Lesson 81: Because (of): ~(으)니까 and ~(으)니




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Vocabulary
Introduction

Because of: ~(으)니까
~(으)니

 

 

Vocabulary

Nouns:
비율 = ratio, percentage
강사 = instructor, lecturer
총리 = prime minister
반도 = peninsula
반딧불 = firefly
옆방 = the room next door
고속버스 = bus that goes on the freeway
형제 = brothers
치아 = teeth
충치 = tooth decay, cavity
빛깔 = color
매듭 = knot

Verbs:
보조하다 = to help, to aid
꺾다 = to break something in half
의지하다 = to lean on
내기하다 = to bet
수다를 떨다 = to chat

Adjectives:
연하다 = to be tender, to be soft
느슨하다 = to be loose, to be slack
억울하다 = to be unfair

Adverbs and Other Words:
일회용 = one time use (disposable)
맨날 = every day

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

 

Introduction

In this lesson, you will learn how to use ~(으)니까 and ~(으)니 between two clauses to create a meaning that is similar to ~아/어서. Of course, just like every other grammatical principle, there are some subtle nuances that you should know about. Let’s get started.

 

 

Because of: ~()니까

In Lesson 37 you learned that you can place ~아/어서 between two clauses to create the meaning of “because,” “so” or “therefore.” For example:

제가 배가 안 고파서 더 먹기 싫어요 = I don’t want to eat anymore because I am full
시험을 못 봐서 울고 싶어요 = I want to cry because I did poorly on the exam

You can also place ~(으)니까 between clauses to create a very similar meaning. For example:

제가 배가 안 고프니까 더 먹기 싫어요 = I don’t want to eat anymore because I am full

The subtle difference between these two grammatical principles is that ~(으)니까 is commonly used when the first clause is an excuse as to why the second clause occurs (usually an excuse as to why something can’t be done). As such, sometimes there is the slight feeling that the speaker is annoyed at the cause for something not happening. For example:

학교에 가야 되니까 지금 못 만나요
= I need to go to school, so I won’t be able to meet

옆방이 아주 시끄러우니까 저는 잠을 못 잤어요
= The room next to us is very loud, so I couldn’t sleep

그 셔츠를 사고 싶은데 돈이 없으니까 살 수 없어요
= Although I want to buy that, I have no money, so I cannot

Unlike ~ 아/어서, the clause preceding ~(으)니까 can be conjugated into the past tense. For example:

어제 너무 바빴으니까 못 갔어요
= I couldn’t go yesterday because I was so busy

너를 좋아하지 않았으니까 헤어졌어
= I broke up with you because I didn’t like you

경기에서 진 것이 저의 자신감을 꺾었으니까 저는 더 이상 하고 싶지 않아요
= Losing in the game broke my confidence, so I don’t want to play (do it) anymore

It is also common to end a sentence with ~(으)니까. This is similar to ending a sentence with “~아/어서,” in that the speaker is actually creating an incomplete sentence where the end of the sentence can be assumed from context. In practice, this is typically used to answer a question, where the answer starts with “because…” For example:

Person 1: 지금 만날 수 있어요? = Can you meet now?
Person 2: 아니요~ 못 만나요. 학교에 가야 되니까요 = No, because I have to go to school

Person 1: 그것을 살 거야? = Are you going to buy that?
Person 2: 아니요~ 못 사요. 돈이 없으니까요 = … No, because I have no money

Person 1: 나랑 왜 헤어졌어? = Why did you break up with me?
Person 2: 너를 좋아하지 않았으니까 = … Because I didn’t like you

Person 1: 신발이 왜 벗겼어요? = Why did your shoe come off?
Person 2: 매듭이 너무 느슨하니까 = … Because the knot was too loose

Notice here that you can add “~요” to end of “~(으)니까.” Similar to when ~는데 is used at the end of a sentence (as you learned in Lesson 77), using ~(으)니까 like this can be seen as a little bit rude – even if you attach ~요 to the end of it. Like ~는데, there is the feeling that the person is talking back. Of course, this all depends on the situation and the atmosphere of the conversation.

