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Lesson 104: Adding ~는/은 to More Complicated Things

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Vocabulary
Introduction

Using ~는/은 to state that a comparison has taken place
Adding ~는 to ~지 않다 (~지는 않다/~진 않다)
Downplaying a Fact: ~긴 하다
Comparing by Using ~는/은 Twice in the Same Sentence
What about X?

 

 

 

Vocabulary

Nouns:
부위 = part
배려 = good deed
정신 = mind, soul, consciousness
정신과 = psychiatry
거지 = homeless person
전문 = specialty
전문가 = specialist
전문점 = speciality store
일거리 = job, work to do
노약자 = the old and weak
매표소 = ticket office
놀이동산 = amusement park

Verbs:
새다 = to stay up at night
반품하다 = to return something
매표하다 = to sell tickets
매진하다 = to sell out
제출하다 = to submit (applications/resume)
목격하다 = to witness
순환하다 = to circulate
성장하다 = to grow, to develop

Adjectives:
우울하다 = to be depressed

Adverbs and Other Words:
자세히 = detailed/elaborate/carefully
정신없이 = frantically

 

 

Introduction

In this lesson, you will learn about the particle ~는/은. Wait a second, didn’t I learn about ~는/은 in Lesson 1? Isn’t that the particle that I have been using in every one of my Korean sentences since I started learning Korean? Isn’t this Lesson 104? Why am I learning about ~는/은 in Lesson 104?

Haha. As you learned in earlier lessons, ~는/은 is quite complicated. In this lesson, you will revisit ~는/은 and learn how to apply it to more complicated sentences.

 

Using ~는/은 to state that a comparison has taken place

Attaching ~는/은 to a noun to indicate that that word is the subject/topic of the sentence was something you learned about in Lesson 1. In later lessons, you learned that ~는/은 has more than one purpose. Specifically, in Lesson 2, 17  22 and 24; you learned that ~는/은 can be used to:

  • Indicate a subject of a sentence
  • Indicate a general fact
  • Indicate a comparison

This comparison function of ~는/은 is often added to other particles or other grammatical principles to add this subtle meaning. Let’s look at some examples in order to explain this.

Adding ~는/은 to ~에 and ~에서
~는/은 can be added to the particles ~에 and ~에서 in order to indicate a comparison to some other situation. Look at the following example:

한국에서는 사람들이 김치를 많이 먹어요 = In Korea, people eat a lot of Kimchi

In this sentence, one is saying that, in Korea people eat a lot of Kimchi. Embedded within the meaning of ~는/은 in this case is the comparison to some other situation. In the previous sentence, for example, somebody might have said that in some other country, people don’t eat a lot of Kimchi. This would have prompted the speaker to say the sentence above: to state that, (while people in other countries don’t eat a lot of Kimchi) people in Korea do eat a lot of Kimchi.

The role of ~는/은 in this sentence is in the parentheses in the previous sentence. That is – it compares something in one sentence to something else. “Something else” can be mentioned prior in the conversation, or it can be implied.

Let’s look at another example:

이 가방에는 귀중품이 없어요 = There are no no valuables in this bag

In this sentence, one is saying that, in this bag there are no valuables. Embedded within the meaning of ~는/은 in this case is the comparison to some other situation. It’s possible that a person in the airport asked if there were valuables in the bag that was about to be sent to the airplane. You might want to respond with something like “no, not in this bag, (but there are valuables in another bag).”

The role of ~는/은 in this sentence is in the parentheses in the previous sentence. That is – it compares something in one sentence to something else. “Something else” can be mentioned prior in the conversation, or it can be implied.

Often the context is given in the same sentence with ~는/은 being attached to the situation it is being compared to. For example:

그 가방에는 귀중품이 있는데 이 가방에는 귀중품이 없어요
= There are valuables in this bag, but not in this bag

Let’s look at many more examples:

미국에는 일거리가 없어요
= There are no jobs in America (compared to another country)

티켓을 매표소에서는 살 수 있어요
= You can purchase tickets at the ticket office (compared to another place)

놀이동산에 여름에는 사람이 많아요
= There are many people at the amusement park in the summer (compared to another season)

공원에서는 사람들이 축구를 할 수 없다
= People can’t play soccer in the park

우리학교에서는 영어원어민 선생님 10분이 있습니다
= At our school, there are 10 native English speakers

