Lesson 106: Listing Possibilities/Outcomes: ~든지 (간에)

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Vocabulary
Introduction

Listing Out Possibilities/Outcomes: ~든지 (간에)
~든지 말든지
Words that ~든지 is commonly attached to

 

 

Vocabulary

Nouns:
뱃속 = inside a stomach
물놀이= to play in the water
수두 = chicken pox
보물 = treasure
절망 = despair/hopelessness
정오 = noon
해돋이 = a sunrise
야식 = midnight snack
멀미 = motion sickness
차멀미 = motion sickness from a car (car sick)
명함 = business card
화산 = volcano
범위 = range/scope of something
유통기한 = expiration date

Verbs:
분리하다 = separate/divide/segregate
탐험하다 = explore
환전하다 = exchanging money/currency
솟다 = soar/rise up
실감이 나다 = to feel realistic

Adjectives
비극적이다 = tragic
객관적이다 = objective
유익하다 = beneficial/useful/helpful

Adverbs and Other Words:
엄청나게 = enormously/tremendously
아무튼 = anyways

 

 

 

Introduction

In this lesson, you will learn how to add ~든지 to the end of a clause. Although this grammatical principle has a fairly straightforward meaning across the board, it can be used in a bunch of different ways. Let’s get started!

 

 

 

 

Listing Out Possibilities/Outcomes: ~든지 (간에)

The general umbrella explanation of how this particle can be used is when one wants to indicate that there are many possibilities/outcomes that can occur. ~든지 is added to the possibilities/outcomes that could occur, and the following clause is not a selection of one of those possibilities (like ~중에), but rather some sort of open ended decision that needs to be made between those possibilities.

The translation of this in sentences is usually something like “whether A, or whether B….”, or “It doesn’t matter if one does A, or does B…”. As usual, it is fairly difficult to describe this is in words, but easier once we have seen examples. So let’s look at one:

포크를 사용하든지 젓가락을 사용하든지 더 편한 것을 사용하세요
= It doesn’t matter if you use a fork or use chopsticks, use/choose the one that is more comfortable (whether you use a fork or chopsticks…)

As you can see, the two words/clauses that have ~든지 attached to them are:

포크를 사용하든지, and
젓가락을 사용하든지

The use of ~든지 at the end of those clauses indicates that they are both a possible outcome for the upcoming clause (whatever it may express).

Let’s look at some more examples:

경기에서 이기든지 지든지 열심히 해야 됩니다
= It doesn’t matter if you win or lose the game, you should try hard (whether you win or lose…)

결과가 우리가 예상한 것이든지 아니든지 우리는 결과를 발표할 것입니다
= It doesn’t matter if the results are what we expected or not, we are going to announce them (whether our results are what we expected or not…)

그 규칙에 동의하든지 안 하든지 그 규칙을 따라야 돼요
= It doesn’t matter if you agree with the rule or not, you have to follow it (whether you agree with the rule or not…)

서울로 이사하든지 부산으로 이사하든지 집값은 똑같아요
= It doesn’t matter if I move to Seoul or if I move to Busan, the cost of housing is the same

자전거를 타든지 달리기를 하든지 그냥 마음대로 아무거나 해
= It doesn’t matter if you ride a bike or walk, just do anything you want

대학교에 진학하든지 진학하지 않든지 열심히 공부해야 돼요
= It doesn’t matter if you go to University or not, you need to study hard

유통기한이 지났든지 안 지났든지 어차피 먹어야 해요
= It doesn’t matter if the expiration date has passed or not, anyways you have to eat it

우리가 내일 가든지 내일모레 가든지 어차피 가야 돼요
= It doesn’t matter if we go tomorrow or the day after tomorrow, anyways, we have to go

In a lot of cases, the verb(s) before ~든지 can be assumed from the context and don’t really need to be said. For example:

밥을 먹든지 피자를 먹든지 빨리 골라!
= It doesn’t matter if you want to eat rice or eat pizza, but choose quickly! (whether you want to eat rice or pizza…)

In these sentences above, the verbs “먹다” could be assumed from the context. In these situations, you can replace the verb with “이다.” For example:

밥이든지 피자든지 빨리 골라! = It doesn’t matter if it is rice or pizza, but choose quickly!

Notice that both sentences essentially have the same meaning. The second example (with 밥이든지 피자든지) actually sounds a little bit more natural because the first example unnecessarily writes out the word “먹다” twice. Other examples:

미국 돈이든지 캐나다 돈이든지 빨리 환전하자
= It doesn’t matter if it is American money or Canadian money, let’s convert it quickly (soon)

야구(이)든지 축구(이)든지 내일 정오에 하자
= It doesn’t matter if (we play) it is baseball or soccer, let’s play tomorrow at noon
Notice in this example that “” (from 이다) can be omitted when the noun it is attached to ends in a vowel

This grammatical principle is also commonly used to indicate that one doesn’t care about the possible outcomes of something. This usage is essentially the same as the usage described thus far – but the examples above usually have one positive outcome that somebody prefers.

