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Lesson 119: ~더니 (to notice… then…)

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Vocabulary
Introduction

To Notice/Experience… and Then… : ~더니
When the speaker is talking about himself/herself: ~더니
When the speaker is talking about somebody else: ~더니

 

Vocabulary

Nouns:
놈 = guy/jerk/chap
바퀴 = counter for turns around something
복지 = welfare
계곡 = valley
난방 = heating
일기 = weather
녀석 = guy/fellow (informal)
신자 = believer
전부 = total/all
건기 = dry season
우기 = wet season
최저 = the lowest
시급 = hourly wage
성경 = bible
기독교 = Christianity
천주교 = catholic
하느님 = god
등받이 = something to lean on
강수량 = precipitation level
길거리 = the street, the streets

Verbs:
뺏기다 = to have something taken away
구걸하다 = to beg, to panhandle

Adjectives:
느끼하다 = to be greasy/oily/rich

Adverbs and Other Words:
따위 = etc…
똑바로 = straight/upright

 

 

Introduction

In this lesson, we will finish with our group of lessons about ~더~. In this lesson, you will learn how to use ~더~ in combination with ~(으)니 (Lesson 81) to connect two clauses. The construction ~더니 is very similar to other clause connectors like ~아/어서, ~(으)니(까) and ~기 때문에, but as always there are some specific usages you should know about. Let’s get started.

 

 

To Notice/Experience… and Then… : ~더니

This is one of the grammatical principles that foreign learners of Korean have a lot of trouble with. With good reason, too – its meaning and usage are very similar to many other grammatical principles. My goal for this lesson is to teach you the situations where you will most likely find this grammatical principle being used.

You can probably already guess the meaning of ~더니 without even reading my explanations. It’s quite simply the combination of ~더~ (to experience/notice/learn/see something first hand) which you have studied learned in Lesson 27, Lesson 117 and Lesson 118, plus the meaning of ~(으)니 that you learned in Lesson 81. As always, it’s hard to come up with a translation that will fit every scenario, but a good translation might be “to experience/notice/learn/see something first hand, so…”.

I would like to separate my explanation of ~더니 into two usages that I have noticed.

 

 

When the speaker is talking about himself/herself: ~더니

Typically, when the speaker is talking about himself/herself (when the speaker is the subject of the sentence), you will see a sentence that has a form like this:

내가 스타박스 커피를 마셨더니 기분이 좋아졌어

So… you might be looking at that sentence and asking yourself “Okay… this looks just like any sentence… what form are you talking about.”

Let me explain.

Typically – and I really do mean typically, as I’ve noticed this for years now, when the speaker is also the subject of a sentence, you will see this type of form:

((1) speaker) – ((2) some action that the speaker did) – ((3) past tense ~았/었) – ((4) ~더니) – ((5) some emotion or description that happens as a result of what the speaker did).

I would like to talk about each number above individually to describe this “form” that I am talking about.

  1. As I said, this form is typically used when the speaker is the subject. The only reason I say “typically” instead of “always” is because you never know when there may be exceptions in languages. I’d like to say “always”, but I’m just going to say “typically.”
  2. This one doesn’t really matter. Some action that the speaker did in the past.
  3. When the speaker is the subject of the sentence, I have noticed that the clause is conjugated into the past tense. For example, this sentence is awkward in Korean
    내가 스타박스 커피를 마시더니 기분이 좋아졌어
  4. Why use ~더니? Actually, in my opinion, it’s not even about the use of ~니. ~니 is just there to connect the two clauses, really. Then what is the purpose of ~더~ here? Why not just use one of the other clause connectors that you have already learned? To answer that, you need to remember what the purpose of ~더~ is; which is to indicate that the speaker has seen/experienced something first-hand.
  5. This could really be anything that makes sense in the context of the sentence, but as you will see in the examples below; this is usually some sort of emotion or feeling (typically an adjective) that was elicited as a result of the first clause.

My wife is Korean, but has no understanding of Korean grammar. She only knows what sounds natural and correct to her. Without knowing any of the things that I just described previously, I asked her “Make me some sentences using ~더니 where you are the subject of the sentence.”

This is what she came up with:

논술문제를 열심히 썼더니 손이 아파요
= I (had the experience of) writing the essay question – and because of that – my hand is sore

몸이 아파서 마사지를 받았더니 몸이 더 이상 아프지 않았어요
= Because my body was sore, I (had the experience of) receiving a massage – and because of that –my body is not sore anymore

따뜻한 물에 들어갔더니 잠이 오기 시작했어요
= I (had the experience of) going into the warm water – and because of that – I started to fall asleep

제가 곰곰이 생각했더니 정답이 생각 났어요
= I (had the experience of) thinking really hard – and because of that – I thought of the answer

하루 종일 걸었더니 너무 피곤해요
= I (had the experience of) walking all day – and because of that – I am very tired

하루 종일 걸었더니 다리가 아파요
= I (had the experience of) walking all day – and because of that – my legs are sore

내가 매일 케이크를 먹었더니 10킬로가 쪘어
= I (had the experience of) eating cake every day – and because of that – I gained 10 kilograms

I asked her if I could change all of the conjugations before ~더니 to a present tense conjugation. She said all of those sounded unnatural.