요즘에는 일거리가 없어 손을 놓고 있는 사람도 적지 않다
= These days (compared to sometime before), there aren’t many places to work, so there are many people who don’t have a job

몇 달 전에 서른 살이 되어서 우울했는데 이제는 전혀 우울하지 않아요
= A few months ago, I was depressed that I was going to be thirty years old, but now (compared to that time), I’m not depressed at all

————-

Sometimes, however, the situation that is being compared to is actually stated within the sentence. You may have noticed that we sell Korean stories specifically geared towards helping foreign learners of Korean get reading practice tailored to their level. Within one of these stories (Set 1, Story 4) is the following sentence:

5년 전에 잡지 사는 게 돈 낭비라고 생각했는데, 요즘에는 잡지 읽을 때가 얼마나 좋은지 모른다

I would translate the sentence to:

5 years ago, I thought buying a magazine was a waste of money, but these days (compared to before) I can’t explain how good it is when I read a magazine.

Another scene from a different story is about a little girl who went to the zoo with her father.

Though she had a lot of fun, she wished her mother would come as well. After the girl comes home, she says to her mother:

“나중에는 꼭 엄마도 같이 동물원에 가자! 나랑 약속해!”

I would translate this sentence to: Next time (compared to the previous time/this past time when you didn’t come), let’s go to the zoo together! Promise me!

Want to see how ~는 would be used like this in a Korean street sign? Watch me breakdown the usage in a YouTube video.

 

Adding ~는/은 to 수
In Lesson 45, you learned about the noun 수 and how it can be used in sentences with 있다 and 없다 to indicate that one is able or not able to do something. For example:

밥을 먹을 수 있어요 = I can eat rice
밥을 먹을 수 없어요 = I can’t eat rice

It is possible to attach ~는 to 수 in order to indicate that the “situation that can happen” is compared with some other situation that “cannot happen” (or vice-versa). For example:

밥을 먹을 수 있어요 = I can eat rice

This is a simple sentence and nothing is being compared

밥을 먹을 수는 있어요 = I can eat rice

In this example, the speaker is indicating that he/she can eat rice, but not something else. Knowing what the other thing (that cannot be eaten) is ambiguous in this sentence because no prior context is given. However, in an actual conversation, the speaker likely described some other food that he/she cannot eat. Likewise:

밥을 먹을 수는 없어요 = I cannot eat rice

In this example, the speaker is indicating that he/she cannot eat rice, but can eat something else. Knowing what the other thing (that can be eaten) is ambiguous in this sentence because no prior context is given. However, in an actual conversation, the speaker likely described some other food that he/she can eat. Here are some other examples:

선풍기를 틀 수 있어요 = I can turn on the fan
(에어컨을 틀 수 없지만) 선풍기를 틀 수는 있어요
= I can turn on the fan (but not the air conditioner)

이 쪽으로 들어갈 수 있어요 = You can go in through this way
(문으로 들어갈 수 없지만) 이 쪽으로 들어갈 수는 있어요
= You can’t go in through the door, but you can go in through this way)

In the two examples above, the first “수” is theoretically being compared with the second “수.”

Therefore, it is also acceptable to attach ~는 to the first 수 in the sentence. For example:

에어컨을 틀 수는 없지만 선풍기를 틀 수는 있어요
= You can’t turn the air conditioner on, but you can turn the fan on

문으로 들어갈 수는 없지만 이 쪽으로 들어갈 수는 있어요
= You can’t go out that door, but you can go out this way

Understanding how ~는/은 works and how versatile it can be, you can see how it could be attached to other nouns like 수 that have a special place in sentences. Below you can see the resulting sentences and meanings when it is added to 적, 필요 and 줄:

망가진 컴퓨터를 고치려고 컴퓨터 전문가에 맡긴 적은 없어요
= I haven’t yet taken my broken computer to a specialist to get it fixed

그 고기 부위를 사려고 고기 전문점을 갈 필요는 없어요
= In order to purchase that type of meat, you don’t need to go to a specialty store

이력서를 작성을 했는데 온라인으로 제출을 할 줄은 몰라요
= I wrote up a resume, but I don’t know how to apply online

