Lesson 65: I am worried about: ㄹ/을까 봐

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Vocabulary
Introduction

I am worried about/that…: ~ㄹ/을까 봐
I am worried that/about, so…: ~ㄹ/을까 봐

 

Vocabulary

Nouns:
호랑이 = tiger
역사가 = historian
집주인 = landlord
다과 = refreshments
작업 = job, work, operations
예산 = budget
소독약 = disinfectant
기구 = apparatus, appliance, utensils
지붕 = roof
한구석 = corner, nook
가로 = width
세로 = length
논문 = thesis
파도 = waves
= gun

Verbs:
찾아내다 = to find out, to discover
쏘다 = to shoot, to sting
방해하다 = to distract
치르다 = to pay for
소독하다 = to disinfect

Adjectives:
대단하다 = to be great, huge, tremendous
화려하다 = to be colorful, fancy, splendid
엷다 = to be light (in shade)
무례하다 = to be rude

Adverbs and Other Words:
오래 전 = a long time before
글쎄 = well…/let me see…

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

 

Introduction

In the previous two lessons, you learned about a variety of situations where you can use “~ㄹ/을까(요).” In this lesson, you will learn another way that you can use this grammatical form. In this lesson, you will learn about adding ~ㄹ/을까 봐 to sentence to indicate that the speaker is worried about something. Let’s get started.

 

I am worried about/that…: ~ㄹ/을까 봐

Before we get into anything, let’s talk about the word “걱정하다.” This is actually a weird verb because there doesn’t seem to be any meaningful difference between ‘걱정하다’ and ‘걱정되다.’ Because ‘걱정하다’ ends in ‘하다,’ you would think that it would have the active meaning of “to worry” (as in, I am worrying my brother). Conversely, because ‘걱정되다’ ends in ‘되다,’ you would think that it would have the meaning of “to be worried” (as in, I am worried about my brother). The weird thing about this word, is that it appears that both 하다 and 되다 forms have the passive meaning of “to be worried” and not “to (make) worry.”

Though it appears you can use ‘걱정되다’ and ‘걱정하다’ to mean essentially the same thing, personally, whenever I talk about myself being worried, or somebody else being worried, I always say “걱정되다.”

The most common time you will see 걱정하다 being used is when telling somebody not to be worried.

For example:

걱정하지 마! = Don’t worry!

Using 되다 in this case is awkward:

걱정되지 마!

Anyways, now that we know that, let’s talk about the grammatical form ~ㄹ/을까 봐. When putting this at the end of a sentence, the speaker is indicating that he or she is worried about the clause before ~ㄹ/을까 봐 occurring.

걱정되다 is usually placed after ~ㄹ/을까 봐 in this usage. For example:

시험을 잘 못 볼까 봐 걱정돼요 = I’m worried that I won’t do well on the exam
비가 올까 봐 걱정돼요 = I’m worried that it will rain
그녀가 나를 좋아하지 않을까 봐 걱정돼 = I’m worried that she won’t like me
논문을 여름까지 끝낼 수 없을까 봐 걱정돼요 = I’m worried that I won’t finish my thesis by summer

If you want to say that you are worried about something in the past, you can conjugate the verb/adjective before  “~ㄹ/을까 봐.” For example:

시험을 잘 못 봤을까 봐 걱정돼요 = I am worried that I didn’t do well on the exam
비가 왔을까 봐 걱정돼요 = I am worried that it rained
그녀가 나를 좋아하지 않았을까 봐 걱정돼 = I am worried that she didn’t like me

You can also conjugate 걱정되다 into the past tense to indicate that you were worried:

시험을 잘 못 봤을까 봐 걱정되었어요 = I was worried that I didn’t do well on the exam
비가 왔을까 봐 걱정되었어요 = I was worried that it rained
그녀가 나를 좋아하지 않았을까 봐 걱정되었어 = I was worried that she didn’t like me

Often you will see 걱정되다 omitted in these types of sentences, and the sentence just ends with ~ㄹ/을까 봐. Usually when 걱정되다 is omitted, the meaning of it being there is implied in the sentence. For example:

시험을 잘 못 볼까 봐 = I’m worried that I won’t do well on the exam
비가 올까 봐 = I’m worried that it will rain
그녀가 나를 좋아하지 않을까 봐 = I’m worried that she won’t like me
논문을 여름까지 끝낼 수 없을까 봐 = I’m worried that I won’t finish my thesis by summer

In the previous lesson, you saw how ~ㄹ/을까 봐 can be added to the end of a sentence to indicate intention. You can see how one might be confused between these meanings because the grammar within these sentences is identical. For example:

그 영화를 볼까 봐 = I intend to watch that movie
시험을 잘 못 볼까 봐 = I’m worried that I won’t do well on the exam

Just like many other things in Korean, the context can clarify the specific meaning. For example, what would happen if you heard the sentences above and confused their meanings

그 영화를 볼까 봐 = I am worried that I will watch that movie
시험을 잘 못 볼까 봐 = I am thinking about doing bad on the exam

As you can see, the sentences above (with their meanings changed) are illogical when used like that. Of course, you could find a context where they might be appropriate, but I’d be hard pressed to find a situation where you would want to say “I am thinking about doing bad on the exam.” By paying attention to the context and the information within the sentence, it is usually clear what meaning is being implied.