I said earlier that “~(으)니까” is commonly used instead of using “~아/어서” when the first clause is an excuse to why the second clause can’t happen. I feel that this is true most of the time, although it doesn’t always have to be an excuse. For example:

제가 숙제를 다 했으니까 이제 영화를 볼 수 있어요
= I am finished my homework, therefore, I can see a movie now

반딧불이 지금 날고 있지 않으니까 빛깔이 안 나와요
= The firefly is not flying now, so the color/light isn’t coming out (not shining)

누가 더 잘하는지 내기를 했으니까 저는 이번에 집중해야 돼요
= We made a bet of who is better, so I need to concentrate this time

총리를 보조하는 사람이 없으니까 두 명 정도 고용해야 될 것 같아요
= There are no people to help the prime minister, so we probably need to hire about two people

맨날 일회용 물병을 사서 물을 마시니까 방에 병이 많이 쌓여 있어요
= I buy disposable water bottles (and drink water through them every day), so there are a lot of bottles piled up in my room

시험을 50점 이상을 받는 학생의 비율이 아주 낮으니까 강사가 학생들이 시험을 다시 봐야 된다고 했어요
= The ratio/percentage of students who got a score of over 50 on the exam was very slow, so the professor/teacher said that we would have to write the exam again

It is also common to use ~(으)니까 when one is making a suggestion. The same translation of “because” can still be used in these sentences as well. For example:

버스가 복잡하니까 택시를 타자! = Let’s take a taxi because the bus is so crowded!
너무 더우니까 시원한 것을 먹을래요? = Let’s eat something cool because it is so hot
밥이 없으니까 라면 먹자! = Let’s eat Ramen because there is no rice

You can actually drop the “~까” from “~(으)니까” to create ~(으)니. We need to talk about this in a separate section.

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Because or Giving Background Information: ~()

Remember first that you have already learned about adding “~니” to words in Lesson 21. In that Lesson, you learned many ways that you can change your Korean sentences to ask questions; one of which was by adding “~니” to the end of a sentence. For example:

몇 살이야? = How old are you?
몇 살이니? = How old are you?

집에 도착했어? = Have you arrived at home?
집에 도착했니? = Have you arrived at home?

In addition to this meaning, “~(으)니” can have the same meaning of “~(으)니까” as described earlier in this lesson. That is; to create the meaning of “because” or “therefore” just like the many other grammatical forms that have the same function. Although ~(으)니 typically isn’t used at the end of a sentence, it can be used instead of “~(으)니까” in all the other cases, for example:

밥이 없으니 라면 먹자! = Let’s eat Ramen because there is no rice
어제 너무 바빴으니 못 갔어요 = I couldn’t go yesterday because I was so busy
학교에 가야 되니 지금 못 만나요 = I need to go to school, so I won’t be able to meet
너를 좋아하지 않았으니 헤어졌어 = I broke up with you because I didn’t like you
제가 배가 안 고프니 더 먹기 싫어요 = I don’t want to eat anymore because I am full
벌써 5시이니 우리가 빨리 가야 돼요 = We have to go quickly because it is already 5:00

그 셔츠를 사고 싶은데 돈이 없으니 살 수 없어요
= Although I want to buy that, I have no money, so I cannot

제가 숙제를 다 했으니 이제 영화를 볼 수 있어요
= I am finished my homework, therefore, I can see a movie now

There is no need to distinguish the meanings of ~(으)니 and ~(으)니까. Officially, ~(으)니까 is simply a stressed/emphasized version of ~(으)니. What we can do, however, is distinguish their usages – as I feel that (although their usages overlap), there are some situations that are more likely to use ~(으)니 and vice-versa.

First, I feel that ~(으)니 is used much more frequently in writing, whereas ~(으)니까 is much more common in speech.

“~(으)니” is also commonly used to provide information for the upcoming clause. This is similar to the function of ~는데 that I introduced in Lesson 76 and Lesson 77. In those lessons, I explained that ~는데 has a function of setting up a scenario for an upcoming clause. The meaning within this sentence also has a slight meaning of “even though.”

I would say that “~(으)니” has this same function, except for that there is a slight meaning of “because” instead of “even though.” I know that sounds confusing, let’s put an example sentence with two clauses and separate them with ~는데 or ~(으)니 to compare them.

