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Lesson 122: ~다 보니(까)

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




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

논쟁하다 = to argue about
밀치다 = to push, to thrust
물러서다 = to back up
싹트다 = to blossom/spring up
너무하다 = to go too far
복종하다 = to obey
매기다 = to rank/set something (price, etc)
거두다 = to harvest/collect/gather/gain
소홀하다 = to neglect
저항하다 = to resist

세다 = for the power of something to be strong
천하다 = to have a low status in life
사악하다 = to be evil/wicked/vicious
평등하다 = to be equal
누렇다 = to be golden yellow

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




In this lesson, you will learn another grammatical principle that requires the addition of “보다” between two clauses. Specifically, you will learn how to use ~다 보니 to connect two clauses. Let’s get started.




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

In the previous lesson, you learned how to connect two clauses with ~다(가) 보면. This was used to express that if one does something for a continuous/repeated amount of time, something will happen. ~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 look at how this meaning is created.

This is essentially the sum of two grammatical principles with the word “보다” to see/look. First, as you learned in Lesson 88, ~다(가) is used to indicate that – while one does something another action occurred. For example:

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

After ~다(가), we place “보니”, which is an addition of ~(으)니(까) (Lesson 81) and the word “보다” to mean “now that I look.” 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 that occurred.
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? Grammatically that might make sense, but the sentence is ridiculous. Remember that this grammatical principle expresses that one realized something while doing another action. How can you realize that you have fallen?

Instead, let’s look at an example that would be appropriate. Usually the most simple 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 specific use of “보니” indicates that the person is/became aware of what was going on, and the second clause is an expression of what the person became aware of. A simple translation of the sentence above would be:

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

In this form, 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. However, it is quite common to see the final clause of the sentence conjugated using the ~게 되다 grammatical principle, which you learned about in Lesson 94. This essentially adds the nuance that the result in the second clause occurred without the speaker being aware of it happening (because he/she was too focused on the action in the first clause).

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.

Let’s look at some simple examples:
친구들이랑 얘기하다 보니 시간이 엄청 빨리 지나갔어요 = While talking with my friends, I realized that time had gone by very quickly

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

The actions that you’re doing don’t necessarily need to be currently happening in order for you to use this grammatical principle. As you will see in the examples below, it is possible to use ~다 보니 with a situation that you do many times. In effect, the action is directly happening, the lifestyle of you “doing something regularly” is still happening.

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

운동을 자주 하다 보니 몸이 건강해졌어요 =While/after exercising often, I realized that I got/became healthy

And now let’s look at some more complicated examples:

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

In the next lesson, you will learn a grammatical principle that looks/sounds similar to ~다 보니 both in structure and in meaning. I don’t want you to get confused. ~다(가) 보니, through the use of ~다가 within the grammatical principle itself, implies that the realization occurs while one is still doing the first action. I don’t want to introduce the grammar of the next lesson in this lesson, but keep that in mind when you read Lesson 123.

That’s it for this lesson!

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