Lesson 121: ~다 보면

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If one does something for a while, the next action will occur: ~다 보면




백신 = vaccine
상사 = one’s superior/boss
체계 = system
골격 = skeleton
회오리바람 = cyclone/tornado
지혜 = wisdom
고아원 = orphanage
교재 = teaching materials
미용사 = hairdresser
체구 = build/frame
차도 = street/road
댓글 = comment
취향 = taste/preference
기호 = taste/preference
장식품 = ornament/decoration
조리 = cook/cooking
조리실 = kitchen
밀림 = jungle

굶다 = to starve
굶기다 = to make one starve
추구하다 = to pursue
세뇌하다 = to brainwash
뒷담화하다 = to talk behind one’s back
트림하다 = to burp
구분하다 = to divide

건장하다 = for one’s build to be burly
유유하다 = to be leisurely
매력적이다 = to be charming
평행하다 = to be parallel




In this lesson, you will learn how to connect two clauses by using the grammatical principle ~다 보면. The grammar within this principle is actually the addition of a few different grammar concepts piled together, but its meaning is simple enough to describe in a short lesson.

Over the next few lesson I am going to be focusing on grammatical principles that connect two clauses with the use of 보다. Each of these lessons will introduce a grammatical principle that is easy to explain and understand. I was tempted to present all of these in one lesson because of their simplicity but decided against it. As you continue to reach higher and higher lessons here at HowtoStudyKorean, I can only assume that your understanding of Korean grammar is very good.

From this point forward, you may notice lessons that are significantly shorter than earlier lessons. This is not because I am getting lazy or because I have lost my motivation to provide the best lessons possible. Rather, it is simply because there is very little to explain – mainly because everything was explained so thoroughly in earlier lessons.

In no means will lessons always be like this from this point. Don’t worry – there are still quite a few grammatical principles that will take a long time to explain perfectly (look up all the meanings for the word 싶다 if you are getting to the point where you are starting to say to yourself ‘I know everything about Korean grammar.’). You have come a long way, but you still have a long way to go.

In these shorter lessons, in lieu of providing unneeded explanations, I will do my best to provide as many original examples as possible for you to get accustomed to each grammatical principle.
Now, let’s get started.

If one does something for a while, the next action will occur: ~다 보면

Just to quickly go into the mechanics of what we are looking at here; the ~다(가) 보면 is actually made up of: ~다(가) (to indicate that one does an action and then stops) + 보면 (and then if they look at it/reflect on it). Note that the “가” is often omitted.

Let me show you an example of this grammatical principle being used in a simple sentence first:

네가 그렇게 열심히 일하다 보면 승진하게 될 거야

Here, the speaker is indicating that if the first clause happens for a while – either continuously or repeatedly over some time period, the second clause is likely or will be sure to occur. The sentence above would translate to:

네가 그렇게 열심히 일하다 보면 승진하게 될 거야 = if you continue to work hard like that (for some period), you will (likely be) promoted

On way I often translate these types of sentences is to use the word “bound to”. For example:

네가 그렇게 열심히 일하다 보면 승진하게 될 거야 = if you continue to work hard like that (for some period), you are bound to get promoted
However… I want to be careful about specifically using the word “bound” because that is a word that is usually reserved for the translation of another grammatical principle that you will learn in a later lesson.

Nonetheless, the specific translation doesn’t matter. What matters is that you understand what the speaker is trying to express; that is, if one does something for a period of time, the second action will occur.

Here are many more examples:
이 길을 계속 따라가다 보면 찾고 있는 시장이 나타날 거예요 = If you keep following this road, the market you are looking for will appear/come into view

고아원에서 봉사를 하다 보면 감사하는 태도로 살아야겠다는 생각이 들어요 = After volunteering (repeatedly) at an orphanage, I thought/realized that I must live my life with a thankful attitude

혼자서 살다 보면 부모님을 보고 싶은 것은 당연한 게 아니에요? = If you (continue to) live alone, isn’t it obvious that you will want to see (miss) your parents?

바쁘게 살다 보면 가끔 중요한 일을 잊어버려요 = If you (continue to) live a busy life, sometimes you will forget important things/tasks/jobs

새로운 단어를 계속 외우다 보면 점점 헷갈려요 = If I keep memorizing new words, I gradually get confused

밥을 계속 굶다 보면 건강이 나빠져요 = If you starve yourself (don’t eat enough) your health goes bad (will go bad)

슬기가 10년 동안 연습하다 보면 올림픽 금메달을 딸 수 있을 것 같아요 = If 슬기 (continually) practiced for 10 years, she will probably be able to win an Olympic gold medal

그 어려운 일을 계속해서 하다 보면 나중에는 아주 쉽게 할 수 있어요 = If you continue to do that difficult work/job, you will be able to do it very easily later

우리 딸이 학원에서 영어공부를 하다 보면 영어를 미래에는 미국사람만큼 할 수 있을 거예요 = If our daughter studies English in a hakwon (private academy) (for a continuous amount of time), in the future she will be able to speak English as much/well as an American

While making the sentences above, I tried making examples where the final clause of the sentence was conjugated into the past tense. For example, I originally wrote this sentence instead of the one you can see above:

김연아가 10년 동안 연습하다 보면 올림픽 금메달을 땄어요
However, it was corrected to:
김연아가 10년 동안 연습하다 보면 올림픽 금메달을 딸 수 있을 것 같아요

I can’t be 100% sure that these types of sentences cannot be conjugated into the past tense. However, as you can see with the examples above, it appears to be more natural to use this form when the main clause is in the future tense. As such, you can see that almost all the sentences above are conjugated into the future tense. Even though some of them have a present tense conjugation, words within the sentence express that the end result can/will be in the future.

This is essentially because, as I said before, the grammatical principle basically creates an “if” sentence because of “보면”. What you are essentially doing with this is saying that, “if one does an action, and then looks back to reflect on it…”. Just like any sentence that includes if (~면), you will see that the final clause is typically in the future tense, or has some sort of indication of the future tense. For example:

네가 가면 나도 갈 거야 = If you go, I will go
밥을 안 먹으면 배고플 거야 = If you don’t eat, you will be hungry

Just like with any “if” sentence, a present tense conjugation is possible as long as the situation allows for it.

That’s it for this lesson!

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