Lesson 124: To be Worth Doing: ~ㄹ/을 만하다

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To be Worth Doing: ~ㄹ/을 만하다
Complicated ~ㄹ/을 만하다 Sentences





전문가 = specialist
벌레 = bug/insect
들판 = field
원리 = principal/fundamentals
초승달 = crescent moon
보름달 = full moon
원두 = coffee beans
코코아 = cocoa
카페인 = caffeine
해바라기 = sunflower
타조 = ostrich
정신력 = willpower/mental strength
묘지 = cemetery
피난민 = refugee
청바지 = jeans
방세 = rent for a room
바퀴벌레 = cockroach

내쉬다 = exhale
고문하다 = torture
맛보다 = taste
주저하다 = hesitate
야영(하다) = camping/camp
사격하다 = shoot/fire a gun
이별하다 = part from/farewell/parting
피난하다 = evacuate

Passive Verbs:
쥐가 나다 = to have a cramp (에)

Adverbs and Other Words:
보름 = fifteen days/half a month
평 = Korean measurement




In this lesson, you will learn how to use the grammatical principle ~ㄹ/을 만하다 to indicate that something is worth doing or possible. In doing so, you will see how these types of sentences can also be expressed using the word 가치. Let’s get started.




To be Worth Doing: ~ㄹ/을 만하다

The grammar within ~ㄹ/을 만하다 is very similar to that of ~는 척하다, which you learned in Lesson 98. In both ~ㄹ/을 만하다 and ~는 척하다, the you can see that the ~는 것 principle is being used to allow the preceding clause to describe 만하다 (in the form of ~ㄹ/을) and 척하다 (in the form of ~는) respectively. As you know, most of the time, the thing that immediately follows something like this a noun. For example:

저는 동생이 사과를 가져오는 것을 원해요
저는 내일 갈 수 없어요
저는 하고 싶은 말이 있어요
저는 스키를 할 줄 알아요

However, 만하다 (along with 척하다) doesn’t act like this. Instead, there is no noun and the clause preceding ~ㄹ/을 is describing 만하다, which is adjective. You should specifically remember that it is an adjective (and not a verb) so you know how to conjugate it and also for something else that I will point out later.
Okay, as always, I like to give you my grammar notes about a particular grammatical principle, but you don’t need to concern yourself too much with that.

Let’s look at the basic structure of how this can be used by looking at a simple example:

할 만하다

The construction above would translate to something like “to be worth doing.” The thing is though, what we have essentially created is an adjective (remember I said that 만하다 was an adjective) that can describe things to say they are worth something. Therefore, this form, as an adjective, is often used to describe a noun. For example:

그것은 할 만하다 = That is worth doing

Notice what is happening here. The noun of “that (thing)” is being described by the entire construction of “할 만하다”. Let’s look at some other example:

그 밥은 먹을 만해요 = That food is worth eating
그 책은 읽을 만해요 = That book is worth reading
그 컴퓨터는 살 만해요 = That computer is worth buying
그 사람은 믿을 만해요 = That person is worth trusting
코코아는 맛볼 만해요 = Cacao is worth tasting

The grammatical principle ~아/어 보다 (from Lesson 32) is often used with these verbs to add the feeling of “to try/attempt”. For example:

그 밥은 먹어 볼 만해요 = That food is worth eating (worth trying)
그 책은 읽어 볼 만해요 = That book is worth reading (worth trying to read)

In this form, (with or without ~아/어 보다) it is rare to find an object being used before the verb. Think about this for a minute. If you look at this structure:

(그 밥은) [먹을 만해요] = (the food) + [is worth eating]

What noun could you possibly add to this sentence? It doesn’t make sense. A lot of Korean learners assume that because a verb is being used that it is better to include the noun as an object in the sentence. For example, instead of writing this:

이 책은 읽을 만하다
They write:
이 책을 읽을 만하다

I know “읽다” is a verb. I also know “책” is a noun. However, you have to remember that the entire construction of “(verb) + ~ㄹ/을 만하다” acts as sort of descriptive clause that describes the noun as a subject – and the noun is not being acted on by the verb.

It is possible to include a noun before the verb in these cases, but typically only done when the verb is “받다”. In these cases, we still have a descriptive clause describing a subject, but the descriptive clause simply gets longer and more complex with the use of the object.

