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Lesson 75: I don’t care: 신경 안 쓰다

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Vocabulary
Introduction

The meaning of 신경
I (don’t) care: 신경 (안) 쓰다
I care: 신경을 쓰다

 

Vocabulary

Nouns:
신경 = nerve, care, concern

Common Usages:
신경계 = nervous system
말초신경 = peripheral nerves
중추신경 = central nerves
신경을 쓰다 = to care
신경을 쓰이다 = when you don’t want to be bothered, but need to care

Examples:
남의 일에 신경을 안 쓰는 게 좋아요 = It is good to not care about other people’s business
그 씨앗을 어디에 심는지 신경을 안 써요 = I don’t care where you plant those seeds
그는 자기 아버지에 대해 신경(을) 안 써 = He doesn’t care about his father
길거리에서 울고 있는 여자 아이가 있어서 계속 신경 쓰였다 = I didn’t want to be bothered, but there was a little girl on the street constantly crying

문서 = document

Common Usages:
공공 문서 = public document

Examples:
그 문서를 언제 낼지 신경을 안 써요 = I don’t care when you submit that document
이 문서는 한국문화유산으로 지정되었다 = This document is registered as Korean cultural heritage

씨앗 = seed

Common Usages:
씨앗이 싹트다 = for seeds to come out of the fruit

Examples:
저는 씨앗이 없는 포도만 좋아요 = I only like seedless grapes
그 씨앗을 어디에 심어도 신경을 안 써요 = I don’t care if you plant those seeds somewhere
딸기는 유일하게 씨앗이 바깥에 있는 과일이다 = Strawberries are the only fruit with the seeds on the outside

입시 = entrance exam

Notes: In Korea, it is very important to do well on the biggest college/university entrance exam, called 수능. Students spend most of high school preparing for this one test, and getting into university is almost entirely based on this score.

Common Usages:
대학 입시 = college/university entrance exam
입시 시험 = entrance exam

Examples:
입시 시험 점수에 대해 신경을 안 써요 = I don’t care about my score on the entrance exam

입시시험을 보는 데가 어디에 있는지 기억 안 나요
= I don’t remember [the place] where the entrance exam location is

수능은 모든 학생들이 봐야 하는 중요한 입시 시험이다
= 수능 is an important (university) entrance exam that all students must take

지옥 = hell

Common Usages:
지옥철 = Line 2 on the Seoul metro system is the line that goes around Seoul and is often the busiest. It is often called “지옥철” because it is so busy people refer to it as “hell.”

Examples:
한국 사람들은 2호선을 보통 지옥철이라고 불러요
= Korean people usually call line two the “hell line/train.”

나쁜 일을 하면 지옥에 간다고 믿는 사람들이 있어요
= There are people that believe that if you do something bad, you will go to hell

= bee

Common Usages:
꿀벌 = honey bee
벌에 쏘이다 = to be stung by a bee

Examples:
벌은 위협을 느끼지 않으며 사람을 쏘지 않아요 = Bees don’t sting people unless they feel/sense danger

어제 길을 가다 벌에 쏘여서 병원에 갔어요
= Yesterday while walking on the street I got stung by a bee so I went to the hospital

대부분 사람들은 벌이 계속 없어져도 신경을 안 써요
= Most people don’t care about/if bees continue to disappear

과외 = private tutoring

Common Usages:
과외선생님 = tutor
과외를 받다 = to receive tutoring
과외를 하다 = to receive tutoring

Examples:
몇몇 사람들은 직업으로 과외를 해요 = Some people tutor as their job (as their profession)
저는 초등학교 때부터 지금까지 같은 선생님께 과외를 받고 있어요 = I’ve been receiving the same tutoring from elementary school until now

법원 = court of law

Common Usages:
대법원 = supreme court
고등법원 = high court
법원판결 = the ruling of a court

