Lesson 61: To wish/to hope: 바라다, ~았/었으면 좋겠다

Click here for Korean Short Stories specifically tailored to learners at this level.
Click here for a Workbook to go along with this lesson.

Jump to:


To hope: 바라다
I hope/I wish: ~았/었으면 좋겠다



쌍둥이 = twin
보충 = supplement
백조 = swan
실내 = interior
정책 = policy
통화 = currency
단백질 = protein
지방 = fat
탄수화물 = carbohydrate
= amount
야간 = night
최선 = one’s best
사전 = prior/beforehand/ahead of time
= a pair

헤엄치다 = to swim, to move through water
해고하다 = to fire a person from a job
건네다 = to hand-over, to pass on
해설하다 = to explain
다하다 = to do all of something, to leave nothing behind
데리러 오다 = to have one come and pick you up
데리러 가다 = to go and pick somebody up
추가하다 = to add to, to supplement

청결하다 = to be clean
의도적이다 = to be intentional, to be deliberate
꾸준하다 = to be unrelenting, to be tireless
한가롭다 = to be leisurely

Adverbs and Other Words:
= exactly, perfectly, precisely
무조건 = unconditionally

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



In this lesson, you will learn about adding ~았/었으면 좋겠다 to the end of sentences to have the meaning of “hope.” In addition to this, you will learn about the word “바라다” and how this could also mean “hope” in Korean as well. Let’s get started.



To hope: 바라다

Let’s start off with the peculiar word “바라다.” 바라다 is used to indicate that one “hopes” that something happens or occurs. In its most simple form, it can be placed after a noun to indicate that one “hopes” for that noun to occur. For example:

행복을 바랍니다
건강을 바랍니다
성공을 바랍니다
행운을 바랍니다

It is very difficult to translate these constructions. First, I want to point out that it would be rare to speak these sentences with 바라다. Unless it was in some sort of fabricated, formal speech, you would most likely see these types of constructions used as a type of greeting in writing. For example, when writing to somebody and wanting to “wish them the best of luck” you could say “행운을 바랍니다.” Or when buying a greeting card, the card might want to say “I wish you happiness” you could say “행복을 바랍니다.”

That being said, it can be used in full sentences to indicate that one wants to “possess” or “gain.” For example:

그 회사가 일본통화만 바라요 = That company only wants Japanese currency

Notice that the recording pronounces “바라요” as “바래요.”

I don’t want to provide a lot of examples of 바라다 being used like this. It is more commonly used in a different way, which is shown later. It also looks strange to Korean people because they often pronounce “바라요” a different way.

When ~아/어 (or its derivatives) is added to 바라다, it is often pronounced (and spelt) as 바래. For example:


The governing body for the Korean language states that when the stem of a verb ends in ㅏ (as 바라다 does), then 아 should be added to it (and usually merged to it) in these cases. It does not make any exception for the word 바라다. Therefore, despite “바래” or “바래요” being common in speech, writing, and even in Korean songs, 바라 and 바라요 are correct.

When one hopes for an entire clause to occur (i.e. something ending in a verb or adjective) it is very common to attach ~기(를) to the predicating verb or adjective in the clause to turn it into a noun. For example:

아버님이 항상 행복하시기 바랍니다 = I hope you (father) are always happy
저는 그 일을 잘 하기를 바라요 = I hope I do that job well
숙제가 많지 않기를 바라요 = I hope there isn’t a lot of homework
많은 사람들이 오시기를 바랍니다 = I hope many people (many of you) come
제가 야간을 안 하기를 바라요 = I hope I don’t work nights
정부가 그 정책을 수정하기를 바라요 = I hope the government amends that policy
실내에서 신발을 안 신기를 바라요 = I hope you don’t wear your shoes indoors (inside)
그 백조가 다시 헤엄치기를 바라요 = I hope that swan can swim again
지금 만날 여자가 예쁘기를 바라요 = I hope the girl I am meeting now is pretty
아빠가 곧 오기를 바라요 = I hope dad comes home soon
그가 나에게 돈을 많이 주기를 바라 = I hope he gives me a lot of money
지방을 많이 먹지 말고 단백질을 많이 먹기를 바랍니다 = I hope you don’t eat a lot of fat, and (instead) eat a lot of protein

Funny, the sentences above using “바라요” and “바라” look unnatural to Korean people because they would prefer to pronounce these as “바래요” and “바래.” Because of this, when pronouncing these words in speech I recommend that you say “바래” or “바래요.” My wife recorded everything as “바래” and “바래요” because she couldn’t force her tongue to say “바라” and “바라요.”

