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Lesson 69: Nothing but: 밖에 (~ㄹ/을 수밖에 없다)

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Vocabulary
Introduction

Nothing but/only: ~밖에
There is nothing I can do but…: ~ㄹ/을 수밖에 없다

 

Vocabulary

Nouns:
배추 = Korean cabbage (the vegetable used to make kimchi)

Notes: The counter for a “head” of Korean cabbage is 포기.

Common Usages:
배추김치 = kimchi made from Korean cabbage

Examples:
배추를 밖에 다 놓았어요 = I put all the (Korean) cabbage outside
이번 김장에 배추를 몇 포기 했어요? = How many heads of cabbage did you do for kim-jang this year?
아빠가 배추를 하나밖에 주문하지 않았어요 = Dad ordered nothing but one (head of) cabbage

배추김치를 만드는 김에 총각김치를 만들었어요
= While making kimchi (I took the opportunity and) I also made radish kimchi

김치에 들어가 있는 재료가 배추랑 고추장밖에 없어요
= The only ingredients in kimchi are cabbage and red-pepper paste

유행 = trend, fashion trend

Common Usages:
유행병 = epidemic
유행가 = popular song
유행어 = a word that is popular/trendy
최신 유행 = latest trend
유행을 따라가다 = to follow a trend

Examples:
유행을 따라가는 사람들이 청소년들밖에 없어요
= The only people who follow trends are young people

여행을 혼자 할 때 셀카를 찍는 것이 유행이에요
= It’s a trend to take selfies when you travel alone

요즘에는 예쁜 엉덩이 라인을 만들기 위해 스쿼트 운동이 유행하고 있어요
= These days, in order to make a good butt-line, doing squats is getting popular

분야 = field, area of interest, branch, realm

Common Usages:
전력분야 = the area/field in which one focuses

Examples:
그 분야를 연구하는 회사가 많진 않아요
= There aren’t a lot of companies that research that field/area

일이 너무 심심해서 다른 분야로 옮길 수밖에 없어요
= I have no choice but to move/switch fields because my work is so boring

아이들이 고등학교 때 자기 전공 분야를 선택해서 그것만 공부하는 것은 학생의 미래에 좋지 않아요
= Kids chose their field when they are in high school, and (but) studying only that isn’t good for their future

= Korean drum

Common Usages:
북을 치다 = to hit/bang drums
뒷북을 치다 = to be a step/beat behind

Examples:
저는 북을 칠 때 스트레스가 풀려요 = When I play the drums, it relieves stress
북은 한국에서 자주 사용되는 악기 중 하나예요 = The drum is one of the common instruments used in Korea

연극 = a play

Common Usages:
극장에서 연극을 보다 = to watch a play in a theatre

Examples:
저는 연극에서 마법사역할을 맡을 거예요
= I will play the role of the witch in the play

내일도 비가 올 거라서 연극을 또 취소할 수밖에 없어요
= It will rain again tomorrow, so we have no choice but to cancel the play

오늘 연극을 보게 되면 내일 재미있었는지 아닌지 알려주세요
= If you end up seeing the play today, let me know if it was funny or not tomorrow

답안지 = answer sheet

Examples:
학생이 답안지에 쓴 것은 이름밖에 없어요
= The only thing the student wrote on the answer sheet is his name

답안지에 답을 쓰면 그 문제에 해당되는 박스 밖에 아무 글도 쓰지 마세요
= When you write your answer on the answer sheet, don’t write any (writing) outside of the applicable box for that question

겨드랑이 = armpit

Common Usages:
It is a trend for young people to combine the first syllable of two words to make a new words. You can refer to your armpit hair by saying 겨드랑이 털, or simply “겨털.” Older people might not get what you mean at first, but they would probably figure it out.

Examples:
겨드랑이가 냄새가 나서 데오도런트를 발라야 돼요
= My armpits smell, so I need to put on (apply) deodorant

내일 해변에 갈 거라서 겨드랑이 털을 면도할 수밖에 없어요
= I am going to the beach tomorrow, so I have no choice but to shave my armpits

사유 = reason, cause

Common Usages:
이혼사유 = the reason for divorce

Examples:
흔히 이혼하는 커플들의 이혼사유는 성격차이예요
= A common reason why couples get divorced is because (they have) different personalities

그 커플이 매일 싸워서 사람들이 그 커플의 이혼사유를 알 수밖에 없어요
= That couple fights every day, so there is no way for people to not know the reason why they got a divorce

청중 = audience

Examples:
대통령이 연설을 해서 청중을 사로잡았다
= The president captivated the audience through/with a speech

제가 무대에 올라갔는데 청중을 보자마자 갑자기 긴장돼서 말을 못했어요
= I went up to the stage, but as soon as I saw the audience, all of a sudden I was nervous and couldn’t speak

충고 = advice

Examples:
코치가 우리 팀에게 충고를 하나밖에 안 했었어요
= The coach gave us nothing by one piece of advice

선생님의 역할은 교과서 내용만 가르치는 것 뿐만 아니라 실생활에서 쓸 수 있는 충고도 해주는 것이에요
= The role of a teacher is not just to teach contents in the textbook, but also to give students advice that they can use in real life

소모품 = supplies

Notes: This usually refers to things that get used up easily, like pens and paper in an office.

