Lesson 109: ~나 보다, ~는/ㄴ가 보다

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Vocabulary
Introduction

To guess, think, suppose, to look like: ~는/ㄴ가보다

 

 

Vocabulary

Nouns:
온수 = hot water
욕조 = bathtub
무더기 = pile/heap of something
사회주의 = socialism
자존심 = self esteem
내복 = long underwear
스위치 = switch
탁구대 = ping pong table
휴게실 = lounge (room)
동절기 = winter (cold period)
일람표 = list/table
조끼 = vest
미로 = a maze

Verbs:
헹구다 = rinse
담그다 = soak something in something
추정하다 = estimate/assume
깨뜨리다 = to smash/break something
지적하다 = point out
수신하다 = receive/reception
엎다 = to put something face down
엎드리다 = lie with your face down
엎드러지다 = to fall on your face
엎드러뜨리다 = make smbdy fall on face
날아가다 = fly away
권하다 = advice/offer
헌신하다 = devote
대피하다 = evacuate and take shelter

Passive Verbs:
갇히다 = to be locked in

Adjectives:
아쉽다 = to be sorry

 

 

Introduction

In this lesson, you will learn a difficult grammatical principle that is very common in speech. Here, you will learn how to attach ~는가 보다 (or ~나 봐, or ~나 보네) to the end of a sentence to express that something might be the case. Let’s get started.

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To guess, think, suppose, to look like: ~는/ㄴ가 보다

This is a very common grammatical principle that you will hear all the time. By attaching ~는/은가 보다 to verbs, or ~은/ㄴ가 보다 to adjectives, the speaker indicates that the sentence is a guess, and it thought to be true (but he/she is not really sure). Some simple examples:

시험이 어려운가 봐요 = I guess the exam is hard/the exam looks hard/I suppose the exam is hard

While the English translations can look and feel similar, this usage is slightly different from that of other similar grammatical principles that express probability/possibility. For example:

시험이 어려울 것 같아요 = The exam is/will probably be hard

The difference is that when I say “시험이 어려울 것 같아요”, I am mostly guessing this based on intuition and there isn’t really any implied concrete reason for me thinking that it will be hard.

However, when you say “시험이 어려운가 봐요”, (maybe as a result of “보다” being in the sentence) the feeling is that the speaker has a direct reason as to why he/she feels this way. For example, imagine you are a proctor in an exam room watching students write an exam. During the test, you see/hear many students sigh, and even some students completely stop writing the exam and start sleeping without answering all the questions. At this point, you could say to the other proctor in the room:

시험이 어려운가 봐요 = I guess the exam is hard/the exam looks hard/I suppose the exam is hard

Let’s look at another example:
그 외국인이 김치를 좋아하는가 봐요 = I guess that foreigner likes kimchi/it looks like that foreigner likes kimchi/I suppose that foreigner likes kimchi

Imagine you are at a restaurant and you see a foreigner eating some Korean BBQ. After each piece of meat, he eats a big piece of kimchi. At this point, because it is something that you are directly observing and something that you have direct evidence of, you can say this sentence.

You would be more likely to say…
그 외국인이 김치를 좋아할 것 같아요 = That foreigner probably likes kimchi
… if you actually didn’t know he liked kimchi or not, and were just guessing that he might (maybe because kimchi is delicious and everybody likes it)

More examples:
사과가 너무 비싼가 봐요 = I guess the apples are too expensive (maybe because you realized that nobody is buying any apples, so you have the evidence to lead you to believe that the apples are too expensive)

내복을 입어야 되는가 봐요 = I guess I need to wear long-johns (long-underwear) (if you imagine it’s winter and you look outside and you realize that it is going to be freezing cold)

그 학생이 밥을 살 수 있는 돈이 없는가 봐요 = I guess that student doesn’t have any money to buy food (If you imagine you are on a school field trip as a teacher and it is lunch time for the students. However, one of the students is just sitting by himself not eating anything, and looks very sad)

정부에게 불만을 표현하고 싶은 사람이 많은가 봐요 = It looks like there are a lot of people who want to express their complaints towards the government (If you imagine you are walking around the downtown of your city and you see a bunch of protesters protesting something at city hall)

This grammatical form can be attached to sentences conjugated in the past tense as well:
아기가 접시를 깨뜨렸는가 봐요 = I guess the baby broke the plate/it looks like the baby broke the plate
수신이 안 됐는가 봐요 = I guess there is no reception/It looks like there is no reception
새로운 탁구대가 왔는가 봐요 = I guess the new Ping-Pong table arrived/It looks like the new Ping-Pong table arrived
새가 날아갔는가 봐요 = I guess the bird flew away/It looks like the bird flew away

“~네(요)”, which you learned about in Lesson 83, is often added to sentences where the speaker learns something new. Because of the nature of the sentences we are creating with “~는/ㄴ가 보다”, it is very common to add the grammatical principle “~네(요)” to 보다. For example:

시험이 어려운가 보네요 = I guess the exam is hard/the exam looks hard
사과가 너무 비싼가 보네요 = I guess the apples are too expensive
내복을 입어야 되는가 보네 = I guess I need to wear long-johns (long-underwear)
아기가 접시를 깨뜨렸는가 보네 = I guess the baby broke the plate
수신이 안 됐는가 보네 = I guess there is no reception/It looks like there is no reception
새로운 탁구대가 왔는가 보네 = I guess the new Ping-Pong table arrived
새가 날아갔는가 보네 = I guess the bird flew away/It looks like the bird flew away
정부에게 불만을 표현하고 싶은 사람이 많은가 보네 = It looks like there are a lot of people who want to express their complaints towards the government

Not only that, but it is very common for “~는/ㄴ가 보다” to be shortened to “~나 보다” (or ~나 보네). In fact, I would say that the “~나 보다” form is much more common than “~는/ㄴ가 보다” (especially in speech). The only reason I introduced the less common one first is because (from what I understand) that is the original grammatical principle, and the more common “~나 보다” is simply a contraction of “~는/ㄴ가 보다”. Either way, ~나 보다 can be attached to all of the examples introduced in this lesson instead of ~는/ㄴ가 보다. For example:

시험이 어렵나 봐 = I guess the exam is hard/the exam looks hard
사과가 너무 비싸나 봐 = I guess the apples are too expensive
내복을 입어야 되나 봐 = I guess I need to wear long-johns (long-underwear)
아기가 접시를 깨뜨렸나 봐 = I guess the baby broke the plate
수신이 안 됐나 봐 = I guess there is no reception/It looks like there is no reception
새로운 탁구대가 왔나 봐 = I guess the new Ping-Pong table arrived
새가 날아갔나 봐 = I guess the bird flew away/It looks like the bird flew away
정부에게 불만을 표현하고 싶은 사람이 많나 봐 = It looks like there are a lot of people who want to express their complaints towards the government

I personally use the ~나 보다 form all the time when I speak Korean. I can’t be exactly sure why ~는/ㄴ가 보다 is less common that ~나 보다, but if you ask me, a sentence ending in “~나 보다” flows off of your tongue much better. Also, it is much easier to conjugate because it doesn’t change if it is an adjective or verb, or in the past or present tense.
The ~는가 보다 sentences are all fine, but when I showed them to 슬기 when she was checking this lesson, she kept on saying “Yeah, that’s fine, but I would rather say ‘~나 보다’. I’ll say it one more time before I finish – the ~나 보다 sentences are much more common than the ~ㄴ/는가 보다 sentences

That’s it for this lesson!

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