The versatility of ~는/은 allows it to be added to many other grammatical principles. Below you can see the resulting sentences and meanings when it is added to:

~(로)부터
~까지
~(으)로는
~(으)면
~지는 말다

일이 다 끝나고 어머니로부터는 연락이 없었다
= After work, there was no contact (I wasn’t contacted) by my mother (implied here is that the person was contacted by other people, but not his mother)

시험 전 날까지는 밤을 샜는데 당일에는 일찍 잤어요
= I stayed up all night until the day of the test, but on the day of the test I went to sleep early

정부에서 주는 장학금으로는 대학교를 졸업할 수 없었어요
= Without having received the scholarship from the government, I wouldn’t have been able to graduate university

운동을 그렇게 하면은 몸을 다칠 수 있어요
= You can hurt yourself if you exercise like that (compared to other ways where you won’t hurt yourself

그 제품을 바로 반품하지는 말고 조금 더 사용해 보고 결정하세요
= Don’t return that product right away, use it a bit and then decide

 

Adding ~는 to ~지 않다 (~지는 않다/~진 않다)

This same usage of ~는/은 is often placed after “~지” in “~지 않다.” For example, instead of saying:

시간이 오래 걸리지 않을 것이에요 = It won’t take a long time
시간이 오래 걸리지는 않을 것이에요 = It won’t take a long time

~는/은 is used here to indicate that the situation is different than some expectation. In the sentence above, the speaker would be telling this to the listener who, for some reason, has the expectation that it will take a long time. By using ~는/은, the speaker is trying to say say “(despite what you expect,) it won’t take long.”

~지는 is almost always contracted to ~ as per what was taught in Lesson 101.

Let’s look at another example:
저는 요리를 잘 하진 않습니다

Imagine you are in a cooking class – which would make the listener expect that the speaker is good at cooking. Then, by saying “저는 요리를 잘 하진 않습니다,” the speaker is trying to say “(despite what you expect,) I am not good at cooking.”

I truly feel that understanding this usage of ~는/은 can only happen by being exposed to many examples, so I will keep showing you more sentences.

One day, I started getting a weird feeling in my esophagus. The feeling persisted for a few weeks, so I went to the doctor. He told me it was nothing to be worried about, but I was skeptical about what he was saying (I was really worried). He was telling me that he knew exactly what it was, and assured me that I would be fine. At which point, I asked him:

“Do a lot of people complain of this feeling?”

I specifically asked him that because he really made it seem like he had seen this 1000 times before (by telling me he knew exactly what it was and telling me not to worry). His answer was:

그런 사람이 많진 않아요

Again, here, the purpose of the ~지는 (or ~진) is that the fact is against my expectations. He made me assume that many people had this feeling, so when I asked “do many people complain of this feeling?” he responded with:

그런 사람이 많진 않아요 = (despite what you expect,) there aren’t that many people

Here are more examples:

그 가수가 인기가 많은데 티켓이 아직 매진되진 않았어요
= That singer is very popular but the tickets still haven’t haven’t sold out

일반 자리가 없다고 노약자 좌석에 앉는 사람이 많진 않아요
= There aren’t many people who would sit in the seats for the old and weak when there are no regular seats available

네, 그 상황을 직접 목격했는데 10년 전이라서 잘 기억나진 않아요
= Yes, I witnessed that situation/event directly, but it was ten years ago so I don’t remember it well

그 사람의 전문이 화학이라서 생물도 잘 아실 줄 알았는데 그렇진진 않아요
= That person’s specialty is Chemistry so I thought he would be good at Biology as well but he is not

 

Downplaying a Fact: ~긴 하다

When you attach ~는 to ~기 after a verb or adjective, you create a special meaning. This is a very hard meaning to express and it took me years to fully understand. When attaching ~는 to ~기, the speaker is downplaying the situation that was said in the clause. In what way the fact is downplayed depends on the context of the conversation, but sometimes it can just be due to somebody trying to be modest.

After ~는 is used, you can conjugate the sentence either with 하다 or by using the same verb or adjective that was attached to ~기. For example:

~기는 is almost always contracted to ~ as per what was taught in Lesson 101.

