Lesson 62: While: ~(으)면서, ~(으)며

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Vocabulary
Introduction

To do two actions at the same time: ~(으)면서
While: ~(으)며

 

Vocabulary

Nouns:
일정 = schedule
앞문 = front door
뒷문 = back door
기념품 = souvenir
기념비 = monument
학업 = studies
사안 = issue/matter
무단 = doing something without permission
상반기 = the first half of the year
하반기 = the second half of the year
사계절 = four seasons
관광객 = tourists
영상 = picture, image
동영상 = video

Verbs:
갈다 = to change, to replace
갈다 = to grind, to sharpen
꼬집다 = to pinch
쌓다 = to build up, to stack up
기념하다 = to commemorate
뒤따르다 = to follow, to go after
진행하다 = to progress
누르다 = to press, to oppress, to defeat
자라다 = to grow up
횡단하다 = to cross
판매하다 = to sell

Passive Verbs:
쌓이다 = to be stacked/build up

Adjectives:
흐리다 = to be cloudy, muggy

Adverbs and Other Words:
적발 시 = if caught
문득 = suddenly

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

 

Introduction

In this lesson, you will learn how to say that one does two (or more) actions at the same time. You will learn about ~면서 and ~며 can be similar, but also how they can be different. Let’s get started.

 

To do two actions at the same time: ~()면서

When two actions occur simultaneously, you can place the two clauses in the same sentence connected by ~(으)면서. ~면서 is added to words where the stem ends in a vowel (or if the last letter is ㄹ), and ~으면서 is added to words where the stem ends in a consonant (except where the last latter is ㄹ). Let’s look at a very simple example:

저는 밥을 먹으면서 공부했어요 = I ate (rice) while studying

As you can see, the meaning of ~(으)면서 is to indicate that “eating rice” and “studying” occurred at the same time. Common translations for ~(으)면서 when used with verbs like this is “as…” or “while…” Below are many other examples:

저는 영화를 보면서 콜라를 마셨어요 = I drank cola while watching a movie
학업을 진행하면서 직장도 다녀요 = As I progress/continue my studies, I also go to work
이 기계를 돌리면서 땅콩을 갈아요 = As you turn this machine, the peanuts get/are grinded

도움이 필요하면 이 벨을 누르면서 말씀하세요
= If you need help, press this button and speak at the same time

눈이 길에 계속 쌓이면서 길이 점점 미끄러워져요
= As snow piled up (gradually) on the road, it gets more and more slippery

우리가 거기에 가는 길을 몰라서 지도를 보면서 앞에 있는 차를 뒤따라가고 있어요
= We don’t know how to get there, so we are looking at a map while following the car in-front of us

이 행사에서 지난 10년의 성공을 기념하면서 이 동영상을 보겠습니다
= At this event, we will commemorate the success of the last 10 years and watch this video

저의 여자친구는 운동하면서 운동하고 있는 다른 남자들을 항상 쳐다봐요
= My girlfriend always stares at other guys when she is exercising

다음 주에 부산에 가서 좋은 추억을 쌓으면서 재미있는 시간을 보내자
= Next week, let’s go to Busan and pile up good memories while we have a fun time

음악을 들으면서 다음 주 일정을 세웠어요
= I listened to music while I set up plans for next week

Earlier, I said that ~으면서 is added to a word where the stem ends in a consonant, except where the last letter is . You might be wondering why ~으면서 is added to “” above. The original word is “듣다” (to hear/to listen). The addition of ~으면서 causes to change to . You might want to revisit the irregulars in Lesson 7.

