Lesson 115: I Should Have: ~ㄹ/을걸 (그랬다)

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Vocabulary
Introduction

I Should Have Done: ~ㄹ/을걸 (그랬다)
Negative Sentences with ~ㄹ/을걸 (그랬다)
괜히: Something That You Didn’t Need to Do

 

 

Vocabulary

Nouns:
동양화 = oriental painting
서양화 = western painting
바탕 = foundation/basis for
표지 = a sign on the road
표지 = cover of a book/magazine
만료일 = expiration date (usually not food)
김 = steam
초밥 = sushi
과도 = fruit knife
식칼 = kitchen knife
국자 = ladle (for soup)
자선 = charity
자선가 = philanthropist
예수님 = Jesus
신장 = kidney
보조개 = dimple
가사 = lyrics
약점 = weak point
승무원 = crewman/flight attendant
세균 = germ
수칙 = rules/regulations

Verbs:
보상하다 = to compensate (for a loss)
대여하다 = to rent
딸꾹질하다 = to hiccup

Passive Verbs:
만료되다 = to be expired

Adjectives:
건조하다 = to be dry

Adverbs and Other Words:
주황색 = orange (color)

 

 

 

 

Introduction

In this lesson, you will learn about a grammatical principle that looks like it has an entirely different meaning and purpose than it actually does. I remember when I saw ~ㄹ/을걸 for the first time, I said to myself “Oh, I can probably guess what that means!” Boy was I wrong. Let me teach it to you. Let’s get started.

 

 

 

I Should Have Done: ~ㄹ/을 걸 (그랬다)

You can place ~ㄹ/을걸 at the end of a sentence to express that you should have done something in the past (but didn’t). The meaning is fairly simple, and attaching it to a clause is quite simple as well:

나의 가방을 가져올걸 = I should have brought my bag (but I didn’t)

친구 집에 갈걸 = I should have gone to my friend’s house (but I didn’t)

가사를 더 잘 외울걸 = I should have memorized the lyrics better (but I didn’t)

아까 그 표지를 더 자세히 볼걸 = I should have looked at that sign better (but I didn’t)

우리가 봤던 원피스를 살걸 = I should have bought the (one-piece) dress that we saw (but I didn’t)

This grammatical principle is typically used when the speaker is talking about him/herself (when the subject is “I” or “we” or something like that). When talking to him/herself the person regrets whatever decision was made in the past that wasn’t done (or was done, as you will see later in this lesson).

The word 그랬다 is often placed after the ~ㄹ/을걸 construction for no real reason – and I have never seen or heard anything to suggest that adding “그랬다” changes the meaning in any way.

For example:
가사를 더 잘 외울걸 그랬어 = I should have memorized the lyrics better

아까 그 표지를 더 자세히 볼걸 그랬어 = I should have looked at that sign better

우리가 봤던 원피스를 살걸 그랬다 = I should have bought the (one-piece) dress that we saw

Just like ~구나 or other forms of “self-speech”, it may be more appropriate to express something more formally. Even if the sentence is directed at yourself, there could be somebody listening to you – in which case, it is possible to conjugate these sentences formally. I have seen some people claim that adding “요” directly to “~ㄹ/을걸” is possible. However, Korean people I have asked say that would be unnatural. For example, this:

가사를 더 잘 외울걸요…
Wouldn’t be correct.

Instead, you can conjugate the word “그랬다”. For example:

가사를 더 잘 외울걸 그랬어요 = I should have memorized the lyrics better

아까 그 표지를 더 자세히 볼걸 그랬어요 = I should have looked at that sign better

우리가 봤던 원피스를 살걸 그랬어요 = I should have bought the (one-piece) dress that we saw

The word “그랬다” can theoretically be conjugated any way, but the most common way you will see it conjugated is by adding ~나 or ~나 보다 (As you learned in Lesson 109). For example:

가사를 더 잘 외울걸 그랬나 봐 = It looks like I should have memorized the lyrics better

공부를 더 열심히 할걸 그랬나 봐 = It looks like I should have studied harder

밥을 먹을걸 그랬나 봐요 = It looks like I should have eaten

When the whole sentence finishes with “그랬나”, it is most often in a form of a question. The question is usually directed at oneself, but it is not uncommon for a listener to answer the question. For example:

Person 1: 오기 전에 밥을 먹을걸 그랬나? = Should I have eaten before coming here?
Person 2: 우리가 곧 나가서 곧 먹을 거야! = (no), We are going to go out and eat soon

It’s also possible to use the first person plural to talk about something that we should have done. In cases like these, it is common to attach ~나 or ~지 to 그랬다 to create a question that you are asking to the people around you. For example:

우리가 그 표지를 더 자세히 볼걸 그랬어 = We should have looked at that sign better
우리가 동물원에 더 일찍 올걸 그랬지? = We should have come to the zoo earlier (eh?)
우리가 초밥을 시킬걸 그랬나? = Should we have ordered sushi?

