh must hurt!
You would most likely say this if you were looking at your friend do some sort of inner thigh exercise. Like that machine at most gyms where you have to squeeze your legs together against resistance.

 

That’s it!

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