Examples:
소모품이 아직 사무실에 와서 않아서 올 때까지 기다릴 수밖에 없어요
= The supplies still haven’t arrived/come to the office yet, so we have no choice but to wait until they come

사무실 리모델링을 거의 다해서 이제 유일하게 해야 하는 것은 소모품을 사는 것이에요
= We have almost finished the remodeling on the office, but the only thing we have left to do is to buy supplies

해변 = beach

Notes: 해안 usually refers to the general area near the coast, whereas 해변 usually refers to the beach

Examples:
한 해변에 모래알 십조 개 정도가 있어요
= There are roughly 10,000,000,000,000 grains of sand on one beach

내일 해변에 갈 거라서 겨드랑이 털을 면도할 수밖에 없어요
= I am going to the beach tomorrow, so I have no choice but to shave my armpits

어제 해변에 가서 로션을 많이 발랐는데 피부가 탔어요
= I went to the beach yesterday, and even though I put on a lot of lotion, I got a sun burn

집이 바다에서 가깝지만 집 근처가 해변이 아니라 절벽이에요
= The house is close to the ocean, but near our house isn’t a beach, it is a cliff

연속 = in a row/consecutively

Common Usages:
연속으로 = continuously, in a row

Examples:
어제를 포함해서 저는 7일 연속으로 운동했어요
= Including yesterday I’ve exercised seven days in a row

시험을 네 번 연속으로 못 봐서 포기할 수밖에 없어요
= I have no choice but to give up because I didn’t write the exam well four times in a row

Verbs:
참관하다 = to visit, to observe

Common Usages:
참관수업 = an open class (where people come to observe it)

Examples:
그 선생님의 수업을 한번밖에 참관하지 않았어요 = I only attended that teacher’s class once
제가 내일 있을 참관수업을 준비해야 돼서 오늘 야근을 할 거예요 = I have to prepare for the open class that I will do tomorrow, so I will work late tonight

예방하다 = to prevent

Common Usages:
예방접종 = vaccination
범죄를 예방하다 = to prevent crime
산불을 예방하다 = to prevent forest fires

Examples:
날씨에 의한 피해는 예방할 수 없는 문제예요
= Damage due to weather is a problem that we can’t prevent

운동을 할 때 무릎을 살짝 굽히고 운동을 하면 부상을 예방할 수 있어요
= When you exercise, if you bend your knees a little bit, you can prevent injury

그 문제를 예방할 수 없어서 또 문제가 생기면 그때 해결할 수밖에 없을 거예요
= We can’t prevent that problem, so if it comes up again, we have no choice but to deal with it/fix it then

연출하다 = to direct

Examples:
그 사람이 지금까지 영화를 하나밖에 연출을 안 했어요
= That person has only directed one movie until now

그 아저씨가 어렸을 때는 공연만 연출했지만 지금은 영화도 연출을 해요
= That man only directed plays/performances when he was younger, but now he also directs movies

소모하다 = to consume, to use up

Common Usages:
소모품 = consumable supplies

Examples:
요즘에 사람들이 화석 연료를 많이 소모해서 화석연료가 곧 없어질 거예요
= These days, people use/consume a lot of fossil fuels that they will soon be gone

오랫동안 운동해서 에너지를 다 소모해서 밥을 많이 먹을 수밖에 없어요
= I exercised for a long time and used up all of my energy, so I have no choice but to eat a lot of food

밟다 = to step on

Common Usages:
발을 밟다 = to step on one’s foot

Examples:
앞에 있는 사람이 자꾸 제 발을 밟아서 화가 났어요
= The person infront of me keeps stepping on my feet, so I got mad

사람들이 자꾸 잔디밭을 밟아서 안내문을 붙여놓아야 되겠다
= People keep stepping on the grass, so I better put up a sign

Passive Verbs:
해당되다 = to be applicable, to correspond to

Examples:
한국소득세가 미국 사람들에게 해당되지 않아요 = Korean tax doesn’t apply to Americans

답안지에 답을 쓰면 그 문제에 해당되는 박스 밖에 아무 글도 쓰지 마세요 = When you write your answer on the answer sheet, don’t write any (writing) outside of the applicable box for that question

Adverbs and Other Words:
= an adverb that describes that something is completely cleaned or emptied

Examples:
우리는 내일 집을 싹 청소 할 거예요
= Tomorrow we will “completely” clean the house

교실이 아주 지저분해서 어제 싹 치웠어요
= The classroom was messy, so I “completely” cleared everything away (cleaned it up)

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

 

Introduction

In the previous lesson, you learned how to use the word “유일하다,” which has the meaning of “only” or “unique/sole.” In this lesson, you will learn another grammatical principle that can be translated to “only.” In this lesson, you will learn how to use the particle ~밖에. Let’s get started.

