Lesson 37: Because: ~아/어서

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Vocabulary
Introduction

Because/Therefore: V/A + ~아/어서
~아/어서 in the Past Tense
Adding ~아/어서 to 이다
~아/어서 in the Future Tense
그래서

 

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:
도로 = road

Common Usages:
고속도로 = highway (high speed road)
자전거 전용 도로 = a road/lane for bikes only
일방통행도로 = a one-way road
보행자 도로 = a pedestrian road

Examples:
일반 도로가 피해를 입어서 고속도로가 막힐 것 같아요
= The regular road was damaged so the highway will probably be blocked up

이 도로를 따라서 쭉 걸어가면 병원이 나와요
= If you walk straight down this road, you’ll see the hospital (the hospital will come out)

고속도로 = highway

Common Usages:
고속도로통행료 = toll fees on a highway
고속도로 휴게소 = highway rest stop

Examples:
그 고속도로에서 트럭을 운전해서는 안 돼요 = You must not drive a truck on that highway
이 사거리를 지나면 고속도로가 시작돼요 = If you go past this intersection, the highway starts
고속도로가 막혀서 일반 길로 갈 거예요= I will take the normal road because the highway is blocked up

한국에서 고속도로를 사용하면 고속도로통행료를 내야 해요
= In Korea, when you drive on the highway you must pay the toll fees

고속도로에서 발생한 사고에 의해 사람들이 지나가지 못했어요
= Due to the accident (that occurred) on the highway, people couldn’t pass

스님 = Buddhist monk

Examples:
저는 스님께 돈을 드렸어요 = I gave money to the monk
스님을 보고 싶으면 절에 가야 해요 = If you want to see a Buddhist monk, you need to go to a temple

스님이 되고 싶으면 욕심을 다 버려야 돼요
= If you want to become a Buddhist monk you need to get rid of all of your greed

공원에 스님이 있어서 우리는 술을 다른 곳에서 마셨어요
= There was a monk in the park, so we drank our alcohol in another place

당국 = authorities

Examples:
당국이 올 때까지 기다려 주시기 바랍니다 = Please wait until the authorities come

그 남자가 불법 행동을 하는 것을 봐서 저는 당국에 바로 말할 거예요
= I saw that man do something illegal (an illegal act) so I will tell the authorities immediately

이 일에 관련이 있는 당국은 오늘 안에 일을 꼭 처리해야 돼요
= The authorities that are involved with this case should deal with it by today

도시락 = lunch box

Notes: “Lunch boxes” are usually different in Korea compared to the west. Nevertheless, the food one brings to work, school or some event to eat later is usually referred to a “도시락.” It doesn’t necessarily need to be for lunch, but the translation is usually a “lunch box”

Common Usages:
도시락반찬 = lunch box side dishes
도시락을 싸다 = to pack a lunch box

Examples:
제가 어렸을 때는 엄마가 매일 도시락을 싸 줬어요
= When I was young, my mom packed a lunch box for me everyday

아침에 엄마가 싸 준 도시락을 깜박하고 안 가져왔어요
= I forgot to bring the lunch box that my mom packed for me in the morning

도시락을 안 가져와서 점심을 못 먹을 거예요
= I won’t be able to eat lunch because I didn’t bring my lunch box

엄마는 나와 아빠를 위해 도시락을 만들어서 점심으로 그 도시락을 먹을 거다.
= Mom made a lunch box for dad and I, so we will eat that for lunch.

여행자 = traveler

Common Usages:
배낭여행자 = backpacker

Examples:
유럽에는 전 세계에서 온 배낭 여행자들이 많아요
= There are a lot of backpackers from around the word in Europe

여기에 여행자가 너무 많아서 다른 곳으로 갈 거예요
= I’m going to go to a different place because there are too many travelers here

피해 = damage

Common Usages:
피해자 = victim
피해를 입다 = to get damaged
금정적인 피해 = financial damage
인명 피해 = damage to human life (“casualties”)
…(으)로 인한 피해 = damage due to…

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

일반 도로가 피해가 입어서 고속도로가 막힐 것 같아요
= The regular road was damaged so the highway will probably be blocked up

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

이번 홍수로 인해 한국에 심각한 금전적인 피해가 있었어요
= There was serious financial damage in Korea due to this flood

성형 = plastic surgery

Notes: 성형 itself refers to “plastic surgery,” but it is usually combined with another word. When referring to the surgery itself, it is common to say “성형수술.”

