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Lesson 124: To be Worth Doing: ~ㄹ/을 만하다

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To be Worth Doing: ~ㄹ/을 만하다
Complicated ~ㄹ/을 만하다 Sentences


= cramp
들판 = field
원리 = principal/fundamentals
원두 = coffee beans
타조 = ostrich
묘지 = cemetery
방세 = rent for a room
보름 = fifteen days/half a month
보름달 = full moon
초승달 = crescent moon
정신력 = willpower/mental strength
피난민 = refugee
청바지 = jeans
해바라기 = sunflower
바퀴벌레 = cockroach

내쉬다 = to exhale
맛보다 = to taste
야영하다 = to camp
사격하다 = to shoot/fire a gun
이별하다 = to part from
피난하다 = to evacuate
고문하다 = to torture

바람직하다 = to be desirable

Adverbs and Other Words:
= a square Korean measurement roughly 3.3 square meters

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



In this lesson, you will learn how to use ~ㄹ/을 만하다 to indicate that something is worth doing or possible. In doing so, you will see how these types of sentences can also be expressed using the word 가치. Let’s get started.

To be Worth Doing: ~ㄹ/을 만하다

The grammar within ~ㄹ/을 만하다 is very similar to that of ~는 척하다, which you learned in Lesson 98. In both ~ㄹ/을 만하다 and ~는 척하다, then you can see that the ~는 것 principle is being used to allow the preceding clause to describe 만하다 (in the form of ~ㄹ/을) and 척하다 (in the form of ~는) respectively.

As you know, most of the time, the thing that immediately follows a describing verb or adjective using ~ㄴ/은/는/ㄹ/을 is a noun. For example:

오늘 보름달을 볼 수 있어요
= You can see a full moon tonight

정신력이 강한 사람을 찾고 있어요
= I’m looking for a person with strong willpower

저는 원두로 커피를 만들 줄 알아요
= I know how to make coffee using coffee beans

저는 타조가 있는 농장에 가고 싶어요
= I want to go to a park with ostriches

저는 해바라기가 있는 들판에 가고 싶어요
= I want to go to a field with sunflowers

However, 만하다 (along with 척하다) doesn’t act like this. Instead, there is no noun and the clause preceding ~ㄹ/을 is describing 만하다, which is adjective. You should specifically remember that it is an adjective (and not a verb) so you know how to conjugate it and also for something else that I will point out later. Let’s look at the basic structure of how this can be used by looking at a simple example:

할 만하다

The construction above would translate to something like “to be worth doing.” We can put a noun  as the subject of the sentence to indicate what is “worth” doing. For example:

그것은 할 만하다 = That is worth doing

Let’s look at some other examples:

한국은 살 만해요? = Is it worth living in Korea?
운전은 할 만해요? = Was it worth driving?
그 밥은 먹을 만해요 = That food is worth eating
그 책은 읽을 만해요 = That book is worth reading
그 컴퓨터는 살 만해요 = That computer is worth buying
그 사람은 믿을 만해요 = That person is worth trusting
코코아는 맛볼 만해요 = Cacao is worth tasting

집중력을 기르기 위해 사격을 배울 만 한가요?
= Is it worth learning to shoot in order to increase my concentration?

다리에 쥐가 자꾸 나는데 병원에 갈 만할까요?
= I keep getting a cramp in my leg, do you think it is worth going to the hospital?

전쟁에서 고문을 한 사람들을 치료할 가치가 있나요?
= Is it worth treating the people who tortured others in the war?

그 원룸 방세도 비싸고 7평 밖에 안 되는데 그래도 살 만해요?
= Not only is the rent on that studio apartment high, but it is only 7 pyeong, that being said, do you think it is worth living in?

The grammatical principle ~아/어 보다 (from Lesson 32) is often used with these verbs to add the feeling of “attempting” these actions. For example:

그 밥은 먹어 볼 만해요 = That food is worth eating (worth attempting or trying)
그 책은 읽어 볼 만해요 = That book is worth reading (worth attempting or trying to read)


I hear ~ㄹ/을 만하다 used as a question every weekend when I eat with my wife’s parents, so I wanted to make sure that I specifically mentioned it. I hear this all the time:

밥은 먹을 만해? = Is the food worth eating?

The direct translation above might be more accurately translated to “is the food good?” or “does the food taste alright?


It is rare to find an object being used before the verb. Think about this for a minute. If you look at this structure:

(그 밥은) [먹을 만해요] = (the food) + [is worth eating]

What noun could you possibly add to this sentence? It doesn’t make sense. A lot of Korean learners assume that because a verb is being used that it is better to include the noun as an object in the sentence. For example, instead of writing this:

이 책은 읽을 만하다

They write:

이 책을 읽을 만하다

It works to consider the entire construction of “(verb) + ~ㄹ/을 만하다” as a sort of descriptive clause that describes the noun as a subject.

It is possible to include a noun before the verb in these cases, but typically only done when the verb is 받다. In these cases, we still have a descriptive clause describing a subject, but the descriptive clause simply gets longer and more complex with the use of the object.

