Lesson 66: Almost: 거의 and ~ㄹ/을 뻔 했다

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Vocabulary
Introduction

Almost: 거의
Almost: 거의… ~ㄹ/을 뻔했다

 

Vocabulary

Nouns:
반항아 = a rebel

Notes: “반항하다” translates to “to rebel.” The “아” refers to a child (as in 아기). This word is not used to refer to somebody who is rebelling against a government or society or something like that. Instead, this word is used to refer to a child who rebels against his parents or teachers. To refer to a rebel against society or other things, you can use the word 반역자.

Examples:
반항아가 선생님에게 침을 뱉을 뻔 했어요 = The rebel almost spat (spit) at the teacher
그 반에 반항아가 많아서 수업을 진짜 하기 싫어요 = I don’t like teaching that class because there are a lot of rebels in that class

귀신 = ghost

Common Usages:
귀신 같다 = to be like a ghost

Examples:
네가 귀신 본 것 같아
= It looks like you’ve seen a ghost

귀신이 있는 것을 믿는 사람이 아직도 있어요
= There are still people that believe in ghosts

제가 세상에서 제일 무서워하는 것은 귀신이에요
= The thing I am most scared of in this world are ghosts

죽은 후에 사람이 귀신이 된다고 믿는 사람이 있어요
= There are people that believe that you become a ghost after you die

거미 = spider

Common Usages:
거미줄 = spider web

Examples:
거미를 보고 죽을 뻔 했어요 = I saw a spider and then almost died

거미가 거미줄을 만들다가도 잠자리가 있는지를 확인할 수 있어요
= Even while making its web, a spider can still check if a dragonfly is present

고래 = whale

Common Usages:
돌고래 = dolphin
술고래 = a person who drinks a lot (alcohol whale)

Examples:
태평양에 고래가 있어요 = There are whales in the Pacific Ocean
캐나다 동부 해변에 가면 고래를 볼 수 있어요 = You can see whales on the eastern coast of Canada

늑대 = wolf

The pronunciation of this word is closer to “늑때”

Examples:
보통 남자를 늑대, 여자를 여우에 비유해요
= Men are often compared to wolves, and women compared to foxes

이 지역에 늑대가 있어서 밤에 숲에 가면 안 돼요
= There are wolves in this area, so you shouldn’t go into the forest at night

학위 = a degree (in universities)

Notes: When referring to a Bachelors, Masters or Doctorate degree, you can place the word 학위 after 학사, 석사 and 박사 respectively. It is also common to not use the word 학위 and simply use the words 학사, 석사 and 박사 by themselves. I guess this would be like the difference between “I got my Master’s” and “I got my Master’s degree” in English.

Common Usages:
학사 학위 = bachelor’s degree
석사 학위 = master’s degree
박사 학위 = Ph. D
학위를 따다 = to get/obtain a degree

Examples:
학사 학위를 어느 대학교에서 했어요?
= At which University did you do your Bachelor’s degree?

저는 박사학위를 따기 위해 5년 동안 노력했어요
= I worked hard for five years in order to get my doctorate degree

석사 학위를 끝내는 것은 별로 어렵지 않지만 박사공부를 하는 것은 어려운 편이에요
= Finishing my Master’s degree wasn’t that hard, but studying for my Ph.D. is quite difficult

학사 학위 = bachelor’s degree

The pronunciation of this word is closer to “학싸 학위”

Examples:
학사 학위를 어느 대학교에서 했어요?
= At which University did you do your Bachelor’s degree?

학사 학위를 하는 것과 석사 학위를 하는 것은 똑같아요
= Doing your bachelor’s degree and master’s degree is the same

석사 학위 = master’s degree

The pronunciation of this word is closer to “석싸 학위”

Examples:
학사 학위를 하는 것과 석사 학위를 하는 것은 똑같아요
= Doing your bachelor’s degree and master’s degree is the same

석사 학위를 끝내는 것은 별로 어렵지 않지만 박사공부를 하는 것은 어려운 편이에요
= Finishing my Master’s degree wasn’t that hard, but studying for my Ph.D. is quite difficult

박사 학위 = Ph. D

The pronunciation of this word is closer to “박싸 학위”

Notes: In English, a “doctor” can refer to a medical doctor, or a person who holds a Ph.D. You wouldn’t want to call Ph.D. holders “의사” in Korean (unless of course, they happen to also be a medical doctor). Instead, you can call these people “박사님.”