Examples:
내일 법원에 가야 되는 것에 대해 신경을 안 써요 = I don’t care if I have to go to the court tomorrow
법원에 서류를 접수하고 오는 길이에요 = I am on the way back from submitting my documents to the court

물집 = blister

Common Usages:
물집이 터지다 = for a blister to pop
물집이 잡히다/생기다 = to have a blister

Examples:
오래 걷다 보니 발바닥에 물집이 생겼어요 = After having walked for a long time, I got a blister
새 신발을 신어서 뒤꿈치에 물집이 잡혔어요 = I wore new shoes, so I have a blister on my heel

엄지 = thumb

Common Usages:
엄지손가락 = thumb
엄지발가락 = big toe

Examples:
저의 엄지손가락은 매우 굵어요
= My thumb is very thick

1년 동안 매일 게임을 해서 엄지손가락에 굳은 살이 생겼어요
= After playing games every day for a year, a callus formed on my thumb

본능 = instinct

Common Usages:
본능적으로 = instinctively

Examples:
남자들은 본능적으로 자기 패션에 대해 신경을 안 써요 = Men instinctively don’t care about their fashion
자식을 낳고 싶어 하는 것은 인간의 본능이다 = Wanting to have children/offspring is an instinct of human beings

단점 = flaw, weak point

Common Usages:
단점을 보안하다 = to cover one’s weak point

Examples:
누구나 단점이 있어요 = Everybody has a weak point

제 몸매의 단점을 보안하기 위해 저는 청바지만 입어요
= In order to cover up my body’s flaws, I wear jeans everyday

면접을 볼 때마다 저의 장점과 단점에 대한 질문을 받아요
= Whenever I do an interview, I always get a question about my strong points and weak points

장점 = pro, strong point

Examples:
이 핸드폰의 장점은 충전을 이틀에 한번만 해도 된다는 거에요
= The strong point of this cellphone is that you only need to charge it once every two days

면접을 볼 때마다 저의 장점과 단점에 대한 질문을 받아요
= Whenever I do an interview, I always get a question about my strong points and weak points

우측 = right

Common Usages:
우측 방향 = the right direction
우측 통행 = walking/driving/moving on the right (often seen in subway stations to remind people to stay to the right when walking)

Examples:
한국에서는 모든 길에서 우측 통행을 해요
= In Korea, roads are all (driven) on the right

사거리에서 우측 방향으로 가면 그 건물이 보일 거예요
= If you go right at the intersection, you will see that building

좌측 = left

Common Usages:
좌측 방향 = the left direction
좌측 통행 = walking/driving/moving on the left

Examples:
좌측으로 꺾어서 직진하세요 = Turn left and then go straight

20년전까지만 해도 한국은 좌측 통행을 했어요
= Until 20 years ago, people walked on the left in Korea

한국에서는 좌측 통행이 아니라 우측 통행을 해요
= In Korea, people don’t walk (/drive) on the left, they do so on the right

저번 = the last (like 지난)

Common Usages:
저번 주 = last week
저번 시간 = last time

Examples:
네가 저번 주에 뭐 했는지 신경을 안 써 = I don’t care what you did last week
저번 훈련을 통해 그 선수의 실력이 한층 더 좋아질 줄 알았어요 = I thought that athlete’s ability would be much better because of the training last time

맞은편 = opposite side

Examples:
세면대 맞은편에 수건이 있으니 필요하면 갖다 쓰세요
= There are towels across from the sink, so if you need one, get one (and use it)

우리 가게 맞은편에 다른 가게가 생겨도 신경(을) 안 써요
= I don’t care if another store opens (pops up) across the street from our store

건너편 = opposite side

Examples:
우리는 공원 건너편에 있어요 = We are across the street from the park
소방서는 우체국 건너편에 있어요 = The fire station is across the street from the post office
길 건너편에 있는 옷 가게가 오늘부터 창고세일을 시작했어요 = The clothing store across the street started a warehouse sale from today

