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Lesson 116: While in the state of: ~ㄴ/은 채(로)

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While in the state of: ~ㄴ/은 채(로)





숫자 = number, figure, numeral
속옷 = underwear
비품 = equipment
제작비 = production cost
바위 = rock, stone
침 = needle
사연 = story
비닐(봉지) = vinyl (plastic bag)
홍차 = black tea
변기 = toilet
올빼미 = owl
가시 = thorn, fish bones
주변 = surroundings, the vicinity of
수량 = quantity
대량 = large quantity
소량 = small quantity
위층 = upper level

제작하다 = to produce/manufacture
채점하다 = to grade a school test
가리다 = to hide/cover up/conceal
알아채다 = to notice, to be aware of
마음을 먹다 = to make up one’s mind
발휘하다 = to demonstrate one’s ability
적다 = to write down, to jot
찌르다 = to pierce/stab/prick/poke
향하다 = to face
찔리다 = to be pierced, stabbed, pricked

질리다 = to be sick and tired of
신속하다 = to be quick, prompt

Adverbs and Other Words:
과연 = indeed/sure enough





In this Lesson, you will learn about the grammatical principle “채”, which I’m sure you have come across by this point. 채 is another noun that can be used as the noun in the ~는 것 principle that takes on a special meaning. In this lesson, you will learn how it can be used. Let’s get started.

While in the state of: ~ㄴ/은 채(로)

If you have picked up any Korean book (especially novels), you most likely have come across this grammatical principle. This grammatical principle is incredibly common in novels and stories, but only fairly common in speech. You essentially can’t read any Korean literature without understanding the meaning of “채(로)”.
Okay, now we know that this is important – but what does it mean? As I already mentioned, “채” is placed as a noun in the ~는 것 principle (most commonly used when ~는 것 is in the past tense form of ~ㄴ/은). For example:

모자를 쓴 채(로)
(There doesn’t seem to be any difference in meaning if “로” is used or not)

The purpose of “~ㄴ/은 채” is to indicate that the state of the clause describing it continues until (and usually beyond) the action in the next clause. I want to stress the word “state” in that sentence.

When I say “모자를 쓴 채”, it does not mean that the person actively put on his hat. It’s possible that he put on his hat in an earlier sentence – but that information is irrelevant to our current sentence. All that is relevant is that the hat is currently on his head… and that state (the hat being on his head) will continue until (and beyond) the next action.

So… let’s finish that sentence. If I were to say, for example:
선생님이 모자를 쓴 채 학교에 들어갔어요
… that sentence would translate to: The teacher went into the school with a/the hat on his head

As usual, it’s hard to come up with an English translation that fits all scenarios. The most common translations are “with” or “while.” For example:

The teacher went into the school with a/the hat on his head
The teacher went into the school while wearing a hat

Despite the similarities in translations, it is important to fully understand the difference between ~ㄴ/은 채 and ~(으)면서. When using ~(으)면서, both actions are actively happening at the same time and are processing/continuing together. For example, if I were to say:

선생님이 모자를 쓰면서 학교에 들어갔어요 – although this sentence is grammatical correct, it is pretty ridiculous and only in very rare situations would somebody actually need to say this. Here, the person is saying that while he went into the school, he put his hat on. As in, the moment he entered the school, he took his hat and put it on his head. 99.9% of the time, it would be more appropriate to say:

선생님이 모자를 쓴 채 학교에 들어갔어요

Regardless of the translation, it is important that you remember that the clause is in its non-active completed state. The verb itself does not have to be a passive verb. It just needs to be a verb where – once the action is done one time – it can proceed in its completed state until something changes. Many verbs are like this, and here is a list of some of the more common verbs that you will find being used with “채”:

신다 = to put on shoes
켜다 = to turn on
끄다 = to turn off
덮다 = to cover, close
가리다 = to cover
앉다 = to sit
서다 = to stand
넣다 = to put into
놓다 = to put onto
감다 = to close one’s eyes
모르다 = to not know

Let’s look at many examples:

저는 돈을 탁자에 놓은 채 집을 떠났어요 = I left the house with the money on the table

그는 불을 끈 채 집에 그냥 앉아 있었어요 = He was just sitting (there) with the lights off

음식을 입에 넣은 채 말해서는 안 돼요 = You shouldn’t talk with food in your mouth

슬기는 슬기가 아픈지도 모른 채 일을 했다 = Seulgi worked without knowing she was sick

그 남자는 눈을 뜬 채로 죽었다 = That man died with his eyes open

미국 사람들은 신발을 신은 채 집에 들어가요 = American people go into their houses with their shoes on