The word “hope” is used in the English translations above, but that is really just because there is no good way to translate 바라다 to English. As I’ve already eluded to, using 바라다 allows the speaker to indicate that he/or she wants that clause to occur. The word “hope” doesn’t need to be included. Instead, depending on the situation, you could translate the sentences above to a request that the speaker is giving to the listener. For example:

많은 사람들이 오시기를 바랍니다 = I hope many people (many of you) come

Imagine you are having a party, and you are announcing this to the group of people that work at your office. Of course, you want a lot of people to come, so at the end of your announcement, you could say “많은 사람들이 오시기를 바랍니다.” You could translate this to “(Lots of people), please come (to my party).”

In Lesson 40, you learned how to ask for something by adding ~아/어 주세요 to the end of a verb. For example:

그 일을 해 주세요 = Please do that for me
그 종이를 저한테 건네 주세요 = Please hand that paper over to me

You can use ~기 바라다 to essentially create this same meaning. For example:

그 일을 하기 바랍니다 = Please do that for me
그 종이를 저한테 건네기를 바랍니다 = Please hand that paper over to me

Again, don’t be married to the translation of “hope” for 바라다. The word “hope” could be used in the sentences above (for example “I hope that you do this for me”), but I used the same translations as when ~아/어 주세요 was added to show that ~기 바라다 can be used to ask for something to be done.

When adding just ~기 바랍니다 to “commands” or “requests” like this, it sounds as though the person who is speaking has authority. For example, if a boss was telling his workers to get their work done, he would say “그 일을 하기 바랍니다.” Implied in this meaning is that the work technically should/ought to be done, and that the boss is ordering them to do it.

You can remove that “authoritative” feel by adding 아/어 주다 after the verb that you are hoping is done. For example:

그 일을 해 주기 바랍니다
그 종이를 저한테 건네 주기를 바랍니다

To make those sentences more formal, the honorific “시” (Lesson 39) is often added to 주다:

그 일을 해 주시기 바랍니다 = Please do that/I hope that you do that
그 종이를 저한테 건네 주시기 바랍니다 = Please hand that paper over to me/I hope that you hand that paper over to me

Giving a command this way is very formal, and is most often heard in overhead announcements made to large crowds of people instructing them to do something. For example, if you take the subway in Seoul, the announcement might say:

지금은 서울 역. 서울역입니다. 공항철도나 KTX를 타시고 싶은 승객은 이 역에서 갈아타시기 바랍니다 = This is Seoul Station. Riders wanting to take the Airport Railroad or the KTX, please transfer at this station.

If you need to tell somebody what to do, and you were to climb the figurative ladder of politeness, it would look something like this:

지금 나가
지금 나가라
지금 나가세요
지금 나가기 바랍니다
지금 나가 주기 바랍니다
지금 나가십시오
지금 나가 주시기 바랍니다

Heh, you could translate all of the above to “Please go now”

Here are more examples:

실내에서 운동을 하지 말아 주시기 바랍니다 = Please don’t exercise indoors
이번 시험에 최선을 다해 주시기를 바랍니다 = Please try your best on this exam
모든 학생들이 딱 12시에 도착해 주시기 바랍니다 = All students please arrive at exactly 12:00
새로운 정책을 설명할 때 모두 다 잘 들어 주시기 바랍니다 = When I’m explaining the new policy, everybody please listen well


Another good example that illustrates how “바라다” is difficult to translate is from the Star Wars movies. Remember, using “바라다” allows the speaker to indicate that he/or she wants that clause to occur. Even if you’re not a fan of the Star Wars movies, I am sure that you are aware of the famous line “May the force be with you.” If you ever happen to watch the Star Wars movies with Korean subtitles, you’ll notice that this is translated to:

포스가 함께 하기를 바랍니다

Here, the word “hope” isn’t directly in the English translation. However, Obi-Wan can use this phrase to say that he “wants” the force to be with Luke.