Common Usages:
성형수술을 받다 = to get plastic surgery
성형외과의사 = a plastic surgeon

Examples:
저는 너무 못생겨서 성형수술을 받고 싶어요
= I want to get plastic surgery because I am so ugly

점점 많은 사람들이 성형수술에 관심을 갖기 시작했어요
= More and more people are starting to get interested in plastic surgery

그 연예인이 성형수술을 많이 받아서 옛날과 아주 달라 보여요
= That celebrity looks very different than before because she got a lot of plastic surgery

연휴 = continuous holidays

Notes: One day holidays in Korea can fall in the middle of the week, in which case they are not considered “연휴.” However, it is possible that a one day holiday lines up with a weekend, in which case it would create a long weekend. In these cases, it can be called a “연휴.” The Hanja characters for 연휴 mean “connected”(連) and “holiday/break”(休) respectively.

Common Usages:
추석연휴 = Chuseok holiday (three day holiday in the fall around Thanksgiving)
설날연휴 = Seolnal holiday (three day holiday in the winter)
황금연휴 = When 추석 or 설날 line up with weekends to create an extended holiday

Examples:
이번 주말이 연휴라서 우리 엄마 집에 갈 거예요
= This weekend is a long weekend, so I will go to our mom’s house

내년 추석은 일주일 내내 쉴 수 있는 황금연휴예요
= Next year, Chuseok will be an extra long holiday where we can rest for a week

이번 주말이 연휴라서 특별한 계획이 있나요?
= This weekend is a long weekend, so do you have any special plans?

최신 = the latest

Notes: 최신 is a noun but is usually placed before another noun to describe it like an adjective

Common Usages:
최신 유행 = latest trend
최신 기술 = latest technology
최신 음악 = latest music
최신 핸드폰 = latest cell phones

Examples:
그것이 최신 정보여서 맞는 것 같아요
= That is the latest (most up-to-date) information, so it is probably right

최신 핸드폰이 아니라서 이 앱이 아주 느려요
= This isn’t the latest cell phone, so the app is really slow

많은 사람들이 최신 아이폰이 출시되는 첫날에 핸드폰을 사기 위해서 새벽부터 기다려요
= Many people wait from early in the morning to buy the latest cell phones on the day that they are released

진심 = sincerity, truth

Common Usages:
진심으로 = sincerely
진심이야!? = Really!?

Examples:
저는 진심으로 제 남편을 세상에서 가장 사랑해요
= I sincerely love my husband the most in the world

지혜는 진심을 다해 남자친구를 사랑했지만 남자친구는 지혜와 헤어지고 싶었어요
= Jihye really/sincerely loved her boyfriend, but her boyfriend wanted to break up with her

저는 우리 딸을 진심으로 사랑해서 그녀를 위해 모든 것을 할 거예요
= I will do everything for my daughter because I (truly love her) love her from the bottom of my heart

한편 = on the other hand

한편 has different usages. In its most simple usage, it can be used to indicate the same side or same direction. For example:

너랑 나는 항상 한편이야 = You and I are always on the same side

It is also possible to be used to mean “on the other hand.” When used like this, there are usually two clauses that oppose each other connected by some grammatical principle that means “although.” In this usage,~으로 it is commonly attached to 한편. For example:

저는 결혼한 게 좋지만 한편으로 결혼 전 생활도 그리워요
= I like being married, but, on the other hand, I also miss my life before I got married

일을 해서 돈을 버는 게 좋지만 한편으로 자유 시간이 없어서 일을 하고 싶지 않아요
= Working and earning money is good, but, on the other hand, I don’t want to work because I don’t have any free time

한 명 한 명에게 편지를 쓰다 보니 함께 쌓아온 추억이 생각나면서 기분이 좋아졌다. 한편으로는 친구들을 다시 볼 수 없다는 생각에 나는 마음이 아팠다.
= While writing letters to each of my friends, I realized/thought about all of the memories that piled up (with those friends), so I was very happy. On the other hand, the thought of not being able to see those friends again made me upset.