I then asked her what the difference between these two would be:

하루 종일 걸었더니 다리가 아파요
하루 종일 걸어서 다리가 아파요

Her answer: “both sound exactly the same to me.”

~더니 just gives the listener a tiny bit more information and nuance (specifically that the person experienced the action) and makes the sentence just that much more complex.

So now your question is: “Okay, so when would I use ~더니 instead of ~아/어서 or ~기 때문에, or any other grammatical principle like this?”

That’s what I’m saying. When you want to express a sentence in the form that you see in the sentences above, I suggest that you use ~더니 over other grammatical principles. Likewise, you will be more likely to see/hear ~더니 be used in these types of situations as well.

Let’s look at some more sentences:

난방을 틀었더니 훨씬 편해요
= I turned on the heater and am much more comfortable

그 놈을 계속 만났더니 지쳐요
= I kept meeting that guy and I got tired of it

파스타를 많이 먹었더니 느끼해요
= I ate a lot of pasta and I got bloated

의자에 똑바로 앉았더니 허리가 안 아파요
= I sat upright in the chair and my back isn’t sore

일 전부를 마무리했더니 이제 마음이 편해요
= I did all of the work and now I feel at ease

운동장 주위를 몇 바퀴를 했더니 몸이 풀렸네요
= I did a couple of laps around the exercise field and it made my body relaxed

자지 전에 성경을 읽었더니 편하게 잘 수 있어요
= I read the bible before going to bed and fell asleep comfortably

가족이랑 계곡에 갔다 왔더니 스트레스가 풀렸어요
= I went to the valley with my family and all my stress faded away

건기와 우기의 강수량을 비교했더니 아주 큰 차이가 있었어요
= When I compared precipitation of the wet season with the dry season there was a big difference

의자 등받이에 허리를 대고 오랜 시간 앉았더니 허리가 아파요
= I sat with my back against the backrest for a long time and my back is now sore

장난으로 녀석이라는 말을 자주 쓰기 시작했더니 실수로 동생에게 녀석이라고 불렀어요
= I started often calling people 녀석 and then by accident called my sister a 녀석

몇몇 나라의 복지 정책을 비교했더니 어느 나라가 복지 정책이 잘 되어있는지 쉽게 알수 있었어요
= When I compared the welfare policies of a few countries, I was easily able to tell which countries have good policies in place

Now, what if the speaker is not the subject of the sentence?

When the speaker is talking about somebody else: ~더니

When the speaker is not the subject, and thus, talking about somebody else in a sentence that has two clauses connected by ~더니, I have noticed a different trend than what was described above. Let’s look at an example:

슬기가 체육시간에 너무 많이 달리더니 다음 수업을 들을 수 없었어요
= I personally saw/experienced Seulgi run a lot during P.E. class, so she didn’t attend the next class

The clause before ~더니 is something specifically experienced by the speaker. Right away, we can see how this would differ from the following sentence:

슬기가 체육시간에 너무 많이 달려서 다음 수업을 들을 수 없었어요
= Seulgi ran a lot during P.E. class, so she didn’t attend the next class

The difference is that in the first example, the speaker of the sentence saw/experienced first-hand that Seulgi ran a lot in P.E. class; whereas in the second example, no indication is given as to whether the speaker actually saw Seulgi running. For example, it could be her friend in another class, or even her parents who obviously weren’t in school that day. Imagine that the teacher of the next class called her parents and asked why she didn’t attend the class. The parents could say the following because they didn’t actually experience Seulgi running:

슬기가 체육시간에 너무 많이 달려서 다음 수업을 들을 수 없었다

However, if the teacher of the next class asked the P.E. teacher why Seulgi didn’t attend the class, the P.E. teacher could say:

슬기가 체육시간에 너무 많이 달리더니 다음 수업을 들을 수 없었어요

Another example:

슬기가 2개월 동안 일자리를 구하려고 노력하더니 결국 좋은 일자리를 구했어요
= I personally saw/experienced Seulgi trying to get a good job for two months, and she eventually got a job

Here, maybe Seulgi’s parents or close friends could say this sentence. Regardless of who it is, it would have to be somebody close enough to her to have seen/noticed that she was looking for a job for that long of a time period, and to know that she finally got it.