Using the construction “(subject) + (noun) + 받을 만하다” we create the meaning of “(subject) deserves/is worthy of receiving (noun).” For example:

그 선생님은 상을 받을 만해요
= That teacher deserves an award

그 의사는 많은 사람의 목숨을 살려서 칭찬을 많이 받을 만해요
= That doctor deserves a lot of praise for saving a lot of people’s lives (because he/she saved a lot of people’s lives)

우리 할아버지는 한국전쟁에서 싸우셨으므로 존경을 받을 만해요
= Our grandfather deserves a lot of respect for fighting in the Korean war

Another time you might see a noun included before the verb in these situations is if the verb is 하다, and the noun could actually be attached to 하다 to form a verb. For example, there is no difference between these two sentences:

한국어는 공부할 만하다
한국어는 공부를 할 만하다



More Complicated ~ㄹ/을 만하다 Sentences

So far you have only seen ~ㄹ/을 만하다 to describe the subject of a sentence. As an adjective, you can also use ~ㄹ/을 만하다 to used to describe an upcoming noun. For example:

먹을 만한 식당을 알아요? = Do you know a worthwhile place to eat?

Here, contrary to the structure of the sentence that we studied earlier, a noun can be added before the verb describing 만하다. For example:

밥을 먹을 만한 식당을 알아요? = Do you know a good (worthwhile) place to eat rice?
책을 읽을 만한 데를 알아요?  = Do you know a good place to read a book?

Other examples of this form being used with or without that extra noun:

살 만한 청바지가 있어요
= There are jeans that I want to buy (there are jeans that would be worthwhile buying)

수다를 떨 만한 장소가 많아요
= There are many places worth chatting at

그 시골에 야영할 만한 데가 있어요?
= Are there any places worth camping in that town?

보름 동안 유럽에 여행할 만한 나라가 있어요?
= Are there any places worth traveling in Europe for a fortnight?

그 피난민들이 가족과 이별해서 갈 만한 데가 없어요
= Those refugees left their families, so they have nowhere to go

Often people use ~ㄹ/을 만하다 to express that something is possible despite maybe not being the best option. It’s hard to separate these two usages (one expressing that something is “worthwhile” and the other expressing that something is “possible”) because they often feel similar in a sentence. For example:

한국요리는 할 만해요? = Is it worth cooking Korean food?

This sort of sounds awkward expressed this way, as I can’t think of an example where somebody would want to say this in English. Instead, it could have the meaning of:

한국요리는 할 만해요? = It is still possible/are you able to cook Korean food?

The usage/translation is often interchangeable.Here is a good example from a magazine that I saw where the usage of “possibility” can be distinguished quite distinctly from the usage of “worthwhile”:

세계에는 모든 사람들이 충분히 먹을 만한 식량이 있지만 8억 명 이상은 항상 배가 고파요
= In the world, even though there is enough food for it to be possible for everybody to eat, 800,000,000 people are always hungry

Another example. From before, I showed you this sentence:

운전은 할 만해요?

Depending on the situation, this could have the nuance of “is it worth driving” or “is it possible for you to drive?/can you drive?/are you able to drive?” I specifically say “nuance” because, as I said, it is very difficult for me to consider this another meaning/usage.

Here are some more examples:

산소마스크를 쓰면 숨을 내쉴만 한가요?
= Is it possible to exhale if you put on this oxygen mask?

이 약만 있으면 집에 있는 모든 바퀴벌레를 잡을 만하나요?
= If you have just this spray (medicine/pesticide), would it be possible to kill all of the cockroaches in the house?

Using 가치 to Express a Similar Meaning to ~ㄹ/을 만하다

The noun 가치 means “value/worth”, and can be used quite simply to express that meaning. For example:

그 그림은 높은 가치가 있어요 = That picture has a high value
청소년들이 노동의 가치를 배워야 돼요 = Young people should learn the value of physical labor
아이들은 밥을 건강하게 먹는 것에 대한 가치를 몰라요 = Children don’t know the value of eating healthy

Because it has this meaning, 가치 can be used to form essentially the same meaning as sentences with 만하다, but instead of being a grammatical principle, it is just a noun that can be used as any other noun. For example:

그 영화를 세 시간 동안 볼 가치가 있었어요
= It was worth watching that movie for three hours

이 커피가 5천원을 내고 마실 가치가 있을까요?
= Do you think this coffee is/worth (the price of/paying) 5,000 won?

5년 동안 노력해서 변호사가 될 가치가 있었어요
= It was worth it for me to work hard for five years and become a lawyer

You can even use 가치 in sentences with ~ㄹ/을 만하다. For example:

외국어를 배울 만한 가치가 있어요
= It is worth learning a foreign language

해외에서 한 번이라도 살아볼 만한 가치가 있어요
= It is worth trying/attempting living in a foreign country at least once

이 묘지 자리가 이렇게 많은 돈을 낼 만한 가치가 있어요?
= Is it worth paying this much money for this cemetery plot?

초승달, 보름달이 왜 생기는지 원리를 배울 만한 가치가 있어요?
= Is it worth learning the principle behind why there are half-moons and full-moons?

That’s it for this lesson!

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