반면 = on the other hand

Notes: 반면(에) is usually described by a preceding clause and placed as the noun in ~는 것. The following clause describes the opposite of the first clause. For example:

많은 젊은 사람들이 피자를 좋아하는 반면에 나이가 드신 분들은 피자를 싫어해요
= Many young people like pizza, but on the other hand, older people don’t like pizza

서울에는 많은 문화생활을 즐길 수 있는 시설이 많은 반면에 서쪽 지역에는 문화생활을 즐길 수 있는 시설이 거의 없어요 = In Seoul, there are many facilities in place for people to enjoy a cultured life, while in the western region cultural facilities are almost non-existent.

Verbs:
점프하다 = to jump

Notes: The Korean word for “jump” is “도약하다,” but these days people more commonly use the English-derived “점프하다.”

Common Usages:
점프슛 = jump shot (in basketball)

Examples:
공을 던지면 점프하세요! = When I throw the ball, jump!

깜빡하다 = to forget

Notes: 깜박하다 is also possible. Saying “깜빡하다” makes the meaning a little bit more intense.
“To forget” in English can be expressed using different words in Korean. To indicate that one doesn’t remember some piece of information or something happening, 기억 안 나다 or 까먹다 can be used:

그 학생의 이름이 기억 안 나요 = I don’t remember that student’s name
그 학생의 이름을 까먹었어요 = I don’t remember that student’s name

깜빡하다 (or 깜박하다) is usually used to indicate that one forgot to do an action that should have been completed (and now realizes that he/she “forgot” to do it). For example:

문을 잠가야 되었는데 깜박했어요! = I was supposed to lock the door, but I forgot!

아침에 엄마가 싸 준 도시락을 깜박하고 안 가져왔어요
= I forgot to bring the lunch box that my mom packed for me in the morning

오늘이 무슨 날인지 깜빡해서 선물을 안 준비했어요
= I forgot what today is (what day it is today) so I didn’t prepare a present

빨다 = to suck

Examples:
애기가 손가락을 계속 빨아서 지금 손가락이 끈적거려요
= The baby kept sucking his fingers, so now they are sticky

어린 애기들은 보통 엄지손가락을 자주 빨아요
= Young babies usually suck on their thumbs often

어미 젖을 빨고 있는 아기 강아지가 너무 귀여워요
= The baby puppy sucking on the breast of its mother is so cute

뜨다 = to open one’s eyes

Notes: 뜨다 actually has many meanings. If it is not used to refer to opening one’s eyes, it is usually used to indicate that something is raised, lifted or floating. For example:

비행기가 뜨다 = for an airplane to take off
해가 뜨다 = for the sun to rise

Common Usages:
눈을 뜨다 = to open one’s eyes
새로운 세계에 눈을 뜨다 = Open one’s eyes to new ideas/thinking/world (to not know about something, and then for something to make you realize a new way of thinking)

Examples:
그 남자는 눈을 뜬 채로 죽었다 = That man died with his eyes open

저는 프랑스에 유학을 가서 예술 세계에 눈을 떴어요
= I studied abroad in France and my eyes were opened to the art world

아침에 눈을 뜨자마자 저는 꼭 커피를 마셔야 해요
= As soon as I wake up in the morning (as soon as my eyes open), I need to have coffee right away

감다 = to close one’s eyes

The pronunciation of this word is closer to “감따”

Common Usages:
눈을 감다 = to close one’s eyes

Examples:
눈을 감고 음악을 들으면 잠이 잘 들어요
= When I close my eyes and listen to music, I fall asleep (“well”)

제가 자장가를 부르면 우리 아기는 바로 눈을 감아요
= When I sing a lullaby, our baby immediately closes his eyes

다투다 = to fight verbally

Common Usages:
말다툼 = an argument

Notes: 다투다 is generally used in two ways. One is to indicate that one “argues” with somebody:

저와 제 남자친구는 사소한 문제로 자주 다퉈요
= My boyfriend and I often argue over minor problems

제가 세상에서 제일 싫어하는 것은 말다툼을 하는 거예요
= The thing I hate the most in the world is arguing (with people)