 

 

Nothing but/only: ~밖에

In Lesson 26, you learned the word “밖,” which has the meaning “outside.” It is often used as a place in a sentence to refer to the outdoors. For example:

나는 9시에 밖에 나갈 거야 = I’m going outside at 9 o’clock
혹시 밖에 비가 와요? = Is it raining outside?
북을 밖에서 치면 안 돼요? = Can you (please) play the drum outside?
배추를 밖에 다 놓았어요 = I put all the (Korean) cabbage outside

It can also be used to describe that something is “outside” of a specific area – much like how “안” can refer to the inside of an area. For example:

우리는 집 안에 있어요 = We are inside the house
우리는 집 밖에 있어요 = We are outside the house
답안지에 답을 쓰면 그 문제에 해당되는 박스 밖에 아무 글도 쓰지 마세요 = When you write your answer on the answer sheet, don’t write any (writing) outside of the applicable box for that question

It is also possible to attach ~밖에 to nouns as a particle. This new construction may translate to something different, but the meaning when used as a particle like this is actually quite similar to the meaning when used as a noun.

By attaching the particle ~밖에 to a noun, the speaker indicates that only that noun – and nothing but that noun – is acted on. The common translation for “~밖에” is “nothing but.” For example:

친구밖에… = nothing but friend(s)
밥밖에… = nothing but rice
청소년들밖에… = nothing but young people (youth)
만 원밖에… = nothing but 10,000 won

This meaning is similar to the particle ~만, which simply means “only.” For example:

친구만 = only friend(s)
밥만 = only rice
청소년들밖에… = only young people (youth)
만 원만 = only 10,000 won

However, when ~밖에is used, the speaker is emphasizing that “nothing but” a particular noun is acted on.

When ~밖에 is attached to a noun to have this meaning, the final verb should be a negative word. It is common for these types of sentences to end in 없다 to indicate that one has “nothing but” something. For example:

저는 친구밖에 없어요
= I have nothing but friends

우리가 먹을 것은 밥밖에 없어요
= We have nothing but rice to eat

유행을 따라가는 사람들이 청소년들밖에 없어요
= The only people who follow trends are young people

그거를 사고 싶지만 만 원밖에 없어서 못 사요
= I want to buy that, but I only have 10,000 won, so I can’t buy it

You can see the similarity with the meaning of “outside” if you translate those sentences slightly differently. For example:

저는 친구밖에 없어요
= Outside of friends, I have nothing

우리가 먹을 것은 밥밖에 없어요
= Outside of rice, we have nothing to eat

유행을 따라가는 사람들이 청소년들밖에 없어요
= Outside of young people, nobody follows trends

그거를 사고 싶지만 만원밖에 없어서 못 사요
= I want to buy that, but outside of 10,000 won I have nothing, so I can’t buy it

~밖에 is also commonly attached to counters or to the word “하나.” For example:

저는 친구가 세 명밖에 없어요 = I have nothing but three friends
저는 신용카드가 하나밖에 없어요 = I have nothing but one credit card
저는 핸드폰이 한 개밖에 없어요 = I only have nothing but one cell-phone

The examples above all show sentences ending in 없다, but it is possible to end a sentence with other verbs. Even though the (noun)밖에 construction translates to “nothing but (noun),” the sentence should end with a negative conjugation. This often makes it look like there is a double negative in the sentence for English speakers. For example:

코치가 우리 팀에게 충고를 하나밖에 안 했었어요
= The coach gave us nothing by one piece of advice

Notice how this would be awkward in English if it translated to “The coach didn’t give us nothing but one piece of advice.”

Below are many more examples:

남자 친구가 너한테 돈밖에 안 줬다고?
= (You say that…) Your boyfriend gave you nothing but money?