Just by the nature of these types of sentences, it is common for the end of the sentence to have the expression “I don’t care” or something similar. For example:

우리가 가든지 안 가든지 나는 신경을 안 써
= I don’t care if we go or not

The Hanja character 간 () means “between” and is a good word/character to know because it is often added to words to mean “between X.” For example:

부부지간 = between husband and wife
부모 자식 간 = between parents and children
분자간 힘 = the force between molecules (intermolecular force)
Okay, I’m biased with that last one. I’m a chemistry teacher.

It is common to see “간에” placed after the final “~든지”. Technically “간에” could be added to any of the examples above (from the very beginning of the lesson until now). However, adding this in the sentence sometimes adds a slight negative connotation to it (the only reason I say “sometimes” is because languages are very complex and its possible that it won’t have this negative feeling – but more times than not it will). Because of this, it is a little bit more common to find “간에” used after “~든지” when the speaker doesn’t care about the outcome. For example:

우리가 내일 가든지 내일모레 가든지 (간에) 어차피 가야 돼요 = It doesn’t matter if we go tomorrow or the day after tomorrow, anyways, we have to go

But note that the following are all acceptable, and adding “간에” makes the feeling slightly more negative if the situation allows for it.

포크를 사용하든지 젓가락을 사용하든지 간에 더 편한 것을 사용하세요
= It doesn’t matter if you use a fork or use chopsticks, use/choose the one that is more comfortable (whether you use a fork or chopsticks…)

경기에서 이기든지 지든지 간에 열심히 해야 됩니다
= It doesn’t matter if you win or lose the game, you should try hard (whether you win or lose…)

In all of the situations described so far, there were two different words that ~든지 was connected to in a sentence. This doesn’t always have to be the case, as long as the situation of the sentence is such that it describes that something must be done among a choice of other things. For example:

네가 내일 무엇을 하든지 간에 밖에 나가야 돼 = It doesn’t matter what you do tomorrow, but you have to go outside

You can also use this to express “if one does ____ or not”. I would like to talk about this next.
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~든지 말든지

A little earlier, you saw the following examples:
우리가 가든지 안 가든지 나는 신경을 안 써

In situations like this when one indicates two possibilities – one where something is done, and the other where the same action is not done – it is very common to use the verb “말다” (to not do). Note that until now the only real experience you have with the word “말다” is in negative imperative sentences. For example, found here:

집에 가지 말다 + ~(으)세요 = 집에 가지 마세요

말다 can be used in sentences with “~든지” like this. For example:

우리가 가든지 말든지 나는 신경을 안 써
= I don’t care if we go or not

시험이 있든지 말든지 간에 학교에 가야 돼요
= It doesn’t matter if there is an exam or not, you have to go to school

이 범위를 공부를 하든지 말든지 여기서 시험문제가 나올 거예요
= It doesn’t matter if you study this area/part of content, there will be an exam question from this part

 

 

 

 

 

Words that ~든지 is commonly attached to

So far you probably have a good understanding of the usage and meaning of ~든지 in Korean sentences. It is actually a fairly simple grammatical principle that is not hard to use or grasp. Before we finish this lesson however, I would like to introduce you to a few words that you will commonly find “~든지” attached to.

First, it is common to find “~든지” attached to the common question words 뭐, 누구, 언제 and 어디. Some people learn these constructions as actual words and not as words connected to ~든지 but the end result is the same. You can see the meaning of each construction next to each example below, but the general meaning is “It doesn’t matter who/what/when/where”

뭐든지 = Whatever /It doesn’t matter what
한 달 동안 뭐든지 먹어도 돼요 = For one month, you are allowed to eat whatever you want (for one month, it doesn’t matter what you eat)

누구든지 = Whoever/It doesn’t matter who
누구든지 사람들이 믿을 수 있는 친구가 필요해요 = It doesn’t matter who it is, people need a friend they can trust (everybody needs a friend they can trust)

언제든지 = Whenever/It doesn’t matter when
우리 집에 언제든지 오세요 = It doesn’t matter when you come to our house (come to our house anytime!)