너무 더워서 속옷을 안 입은 채 밖에 나갔어요 = I went outside without wearing my underwear because it was so hot

여자는 변기를 신문으로 덮은 채 화장실에서 나왔어요 = The girl came out of the bathroom with the toilet covered by newspaper

아이는 TV을 켜놓은 채 방에서 나왔어요 = The child came out of the room with the TV turned on

Notice that even though the clause before ~ㄴ/은 채 feels like it is in the passive voice (because it is in its “completed” state), the active verb is actually used.
From my experience, I’ve noticed that most of the verbs that are used before ~ㄴ/은 채 are words that have a passive equivalent. For example:

앉다 (to sit)
앉아 있다 (to be sitting)

감다 (to close one’s eyes)
감겨 있다 (for one’s eyes to be closed)

놓다 (to put onto)
놓아 있다 (to be put onto)

(… and most of the others from the longer list above)

It’s not always the case (for example, 모르다 – which is not something that can be expressed in the passive voice and is commonly used before ~ㄴ/은 채).
In the cases where the active verb also has a passive equivalent, it is sometimes acceptable to place the passive word and/or conjugation before ~ㄴ/은 채. For example:

우리는 TV를 켜놓은 채 3일 동안 휴가를 떠났어요 = We went on a holiday for three days with the TV turned (left) on
TV가 켜진 채 우리는 3일 동안 휴가를 떠났어요 = We went on a holiday for three days with the TV turned on

우리는 불을 끈 채로 영화를 봤다 = We watched a movie with the lights off
우리는 불이 꺼진 채로 영화를 봤다 = We watched a movie with the lights off

The only difference between the active and passive forms is the distinction of who actually did the action. For example, by saying “우리는 불을 끈 채로”, you are indicating that “we” turned the lights off, and then did the next action. However, by saying “불이 꺼진 채로” you are not indicating specifically who turned the lights off – you are just saying that they are off when the next action occurred.

This form would also be acceptable:

우리는 불이 꺼져 있는 채로 영화를 봤다 = We watched a movie with the lights off

I don’t want to start describing the difference between those two because that isn’t the purpose of this lesson. If you’re wondering what the difference between these three are:

우리는 불을 끈 채로 영화를 봤다
우리는 불이 꺼진 채로 영화를 봤다
우리는 불이 꺼져 있는 채로 영화를 봤다

… Essentially nothing. Only the nuance of who/what turned on the light. They can be distinguished if we look at just the clause before ~ㄴ/은 채 as a separate clause:

우리는 불을 껐어요 = We turned off the light
불이 꺼졌어요 = The light was turned off
불이 껴져 있어요 = The light is off

But that’s as far as I’m going with that in this lesson. Distinguishing their meanings isn’t as important when used with ~ㄴ/은 채로 because, in effect, they all describe the same thing.

Now, back to this lesson. I just want to say one more thing before I finish. Notice that I included the words “and beyond” in the description at the very beginning of the lesson. I said:

“The purpose of “~ㄴ/은 채” is to indicate that the state of the clause describing it continues until (and usually beyond) the action in the next clause. I want to stress the word “state” in that sentence.”

I specifically wrote “and beyond” to insinuate that in sentences with “채”, even though the second action is completed it doesn’t mean that the clause describing “채” also is completed. For example, in our sentence:

선생님이 모자를 쓴 채 학교에 들어갔어요
The “and beyond” description is just to indicate that – just because the person enters the school (and thus, the second action completes itself), doesn’t mean that he takes his hat off. Instead, the completed state of him wearing the hat will continue until the situation explains otherwise. This is the same with all of the examples I provided. For example, if we looked at this one:

너무 더워서 저는 여름에 속옷을 안 입은 채로 밖에 나가요
… it means that the person goes outside without wearing underwear. But, it doesn’t mean that once he gets outside that he puts underwear on. Rather, it means that this state of “not wearing underwear” will continue even past the next action.

Finally, here are some examples of this grammatical principle behind used in the book I am currently reading:

두 사람은 불을 켜지 않은 채 침대에 누웠다 = The two people lied on the bed without turning on the lights

다음 날 아침 일어났을 때 그녀는 아무 말도 남기지 않은 채 떠났다 = The next morning when they woke up, She left without leaving any words (without saying anything)

그 여자는 손을 뻗은 채 나를 향해 걸어왔다 = The girl walked towards me with her arms out

That’s it for this lesson!

Click here for a Workbook to go along with this lesson.

How about testing your knowledge on what you learned in the past 8 lessons with our Lessons 109 – 116 Mini-Test.

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Then let me browse through the next set of lessons (Lessons 117 – 125)!
Or, you can always go directly to Lesson 117.