우리가 어제 다퉈서 저는 그랑 얘기하고 싶지 않아요
= I don’t want to talk with him because we had an argument (we argued) yesterday

The other common way is to indicate that one competes in a competition. For example:

이 대회에서는 많은 고등학생들이 수학 실력을 다투고 있어요
= In this competition, many high school students are competing (with their) math skills

그 선수 두 명은 경주마다 선두를 다퉈요
= Those two athletes/competitors compete for first place (for the lead) in every race

겨루다 = to compete, to fight, to vie for

Notes: 겨루다 is very similar to 다투다, but it wouldn’t be used to indicate an argument, just a competition (much like the second usage of 다투다 above).

Common Usages:
승부를 겨루다 = to compete for victory
실력을 겨루다 = to compete one’s abilities (This doesn’t sound natural in English, but 실력 is put in these types of sentences. Instead of just saying “Those two people are competing” they would say “Those two people are competing their skills”)

그 두 팀은 다음 주에 우승을 겨룰 거예요
= Those two teams will compete for the championship next week

올림픽에서는 각 나라의 선수들이 실력을 겨루기 위해 모여요
= In the Olympics, athletes from each country gather to compete (their skills)

정정당당하게 실력을 겨루는 것이 스포츠에서 가장 중요한 덕목이에요
= Competing fairly (fair and squarely) is the most important virtue in sports

개설하다 = to establish, to open

Common Usages:
수업을 개설하다 = to open up/start a class
강좌를 개설하다 = to open up/start a lecture

Examples:
이번 학기에 우리 대학교는 새로운 수업을 많이 개설했어요
= This semester, our school opened up many new classes/courses

새로 개설한 수업들은 보통 기존의 수업들보다 인기가 많아요
= Newly established courses are usually more popular than basic courses

Person 1: 우리 학교가 영어회화 수업이 없어요? = Our school doesn’t have an English Conversation class?
Person 2: 네, 없어요. 그래서 제가 다음 학기부터 개설할 거예요 = Right, there isn’t any. That’s why I’m going to start one beginning next semester

설레다 = for one's heart to be beating fast in excitement

Notes: It is common to also see/hear “설레이다” used. Officially, 설레다 is the correct word. The word is generally used to indicate that one is excited.

Common Usages:
가슴이 설레다 = for one’s heart to be beating fast in excitement
마음이 설레다 = for one’s heart/mind to be beating fast in excitement

Examples:
너의 눈을 응시할 때 가슴이 설레어 = When I gaze into your eyes, my heart flutters
그 연예인의 사인을 받았을 때 너무 설레었어요 = When I got that celebrity’s signature, I was really excited

오늘은 남자친구와 데이트가 있어서 마음에 설레어요
= I’m excited because I have a date with my boyfriend today

제가 제 남편을 처음 만났을 때 너무 잘생겨서 가슴이 설렜어요
= When I first met my husband, I was excited (my heart was beating fast) because he is/was very handsome

미래에 나는 사육사가 될 것이다! 그래서 항상 동물들과 함께 있을 것이다! 그 생각 만으로 나는 가슴이 설레었다. = In the future, I am going to be a zookeeper! That way/therefore, I can always be with animals! Just thinking about that made me excited!

Passive Verbs:
떠지다 = to have one’s eyes open

Common Usages:
눈이 떠지다 = for one’s eyes to be opened

Examples:
저는 매일 아침 7시에 눈이 떠져요 = My eyes open (I wake up) every day at 7:00 in the morning
아침에 중요한 회의가 있어서 눈이 자동으로 떠졌어요 = I had an important meeting this morning, so my eyes opened automatically (I woke up automatically in the morning)

감기다 = to have one’s eyes closed

Common Usages:
눈이 감기다 = for one’s eyes to be closed

Examples: 오늘 너무 피곤해서 눈이 자꾸 감겨요 = My eyes keep shutting because I’m so tired
우리 엄마는 10시만 되면 눈이 감기기 시작해요 = At (only) 10:00, my mom’s eyes start to close
할아버지는 눈이 감기기 시작하시면서 잠에 들었어요 = Our grandfather fell asleep as his eyes started to close

