Lesson 60: Difficult words: 차다, 가득, 왠지, 설마, 찍다, 다행, ~달

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Just like in the previous lesson, this lesson will teach you some difficult words that you would not otherwise understand. These are all words that you wouldn’t otherwise understand if you just saw them in a vocabulary list. I’ll break each word down step by step as I always do. Let’s get started with the list of words.



차다 = to be full
가득 = filled (adverb)
자신감 = confidence
표정 = facial expression
왠지 = for some reason
설마 = don’t tell me that…
찍다 = to take picture, to stamp, to dot, to dip, to scan
도장 = a seal/stamp that Korean people have to replace a signature
다행(하다) = to be thankful
~ = at some point in a month

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


To be full: 가득 차다

채우다 is an active verb that means “to fill.” For example:

병에 끝까지 물을 채워 주세요 = Please fill the bottle to the top (to the finish) with water
그들은 집을 이상한 가구로 채웠어요 = They filled their house with weird furniture

The passive equivalent, 차다 can be used to indicate that some area is full/filled. For example:

교실이 완전히 찼어요 = The classroom is completely full
식당이 완전히 찼어요 = The restaurant is completely full

The two sentences above are slightly unnatural in Korean because of their ambiguity. You can indicate what the area is filled with by using the particle ‘(으)로’ after a noun. For example:

교실이 학생들로 완전히 찼어요 = The classroom is completely filled with students
식당이 손님으로 완전히 찼어요 = The restaurant is completely filled with customers

Despite being in the past tense, “찼다” is describing that an area is currently full in the present. Much like how in English the past tense “filled” can be used to indicate that something is “full” in the present tense. It is also common to add ~아/어 있다 to 차다 to create the meaning that something is full/filled in the present. For example:

교실이 학생들로 완전히 차 있어요 = The classroom is completely full with students
식당이 손님으로 완전히 차 있어요 = The restaurant is completely full with customers

A common adverb that is often included in sentences with 채우다 or 차다 is 가득. 가득 is an adverb that carries the feeling that something is completely “filled/full.” It doesn’t translate to anything special (other than “completely”), and it is more of a word that is included for feeling. For example:

교실은 학생들로 가득 찼어요 = The classroom is (completely) filled with students
식당은 손님으로 가득 찼어요 = The restaurant is (completely) filled with customers

Most people will tell you that 가득 it means “filled/full,” simply because it is very commonly used in combination with 차다. There might be some times where you see 가득하다 as an adjective describing that something is full, but it is generally more natural to use “가득 차다” instead.

This same usage of 차다 is also used to indicate that one is “full” with some sort of emotion or feeling. For example:

자신감에 찬 표정으로 새로운 직장에 들어갔어요
= He went into a new workplace with a face “full of” confidence

시험결과를 보고 저는 기쁨으로 가득 찼어요
= After looking at the exam results, I was “full of” joy

손님이 불행에 찬 눈으로 주인을 봤어요
= The customer looked at the owner with eyes “full of” unhappiness

차다 has other meanings, but they are unrelated to this usage and thus will be presented in the vocabulary lists of other lessons as separate words. You will see these words in other lessons, but it might be good to familiarize yourself with the different possible usages:

차다 = to kick (Lesson 55)
차다 = to wear a watch (Lesson 101)
차다 = to be cold



For some reason: 왠지

In Lesson 30, you learned how to use ~ㄴ/은/는/ㄹ/을지 in sentences when something is unknown. For example:

제가 준 것이 괜찮은지 모르겠어요 = I don’t know if the thing that I gave is good
이 빛이 충분히 밝은지 모르겠어요 = I don’t know if this light is bright enough

In that lesson, you saw how question words could go in these types of sentences. For example:

그 사람을 왜 데려오는지 물어봤어요 = I asked him why he is bringing that person
비상출입구가 어디 있는지 찾았어요 = We found where the emergency exit is

In Lesson 23, you learned about 그렇다 and how it can be used as 그런 to mean “in that way.” For example:

저는 그런 사람을 믿지 않아요 = I don’t trust that type of person/those types of people
저는 그런 것을 좋아하지 않아요 = I don’t like that type of thing

Using 그렇다 and the grammar taught in Lesson 30, you can make the following sentence:

왜 그런지 몰라요 = I don’t know why it is like that

The word “왠지” is an adverb that has the meaning of the sentence above. It is used in sentences when the speaker doesn’t know why something occurs – or when something occurs for no clear reason.

A typical translation for “왠지” could be “I don’t know why…” or “for some reason…”. However, as always, I suggest that you worry less about the English translations and focus more on the meaning that 왠지 has based on your knowledge from Lesson 23 with 그렇다 and how ~ㄴ/은지 can be applied to it:

그녀는 왠지 한국어를 배우고 싶었어요
= She wanted to learn Korean for some reason
= I don’t know why, but she wanted to learn Korean

나는 왠지 오늘 학교에 가기 싫어
= I don’t want to go to school today for some reason
= I don’t know why, but I don’t want to go to school today

오늘이 일요일이지만 버스가 승객들로 왠지 가득 찼어요
= Even though today is Sunday, the bus is packed/filled with passengers for some reason
= I don’t know why, but even though today is Sunday, the bus is packed/filled with passengers



Expressing Astonishment with 설마

설마 is an adverb that is used in sentences to indicate a feeling that the speaker is amazed or astonished that something occurs. Much like other adverbs that have a “feeling,” it is difficult to translate 설마 perfectly, so let’s start with a simple example:

설마 밥을 다 먹었어요?