본능적 = instinctively

Common Usages:
본능적으로 = instinctively

Examples:
남자들은 본능적으로 자기 패션에 대해 신경을 안 써요
= Men instinctively don’t care about their fashion

사람은 위기에 처하면 본능적으로 자신을 보호하려고 해요
= When people are in danger, they instinctively try to protect themselves

Verbs:
삼키다 = to swallow

Common Usages:
침을 삼키다 = to swallow one’s saliva
눈물을 삼키다 = to hold one’s tears

Examples:
눈물을 삼키며 사랑하는 사람과 이별했어요
= I held my tears and left the person that I love

비행기가 이륙할 때 침을 삼키는 것은 귀에 도움이 돼요
= When a plane descends, swallowing is helpful to one’s ears

접다 = to fold, to collapse

Common Usages:
우산을 접다 = to fold up an umbrella
사업을 접다 = to close a business
마음을 접다 = to move on from something/somebody

Examples:
관광객처럼 보이기 싫어서 저는 지도를 가방에 접어 넣었어요
= I didn’t want to look like a tourist, so I folded up the map and put it into my bag

저희 부모님은 오랫동안 해온 사업을 접고 캐나다로 이민을 갔어요
= My parents closed their business they had been running for a long time and immigrated to Canada

헤어진 남자친구에 대한 마음을 접고 새로운 사람을 만났어요
= I moved on/got over the breakup with my boyfriend and met a new person

이발하다 = to get a haircut

Notes: 이발하다 is typically only used when a man gets his haircut. For a woman, you can simply use 머리를 자르다.

Common Usages:
이발소 = barbershop

Examples:
우리 아빠는 매번 같은 곳에서 이발을 해요
= My/our dad gets his haircut at the same place every time

한국에서는 이발을 하면 보통 만원 정도 내요
= If you get a haircut in Korea it usually costs about 10,000 won

제가 이발을 할 때 아주머니가 저의 머리를 어떻게 자르는지 상관없다
= When I get my haircut, it doesn’t matter how the woman cuts my hair

포장하다 = to pack up

Common Usages:
포장지 = packing paper
포장비 = the cost of packing something
과대포장 = excessive packaging

Examples:
남은 음식을 포장하고 싶어요
= I want to pack up the food that is left over

음식을 박스에 다 포장하는 데 테이프가 많이 필요했어요
= I needed a lot of tape in order to pack all the food into the box

그 제품이 깨지기 쉬워서 포장을 할 때 조심하세요
= That product breaks easily, so when you pack it, be careful

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

 

Introduction

In this lesson, you will learn how to use “신경 (안) 쓰다” to say “I care” or “I don’t care.” In order to create this meaning, the process is similar to what you learned in the previous lesson, where you learned how to say “It is irrelevant…” Let’s get started.

 

 

The meaning of 신경

The first thing you need to know is the meaning of “신경.” 신경 can be used to refer to nerves, or something related to the nervous system. When used to have this meaning, it is usually used in medical or scientific conversations. Therefore, as a learner of Korean you don’t really need to worry too much about this usage yet. Nonetheless, it is good to get familiar with it a little bit. Here are some words that contain “신경” within them and refer to the medical/scientific usage of “nerves:”

신경계 = nervous system
반사신경 = reflex, reflexes
감각신경 = sensory nerves (감각 means “sense”)
척수신경 = spinal nerves (척수 means “spinal cord”)

Etc…

신경 can also be used to refer to one’s thoughts or feelings towards a subject. In English, it is similar to the meaning of “caring” about something, as in the examples below:

I don’t care if you go
I don’t care about money
I don’t care how much you eat

The word “care” would translate to “신경” in these cases. In this lesson, I want to talk about how we can use the word “신경” to create sentences like three you see above.