Adverbs and Other Words:
왜냐하면 = because

Notes: 왜냐하면 is actually a contraction of “왜 그러냐 하면…” which uses ~(으)면 (“if” – introduced in Lesson 43) and ~냐 (a way to make a quoted sentence – introduced in Lesson 53). The whole construction roughly translates to something like “If you ask why it is like that…” In English, this can be said as “because,” which can connect two clauses to indicate a cause or reason. In Korean it is more common to connect sentences using the grammatical principle ~아/어서. For example:

제가 한국을 매우 사랑해요, 왜냐하면 한국 사람들이 서로에게 매우 예의가 바르기 때문이에요  = I love Korea, because Korean people are very polite to each other

과학을 배우는 것은 중요해, 왜냐하면 내가 살고 있는 곳을 더욱 잘 이해할 수 있게 도와주기 때문이야
= It is important to learn science, because it helps me understand the place/environment that I live (in) better

피자를 먹으면서 나는 아빠에게 계속 펭귄에 대해 말을 했다. 아빠가 내가 계속 펭귄에 대해 말하는 게 귀엽다고 생각하는 거 같았다. 왜냐하면 계속해서 나를 보면서 웃고 있었기 때문이다. = While eating pizza, I kept talking to dad about penguins. Dad probably thought it was cute that I kept talking about penguins. Because he kept laughing/smiling while looking at me.

그래서 = therefore

Notes:그래서 is not actually a word, but rather ~아/어서 added to 그렇다. In Lesson 23, you learned that ‘그렇다’ translates to ‘like that.’ By adding ~아/어서 to 그렇다 you can create “그래서.”
When some situation is being talked about, you can use “그래서” to say “Because of (that situation)…”. The common translation of 그래서 is simply “therefore…” or “that’s why…”

Person 1: 비가 왔어요? = Did it rain?
Person 2: 응, 그래서 나가기 싫어요 = Yeah, that’s why/therefore I don’t want to go out

Person 1: 우리 학교가 영어회화 수업이 없어요? = Our school doesn’t have an English Conversation class?
Person 2: 네, 없어요. 그래서 제가 다음 학기부터 개설할 거예요 = Right, there isn’t any. That’s why I’m going to start one beginning next semester

한국의 주식이 쌀이에요. 그래서 밀가루보다는 쌀로 만든 음식이 더 많아요
= The staple food of Korea is rice. Therefore, there are more foods made from rice than flour

오늘은 한국의 독립기념일이에요 그래서 전국에 많은 행사가 열릴 거예요
= Today is Korea’s National Independence Day. Therefore, there will be a lot of events held around the country

내일은 토요일이잖아요! 그래서 우리가 일찍 가야 될 것 같아요
= You should know that tomorrow is Saturday, so we should probably go early!

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

 

Introduction

Okay, now it is time to get really serious. Up until now, you have not been taught how to say one of the most common words in the English language: because. It’s not that I didn’t want to teach you this word, but rather that you didn’t have the knowledge to fully understand this word up until this point. In Korean, because is not generally said as a word. Okay, that is slightly untrue. There is a word in Korean for “because”: 왜냐하면. However, “왜냐하면” is not nearly used as much as the grammatical principle that has the meaning of “because” in Korean. For example, Korean people would never say something like this:

나는 밥을 먹는다 왜냐하면 배고팠어

In fact, that sentence makes no sense (I was trying to write it in a way that didn’t make any sense).

You could technically write something like this:

나는 밥을 먹었어. 왜냐하면 나는 배고팠어 = I ate. Because I was hungry.

However, that wouldn’t sound natural at all in Korean. Instead, Korean people ~아/어서 to connect two clauses to have the meaning of “because.” We will look at how this is done in Korean. Let’s get started.