It is possible to attach ~(으)면서 to adjectives as well. The meaning of ~(으)면서 in Korean is still the same, but adjectives inherently do not “occur” as a verb does. As such, the translations of “as…” or “while…” are sometimes inappropriate when ~(으)면서 is used with adjectives. Instead, the speaker is indicating that something has the properties of both adjectives described. For example:

이 음식은 매우면서 짜요 = This food is spicy and salty
오늘 날씨가 흐리면서 쌀쌀해요 = The weather today is cloudy and chilly
그 기념비가 아름다우면서 흥미로워요 = That monument is beautiful and interesting

You might be wondering about the differences in the sentences above, and the following sentences using ~고:

이 음식은 맵고 짜요 = This food is spicy and salty
오늘 날씨가 흐리고 쌀쌀해요 = The weather today is cloudy and chilly
그 기념비가 아름답고 흥미로워요 = That monument is beautiful and interesting

Their meanings are quite similar, and you don’t really need to distinguish them (I haven’t distinguished them in my English translations). However, the use of ~(으)면서 gives the feeling that the two descriptions are more interrelated and connected, whereas the use of ~고 just simply provides two descriptions. Again, I don’t feel like you need to distinguish these, much like how you wouldn’t need to distinguish the following two sentences in English:

  • The food, while being spicy, is also salty
  • The food is spicy and salty

It is also possible to attach ~면서 to 이다. Just like with adjectives, “이다” is inherently something that does not “occur” as a verb does. Instead, the speaker can indicate that something “is” one thing, while also being another thing. For example:

그 사람은 저의 부장이면서 친구예요
= That person is my boss and (while also being) my friend

그 사람은 의사이면서 교수입니다
= That person is a doctor and (while also being a) professor

요즘 핸드폰은 전화기이면서 컴퓨터예요
= Cell phones these days are phones and (while also being) computers

When a person does something for the majority of his/her childhood, we often use the phrase “I grew up doing” in English. For example:

I grew up playing hockey
I grew up listening to that type of music

Or simply, to indicate the location that you grew up, we would say:
I grew up in Canada

To create these phrases in Korean, you can use the word “자라다” (to grow up) in combination with ~(으)면서. For example:

저는 하키를 하면서 자랐어요 = I grew up playing hockey
저는 아빠랑 같이 하키를 하면서 자랐어요 = I grew up playing hockey with my dad
저는 그런 음악을 들으면서 자랐어요 = I grew up listening to that type of music

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Often times we want to express that a person does an action while in some sort of “state” or “position.” In other words, to create these types of sentences:

I studied while laying down
I watched a movie while sitting
I ate while standing up

Remember, you learned how to create these types of sentences in Lesson 17 by attaching ~아/어서 to these types of verbs. For example:

저는 누워서 책을 읽었어요 = I lied down and read a book
나는 앉아서 쉴 거야 = I’m going to sit down and relax
저는 줄에 서서 순서를 기다렸어요 = I stood in line and waited for my turn

If you attach ~(으)면서 to these types of words, the meaning is different, and probably not what you want to create. For example, if you said:

저는 앉으면서 공부했어요

Remember, “앉다” means “to sit;” as in, going from a standing position to a sitting position. Therefore, the sentence above indicates that you studied while going from a standing position to a sitting position. Technically you could do (and say) that, but 99.9% of the time, that would not be the meaning that you are going for.

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~(으)면서 has another usage that is different from the usage described thus far. In this usage, the acting agent of the sentence does both clauses, but the clauses oppose each other directly. It’s typically used when the speaker is talking about another person – saying “Ugh, he does this, but then does that!” For example:

그 여자가 식당을 열고 싶다고 하면서 요리를 못해요
= That girl says she wants to open up a restaurant, but she doesn’t know how to cook

저의 와이프가 외국 브랜드를 좋아하면서 한국에서 만들어진 제품만 사요
= My wife likes foreign brands, but only buys products made in Korea

그 사람이 한국에서 살면서 한국어를 할 수 없어요
= That person lives in Korea, but he can’t speak Korean

그가 저에게 기념품을 사 준다고 하면서 아무 것도 안 샀어요
= He said he would buy (and give) me a souvenir, but didn’t buy anything

그 사안이 급하다고 하면서 그냥 앉아 있어요
= He said that this issue is urgent, but he is just sitting there

~도 can be added to ~(으)면서 in these cases to provide more emphasis or stress to the situation. I will discuss ~도 and how it can be added to more difficult grammatical principles like ~(으)면서 in Lesson 107.