제가 고기를 안 좋아하는데 먹어볼 거예요 = Even though I don’t like meat, I will try some
(Where the meaning of “even though” is very slight, and the first clause “I don’t like meat” is setting up the second clause).

제가 고기를 안 좋아하니 안 먹을 거예요 = Because I don’t like meat, I’m not going to eat it
(Where the meaning of “because” is very slight, and the first clause “I don’t like meat” is setting up the second clause).

The confusing thing here is that I have presented you with two meanings of “~(으)니” in this lesson:

  • To express the meaning of “because” or “therefore” like “~(으)니까, and
  • The provide information for an upcoming clause, with a slight meaning of “because”

The question I am sure you want to ask is: How can I tell the two usages apart if they almost have the same meaning (one meaning “because,” the other one “slightly meaning because”)?

My answer: Does it really matter?

In real conversations with people, you don’t dissect sentences like this. In both situations, the second clause happens after the first clause. If a direct causal link between the two clauses can be assumed, then assume that the meaning of “~(으)니” is “because.” However, if that causal link is less obvious, assume that the clause before “~(으)니” is simply providing information for the upcoming clause.

When specifically used in the past tense, it is often more convenient to change the translation of “~았/었으니” to “now that one has…” For example:

밥이 다 됐으니 많이 드세요! = Now that the rice is ready, eat a lot!
빨래를 다 했으니 지금 자도 돼요 = Now that I have finished the laundry, I can go to bed
충치를 치료했으니 치아가 이제 안 아파요 = Now that I treated my cavity, my teeth don’t hurt
연한 고기를 다 먹었으니 이제 기분이 좋아요 = Now that I ate soft meat, I feel great (happy)

제가 숙제를 다 했으니 이제 영화를 볼 수 있어요
= Now that I am finished my homework, I can see a movie

형제들이 다 죽었으니 저는 종교를 빼고 의지할 게 없어요
= Now that all of my brothers have died, I have nothing to lean on except religion

나는 요즘에 맨날 한식만 먹었는데, 친구를 만났으니 이탈리안 음식 먹자!
= These days, I only eat Korean food every day, so now that I have met a friend (you), let’s eat Italian food!

Our website offers Short Stories for intermediate learners to practice their Korean reading. ~(으)니 shows up a lot in those short stories, so I can provide a bunch of examples:

어제부터 오랜만에 쉴 생각을 하니 설레었다
= I am excited because, from now on, I realized that I can rest

오랜만에 친구와 수다를 떠니 잠시 있고 있었던 옛 날 생각이 많이 났다
= (Because) I am chatting with an old friend, a lot of thoughts of the old days have come up

하지만 펭귄이 있는 곳은 동물원 입구에서 멀다고 하니 아빠와 나는 우선 다른 동물들을 먼저 봤다
= But, (because) it was said that the place where the penguins are is far from the entrance of the zoo, we saw other animals first

내일은 또 다시 바쁜 하루가 시작되겠지만 오늘 하루 열심히 충전을 했으니 내일이 두렵지 않다
= Tomorrow, another busy day will start, however, now that I have recharged for a day, I am not afraid of tomorrow!

직장도 집에서 멀고 새로운 사람들이랑 새로운 직업으로 다시 일을 하려고 하니 적응이 잘 안 된다
= (Because) I am trying to work with new people, and my workplace is far from my house, I am not adapting well

처음에는 서른 살이 되면 나이가 많은 거라고 생각했는데 제가 서른 살이 되었으니 그렇게 생각하지 않아요
= At first I thought thirty years old was old, but (because) I am now thirty, I don’t think that way

You will find this grammatical principle in the TOPIK tests as well. I glanced at the 27th Intermediate Test for a second and I found this sentence:

어려운 일을 끝내고 나니 기분이 매우 좋았다
= Now that I am finished the difficult work, I am/was very happy

The question was asking which sentence (amongst the sentence above and three others) was incorrect. The sentence above was one of the sentences that was correct.

That’s it for this lesson! Hopefully that’s enough examples to get you accustomed to “~(으)니.”

That’s it for this lesson!

Click here for a Workbook to go along with this lesson.
Click here for Korean Short Stories specifically tailored to learners at this level.

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