Examples:
박사 학위 공부를 다 했어요 = I finished my Ph.D
박사 학위를 따는 게 잘 되고 있어요? = How is getting your Ph.D. going?
석사 학위를 끝내는 것은 별로 어렵지 않지만 박사공부를 하는 것은 어려운 편이에요
= Finishing my Master’s degree wasn’t that hard, but studying for my Ph.D. is quite difficult

지식 = knowledge

Common Usages:
지식을 얻다 = to acquire/gain knowledge
지식이 얕다 = to have “shallow” knowledge (to know a lot of things, but to not know them deeply)

Examples:
지식이 많은 사람일수록 겸손해요
= The more knowledge a person has, the more modest they are

컴퓨터 때문에 많은 지식이 일상에서 중요하지 않아요
= Because of computers, a lot of intelligence is not important in everyday life

비평 = criticism

Common Usages:
비평가 = critic.

Examples:
때로는 적절한 비평도 삶을 사는데 필요해요
= Sometimes you also need some appropriate criticism in your life

이 글을 한국에서 유명한 비평가가 작성했어요
= A famous critic, popular in Korea wrote this

등급 = rating, grade

Notes: Sino-Korean numbers are used when referring to different ranks.

Examples:
우리는 1등급을 받을 뻔 했어요 = We almost received the first ranking
(Korean students are often placed in a ranking based on their score on an exam. Their actual individual score on the exam is less important. It is more important to get a higher ranking than your peers. More than one person can get a certain rank. For example, there might be four people with the “2nd” rank.)

소고기는 등급에 따라 가격과 맛이 달라요 = Depending on the grade, the price and taste of beef can be different

단추 = button

Notes: Like in English, 단추 can refer to a button on one’s clothing, or a button that one presses. To refer to the button that one presses, it would also be common to use the word “버튼.”

Common Usages:
단추를 풀다 = to unbutton
단추를 잠그다 = to button up
단추를 누르다 = to press a button

Idiom:
첫 단추를 잘 못 끼면 시작부터 일이 잘 안 풀려요
= If you don’t start something right from the beginning, things won’t go well later

Examples:
그 셔츠 단추가 셔츠와 어울리지 않아요
= The buttons of that shirt don’t go with the shirt

단추가 있는 옷보다는 지퍼로 된 옷이 편해요
= More comfortable than clothes with buttons are clothes with zipper

화장품 = cosmetics

Examples:
화장품을 바를 때 올바른 순서로 제품을 바르는 것은 매우 중요해요
= It is very important that you apply makeup products in the right order

나쁜 점이 있다면 잡지에 나온 새로 나온 화장품을 바로 사고 싶은 것이다
= If there is one bad thing, it is that, when there is (an ad for) a new make-up product in the magazine, I want to buy it immediately

소화기 = fire extinguisher

Examples:
각 방에 소화기가 배치되어 있습니다
= There is a fire extinguisher installed in each room

소화기를 무단으로 사용하면 벌금을 내야 돼요
= If you use that fire extinguisher without permission, you have to pay a fine

분필 = chalk

Examples:
예전에는 교실에서 분필을 많이 썼지만 요즘에는 잘 안 써요
= A long time ago there used to be a lot of classrooms that used chalk, but these days they don’t use them much

분필을 쓰면 먼지가 생겨서 분필 대신에 마커를 쓰는 학교가 많아요
= When you use chalk dust forms so there are a lot of schools that use markers instead of chalk

동기 = motive

Common Usages:
동기부여 = motivation
동기를 유발하다 = to motivate somebody

Examples:
살인자가 사람을 죽인 동기를 드러내지 않았어요
= The murderer didn’t reveal his motive for killing the person

저는 꾸준한 동기부여를 위해 책을 읽어요
= I read books continuously for motivation (to motivate myself)

모든 일을 시작할 때는 어떤 동기를 가지고 시작하는지가 중요해요
= When you start all tasks, it is important to have a motive to start it

일상 = everyday life

The pronunciation of this word is closer to “일쌍”

Common Usages:
일상생활 = everyday life

Examples:
왼손잡이이면 가끔 일상생활을 할 때 불편할 때가 있어요
= If you are left handed, sometimes things in daily life are uncomfortable

컴퓨터 때문에 많은 지식이 일상에서 중요하지 않아요
= Because of computers, a lot of intelligence is not important in everyday life

나는 반복되는 일상에서 무언가 새로운 자극이 필요했다. 그래서 나는 여행을 가기로 결심을 했다.
= In my repeating daily life, I needed some new stimulation. So, I decided to go traveling.