That’s it for ~(으)면서, but I would like to talk about ~(으)며 and how it can be compared to ~(으)면서 before we finish.

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While: ~()

~(으)며 is a shortened form of ~(으)면서. In theory, ~(으)며 can replace all of the example sentences above that show two actions occurring at the same time. For example:

저는 영화를 보며 콜라를 마셨어요 = I drank cola while watching a movie
학업을 진행하며 직장도 다녀요 = As I progress/continue my studies, I also go to work

That being said, it is much, much more common to use ~(으)면서 in these types of sentences – especially when two actions literally occur continuously at the same time. For example, the following sentence – which indicates that peanuts are grinded continuously at the same time that the machine turns – would be much better said using ~(으)면서:

이 기계를 돌리면서 땅콩을 갈아요 = As you turn this machine, the peanuts get/are grinded

Therefore, I recommend you to use ~(으)면서 when indicating that two actions (or descriptions) occur simultaneously, but be aware that technically ~(으)며 can also be used to have this function as well.

~(으)며 has another meaning that is not included in the usage of ~(으)면서. Often times, ~(으)며 is used to simply list or connect two clauses that have a similar idea. For example:

한국이 사계절이 있으며 겨울이 너무 추워요
= In Korea, there is four seasons, so/and winters are very cold

이 제품은 가장 빠른 컴퓨터이며 한국에서 만들어졌어요
= This product is the fastest computer, and it was made it Korea

저쪽으로 가면 앞문이 나오며 이쪽으로 가면 뒷문이 나와요
= If you go that way, you will see the front door, and if you go that way, you will see the back door

주식이 더 많이 떨어질 수 있으며 이는 한국경제에 안 좋은 영향을 미칠 거예요
= The stocks could drop more, and this could have a bad effect on the Korean economy

이 제품은 한국에서 매우 유명하며 이 제품을 사러 관광객들이 한국을 방문해요
= This product is very popular in Korea, and many tourists visit Korea to buy it

우리 회사가 상반기에는 그 제품의 개발을 진행하며 하반기에는 판매를 시작할 거예요
= In the first half of the year, our company will proceed with the development with that product, and in the second half of the year, we will start selling it

In these examples, the meaning of ~(으)며 is quite similar to ~고, which you learned in Lesson 17. All we are doing is connecting two clauses that are related to each other. I find that using ~(으)며 is common in formal situations where instructions are given to a large group of people through overhead broadcasts or signs. For example, you might see the following on a sign telling you not to jaywalk:

무단횡단이 불법이며 적발 시 벌금을 내야 돼요
= Jaywalking is illegal, and/so if you are caught, you will have to pay a fine

If ~(으)며 replaced ~(으)면서 in the examples shown earlier that show two clauses opposing each other, the feeling is more closely associated with this function of “connecting two clauses that have a similar idea.” For example, if we look at this sentence:

그 사람이 한국에서 살면서 한국어를 할 수 없어요
= That person lives in Korea, but he can’t speak Korean

The use of ~(으)면서, as shown earlier, is to describe that the two clauses oppose each other. However, if ~(으)며 were used to replace ~(으)면서 here, it would be more likely be describing that the two clauses are simply connected. For example:

그 사람이 한국에서 살며 한국어를 할 수 없어요
= That person lives in Korea, and he can’t speak Korean

Notice the difference between my use of “but” in the first example (using ~(으)면서) and the second example (using ~(으)며). In the second example, the speaker is just connecting two ideas that are related to each other. However, in the first example, the speaker is specifically indicating that these two clauses oppose each other. In the end, the result would normally be the same, but you should be aware of this feeling.

Therefore, because ~(으)며 has another meaning that is not included in the usage of ~(으)면서 (to list or connect two clauses); and ~(으)면서 is more commonly used to indicate that two actions occur at the same time, it is difficult for me to say that ~(으)면서 and ~(으)며 are identical.

That’s it for this lesson!

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