 

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Because/Therefore: V/A + ~/어서

~아/어서 is added to the stem of a verb or adjective in a clause to connect it with the upcoming clause. First, let’s look at how “because” sentences are formed in English. When saying a sentence with “because,” there are two clauses:

I want to eat
I am hungry

Both are independent clauses that can be sentences on their own. However, if we insert “because” between the two, we can create a sentence with two clauses:

I want to eat because I am hungry

The hardest part about saying these sentences in Korean is that the order is reversed. So, instead of saying:

I want to eat because I am hungry
I want to go to the park because I am bored

In Korean, we say:

Because I am hungry, I want to eat
Because I am bored, I want to go to the park

Now let’s look at these simple sentences in Korean. We have our two clauses again:

저는 밥을 먹고 싶어요 = I want to eat
저는 배고파요 = I am hungry

Same as in English; both are independent clauses and can be sentences on their own. However, by inserting ~아/어서 between the two, we can create the meaning of “because.” For example:

저는 배고프(+~아/어서) 저는 밥을 먹고 싶어요

Remember from Lesson 24 that ~이/가 should be added to the subject of any clause that is not the main clause of a sentence. ~는/은 or ~이/가 can be added to the subject of the main clause of the sentence, depending on the specific meaning you are trying to create (although they both essentially have the same meaning). I encourage you to re-read Lesson 2 and Lesson 24 to remind yourself how changing these particles can slightly change the feeling of a sentence. Therefore, the sentence above could be written as:

제가 배고파서 저는 밥을 먹고 싶어요 = Because I am hungry, I want to eat
제가 배고파서 제가 밥을 먹고 싶어요 = Because I am hungry, I want to eat

However, remember in Korean that when the subject of both (or multiple) clauses in a sentence is the same, you only need to include the subject once. Therefore, the sentences above sound more natural as:

저는 배고파서 밥을 먹고 싶어요 = Because I am hungry, I want to eat

I always found it easier to remember the meaning of “~아/어서” as “Therefore.” This way, the order of the clauses is the same in English and Korean. For example:

저는 배고파서 밥을 먹고 싶어요 = I am hungry, therefore I want to eat

Remember that this same addition (~아/어서) can also be added to 가다 and 오다 to express that one does something “after” going/coming from/to a place. This concept was taught in Lesson 17, and examples from that lesson were:

저는 학교에 가서 공부할 거예요 = I will go to school and then study
우리는 집에 와서 바로 잤어요 = We came home and went to sleep immediately

Note that those sentences technically could mean “Because I go/went to school, I will study” and “Because I came home, I went to sleep immediately”. However, 99.9% of the time the meaning you will want to express using “가서” and “와서” will be the meaning talked about in Lesson 17. Think about how often you would want to say: “The reason I went to sleep immediately is because I came home” or “The reason I will study is because I came to school.” I had this same question when I first learned of these two identical looking grammatical principles. At the time, I asked Koreans why these sentences couldn’t mean “because…” and they all looked at me with a weird face and said “because nobody would ever say something like that.”

Here are many more examples:

그 여자가 너무 예뻐서 저는 그녀를 만나고 싶어요
= That girl is very pretty, therefore, I want to meet her (because that girl is very pretty, I want to meet her)

저는 심심해서 공원에 가고 싶어요
= I am bored, therefore, I want to go to the park (because I am bored, I want to go to the park)

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

저는 너무 못생겨서 성형수술을 받고 싶어요
= I want to get plastic surgery because I am so ugly

고속도로가 막혀서 일반 길로 갈 거예요
= I will take the normal road because the highway is blocked up

저는 우리 딸을 진심으로 사랑해서 그녀를 위해 모든 것을 할 거예요
= I will do everything for my daughter because I (truly love her/) love her from the bottom of my heart

우리가 어제 다퉈서 저는 그랑 얘기하고 싶지 않아요
= I don’t want to talk with him because we had an argument (we argued) yesterday

슬기가 임신해서 회사에 오는 것이 힘들겠어요
= It must be difficult for Seulgi to come to the office because she is pregnant

배가 곧 터질 것 같아서 더 못 먹겠어요
= I can’t eat anymore because my stomach is (like it is) about to explode

여기에 여행자가 너무 많아서 다른 곳으로 갈 거예요
= I’m going to go to a different place because there are too many travelers here

오늘 너무 피곤해서 눈이 자꾸 감겨요
= My eyes keep shutting because I’m so tired

So far, we have only looked at using ~아/어서 in the present tense. In the next few sections, we will look at how to use it in the past and future tenses.