Also, notice that this sentence is an indirect quote. You learned in Lesson 52 that it is possible to omit the word 하다 or 말하다 after these types of sentences. It is common to finish a sentence like this when somebody says something, and you can’t believe (or hear) what they say. Before the sentence above was uttered, another person would probably have said “나의 남자친구가 나한테 돈밖에 안 줬어”

아빠가 배추를 하나밖에 주문하지 않았어요 = Dad ordered nothing but one (head of) cabbage

Also, you might be thinking that this is probably a sentence that would never be uttered. However, Korean people make kimchi every year (out of 배추) and store it in their houses all winter. This means that they have to make a ton of kimchi and order a ton of 배추. Ordering 100 heads of it isn’t uncommon.

In all of the examples so far, I tried to translate ~밖에 to “nothing but.” I usually find those sentences unnatural in English. I find it much natural to simply use “only.” As always, pay more attention to the Korean sentence than the English translation.

제가 아는 공연 종류는 연극밖에 없어요
= The only type of performance I know about is plays
((Of) the types of performances I know about, I know about nothing but plays)

선생님! 저에게 답안지밖에 안 주셨어요
= Teacher! You only gave me an answer sheet
(Teacher, you gave me nothing but an answer sheet)

그 선생님의 수업을 한번밖에 참관하지 않았어요
= I only attended that teacher’s class once
(Outside of one time, I didn’t attend that teacher’s class)

저는 평생 동안 오렌지를 세 번밖에 안 먹어 봤어요
= I have only eaten oranges three times in my life
(I have eaten oranges nothing but three times in my life)

그 사람이 지금까지 영화를 하나밖에 연출을 안 했어요
= That person has only directed one movie until now
(Outside of one movie, that person hasn’t directed a movie until now)

~밖에 is also commonly used to emphasize that an action will take a short amount of time. For example:

30 분밖에 안 걸려요! = It only takes 30 minutes (It takes nothing but 30 minutes)
한 시간밖에 안 걸려요 = It only takes 1 hour (It takes nothing but 1 hour)

In order to create more complicated sentences that describe “It only takes 30 minutes to get from Seoul to Incheon,” you need to learn how to use ~는 데, which will be introduced in Lesson 76 and Lesson 77.

Before you move on, let’s look at another practical usage of ~밖에.

.

 

There is nothing I can do but…: ~/수밖에 없다

In Lesson 45 you learned about the endings ~ㄹ/을 수 있다 and ~ㄹ/을 수 없다. In that lesson, I explained that “수” is a noun. This means that particles, including ~밖에, can be attached to 수. By attaching ~밖에 to 수 in “~할 수 없다” you describe that the best/only option is to do the specified action. For example:

우리가 밥을 먹을 수밖에 없어요 = We have nothing to do but eat

This commonly translates to “to have no choice but to…” For example

우리가 밥을 먹을 수밖에 없어요 = We have no choice but to eat

Below are many more examples:

우리가 연극을 다른 데에서 할 수밖에 없어요
= We have no choice but to do the play in a different place

죄송하지만 저는 당신을 해고할 수밖에 없어요
= I’m sorry, but I can’t do anything but fire you

쓰레기가 많아서 방을 싹 청소할 수밖에 없어요
= I have no choice but to completely clean the room because it is so dirty

일이 너무 심심해서 다른 분야로 옮길 수밖에 없어요
= I have no choice but to move/switch fields because my work is so boring

시험을 네 번 연속으로 못 봐서 포기할 수밖에 없어요
= I have no choice but to give up because I didn’t write the exam well four times in a row

내일도 비가 올 거라서 연극을 또 취소할 수밖에 없어요
= It will rain again tomorrow, so we have no choice but to cancel the play

친구가 늦게 올 거라고 해서 우리는 기다릴 수밖에 없어요
= Our friend said he will come late, so we have nothing to do but wait for him

내일 해변에 갈 거라서 겨드랑이 털을 면도할 수밖에 없어요
= I am going to the beach tomorrow, so I have no choice but to shave my armpits

오늘도 수업을 못 해서 내일부터 3일 연속으로 할 수밖에 없어요
= We couldn’t do class again today, so we have no choice but to do class for three days in a row starting from tomorrow

오랫동안 운동해서 에너지를 다 소모해서 밥을 많이 먹을 수밖에 없어요
= I exercised for a long time and used up all of my energy, so I have no choice but to eat a lot of food

그 커플이 매일 싸워서 사람들이 그 커플의 이혼사유를 알 수밖에 없어요
= That couple fights every day, so there is no way for people to not know the reason why they got a divorce

소모품이 사무실에 아직 오지 않아서 올 때까지 기다릴 수밖에 없어요
= The supplies still haven’t arrived/come to the office yet, so we have no choice but to wait until they come

그 문제를 예방할 수 없어서 또 문제가 생기면 그때 해결할 수밖에 없을 거예요
= We can’t prevent that problem, so if it comes up again, we have no choice but to deal with it/fix it then

That’s it for this lesson!

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