When looking at a sentence like this, look at the sentence without 설마:

밥을 다 먹었어요? = Did you eat all of the rice?

If we include “설마” in this sentence, the speaker is describing his amazement/astonishment that the action occurs (i.e. the sentence without 설마).

Common translations of “설마” are “don’t tell me that…” or “I can’t believe that…”. For example:

설마 밥을 다 먹었어요?
= Don’t tell me you ate all the rice?!
= I can’t believe you ate all the rice!

설마 can be used in negative sentences too. For example:

설마 밥을 아직 안 먹었어요?
= Don’t tell me that you haven’t eaten (rice) yet?
= I can’t believe that you haven’t eaten (rice) yet!

Below are many more examples:

설마 아직도 아파요? = Don’t tell me you are still sick?
설마 그곳에 혼자 가요? = Don’t tell me you are going there by yourself?
설마 학생이 그렇게 답장을 했어요? = Don’t tell me the student responded like that?
설마 우리가 내일 학교에 가야 돼요? = Don’t tell me that we have to go to school tomorrow?
설마 그들이 아버지와 어머니가 모르게 결혼을 할 거야? = Don’t tell me they will get married without their parents knowing?

설마 is often used by itself to express one’s disbelief in a situation. Kind of like saying “no way, that’s ridiculous” in English.

I was traveling in Hong Kong with my father-in-law in 2015, and we were sitting down having dinner. In most restaurants in Korea, the servers will usually give you a big bottle of water for the whole table to use. This was my father-in-law’s first trip abroad, and he had never experienced buying water at a restaurant. I was unsure of the customs in Hong Kong, but we had the following conversation;

Father-in-Law: 왜 이렇게 물을 안 줘? = Why aren’t they giving us any water?
Me: 돈을 내야 될 것 같아요 = We’ll probably need to pay for it
Father-in-Law: 설마! = No way! That’s ridiculous!

I think we ended up getting free water in the end, but that story always sticks in my head.




To take a picture and other usages: 찍다

“찍다” has many usages that all center around a general idea. As a general umbrella usage, 찍다 is used when touching two objects together. I want to describe this “touching two objects together” with an example.

Imagine you have a piece of meat, and want to “dip” the meat into sauce. How would you create this sentence? You know most of the words by this point:

저는 고기를 소스에 ….

… But what verb should you use? 찍다 is used in this situation. For example:

고기를 소스에 찍어야 돼요 = You need to dip the meat in the sauce

There are many other times when “찍다” is the appropriate verb for a situation like this. Below are some examples of when “찍다” is used:

When taking a picture:
저는 사진을 찍었어요 = I took a picture

When “stamping” something:
저는 계약서에 도장을 찍었어요 = I stamped/sealed the contract
도장 in Korean refers to a little stamp that is dipped in ink and pressed against a document – usually acting as an alternative to a signature.

When putting a dot or period on paper:
문장이 끝날 때마다 점을 찍어야 돼요 = When a sentence is finished, you need to put a period

When scanning your transportation card on a bus or subway:
카드를 거기에 찍어야 돼요 = You need to scan your card there

찍다 can be used in many situations, but they all center around this sort of theme.



Thankfully: 다행(이다)

The adjective “다행하다” is used to describe a “fortunate” or “lucky” event. For example:

아무도 안 죽은 것은 다행한 일이에요 = Nobody dyeing is (a) fortunate (event)

It can also be used as an adverb to mean “fortunately.” For example:

제가 유럽을 여행했을 때 다행히 문제가 생기지 않았어요 = When I travelled Europe, fortunately no problems came up

The noun “다행” often translates to “fortune” or “luck.” Korean people often usually put “다행” after a clause ending in ~아/어서 (Lesson 37) to express that they are “thankful” that something happened. For example:

제가 와서 다행

Of course, the construction above is not a sentence. 이다 can be placed after 다행 and be conjugated. For example:

제가 와서 다행이에요 = Thankfully, I came

다행 and 다행하다 aren’t overly difficult, but I wanted to present them separately from other vocabulary because I remember wanting to know how to say “thankfully, ….” when I was studying Korean. Below are many more examples:

비가 안 와서 다행이에요 = Thankfully it didn’t rain
물이 별로 안 뜨거워서 다행이에요 = Thankfully the water isn’t too hot
별로 안 비싸서 다행이에요 = Thankfully it’s not too expensive
사진을 많이 찍어서 다행이에요 = Thankfully you took many pictures
아직 사람이 별로 없어서 다행이에요 = Thankfully there aren’t that many people yet
돈을 안 줘서 다행이에요 = Thankfully I didn’t give (him) any money



At some point in a month: ~

In Lesson 11, you learned how to say that an action occurs on a specific day of a month. For example:

저는 8월 15일에 도착할 거예요 = I will arrive on August 15th
저는 이 여권을 1월 2일에 받았어요 = I received my passport on January 2nd

If you don’t know the exact day in a month that an action occurs, you can attach ‘~달’ to the name of the month to have the meaning of “some time in ____.” For example:

저는5월달에 한국에 갈 거예요 = I’m going to Korea sometime in May
저는 6월달에 시험을 볼 거예요 = I’m going to write an exam sometime in June

That’s it for this lesson!

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