 

 

~아/어서 in the Past Tense

You cannot conjugate a word into the past tense and then use ~아/어서. For example, the following is incorrect:

저는 배고팠아서 밥을 먹었어요, you should say:

Instead, the tense of the first clause is inferred from the context of the sentence. For example:

저는 배고파서 밥을 먹었어요 = I was hungry, so I ate
Notice that this sentence wouldn’t make sense if it were “I am hungry, so I ate.”

The final clause of the sentence doesn’t necessarily need to be in the past tense in order to suggest that the first clause is in the past. For example, notice how the final clause below is in the present tense, but the first clause is in the past tense:

점심을 안 먹어서 지금 먹고 있어요 = I didn’t eat lunch, so I’m eating now
Notice that this sentence wouldn’t make sense if it were “I’m not eating lunch so I’m eating now.”

Also, it is possible that the final clause of the sentence be in the future tense to suggest that the first clause is in the past tense. For example:

거기에 안 가 봐서 내일 갈 거예요 = I haven’t been there yet, so I will go tomorrow
Notice that this sentence wouldn’t make sense if it were “I’m not going there yet so I’ll go tomorrow.”

To somebody who has just learned this, it seems rather confusing and difficult to have to guess whether the first clause is in the past or present tense. As I said – you’re not guessing. The context makes this clear. A lot of meaning in Korean is derived from context. As you progress through your studies, this will become easier.

Other examples:

학생들이 너무 시끄러워서 저는 교수님의 말을 못 들었어요
= The students were too loud, so I couldn’t hear the professor

저는 공부하지 않아서 시험을 못 봤어요
= I didn’t study, therefore, I didn’t do well on the exam

제가 눈을 감고 있어서 그것을 못 봤어요
= I didn’t see that because my eyes were closed

저는 화장을 하지 않아서 못생겨 보여요
= I look ugly because I didn’t do my makeup

도시락을 안 가져와서 점심을 못 먹을 거예요
= I won’t be able to eat lunch because I didn’t bring my lunch box

공원에 스님이 있어서 우리는 술을 다른 곳에서 마셨어요
= There was a monk in the park, so we drank our alcohol in another place

오늘이 무슨 날인지 깜빡해서 선물을 안 준비했어요
= I forgot what today is (what day it is today) so I didn’t prepare a present

애기가 손가락을 계속 빨아서 지금 손가락이 끈적거려요
= The baby kept sucking his fingers, so now they are all sticky

그 남자가 불법 행동을 하는 것을 봐서 저는 당국에 바로 말할 거예요
= I saw that man do something illegal (an illegal act) so I will tell the authorities immediately

일반 도로가 피해를 입어서 고속도로가 막힐 것 같아요
= The regular road was damaged so the highway will probably be blocked up

이상한 소리를 들어서 눈을 뜨고 밖을 보러 일어났어요
= I heard a weird sound, so I opened my eyes and got up to look outside

Before you learn how to add ~아/어서 to verbs/adjectives in the future tense, you need to learn how to add it to 이다.

 


Adding ~/어서 to 이다

When adding ~아/어서 to 이다, the same principle as before applies. Again, let’s look at two clauses:

I want to go to the park = 저는 공원에 가고 싶어요
It is Sunday = 일요일이다

Again, both are independent clauses that can be sentences on their own. However, if we insert “because” between the two clauses, we can make:

I want to go to the park because it is Sunday
Which, in Korean, would be written as:
일요일이다 (+ ~아/어서) 저는 공원에 가고 싶어요

Which is done like this:
일요일이어서 저는 공원에 가고 싶어요 = It is Sunday, so I want to go to the park

~어서 is always added to 이다 and never ~아서 because the last vowel of the stem of 이다 will always be “이.” So, for example:

일요일이어서
건물이어서
공원이어서

의사이어서
여자이어서
남자이어서

When the word 이다 is attached to ends in a vowel (like in 의사, 여자 and 남자) 이 and 어 can merge to form 여. For example:

의사
여자
남자

There is a difference simply because of ease of pronunciation. If you were to say “일요일여서” it is hard to pronounce because your tongue has to move from the ㄹ sound to the 여 sound right away.

