Lesson 68: Only: 유일하다/유일하게

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Vocabulary
Introduction

Only: 유일하다

 

Vocabulary

Nouns:
단골 = regular costumer
동물원 = zoo
토끼 = rabbit
장갑 = gloves
당나귀 = donkey
독수리 = eagle
도마뱀 = lizard
코끼리 = elephant
기린 = giraffe
사자 = lion
개구리 = frog
염소 = goat
상어 = shark
= share, portion
빗방울 = raindrop
복장 = clothes
물가 = the prices of an area

Verbs:
바람을 피우다 = to cheat on (one’s husband or wife)
갈아입다 = to change clothes
전송하다 = to transmit, to send over computer
합하다 = to combine, to join together, to unite
반성하다 = to self-reflect, to remorse
유지하다 = to maintain, to retain

Adjectives:
이기적이다 = to be selfish
모자라다 = to be short of, to be insufficient

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

 

Introduction

In this lesson, you will learn about the word 유일하다 which can be used to create the meaning of “only.” In Lesson 12 you learned about the particle ~만 which can also be used to create the meaning of “only.” However, the usages of 유일하다 and ~만 are different, and I will spend this lesson teaching you how to use 유일하다. Let’s get started.

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Only: 유일하다

First and foremost, the word “유일하다” is an adjective. Adjectives (in English and Korean) are commonly placed before nouns to describe them. For example:

코끼리 = elephant
큰 코끼리 = big elephant

토끼 = rabbit
귀여운 토끼 = cute rabbit

Just like other adjectives, 유일하다 can be placed before nouns to describe them. 유일하다 is used to describe that a particular noun is the only/unique/sole noun that will be acted on. This is a little confusing, but let’s break it down.

The particle “~만” is attached to nouns. When ~만 is used, there is no indication that the noun is unique (or sticks out) from any other noun. For example, I could say:

나는 사과만 샀어 = I only bought apples

This sentence is saying that you only bought apples. Implied in the meaning of this sentence is that you didn’t purchase anything else. For example, maybe you bought apples, but you didn’t buy bananas or strawberries.

유일하다 describes nouns. It describes a noun in a way that causes that noun to be unique (or stand out) in some way. “Unique” doesn’t mean that the noun is “strange.” Rather, it means that it is the only noun that possesses some particular quality. For example, I could say:

나는 유일한 사과를 샀어 = I bought the only apple

Implied in the meaning of this sentence is the feeling that this apple is/was the “only” apple there. In a sense, it is “unique” from all other fruits at the store because it was the “only” apple. A common translation for “유일하다” could also be “sole.” For example:

나는 유일한 사과를 샀어 = I bought the sole apple

To make it more clear, it would probably be more natural to indicate that it was the “only” or “sole” apple to be in a place. For example:

나는 그 가게에서 유일한 사과를 샀어 = I bought the sole apple at that store

In practice, 유일하다 is often used in much more complicated sentences. Often times, the noun being described by 유일하다 is also described by another verb using ~는 것.

Let’s review the ~는 것 principle (from Lesson 26). Remember that you can describe a noun using verbs with ~는 것. For example:

저는 먹는 사람이에요 = I am the person who is eating
저는 공부하는 사람이에요 = I am the person who is studying

You also learned that you can add an adjective to these sentences to describe the noun even further. Remember, these adjectives are usually placed after the describing verb. For example:

저는 먹는 행복한 사람이에요 = I am the happy person who is eating
저는 공부하는 똑똑한 사람이에요 = I am the smart person who is studying

I don’t know exactly when you would use those specific sentences, but the grammar within them is important to understanding to how 유일하다 can be used. It is common to use 유일하다 in this same structure – as an adjective to describe a noun that is also being described by a verb.

If we break it down:

먹는 사람 = the person who is eating
먹는 행복한 사람 = the happy person who is eating
먹는 유일한 사람 = the only person who is eating

공부하는 사람 = the person who is studying
공부하는 똑똑한 사람 = the smart person who is studying
공부하는 유일한 사람 = the only person who is studying

These nouns can then be placed in sentences just like any other noun. For example:

저는 아직 먹고 있는 유일한 사람이라서 부끄러워요
= I am shy because I am the only/sole person who is still eating

오늘이 휴일이라서 제가 학교에서 공부하는 유일한 사람이에요
= Today is a holiday, so I am the only/sole person who is studying at school today

Notice how the two people being described by 유일하다 in the above sentences are unique compared to other individuals. The other individuals aren’t explicitly in the sentences, but by context we know that the people are “sole” individuals doing a particular action.