생각이 있긴 있어 = I have an idea, or
생각이 있긴 해 = I have an idea

I heard this example on TV the other day. A group of people were sitting around a table discussing how they could get their toy back from their neighbor’s house after it flew over the fence. One of the people in the show said “생각이 있긴 있어”. The subtle meaning of this principle instead of just saying “생각이 있어” is that the person may think that his idea isn’t very good, or maybe he is too shy to say his idea (again, possibly because it isn’t very good) – and it somehow downplaying what he is about to say.

Another example:

하고 싶은 말이 있긴 있어요, or
하고 싶은 말이 있긴 해요 = I have something I want to say (but it might not be that good, or there is some other reason that is preventing me from wanting to say what I want to say)

날씨가 춥긴 추워요, or
날씨가 춥긴 해요 = It’s cold (but it’s not that cold… it’s just a little bit cold)

공부를 열심히 하긴 했어 = I studied hard (but not that hard)

Because the use of this principle downplays what you are saying, it is very common for~지만 or to be used to connect to the next clause that indicates what happens as a result of this. For example:

돈이 있긴 하지만 조금 부족해요
= I have money, but just not enough

재미있긴 하지만 조금 이상해요
= It’s funny, but a little bit strange

계획이 있긴 있었지만 갑자기 취소되었어요
= I had plans, but they got cancelled

하고 싶은 말이 있긴 하지만 조금 부끄러워요
= I have something I want to say, but I’m a little bit shy

우리 학교 애들이 똑똑하긴 한데 노력을 안 해요
= The kids at our school are smart, but they don’t try hard

우리 도시에 거지가 조금 있긴 한데 많진 않아요
= There are some homeless people in our city, but not many

아이디어가 있긴 있지만 그 아이디어가 좋은지 모르겠어요
= I have an idea, but I don’t know if it is good

일을 다 하긴 했지만 정신없이 해서 한번 더 확인해야 될 것 같아요
= I did all the work, but I did it without really thinking, so I’ll probably have to check it again

Here are some examples of this same concept in the novel I’m reading now:

정신과 의사도 의사이긴 하지만 보통 인간의 삶을 살릴 수 없는 의사다
= Psychiatrists are doctors too, but usually doctors that can’t save people’s lives

물론 수업 시간에 그 주제에 대해 배우기는 했지만 너무 짧게 배우고 시험 전날 하룻밤만 공부했기 때문에 금방 잊어버렸다
= Of course, during class we learned about that subject, but it was very short and I only studied before the night of the exam so I forgot everything immediately

 

Comparing by Using ~는/은 Twice in the Same Sentence

I showed you examples of this in earlier lesson, but I’d like to address it again here. ~는/은 is also sometimes used twice in the same sentence to compare how two things are different. The two things being compared are usually in different clauses separated by “~고” or some other grammatical principle that can split clauses. For example:

사과는 맛있고 바나나는 맛이 없어요 = The apples are delicious, but the bananas are not
오늘은 비가 오고 내일은 비가 안 와요 = Today it is raining, but tomorrow it won’t

 

What about X?

Finally (phew!), there is one other small usage of ~는/은 that I would like to bring up. By placing ~는/은 after a noun, and only stating that noun (with ~는/은), you can ask for clarification on that specific noun.

For example, imagine I was at school, and a teacher asked me what I did over winter vacation. After telling him, I could ask the question back to him by saying:

선생님은?
Or, more formally:
선생님은요?

A common one that you will hear is:

Person 1: 집에 도착했어요 = I arrived home
Person 2: 밥은? = Have you eaten yet (What about rice/food?)
Person 1: 아직 안 먹었어요 = I haven’t eaten yet

Making a translation that fits all examples is very difficult. The purpose of ~는/은 here is to ask about the situation you mentioned. For example, if I was telling somebody about all of the furniture in my house, somebody could say:

“침대는?”

That would translate to “what about your bed? Tell me about your bed? Tell me the situation about your bed?”

Another example:

Person 1: 저는 내일 엄마와 오빠랑 같이 밥을 먹을 거예요 = Tomorrow, I am going to eat with my mom and brother
Person 2: 아빠는? = What about your dad? Why isn’t your dad going?Person 1: 아빠는 일을 해야 돼서 못 가요 = Dad has to work, so he can’t go

Okay, that’s it for Lesson 104!

Got that? Click here to go directly to Lesson 105!

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