Verbs:
유의하다 = to pay attention to

Examples:
이 문제를 풀 땐 헷갈리지 않게 유의해 주세요
= Please be careful/pay attention to not get confused when you solve this problem

감기에 걸리지 않도록 건강에 유의해 주세요
= Please be careful/pay attention to your health to not catch a cold

정지하다 = to stop, to halt

Common Usages:
급정지하다 = to stop suddenly

Examples:
신호등을 건너기 전에 먼저 정지해서 주의를 살펴 주세요
= Before you cross the street (signal), please first stop and look at your surroundings

모방하다 = to imitate, to mimic

The noun form of this word (“모방”) translates to “an imitation.”

Examples:
아이들은 부모님을 모방하면서 많이 배워요
= Children learn by/while imitating their parents

우리 선생님을 모방하는 사람이 진짜 우리 선생님이라고 생각할 뻔 했다
= The person who impersonated our teacher almost made us think that he was really our teacher

반항하다 = to rebel

The noun form of this word (“반항”) translates to “disobedience.”

Common Usages:
반항심 = the spirit/mind of rebelling
반항아 = a rebel (child)

Examples:
보통 청소년들은 사춘기 때 부모님께 반항을 해요
= Usually when adolescents go through puberty they rebel against their parents

보장하다 = to guarantee

The noun form of this word (“보장”) translates to “a guarantee.”

Examples:
이 보험은 80세 이후에 발생하는 병에 대해서는 보장하지 않아요
= This insurance isn’t guaranteed for diseases that arise after one is 80 years of age

그 친구의 아버지가 회사 사장이기 때문에 그 친구의 취업은 보장되어 있어요
= That person’s father is the president of the company, so his/her getting a job is guaranteed

Passive Verbs:
어긋나다 = to be dislocated, to be out of step

The pronunciation of this word is closer to “어근나다”

Notes: I love this word. It’s hard to translate this into English sometimes, but it can be used to describe many things. Imagine you go to the classroom to find your friend, and she is not there so you leave. Right after you leave, she goes to the classroom to find you. You two are just kind of “out of step” with each other – you couldn’t match the times correctly. This situation describes “어긋나다.”

I have a picture of the meaning of “어긋나다” in my head. It looks like this:

Look at the prongs of the box on the top! They could fit perfectly with the holes of the bottom box, but they are just a bit out-of-step with each other. I would say that they are just a little bit “어긋나다” with each other.

I showed that picture to my wife, and asked her what word she thought I was drawing. Her first guess was “어긋나다.”

This idea of two things not being matched perfectly can apply to many situations, including personalities, movements, or even bones! For example, the way one describes that they have a fractured bone in Korean is to use the word “어긋나다.”

Common Usages:
뼈가 어긋나다 = for a bone to be dislocated
걸음이 어긋나다 = for one’s steps to not match (usually when two people walk next to each other)

Examples:
우리 사이가 어긋나서 싸울 뻔 했어요
= We don’t get along well (the space between us doesn’t match), so we almost fought

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

 

Introduction

In this lesson, you will learn how to say “almost” in Korean. The common translation for “almost” in Korean can be “거의,”, but there are cases when you will need to use a special noun. Let’s get started.

 

 

Almost: 거의

The word (거의) in Korean is a very common adverb, and is used very similar to how the word “almost” is used in English. I like distinguishing between usages in my head, so let’s do it right here. 거의 can be used to:

1) Show that an action is progressing and it has “almost” reached its limit. Once it reaches the limit, it will likely stop. For example:

저는 밥을 다 먹었어요 = I ate all the rice
저는 밥을 거의 다 먹었어요 = I almost ate all the rice

Just to point out – by context this type of sentence could be used to have different meanings depending on the context. It could be used to say that you are currently eating and have “almost” eaten all the rice, and will continue to eat (until the rice is gone and you’ve eaten it all). It could also be used to say that you “almost” ate all of the food, but you stopped because you reached some limit (you were full, I guess). There is no way to distinguish these two in Korean without context. However, in English you could translate them differently. In English, you could translate these two to:

I have almost eaten all the rice
I almost ate all of the rice

In Korean, the same sentence would be used to have both of those meanings. You could say the same about the other five examples with “거의” below:

저는 숙제를 다 했어요 = I finished all of my homework
저는 숙제를 거의 다 했어요 = I almost finished all of my homework
저는 숙제를 거의 다 했어요 = I have almost finished all of my homework