 

To (not) care: 신경 () 쓰다

You learned already that “신경” is used to mean “care” in sentences. However, while “to care” is a verb in English and can predicate sentences, 신경 is a noun in Korean. The verb that commonly acts on 신경 to indicate that “one cares” about something is 쓰다. For example:

신경을 쓰다 = to care
신경을 안 쓰다 = to not care

The negative “신경을 안 쓰다” is much more common than its positive counterpart, so I will introduce this first.

When you are just talking about not caring about a noun, you can attach “에 대해” to the noun that you do not care about. For example:

저는 돈에 대해 신경을 안 써요 = I don’t care about money
저는 그에 대해 별로 신경을 안 써요 = I don’t really care about him
그는 자기 아버지에 대해 신경을 안 써 = He doesn’t care about his father
입시 시험 점수에 대해 신경을 안 써요 = I don’t care about my score on the entrance exam
저는 천국과 지옥에 대해 신경을 안 써요 = I don’t care about heaven or hell

그 후보자의 장점과 단점에 대해 신경을 안 써요
= I don’t care about that candidate’s strong points or weak points

남자들은 본능적으로 자기 패션에 대해 신경을 안 써요
= Men instinctively don’t care about their fashion

In sentences like these, it is also possible to simply attach ~to the noun instead of ~에 대해. I’ve asked many Korean people, and they say that both are understandable. However, more people said that using ~에 대해 is more natural.

Particles are often omitted from sentences in speech. ~ is very commonly omitted from 신경.

You can use ~는 것 to change a clause into a noun, and then state that one does not care about that clause (for example: I don’t care if you listen to me). For example:

나는 네가 공부를 안 하는 것에 대해 신경을 안 써
= I don’t care if you don’t study

내일 법원에 가야 되는 것에 대해 신경을 안 써요
= I don’t care if I have to go to the court tomorrow

나는 나의 여자 친구가 많이 먹는 것에 대해 신경을 안 써
= I don’t care if my girlfriend eats a lot

저의 엄지손가락에 물집이 있는 것에 대해 신경을 안 써요
= I don’t care if I have a blister on my thumb

대부분 사람들은 벌이 계속 없어지는 것에 대해 신경을 안 써요
= Most people don’t care about/if bees continue to disappear

우리 가게 맞은편에 다른 가게가 생기는 것에 대해 신경을 안 써요
= I don’t care if another store opens (pops up) across the street from our store

Instead of ~에 대해, I have also heard Korean people place ~을/를 after the thing that they don’t care about. For example:

나는 네가 공부를 안 하는 것을 신경을 안 써

Korean people say this sounds okay, but I don’t like how the word “쓰다” acts on two objects. I recommend that you use ~에 대해 or ~ as is shown in this lesson.

If the clause that you do not care about contains a question word, you can attach ~는지 (which was introduced in Lesson 30) to the clause. For example:

그 문서를 언제 낼지 신경을 안 써요 = I don’t care when you submit that document
나는 네가 어디 가는지 신경을 안 써 = I don’t care where you go
나는 이게 얼마나 비싼지 신경을 안 써 = I don’t care how expensive it is
네가 저번 주에 뭐 했는지 신경을 안 써 = I don’t care what you did last week
그 씨앗을 어디에 심는지 신경을 안 써요 = I don’t care where you plant those seeds
그 선물을 어떻게 포장하는지 신경을 안 써요 = I don’t care how you package/wrap that present
제가 이발을 할 때 아주머니가 저의 머리를 어떻게 자르는지 신경을 안 써요 = When I get my hair cut, I don’t care how the woman cuts my hair

Notice that these examples are very similar in meaning (and construction) to using 상관없다, which you learned in the previous lesson.