Using the construction “(subject) + (noun) + 받을 만하다” we create the meaning of “(subject) deserves/is worthy of receiving (noun)”. For example:

그 선생님은 상을 받을 만해요
= That teacher deserves an award

그 의사는 많은 사람의 목숨을 살려서 칭찬을 많이 받을 만해요
= That doctor deserves a lot of praise for saving a lot of people’s lives (because he/she saved a lot of people’s lives)

우리 할아버지는 한국전쟁에서 싸우셨으므로 존경을 받을 만해요
= Our grandfather deserves a lot of respect for fighting in the Korean war

Another time you might see a noun included before the verb in these situations is if the verb is 하다, and the noun could actually be attached to 하다 to form a verb. For example, there is no difference between these two sentences:

한국어는 공부할 만하다
한국어는 공부를 할 만하다

This isn’t incredibly important, but I hear ~ㄹ/을 만하다 used as a question every weekend when I eat with my girlfriend’s parents, so I wanted to make sure that I specifically mentioned it. I’m sure you could have figured out how this is done without me showing it to you, but here we go – I hear this all the time:

밥은 먹을 만해? = Is the food worth eating?
(The direct translation above might be more accurately translated to “is the food good?” or “does the food taste alright?)

한국은 살 만해요? = It is worth living in Korea?
운전은 할 만해요? = Was it worth driving? (this is more likely to have another meaning which is talked about later in the lesson)





More Complicated ~ㄹ/을 만하다 Sentences

It’s also possible to now use an entire clause ending in 만하다 to describe an upcoming noun (remember, it’s an adjective, so it can do this). When this is done, notice that the structure of the sentence changes. Now you are not describing an upcoming noun in this form:

[먹을 만한] (식당을 알아요)? = (do you know) [worthwhile place to eat]?

Here, contrary to the structure of the sentence that we studied earlier, a noun could be added. For example:

{밥을} [먹을 만한] (식당을 알아요)? = (do you know) [worthwhile place to eat] {rice}?
밥을 먹을 만한 식당을 알아요? = Do you know a good (worthwhile) place to eat rice?

책을 읽을 만한 데를 알아요?  = Do you know a good place to read a book?

Other examples of this form being used with or without that extra noun:

수다를 떨 만한 장소가 많아요
= There are many places worth chatting at

살 만한 청바지가 있어요
= There are jeans that I want to buy (there are jeans that would be worthwhile buying)

Often times people use ~ㄹ/을 만하다 to express that something is possible despite maybe not being the best option. It’s hard to separate these two usages (one expressing that something is “worthwhile” and the other expressing that something is “possible”) because they often feel similar in a sentence. For example:

한국요리는 할 만해요? = Is it worth cooking Korean food?

This sort of sounds awkward expressed this way, as I can’t think of an example where somebody would want to say this. Instead, it could have the meaning of:

한국요리는 할 만해요? = It is still possible/are you able to cook Korean food?

The usage/translation is often interchangeable. I looked at many examples of this “possibility” usage in the dictionary, and my brain was still telling me that those usages were talking about something being “worthwhile.”

Here is a good example from a magazine that I saw where the usage of “possibility” can be distinguished quite distinctly from the usage of “worthwhile”:

세계에는 모든 사람들이 충분히 먹을 만한 식량이 있지만 8억 명 이상은 항상 배가 고파요
= In the world, even though there is enough food for it to be possible for everybody to eat, 800,000,000 people are always hungry

Another example. From before, I showed you this sentence:

운전은 할 만해요?
Depending on the situation, this could have the nuance of “is it worth driving” or “is it possible for you to drive?/can you drive?/are you able to drive?” I specifically say “nuance” because, as I said, it is very difficult for me consider this another meaning/usage.




Using 가치 to Express a Similar Meaning to ~ㄹ/을 만하다

The noun “가치” means “value/worth”, and can be used quite simply to express that meaning. For example:

그 그림은 높은 가치가 있어요 = That picture has a high value
청소년들이 노동의 가치를 배워야 돼요 = Young people should learn the value of physical labor
아이들은 밥을 건강하게 먹는 것에 대한 가치를 몰라요 = Children don’t know the value of eating healthy

Because it has this meaning, 가치 can be used to form essentially the same meaning as sentences with 만하다, but instead of being a grammatical principle, it is just a noun that can be used as any other noun. For example:

그 영화를 3식간 동안 볼 가치가 있었어요
= It was worth watching that movie for three hours

이 커피가 5천원을 내고 마실 가치가 있을까요?
= Do you think this coffee is/worth (the price of/paying) 5,000 won?

5년 동안 노력해서 변호사가 될 가치가 있었어요
= It was worth it for me to work hard for five years and become a lawyer

A lot of times, you will see ~ㄹ/을 만하다 used with 가치 in the same sentence. For example:

외국어를 배울 만한 가치가 있어요
= It is worth learning a foreign language

해외에서 한 번이라도 살아볼 만한 가치가 있어요
= It is worth trying/attempting living in a foreign country at least once

That’s it for this lesson!

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