A little side-note here for my readers who are also Star Wars fans. In preparation for the new Star Wars movie “The Force Awakens,” I made my (Korean) wife watch all six original Star Wars movies (4, 5, 6, 1, 2, 3 – if you’re wondering). My wife went into the movies knowing nothing. Absolutely nothing. Something that is essentially impossible in western countries because even if somebody isn’t a Star Wars fan, they typically know about “Darth Vader” and the famous line that comes at the end of Empire Strikes Back. She absolutely loved them and now we’re both waiting in anticipation for the next slew of movies to come out.


There is another way that you can say “I hope” in Korean, which we will talk about next.




I hope/I wish: ~/었으면 좋겠다

By adding “~았/었으면 좋겠다” to the end of a verb/adjective, you can create the meaning of “I hope” or “I wish.” This is one of the grammatical principles where I suggest looking at the whole thing as one and not trying to break it up into separate pieces. Let’s look at one simple example and then talk about it:

비가 안 왔으면 좋겠어요 = I hope it doesn’t rain

Notice that the past tense conjugation is used before “~면” and the future tense conjugation is used on “좋다.” Despite the use of these past and future conjugations within it, the speaker is indicating that he/she is currently hoping for that situation to occur – whether that situation be in the present or in the future. Below are many other examples:

양이 많았으면 좋겠어요 = I hope there is a lot (I hope the amount is a lot)
내일 일이 없었으면 좋겠어요 = I wish I didn’t have work tomorrow
그 말을 사전에 했으면 좋겠어요 = I hope you tell me that beforehand
나를 무조건 사랑했으면 좋겠어 = I wish you loved me unconditionally (no matter what)
삶을 한가롭게 살았으면 좋겠어 = I wish I could live life freely/leisurely
집에 가서 집이 청결했으면 좋겠어요 = I hope the house will be clean when I go home
엄마가 저를 데리러 왔으면 좋겠어요 = I wish mom would come to pick me up
우리는 그 여자랑 같이 갔으면 좋겠어요 = I hope we go together with that girl
그것 때문에 나를 해고하지 않았으면 좋겠다 = I wish/hope you don’t fire me because of that
저를 의도적으로 피하려고 안 했으면 좋겠어요 = I wish you didn’t deliberately try to avoid me
내일 경기에서 우리 팀 모두가 최선을 다하면 좋겠어 = Tomorrow, I hope everybody on our team tries their best

You also may see other words (usually 하다 or 바라다) used instead of 좋다. For example:

우리가 곧 만났으면 해
우리가 곧 만났으면 바래요
= I wish we could meet soon, it would be nice if we could meet soon

It is also possible for ~(으)면 to be attached to a word without being conjugated to the past tense. For example:

비가 안 왔으면 좋겠어요
비가 안 오면 좋겠어요
= I hope it doesn’t rain

If you ask a Korean person, they will say that the two examples above have the same meaning. Both of them are indicating “hope” or a “wish” in the present tense. I’ve never read a concrete explanation as to why the two examples above have the same meaning. Korean people just tend to use the first example (using “~았/었으면”) when indicating one’s hope or wish.


That being said, I would like to provide my own take on this topic. This is based on nothing but my own feelings. I’ve tried to discuss this with Korean grammar teachers, and I’ve tried to research it, but they all say that both examples are identical, and that they would be more likely to say “ ~았/었으면”)

I like to think that using “~았/었으면 좋겠다” is a grammatical principle itself, and something that can’t be separated into pieces. The whole construction indicates one’s “wish.” For example:

비가 안 왔으면 좋겠어요 = I hope it doesn’t rain

However, I like to think that using ~(으)면 좋겠다 is something that can be separated into individual grammatical pieces. The use of ~(으)면, meaning “if” or “when” (from Lesson 43) followed by “좋겠다” indicating that “it will be good.” We can look at these examples as sentences that are made up of its individual parts. For example:

비가 안 오면 좋겠어요 = It would be good if it doesn’t rain

The thing is, both sentences (in English and Korean) – whether you think of “~았/었으면” as a single unit or see “~(으)면 좋겠다” as individual pieces – express the same meaning.

Anyways, that is just my observation.


That’s it for this lesson!

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to make a post on our Forum!

Okay, I got it! Take me to the next lesson! Or,

Click here for Korean Short Stories specifically tailored to learners at this level.
Click here for a Workbook to go along with this lesson.