그 문서를 언제 낼지 상관없다 = It doesn’t matter when you submit that document
나는 네가 어디 가는지 상관없다 = It doesn’t matter where you go
나는 이게 얼마나 비싼지 상관없다 = It doesn’t matter how expensive it is
네가 저번 주에 뭐 했는지 상관없다 = It doesn’t matter what you did last week
그 씨앗을 어디에 심는지 상관없다 = It doesn’t matter where you plant those seeds
그 선물을 어떻게 포장하는지 상관없다 = It doesn’t matter how you wrap that present
제가 이발을 할 때 아주머니가 저의 머리를 어떻게 자르는지 상관없다 = When I get my haircut, it doesn’t matter how the woman cuts my hair

Just like in sentences with “상관없다,” you can also use the grammatical principle ~아/어도 on the clause that you do not care about. For example:

그 문서를 언제 내도 신경을 안 써요
나는 네가 어디 가도 신경을 안 써
나는 이게 얼마나 비싸도* 신경을 안 써
네가 저번 주에 뭐 했어도 신경을 안 써
그 씨앗을 어디에 심어도 신경을 안 써요
그 선물을 어떻게 포장해도 신경을 안 써요
제가 이발을 할 때 아주머니가 저의 머리를 어떻게 잘라도 신경을 안 써요

*This sounds slightly more natural as “나는 이게 많이 비싸도 신경을 안 써.” This will be explained in a moment.

The meaning that is created when ~아/어도 is used instead of ~는지 is subtly different. Allow me to explain by comparing these two sentences:

나는 네가 어디 가는지 신경을 안 써
나는 네가 어디 가도 신경을 안 써

In Lesson 25, I discussed the idea of using a question word to refer to ambiguous things. For example, the following sentence – depending on the intonation – could mean two different things:

뭐 먹었어요? = What did you eat?
뭐 먹었어요? = Did you eat something?

In the first example, it is known that the person ate, and the question is about what was eaten. However, in the second example, the question is about whether or not the person ate.

When ~아/어도 is used in sentences with 신경을 쓰다 as shown above, the speaker is indicating that he/she doesn’t care if the action was done or not. For example:

나는 네가 어디 가는지 신경을 안 써
In this sentence, I am indicating that I don’t care where you go. I know you will go somewhere, but I don’t care where that is. This could be translated to “I don’t care where you go.”

나는 네가 어디 가도 신경을 안 써
In this sentence, I am indicating that I don’t care if you go somewhere. Here, “어디” acts as an “ambiguous place” (as I like to call it). At the point when I say this sentence, I’m not even sure if you will go or not. This could be translated to “I don’t care if you go somewhere.”

Look at the other translations to try to make this distinction more clear in your brain:

그 문서를 언제 낼지 신경을 안 써요 = I don’t care when you submit that document
그 문서를 언제 내도 신경을 안 써요 = I don’t care if you submit that document any time

나는 이게 얼마나 비싼지 신경을 안 써 = I don’t care how expensive it is
나는 이게 얼마나 비싸도 신경을 안 써 = I don’t care if it is very expensive
In this case, the word “많이” could be used to state this meaning more clearly:
나는 이게 많이 비싸도 신경을 안 써 = I don’t care if it is very expensive

네가 저번 주에 뭐 했는지 신경을 안 써 = I don’t care what you did last week
네가 저번 주에 뭐 했어도 신경을 안 써 = I don’t care if you did anything last week

그 씨앗을 어디에 심는지 신경을 안 써요 = I don’t care where you plant those seeds
그 씨앗을 어디에 심어도 신경을 안 써요 = I don’t care if you plant those seeds somewhere

그 선물을 어떻게 포장하는지 신경을 안 써요
그 선물을 어떻게 포장해도 신경을 안 써요
= I don’t care how you package/wrap that present

제가 이발을 할 때 아주머니가 저의 머리를 어떻게 자르는지 신경을 안 써요
제가 이발을 할 때 아주머니가 저의 머리를 어떻게 잘라도 신경을 안 써요
= When I get my hair cut, I don’t care how the woman cuts my hair

(I find it very difficult to distinguish the final two examples because 어떻게 doesn’t really refer to something ambiguous)