우리는 다 왔어요 = We are there (we have arrived)
우리는 거의 다 왔어요 = We almost arrived (more likely used to mean next example)
우리는 거의 다 왔어요 = We have almost arrived

분필을 다 썼어요 = I used all of the chalk
분필을 거의 다 썼어요 = I almost used all of the chalk
분필을 거의 다 썼어요 = I have almost used all of the chalk

소화기를 다 썼어요 = I sprayed/shot all of the fire extinguisher
소화기를 거의 다 썼어요 = I almost used all of the fire extinguisher
소화기를 거의 다 썼어요 = I have almost used all of the fire extinguisher

박사 학위 공부를 다 했어요 = I finished my Ph.D.
박사 학위 공부를 거의 다 했어요 = I almost finished (the studies of) my Ph.D.
박사 학위 공부를 거의 다 했어요 = I have almost finished (the studies of) my Ph.D.

2) To show that something is just a tad off of some description. For example:

저는 화장품이 없어요 = We have no cosmetics
저는 화장품이 거의 없어요 = We almost have no cosmetics

학사 학위를 하는 것과 석사 학위를 하는 것은 똑같아요
= Doing your bachelor’s degree and master’s degree is the same
학사 학위를 하는 것과 석사 학위를 하는 것은 거의 똑같아요
= Doing your bachelor’s degree and master’s degree is almost same

컴퓨터 때문에 많은 지식이 일상에서 중요하지 않아요
= Because of computers, a lot of intelligence is not important in everyday life
컴퓨터 때문에 많은 지식이 일상에서 거의 중요하지 않아요
= Because of computers, a lot of intelligence is almost not important in everyday life

It is also possible to create a third type of sentence using the word 뻔. Let’s talk about this next.

 

 

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Almost: 거의… ~ㄹ/을 했다

In the previous section, you saw how “거의” can be used in different ways to mean “almost.” It is also possible to create another type of sentence. In this usage, the action that “almost” happens had not started in any way – and does not happen at all in the future (unless of course, another sentence says that it did).

Look at the following example, which you saw in the previous section.

저는 밥을 거의 다 먹었어요 = I almost ate all the food

In that sentence, the action that “almost” happened was “eating (all the rice).” However, even though you didn’t eat all of the rice, the action of “eating” was progressing until you hit your limit.

However, look at the following example:

저는 거의 넘어졌어요 = I almost fell

In that sentence, the action of “falling” never started to happen, and in addition will not start to happen. In these cases, you should attach the following to the action that did not occur:

~ㄹ/을 뻔 했다.

For example:

저는 거의 넘어질 뻔 했어요 = I almost fell

This type of sentence describes that the action (in this case, the action of falling) never actually happened despite it “almost” happening.

The word “뻔” is another one of those pseudo-nouns that actually has no meaning outside of the grammatical form (like “수” in “할 수 있다” (Lesson 45) and “적” in “한 적이 없다” (Lesson 32).

Below are many more examples:

저는 차를 거의 칠 뻔 했어요 = I almost hit that car
(Before the fact that you almost hit the car, you were not doing the action of “hitting the car”)

화가 너무 나서 친구를 거의 때릴 뻔 했어요 = Because I was so mad, I almost punched my friend
(before the fact that you almost punched your friend, you were not doing the action of “punching your friend”)

Also note that these sentences don’t necessarily need to have the word “거의” in them. The meaning of “almost” is already embedded within the meaning of “~ㄹ/을 뻔 하다”, so it doesn’t need to be used. However, it is not uncommon to find them used together in Korean sentences.

저는 차를 칠 뻔 했어요 = I almost hit that car
거미를 보고 죽을 뻔 했어요 = I saw a spider and then almost died
우리는 1등급을 받을 뻔 했어요 = We almost received the first ranking
화가 너무 나서 친구를 때릴 뻔 했어요 = I was so mad I almost hit my friend
반항아가 선생님에게 침을 뱉을 뻔 했어요 = The rebel almost spat (spit) at the teacher

우리 사이가 어긋나서 싸울 뻔 했어요
= We don’t get along well (the space between us doesn’t match), so we almost fought

살인자가 사람을 죽인 동기를 말할 뻔 했어요
= The murderer almost said his motive for killing the person

우리 선생님을 모방하는 사람이 진짜 우리 선생님이라고 생각할 뻔 했다
= The person who impersonated our teacher almost made us think that he was really our teacher

That’s it for this lesson!

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