Another example:

젊었을 때 돈을 아끼지 않고 쓰더니 결국 그 남자는 길거리에서 구걸하는 거지가 되었어요
= I personally saw/noticed him not saving his money and using it, so he eventually became a beggar /homeless person begging on the streets (maybe a neighbor can say this, or a close friend to the man who has known him since he was younger)

A good question now becomes – what if the clause before ~더니 is conjugated into the past tense? Conjugating this clause to the past tense has the same effect that was described in Lesson 118, where it was done to sentences ending in ~더라.

Let’s use the good old “it’s raining” sentence to distinguish between when this is appropriate and when it is not. Check out the following two sentences:

어제 비가 오더니 오늘 하늘이 맑아요 = I saw that it was raining, and/so now the sky is clear
어제 비가 왔더니 오늘 하늘이 맑아요 = I saw that it had rained, and/so now the sky is clear

Both of those are possible and grammatically correct. As was described in the previous lesson, the use of the past tense ~았/었더니 indicates that you saw/experienced that something had happened, and you didn’t directly see/experience it actually happening. Specifically, with the use of the past tense conjugation, you are indicating that the clause before ~았/었더니 has stopped. For example:

비가 왔더니… I saw /experienced that it had rained… (and by context it is no longer raining)
그녀가 먹었더니… I saw/experienced that she had eaten… (and by context she is no longer eating)

However, the use of the present tense doesn’t specifically indicate that the situation in the first clause has stopped. It’s possible it has stopped if the situation explains itself that way, but it does not directly indicate that there is a stop in the state that was happening in the first clause. For example;

비가 오더니… I saw /experienced that it was raining… (and it’s possible it is still raining)
그녀가 먹더니… I saw /experienced that she was eating….(and it’s possible she is still eating)

Because of all of this, only one of the following sentences makes sense:

어제 비가 오더니 오늘도 비가 온다
어제 비가 왔더니 오늘도 비가 온다

Which one?

The first sentence indicates that you saw/noticed/experienced that it was raining, and that state has continued to the present and it is still raining today.

The second sentence indicates that you saw/noticed/experienced that it had rained. It had stopped raining… and now it is raining today as well. The state of the rain stopped and continued until the present… wait… what?

The second sentence is incorrect.

If we go back, we originally started with these sentences:

어제 비가 오더니 오늘 하늘이 맑아요 = I saw that it was raining, and/so now the sky is clear
어제 비가 왔더니 오늘 하늘이 맑아요 = I saw that it had rained, and/so now the sky is clear

Really, those two sentences are almost identical despite their slight nuances. So what I want to say here is – sometimes the past tense of ~았/었더니 can be almost identical to the present tense of ~더니. However, it is also possible that, depending on the situation, one of the sentences might not be possible.

Another example:

아까 문이 닫혀 있더니 지금은 열려 있어요
= I saw/experienced that the door was closed earlier, and it is still open now
(this sentence is okay)

아까 문이 닫혀 있었더니 지금은 열려 있어요
= I saw/experienced that the door had been closed (but would now be closed), and now it is still open
(this sentence doesn’t make sense)

Now that we’re aware of how all that works, let’s go back to the original sentences that were presented. The following past tense sentences of each of those (because of the situation) are all acceptable and grammatically correct. There might be a slightly different nuance in the meaning, but you should be okay with that by now:

슬기가 체육시간에 너무 많이 달렸더니 다음 수업을 들을 수 없었어요
= I personally saw/experienced that Seulgi had run a lot during P.E. class, so she didn’t attend the next class

젊었을 때 돈을 아끼지 않고 썼더니 결국 그 남자는 거지가 되었어요
= I personally saw/noticed that he had not saved his money and had used it all, so he eventually became a beggar /homeless person

슬기가 2개월 동안 일자리를 구하려고 노력했더니 결국 좋은 일자리를 구했어요
= I personally saw/experienced that Seulgi had tried to get a good job for two months, and she eventually got a job

Here are some more sentences:

살던 집까지 뺏겼더니 이제 정말 남은 게 없어요
= The the house he was living in taken from him, and now he has nothing left

일기 예보를 무시하고 그냥 출발했더니 일기 예보 대로 비가 왔어요
= I ignored the weather forecast and just departed, and (in the end) the rained as the forecast predicted

기독교, 천주교 따위 해 봤는더니 저한테는 하느님이 믿는 것이 중요해요
= I tried Christianity and Catholicism and others, but to me just believing in god is important

최저 시급보다 시급을 더 올렸더니 직원들이 더 열심히 일하기 시작했어요
= Instead of minimum wage, I raised the hourly wage and the workers started working harder

우리 교회가 유명한 목사를 데려와서 교회 홍보를 했더니 신자가 훨씬 많이 늘었어요
= Our church brought in a famous pastor and it caused the number of followers to increase a lot

That’s it for this lesson!

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