Lesson 91: ~거든(요): Because, Other meanings

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Vocabulary
Introduction

Because: ~거든(요)
Other meanings of: ~거든(요)

 

 

Vocabulary

Nouns:
차세대 = next generation
후계자 = heir/successor
영리 = profit
비영리 = non-profit
의료 = medical
재단 = foundation
공익 = public interest
혼선 = confusion
품질 = quality
물속 = inside water
얼룩 = stain/smear/smudge
국경 = border
국경선 = border line
핵 = nuclear/nucleus
이두근 = biceps
삼두근 = triceps
실내화 = slippers/house shoes
냉방 = air conditioning

Verbs:
압착하다 = squeeze
표시하다 = express
숙이다 = hanging your body forward
중개하다 = mediate

Passive Verbs:
중독되다 = to be addicted

Adjectives:
화창하다 = clear/bright/fine/nice(weather)
끊임없다 = constant
겸손하다 = modest

Adverbs and Other Words:
끊임없이 = constantly

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

 

Introduction

In this lesson, you will learn how to add ~거든(요) to the end of a sentence or to connect two clauses. Though this grammatical form has one very common meaning, it is often used to have other meanings as well. In this lesson, I will break down all the meanings of ~거든(요) and explain how they can be used. Let’s get started.

 

Because: ~거든()

In Lesson 37 you learned how to use ~아/어서 to connect two clauses to have the meaning “so/therefore/because.” For example:

학생들이 너무 시끄러워서 저는 교수님의 말을 못 들었어요 = The students were too loud, so I couldn’t hear the professor
저는 공부하지 않아서 시험을 못 봤어요 = I didn’t study, therefore, I didn’t do well on the exam
저는 밥을 먹고 있어서 지금 가고 싶지 않아요 = I don’t want to go now because I am eating

Even though they would technically be grammatically incorrect, you could eliminate the clause after 아/어서 and say the following:

학생들이 너무 시끄러워서… = Because the students were so loud…
저는 공부하지 않아서… = Because I didn’t study…
저는 밥을 먹고 있어서… = Because I am eating…

The examples above are grammatically incorrect because they are not full sentences. Technically you can’t end a sentence with ~아/어서 even though many people do so in conversation. The situation that would allow for this to happen would be if you were only providing the reason for something without having to indicate the result as well.

Okay, so those three sentences above are grammatically incorrect, but sometimes used in conversation. How can we make those sentences grammatically correct?

By placing ~거든(요) after a clause, you can create a meaning that indicates a reason without having to indicate a result. The three examples from above could be written as:

학생들이 너무 시끄러웠거든요 = Because the students were so loud.
저는 공부하지 않았거든요 = Because I didn’t study.
저는 밥을 먹고 있거든요 = Because I am eating.

Notice that those technically are not full sentences in English even though we would say those sentences in some situations. The best example of when you would use sentences like that is when somebody is asking a question, and you only need to provide the reason. For example:

교수님의 말을 왜 못 들었어요? = Why couldn’t you hear the professor?
학생들이 너무 시끄러웠거든요 = Because the students were so loud.

시험을 왜 못 봤어요? = Why did you do poorly on the exam?
저는 공부하지 않았거든요 = Because I didn’t study.

왜 가고 싶지 않아요? = Why don’t you want to go?
저는 밥을 먹고 있거든요 = Because I am eating.

Be aware of the following conjugation rules with ~거든(요):

When attached to a verb or adjective in the present tense, simply remove ~다 and replace with ~거든(요). For example:

저는 밥을 먹고 있거든요 = Because I am eating.

When attached to a verb or adjective in the past tense, remove ~다 after adding ~았/었 and replace with ~거든(요). For example:

저는 공부하지 않았거든요 = Because I didn’t study.

When attached to a verb or adjective in the future tense, conjugate the word using the ~ㄹ/을 것이다 conjugation. Treat 이다 like any other verb/adjective attach 거든 directly to 이. For example:

아버지가 못 올 것이거든요 = Because dad can’t come.

Just like ~ㄹ 것이에요 can be condensed to ~ㄹ 거예요, you can condense ~ㄹ 것이거든 to ~ㄹ 거거든. For example:

아버지가 못 올 거거든요 = Because dad can’t come

More examples:

아~~ 저는 요즘에 너무 늦게 자요… 일이 많거든요 = ahhh… these days I am going to bed to late… Because I have so much work.
내일 못 가겠어~ 친구를 만나러 서울에 갈 거거든 = Tomorrow I won’t be able to go… because I’m meeting a friend in Seoul

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Other meanings of ~거든(요)

There are other meanings that ~거든 can be used for. In Lessons 76 and 77 you learned about the various meanings that ~는데 can have. One meaning of ~는데 is to provide information for the upcoming sentence. For example:

그 여자가 예쁜데 내 스타일이 아니야 = That girl is pretty, but she is not my style
그 사진에 있는 사람은 저의 아버지인데 7년 동안 한 번도 안 만났어요 = The person in that picture is my dad, but I haven’t seen him in 7 years

However, in these examples, I taught you that there is a subtle meaning of “even though” that is implied.

You can use ~거든(요) to provide information for upcoming sentences similar to ~는데. Notice however that ~는데 connects two clauses, whereas this usage of ~거든 would be used at the end of a sentence. Also, the subtle meaning implied with providing information for an upcoming sentence with ~거든(요) is a meaning of “because” and not “even though” as with ~는데. For example, although this sentence works with ~는데:

그 여자가 예쁜데 내 스타일이 아니야 = That girl is pretty, but she is not my style

It would not work with ~거든:
그 여자가 예쁘거든. 내 스타일이 아니야 = (slight meaning of “because”) that girl is pretty. she is not my style… No… that doesn’t make sense.

Some examples of where this usage would be appropriate:
오늘 친구를 만나러 서울 갈 거거든요. 혹시 같이 갈래요? = (slight meaning of “because”) I’m going to Seoul to meet a friend tonight… would you like to go together?
어제 일을 다 했거든요. 그래서 오늘 할 일이 없어요 = (slight meaning of “because”) I finished all of my work yesterday. Therefore, today, I have nothing to do.

 

It looks weird sometimes when you translate these sentences into English simply because there is no perfect definition for certain grammatical principles. The meaning of “providing information for the upcoming sentence while implying a slight meaning of ‘because’” is the best I can do in this case.

In addition to this meaning, ~거든 can be placed between two clauses to have the meaning of “if” or “when” similar to ~(으)면 or ~ㄴ/는다면 that you learned about in Lesson 43. The difference is that ~거든 is more usually used when the second clause ends with an imperative conjugation (when somebody tells somebody to do something) or some other form of suggestive ending.

However, this usage is not very common, but it does come up every once and a while. For example:

바지가 너무 크면 교환해! = If the pants are too big, change them!
바지가 너무 크거든 교환해! = If the pants are too big, change them!

숙제를 다 하거든 알려줘! = Let me know when you are done your homework!
숙제를 다하면 알려 줘! = Let me know when you are done your homework!

If you are studying for the intermediate TOPIK test, be prepared to answer a question like the following:

Choose the grammatical principle that can replace the underlined section in the following sentence:

길이 미끄러우면 버스를 타!

a)      미끄러운데
b)      미끄럽잖아
c)      미끄럽다가
d)      미끄럽거든

Now that you have read this lesson, you will be able to answer those questions with ease!

That’s it for this lesson!

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