Below are many more examples:

예산이 없을까 봐 걱정돼요 = I’m worried that there isn’t enough budget
다과가 부족할까 봐 걱정돼요 = I’m worried that there won’t be enough refreshments
작업을 완료할 수 없을까 봐 걱정돼요 = I’m worried that we won’t be able to finish the job
그 소리가 학생들을 방해할까 봐 걱정돼요 = I’m worried that the sound will distract the students
경찰관이 저에게 총을 쏠까 봐 걱정됐어요 = I was worried that the police officer would shoot me
집주인이 부서진 거울을 찾아낼까 봐 걱정돼요 = I’m worried that the landlord will find the shattered mirror

In each of the examples above, the word 걱정되다 can be removed with no real difference in meaning. These types of constructions are more likely to be used in the middle of a conversation. For example, if somebody asks you “Why are you worried?” you can eliminate 걱정되다 from the sentence because it can be assumed. However, when walking into a room and starting a conversation, you will be more likely to hear “걱정되다” used in these sentences.

예산이 없을까 봐
다과가 부족할까 봐
작업을 완료할 수 없을까 봐
그 소리가 학생들을 방해할까 봐
경찰관이 저에게 총을 쏠까 봐
집주인이 부서진 거울을 찾아낼까 봐

So far, you have only ~ㄹ/을까 봐 can also be used as a connector between two clauses. We will talk about how to do this in the next section.

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I am worried that/about, so…: ~ㄹ/을까 봐

In the previous section, you learned about adding ~ㄹ/을까 봐 to the end of sentences. You learned that these sentences can end with the word 걱정되다 or simply end with ~ㄹ/을까 봐. By placing another clause after ~ㄹ/을까 봐, you can create the meaning of “I am worried about/that, so….” For example:

비가 올까 봐 우산을 가져왔어요
= I was worried that it would rain, so I brought an umbrella

비가 올까 봐 우산을 가져올 거예요
= I am worried that it will rain, so I will bring an umbrella

Notice that the tense of the sentence is determined by the final verb and not the verb that ~ㄹ/을까 봐 is added to. Below are many more examples:

저의 여자 친구가 슬플까 봐 그녀를 위해 꽃을 샀어요
= I am worried that my girlfriend will be sad so I bought her flowers

그것이 너무 비쌀까 봐 돈을 많이 가져왔어요
= I’m worried that it will be too expensive, so I brought more money

집주인이 물이 흘러나올까 봐 지붕을 수리했어요
= The landlord was worried that water would flow in, so he fixed up (repaired) the roof

손이 더러울까 봐 소독했어요
= I was worried that my hands were dirty, so I disinfected them

그 사람이 내가 무례하다고 생각할까 봐 그에게 사과했어요
= I was worried that that person would think I am rude, so I apologized to him

파도가 너무 높을까 봐 바다에 안 들어갔어요
= I was worried that the waves would be too big, so I didn’t go into the water

누가 저를 찾아낼까 봐 저는 방 한구석에 몸을 숨겼어요
= I was worried that somebody would find me, so I hid in the/a corner of the room

애기를 만지기 전에 손이 더러울까 봐 손을 소독약으로 씻었어요
= Before touching the baby, I was worried that my hands were dirty, so I washed them with disinfectant

나이가 많을 때 돈이 없을까 봐 오래전부터 돈을 모으기 시작했어요
= I’m worried that I won’t have a lot of money when I’m older, so I started saving money from a long time ago

결혼식에서 이 셔츠가 너무 이상해 보일까 봐 화려한 것을 입었어요
= I was worried that this shirt would look too weird at the wedding, so I put on a more colorful/fancy one

주방 기구가 주방에 들어갈 수 없을까 봐 가로와 세로를 측정했어요
= I was worried that the kitchen appliance couldn’t go (fit) into the kitchen, so I measured (its) width and length

제가 수업 시간 동안 가르칠 내용이 틀릴까 봐 역사가에게 맞는지 안 맞는지 물어봤어요
= I was worried that the contents that I will teach during class would be wrong, so I asked a historian if it is correct or not

Hopefully by now you are comfortable with the various usages of  ~ㄹ/을까(요) in Korean. If you are confused about anything, feel free to review or ask us questions!

That’s it for this lesson!

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