Because of this, it can be common to attach ~만 to a word that would rarely be described by 유일하다. For example:

저는 돈만 가져왔어요 = I only brought money

However, I can’t think of a situation where “유일한 돈” would be appropriate unless you are describing one country’s money as unique compared to another county’s money.

Likewise,

저는 저의 몫만 먹었어요  = I only ate my portion

However, I can’t think of a situation where “유일한 몫” would be appropriate.

Below are many more examples. In the two examples that we discussed previously, the noun being described by 유일하다 (and the other preceding verb) were attached to 이다 in the sentence. However, this noun can be used just like any other noun – and can therefore have other functions in a sentence (like the subject, object or location). For example:

저는 그 가게에서 파는 유일한 장갑을 샀어요
= I bought the only gloves that are sold at that store

제가 먹고 싶은 유일한 음식은 삼겹살입니다
= The only thing I want to eat is 삼겹살

제가 하고 싶은 유일한 것은 밥을 먹는 것이에요
= The only thing I want to do right now is eat

선생님의 말씀을 듣고 있는 유일한 사람은 저에요
= I am the only person who is listening to the teacher

저는 동물원에서 자지 않은 유일한 당나귀를 탔어요
= At the zoo, I rode the only donkey that wasn’t sleeping

제가 결혼하고 싶은 유일한 사람은 저의 여자 친구입니다
= The only person I want to marry is my girlfriend

저는 그 식당에서 먹는 사람 중에 유일한 단골고객이에요
= Of all people who eat at that restaurant, I am the only regular customer

제가 운동하는 유일한 이유는 몸무게를 유지하는 것이에요
= The only reason I exercise is to maintain/keep my weight

저는 이메일을 그 회사에게 기한 안에 전송하는 유일한 사람이에요
= I am the only person who sent the email to that company within/by the deadline

저는 서울에서 있는 유일한 동물원에 가서 기린과 사자를 봤어요
= I went to the only zoo in Seoul and saw the giraffes and lions

미국 물가가 아주 비싸서 당신을 위해 산 유일한 기념품은 이 목걸이예요
= The price of goods in America is very expensive, so the only souvenir I bought for you is this necklace

It is also possible to attach ~게 to 유일하다 and use it as an adverb. In these cases, it is often placed before the describing verb in the sentence. For example:

제가 유일하게 먹고 싶은 음식은 삼겹살입니다
= The only food I want to eat is 삼겹살

제가 유일하게 하고 싶은 것은 밥을 먹는 것이에요
= The only thing I want to do is eat (rice)

제가 유일하게 결혼하고 싶은 사람은 저의 여자 친구입니다
= The only person I want to marry is my girlfriend

So far, you have seen nouns being described by verbs – and using 유일한 (or 유일하게) to add the additional meaning of “only” or “sole” to the sentences. It is also possible to describe a noun with an adjective and to also use 유일하다 to describe it as well. When this is done, it usually sounds strange in Korean to describe the noun using “유일한” and another adjective. For example:

저는 유일한 행복한 사람이에요

It is weird to have two adjectives in that form describing a noun like this. Therefore, it is better to change “유일한” to “유일하게” – which you saw earlier can also be done with verbs. For example:

행복한 사람 = happy person
유일하게 행복한 사람 = the only happy person

예쁜 여자 = pretty girl
유일하게 예쁜 여자 = the only pretty girl

These nouns can be used in sentences just like any other noun. For example:

이 방에서 유일하게 예쁜 여자는 저 여자예요
= The only pretty girl in this room is that girl

제가 바다에서 유일하게 무서운 것은 상어예요
= The only thing I am afraid of in the ocean is sharks

염소가 거기서 유일하게 살 수 있는 동물이에요
= Goats are the only animals that can live there

나는 우리 가족들 중에 유일하게 행복한 사람이야
= I am the only happy person in my family

회사에서 유일하게 입을 수 있는 복장은 정장이에요
= The only thing/clothing that you can wear at work is a suit

그 아이가 우리 반에서 유일하게 이기적인 학생이에요
= That kid is the only selfish student in our class

제가 동물원에서 유일하게 보고 싶은 것은 도마뱀과 개구리예요
= The only things I want to see at the zoo are snakes and frogs

우리가 유일하게 할 수 있는 것은 우리 힘을 다 합하고 해 보는 거예요
= The only thing that we can do is combine our strength/efforts/power together and try

It took me a while to fully grasp this word, but once you understand it, you will realize that it is a very powerful word that you can use to increase the complexity of your sentences.

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