Person 1: 우리 딸이 오늘 학교에서 점심을 살 거야 = Our daughter is going to buy lunch at school today
Person 2: 아이에게 돈을 조금 더 줄 걸 그랬나? = Should we have given her more money?

In my experience, this grammatical form is most often used when the speaker is the subject of the sentence or when referring to “we.” However, it is possible to use this form when talking about another person. For example:

Person 1: 아! 난 버스를 놓쳤어. = Oh no! I missed the bus
Person 2: 일찍 나갈 걸 그랬지! = (I told you that) you should have left earlier

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Negative Sentences with ~ㄹ/을 걸 (그랬다)

By making a negative sentence with “안” or “~지 않다”, you can create the opposite meaning of what is described above. That is, to indicate that you shouldn’t have done something in the past (but did). Some examples:

이 무거운 가방을 안 가져올걸 = I shouldn’t have brought this heavy bag
아침으로 초밥을 안 먹을걸 = I shouldn’t have had sushi for breakfast
오늘 학교에 안 올걸 = I shouldn’t have come to school today
그 걸 엄마에게 말하지 말걸 = I shouldn’t have told my mother that

All the other forms you learned above with the positive sentences can also be applied to these sentences as well:

이 무거운 가방을 안 가져올걸 그랬나? = Should I have not brought this heavy bag?
아침으로 초밥을 안 먹을걸 그랬어 = I shouldn’t have had sushi for breakfast
오늘 학교에 안 올걸 그랬나 봐 = I guess I shouldn’t have come to school today
그 걸 엄마에게 말하지 말걸 그랬나? = Should I not have told my mother that?

우리가 동물원에 안 올걸 그랬지? = We shouldn’t have come to the zoo (eh?)
우리가 초밥을 안 시킬걸 그랬나? = Should we have not ordered sushi?

There is also a fairly difficult adverb than can sometimes be used to express the same meaning as the sentences we’ve created in this lesson. I would like to introduce you to that next.

 

 

 

괜히: Something That You Didn’t Need to Do

The word “괜히” is often translated to “in vain” in English, but that isn’t really a perfect translation. In fact, it is difficult to come up with a perfect translation for this word simply because we don’t have a similar word in English. 괜히 is an adverb, and can be placed in sentences (just like any other adverb) in indicate that one did something that didn’t need to be done. I feel it is best to teach this word by presenting sentences using this word and not using this word side-by-side. For example:

나는 무거운 가방을 가져왔어 = I brought the heavy bag
나는 무거운 가방을 괜히 가져왔어 = I brought the heavy bag in vain
The first sentence is easy, and I am sure you understand it completely. In the second sentence, the purpose of “괜히” is to indicate that the person ended up realizing that he/she didn’t need to bring the bag. If I think of an example… maybe a bunch of people were going camping and I wasn’t sure if I should bring a tent or not. I decided to put the tent in a bag (which ended up being really heavy), and when I got to the campground I saw that my friend also brought a tent. At which point, I can say:
나는 무거운 가방을 괜히 가져왔어 = I didn’t need to bring this heavy bag
In this situation, I could also say:
텐트를 괜히 가져왔어 = I didn’t need to bring the tent

As you can see… 괜히 is put in the sentence where one realizes that he/she didn’t need to something (usually because it was already done – or because it was pointless to do it).
Another example:

나는 우유를 샀어 = I bought milk
나는 우유를 괜히 샀어 = I bought milk, but I just realized that I shouldn’t have because you also bought milk (or because we already had milk.)

So, just because of the nature of the sentence and the meaning that this creates – 괜히 can sometimes be used to make a sentence with a similar meaning to ~ㄹ/걸 (그랬다). For example:

오늘 학교에 안 올걸 = I shouldn’t have come to school today
오늘 학교에 괜히 왔어 = I shouldn’t have come to school today

이 무거운 가방을 안 가져올걸 = I shouldn’t have brought this heavy bag
나는 무거운 가방을 괜히 가져왔어 = I shouldn’t have brought this heavy bag

식사준비를 안 할걸 = I shouldn’t have prepared this meal
식사준비를 괜히 했어 = I shouldn’t have prepared this meal

That’s it for this lesson!

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Okay, got it! Take me to the next Lesson!