~아/어도 …신경(을) 안 써 can also be used in sentences without question words. For example:

나는 네가 공부를 안 해도 신경을 안 써
= I don’t care if you don’t study

내일 법원에 가야 되어도 신경을 안 써요
= I don’t care if I have to go to the court tomorrow

나는 나의 여자 친구가 많이 먹어도 신경을 안 써
= I don’t care if my girlfriend eats a lot

저의 엄지손가락에 물집이 있어도 신경을 안 써요
= I don’t care if I have a blister on my hand

대부분 사람들은 벌이 계속 없어져도 신경을 안 써요
= Most people don’t care about/if bees continue to disappear

우리 가게 맞은편에 다른 가게가 생겨도 신경(을) 안 써요
= I don’t care if another store opens (pops up) across the street from our store

In Lesson 58, you learned about ~거나 and how it typically translates to “or.” I made a distinction between using ~거나 once in a sentence, and using it twice (I encourage you to go back and read this observation I made). It is common to add ~거나 to two options within a sentence and then followed by “신경 안 쓰다.” The whole sentence can mean that one does not care if “one or the other” occurs. For example:

돈을 벌거나 잃거나 나는 신경을 안 써
= I don’t care if I earn money or lose it

우리가 먹거나 안 먹거나 나는 신경을 안 써
= I don’t care if we eat or don’t eat

네가 우측으로 가거나 좌측으로 가거나 나는 신경을 안 써
= I don’t care if you go right or left

과외를 하거나 스스로 공부하거나 저는 신경을 안 써요
= I don’t care if I get tutored or study by myself

내일 주식이 떨어지거나 오르거나 신경을 안 써요
= I don’t care if the stocks go down or up tomorrow

Let me talk about how to say “one cares” (instead of “one does not care”) in the next section.

 

To care:  신경을 쓰다

It is very common in Korean to use “신경 안 쓰다” to indicate that one “does not care” about something. However, it is not as common to indicate that one “cares” about something by creating a positive version of this sentence.

For example, this is a sentence that we learned earlier using “신경을 안 쓰다:”

그는 자기 아버지에 대해 신경(을) 안 써 = He doesn’t care about his father

However, eliminating the “안” to create the positive version of this sentence is slightly unnatural. For example:

그는 자기 아버지에 대해 신경 써

Korean people don’t usually express this type of sentence using “신경 쓰다.” Instead, it would be more natural to create this meaning using another type of sentence. For example, I could simply say:

그는 자기 아버지를 좋아해 = He likes his father

Likewise, while this sentence is natural:

나는 나의 여자 친구가 많이 먹는 것에 대해 신경 안 써 = I don’t care if my girlfriend eats a lot

Eliminating the “안” to create the positive version of this sentence is slightly unnatural. For example:

나는 나의 여자 친구가 많이 먹는 것을 신경 써

It would be unnatural to express this type of sentence using “신경 쓰다.” Instead, it would be more natural to simply say something like:

나는 나의 여자 친구가 많이 먹는 것이 싫어
= I don’t like my girlfriend eating a lot
= I don’t want my girlfriend to eat a lot

Although it is uncommon to indicate that one “cares” about something by using “신경을 쓰다,” I have noticed that Korean people often use this when giving a command. For example, if you want to tell somebody to “care” about something or a situation:

남동생에게 신경을 좀 쓰세요! = Show some care towards your younger brother!

That’s it for this lesson!

That’s it for Unit 3!
Still confused about what you learned? Why not review everything that we covered in Unit 3?

If you are confident in what you learned from Lessons 67 – 75, try taking our Mini-Test where you can test your knowledge on everything you learned in those lessons. If you have done that, you can also try taking our Unit 3 Test to test yourself on everything you learned in Unit 3.

Or, if you are ready to move on, you can start checking out Lessons in Unit 4. Specifically, you can move on to the Lessons 76 – 83, or go directly to Lesson 76. Or,

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