Adding ~이라(서) or ~라(서) has the exact same meaning of ~이어서 and ~여서 respectively. That is, you can add ~이라(서) to nouns ending in a consonant and 라(서) to nouns ending in a vowel. Both are possible, but I find that ~(이)라(서) is used more often in speech (not to say that it is not used in writing – but when speaking, ~(이)라서 is more common than ~이어서 or ~여서). To me, ~(이)라서 just flows off my tongue better.

For example:

일요일이어서 공원에 가고 싶어요 = It is Sunday, so I want to go to the park
일요일이라서 공원에 가고 싶어요 = It is Sunday, so I want to go to the park

예쁜 여자여서 똑똑하지 않을 것 같아 = She is a pretty girl, so she is probably not smart
예쁜 여자라서 똑똑하지 않을 것 같아 = She is a pretty girl, so she is probably not smart

이번 주말이 연휴라서 우리 엄마 집에 갈 거예요
= This weekend is a long weekend, so I will go to our mom’s house

이 방은 원룸이라서 너무 작아요
= This is a studio apartment, so it is too small

이 학교는 초등학교라서 이 동네에 어린이들이 많아요
= This school is an elementary school, so there are a lot of children in the neighborhood

그것이 최신 정보여서 맞는 것 같아요
= That is the latest (most up-to-date) information, so it is probably right

When adding ~아/어서 to 아니다, you can either add ~어서 or ~라(서). For example:

최신 핸드폰이 아니어서 이 앱이 아주 느려요
최신 핸드폰이 아니라서 이 앱이 아주 느려요
= This isn’t the latest cell phone, so the app is really slow

Now that you can add ~아/어서 to 이다, you can learn about adding ~아/어서 to clauses in the future tense.

 

 

 

~아/어서 in the Future Tense

When adding ~아/어서 to a verb or adjective in the future tense, it is the same as adding ~아/어서 to 이다. Again, let’s look at two clauses:

My friend will come here = 저의 친구는 여기에 올 것이다
I won’t leave/I won’t go outside = 밖에 안 나갈 것이다

Again, both are independent clauses that can be sentences on their own. However, if we insert “because” between the two clauses, we can make:

저의 친구가 여기에 올 것이다 (~아/어서) 밖에 안 나갈 거예요

Remember that this future tense conjugation is actually just ~ㄹ/을 것 + 이다. Because of this, adding ~아/어서 to clauses in the future tense is done exactly the same as adding ~아/어서 to 이다. Any of the following would work:

저의 친구가 여기에 올 것이어서…
저의 친구가 여기에 올 거여서…
저의 친구가 여기에 올 것이라서…
저의 친구가 여기에 올 거라서

Remember that 것 can be shortened to 거. So you can choose if you would rather use “것이어서,” “거여서,” “것이라서” or “거라서.”

More examples:
나중에 밥이 없을 거라서 저는 지금 먹고 싶어요
= There will not be any food later, therefore, I want to eat now

친구가 거기에 많을 거라서 그 파티에 가고 싶어요
= Many of my friends will be there, so/therefore I want to go to that party

입장료가 너무 비쌀 거라서 저는 안 갈 거예요
= The price of admission will be so expensive, so I am not going to go

All very confusing, but you really only need to know how to say one of the future ~아/어서 conjugations (and then just be aware of the other ones). I personally only ever say ~이라(서) or ~라(서) and never say ~이어서 or ~여서.

 


 

그래서

In Lesson 23, you learned that the meaning of the word ‘그렇다’ is close to the meaning of ‘like that.’ By adding ~아/어서 to 그렇다 you can create “그래서.”

When some situation is being talked about, you can use “그래서” to say “Because of (that situation)…”. The common translation of 그래서 is simply “therefore” or “that’s why.” For example:

Person 1: 비가 왔어요? = Did it rain?
Person 2: 응, 그래서 나가기 싫어요 = Yeah, that’s why/therefore I don’t want to go out

Person 1: 우리 학교가 영어회화 수업이 없어요? = Our school doesn’t have an English Conversation class?
Person 2: 네, 없어요. 그래서 제가 다음 학기부터 개설할 거예요 = Right, there isn’t any. That’s why I’m going to start one beginning next semester

That’s it for this lesson. In the following lesson, you will continue to learn about how to give the meaning of “because” using the word 때문.

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