어디든지 = Wherever/It doesn’t matter where
어디든지 앉아도 돼요= Sit anywhere! (It doesn’t matter where you sit)

You can also use “~든지” to create the expression “whatever happens/regardless of what happens” by placing ~든지 at the end of some words at the beginning of a sentence. One of the words you can use is “벌어지다”, which can be used in many ways without “~든지.” One usage of the word “벌어지다” that has no relation to ~든지 is to indicate that there is some sort of a space or gap between two things. For example:

우리 아버지가 앞니 사이가 벌어져 있어요 = Our dad has a gap in his front teeth
가방에 크게 벌어져 있는 구멍이 있어요 = There is a big hole in my bag
(Note that the passive addition of ~아/어 있다 is used in this usage of 벌어지다)

“벌어지다” can also be used to have a meaning similar to “생기다”, which means to “come up” or to “happen”. For example:

어떤 일이 벌어졌어요? = What came up?
중동에서 전쟁이 벌어졌어요 = A war started/came up in the Middle East

It is this usage of “벌어지다” that ~든지 is often added to. By using “벌어지든지” in sentences, you can create the meaning of “whatever happens/regardless of what happens.” The construction is often used in the clause “무슨 일이 벌어지든지”. For example:

무슨 일이 벌어지든지 간에 제가 집에 돌아가야 돼요 = Regardless of what happens, I need to go/return home
무슨 일이 벌어지든지 간에 그녀랑 결혼할 거예요 = Regardless of what happens, I’m marrying her

Just so you know, in all of the examples above, eliminating “지” from ~든지 (간에) is acceptable. All of the following examples have the same meaning as was expressed earlier:

포크를 사용하든 젓가락을 사용하든 더 편한 것을 사용하세요
경기에서 이기든 지든 열심히 해야 됩니다
결과가 우리가 예상한 것이든 아니든 우리는 결과를 발표할 것입니다
그 규칙에 동의하든 안 하든 그 규칙을 따라야 돼요
밥이든 피자든 빨리 골라!
서울로 이사하든 부산으로 이사하든 집값은 똑같아요
자전거를 타든 달리기를 하든 그냥 마음대로 아무거나 해
대학교에 진학하든 진학하지 않든 열심히 공부해야 돼요
우리가 내일 가든 내일모레 가든 어차피 가야 돼요
우리가 가든 안 가든 나는 신경을 안 써
우리가 내일 가든 내일모레 가든 (간에) 어차피 가야 돼요
포크를 사용하든 젓가락을 사용하든 (간에) 더 편한 것을 사용하세요
경기에서 이기든 지든 (간에) 열심히 해야 됩니다

한 달 동안 뭐든 먹어도 돼요
누구든 사람들이 믿을 수 있는 친구가 필요해요
우리 집에 언제든 오세요
어디든 앉아도 돼요

무슨 일이 벌어지든 간에 제가 집에 돌아가야 돼요
무슨 일이 벌어지든 간에 그녀랑 결혼할 거예요

There is another grammatical principle that looks and sounds very similar to ~든지 but it has a separate meaning which will be discussed in a future lesson. ~던지 is often confused with ~든지 even with Korean people. It’s not something that you really need to worry about (because you’ve just learned a ton about ~든지, so you should be familiar with it – not to mention, ~든지 is much more common than ~던지), but it is something that Korean people sometimes forget.

Also remember that ~든지 can also be used in sentences with 상관없다 – which you learned about in Lesson 74. For example:

우리가 언제 가든지 상관없어요 = It doesn’t matter when we go
우리가 어디 가든지 상관없어요 = It doesn’t matter where we go
제가 누구랑 가든지 상관없어요 = It doesn’t matter who I go with
운전면허를 언제 받든지 상관없어요 = It doesn’t matter when you get your driver’s license
학생들이 어떻게 반응하든지 상관없어요 = It doesn’t matter how the students react
네가 배고프든지 상관없어 = It doesn’t matter if you are hungry
우리는 거기에 가든지 말든지 상관없어 = It doesn’t matter if we go there
그게 비싸든지 말든지 상관없어 = It doesn’t matter if it is expensive

And finally, here are some example sentences from a few of the novels I am reading:
헌집이든 새집이든 내가 깔아놓은 장판 위에서 누군가 새로운 삶을 시작할 거라고 상상하면 행복해지고 있다 = It doesn’t matter if it’s an old house or a new house, when I imagine that people will start their new life on the floor that I put down, I get happy
[The person’s job in the book is to lay down new floors in people’s houses]

부자든 가난하든 2천만 원은 누구에게나 큰돈이다 = It doesn’t matter if you are rich or poor, 2천만원 is a lot of money to anybody

나도 일본에 있을 때 더듬거리며 일본어 하는 외국인과 대화를 나누게 되었다면 매우 기뻐서 발음이 이상하든 문법이 엉터리든 “일본어 잘 하시네요~” 해요 = When I am in Japan having a conversation with foreigners speaking (fumbling in) Japanese, regardless of if their pronunciation is strange or if their grammar is rubbish, I gladly say “Oh, your Japanese is really good!”

That’s it for this lesson!

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