Menu Close

Lesson 122: ~다 보니(까)

Jump to:


While doing something, one realizes: ~다 보니(까)




= sprout of a plant/blossom of behavior
제국 = empire
화분 = flowerpot
치매 = dementia/Alzheimer’s disease
속보 = breaking news
서열 = rank
장미 = rose
가족사 = family history
가로등 = streetlight

싹트다 = to blossom/spring up
논쟁하다 = to argue about
물러서다 = to back up
너무하다 = to go too far
복종하다 = to obey
소홀하다 = to neglect
저항하다 = to resist

세다 = for the power of something to be strong
누렇다 = to be golden yellow
평등하다 = to be equal

Adverbs and Other Words:
방울 = counter for “drops” (like water)

For help memorizing these words, try using our mobile app.




In this lesson, you will learn another grammatical principle that requires the use of 보다. Specifically, you will learn how to use ~다(가) 보니까 to connect two clauses. Let’s get started.


While doing something, one realizes: ~다 보니(까)

~다(가) 보니(까) is often shortened to ~다 보니. It is used to indicate that – while (in the midst of) doing an action, one realizes something. Let’s first look at how this meaning is created by examining the parts that make up this grammatical principle.

In Lesson 88 you learned how ~다(가) can be used to indicate that something occurs in the midst of doing an action. For example:

눈길을 걷다가 넘어졌어요 = While I was walking on the snowy road, I fell

In Lesson 81 you learned how ~(으)니까 can be used to provide information to a situation. In this case, it is attached to 보다, indicating that the speaker has “looked back” at the situation. The sum of everything together has a meaning similar to “while one does an action, and then looks/reflects on what is happening…” The following clause is typically a realization that occurred due to the looking/reflecting.

We wouldn’t be able to add 보니 to the example above because that wouldn’t make sense. For example:

눈길을 걷다가 보니 넘어졌어요… while I was walking… I realized that I fell?

Logically that doesn’t make sense. ~다(가) 보니(까) is used to indicate that one realizes something while doing another action. How can you realize that you have fallen?

Instead, let’s look at an example that would be appropriate. The simplest example you could make with ~다 보니 would be something like this:

제가 공부하다 보니 12시가 되었어요

As I said, the meaning in this sentence is not simply “While I studied, it became 12 o’clock.” Rather, the use of 보니 indicates that the person becomes aware of something in the process of doing an action. A simple translation of the sentence above would be something like:

제가 공부하다 보니 12시가 되었어요
= While I was studying, it became 12:00

A more complicated translation that more accurately expresses the nuances of ~다 보니 would be:

제가 공부하다 보니 12시가 되었어요
= While I was studying, (and then looked at/reflected one what was happening) I realized that it had become 12:00

You need to be careful with what type of clause you use before ~다 보다. For example, this sentence wouldn’t make sense:

학교에 가다 보니까 책을 안 가져왔어요

Here, the action that became “realized” (책을 안 가져오다) was something that occurred in the past – before the process in the first clause began. In order to use ~다 보니, the action that is being realized has to occur simultaneously with the realization – not that one realized something prior to the another action happening. For example, in this sentence:

운동하다 보니까 팔이 아팠어요 = While I was exercising, I realized that my arm was sore

This clause expresses that the person was exercising, and while exercising, he/she realizes that his/her arm was sore. This realization occurred as a result of the first action, and therefore is acceptable.

By the nature of these sentences, the final verb is usually something like 깨닫다, 알다, 생각하다 or 느끼다. For example:

길거리를 걷다 보니 물방울이 느껴져서 비가 온다는 것을 알았어요
= While walking down the road, I felt some water droplets, and knew it was raining

그 사람이랑 얘기하다 보니까 세계 서열 1위의 부자일수도 있다고 생각했어요
= While talking to that person, I thought it could be possible that she is one of the richest people in the world

아버지와 논쟁하다 보니 이제부터 아버지 말에 복종해야 한다는 것을 깨달았어요
= While arguing with my father, I realized that I should have obeyed him (his words) starting from yesterday

그리스라는 나라를 공부하다보니 로마 제국까지 공부해야 한다는 것을 느꼈어요
= While studying about the country of Greece, I felt that I should also study up to the Roman Empire

가족사의 중요성을 알다 보니 결혼할 사람의 집안 배경도 중요하다는 것을 깨달았어요
= While learning/understanding the importance of family history, I realized the importance of the family background of the person you will marry

셋째를 돌보다 보니 우리 아이 모두를 평등하게 돌보지 않을 뿐만 아니라  큰애에 매우 소홀하다는 것을 깨달았어요
= While looking after my third child, I realized that not only was I not looking after all of my children equally, but also that I was really neglecting my oldest one

The end of the Korean sentence doesn’t need to explicitly indicate that one “realized” something. This meaning is implied within the grammatical principle itself. For example, it is quite common to finish the final clause with ~게 되다, which you learned in Lesson 94. This adds the nuance that the result in the second clause occurred without the speaker being aware of it (because he/she was too focused on the action in the first clause). For example:

장미를 사다 보니 다른 꽃들도 좋아하게 됐어요
= While buying some roses I began to like some other flowers too

티비에 나오는 속보를  듣다 보니까 10시가 되었어요
= While watching the breaking news on TV, I realized it had become 10 o’clock

똑같은 내용의 방송을 보다 보니 저도 모르게 세뇌 당하게 되었어요
= While watching the same broadcast (over and over), I realized that, without my knowledge, I had become brainwashed

댓글을 읽다 보니 세상에는 정말 다양한 사람들이 있다는 것을 깨닫게 되었어요
= While reading the comments, I came to realize that there is really a wide variety of people in the world

You’ve seen how the final clause can end in ~게 되다 or also some specific words (namely, 깨닫다, 알다, 생각하다 or 느끼다).There isn’t really a limit to what type of verb you can use, as long as the final clause connects appropriately to the meaning of “realizing” from the first clause.

친구들이랑 얘기하다 보니 시간이 엄청 빨리 지나갔어요
= While talking with my friends, I realized that time had gone by very quickly

화분을 청소하다 보니 누런싹이 싹튼 식물이 몇개 보였어요
= While cleaning the flower pots, I noticed/saw that a few yellow sprouts sprouted up

한시간 동안 논쟁하다 보니 피곤해서 이번에는 제가 먼저 물러섰어요
= While arguing for an hour, I realized I was tired and then I was the one who backed off first

어두운 데에서 가로등 아래에서 걷다 보니 이상한 사람이 다가온 것을 봐서 근처가게로 들어갔어요
= While walking in a dark place, under a streetlight, I saw a strange man approaching me, so I went into a nearby store

The actions don’t need to be currently happening in order to use this grammatical principle. As you will see in the examples below, it is possible to use ~다(가) 보니(까) with a situations that occur frequently. For example:

운동을 자주 하다 보니 힘이 세졌어요
= While/after exercising often, I realized that I got/became stronger/more powerful

햄버거를 계속 먹다 보니 살이 많이 쪘어요
= While/after eating hamburgers continually (over a period of time), I realized that I gained a lot of weight

치매에 걸리다 보니 기억력이 좋지 않아지네요
= After getting Alzheimer’s, I have noticed that memory is fading

그녀랑 사귀다 보니 그녀가 더욱 좋아졌어요
= While going out with her, (I realized/noticed that) she has become better and better

That’s it for this lesson!

Click here to go to the next lesson!