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Lesson 136: ~기에 and ~길래: To do an action in reaction to an experience

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~기에 and ~길래: To do an action in reaction to an experience




겉옷 = outer clothing
필수 = compulsory
엉망 = a mess
의상 = outfit
창구 = a window/counter for people to inquire about something
은행원 = a bank teller, bank clerk
일교차 = difference in temperature in a day
방충망 = a screen to keep bugs out
제왕절개 = Caesarean section surgery
양반다리 = cross-legged

선전하다 = to advertise for
조립하다 = to assemble
우승하다 = to win the championship
귀화하다 = to naturalize
강추하다 = to strongly recommend
분만하다 = to give birth

쓰다 = to be bitter
순하다 = to be gentle, meek
괴롭다 = to be painful, to be distressing
탱탱하다 = to be tight, taut
적절하다 = to be appropriate, suitable
진하다 = to be thick, strong
은은하다 = to be light in scent, color, taste
믿음직하다 = to be trustworthy

Adverbs and Other Words:
온갖 = all kinds of

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In this lesson, you will learn about ~기에 and ~길래. These grammatical principles are used to create a meaning of “so” or “because,” which often leads learners of Korean confused with how these may be different than ~아/어서. I will dissect this in this lesson! Let’s get started.



~기에 and ~길래: To do an action in reaction to an experience

Attaching ~기에 to a verb or adjective indicates that one does an action because of the clause before ~기에. This would usually translate to “so…” or “because…” in English. For example:

소고기가 마트에서 할인하기에 많이 사 왔어요
= Beef was on sale at the supermarket, so I bought a lot of it

그 여자가 너무 예쁘기에 전화번호를 물어봤어요
= That girl was very pretty, so I asked for her number

In speech, ~기에 is more commonly said as ~길래. Indeed, ~길래 is a more colloquial way to say ~기에. For example:

소고기가 마트에서 할인하길래 많이 사 왔어요
= Beef was on sale at the supermarket, so I bought a lot of it

그 여자가 너무 예쁘길래 전화번호를 물어봤어요
= That girl was very pretty, so I asked for her number

For the remainder of this lesson I will refer only to ~길래, as I feel it is much more common. Keep in mind that ~기에 can be used to have the same meaning, but would more likely be used in writing or formal situations.

The “action” that is done is often a thought. Of course, 생각하다 is an action, so this makes sense. However, I wanted to point this out specifically because often times a person thinks something because of the clause before ~길래. For example:

양반다리를 하고 앉길래 당신의 자세가 불편하다고 생각했어요
= You were sitting cross-legged, so I thought you were uncomfortable

The most natural question that any learner has at this point is: what is the difference between ~길래 and other ways to indicate reason. There are so many ways to indicate causality or “reason” in Korean. For example, using ~아/어서 as indicated in Lesson 37:

저는 배가 고파서 밥을 많이 먹고 싶어요
= I am hungry, so I want to eat a lot

I would like to explain how ~길래 differs from ~아/어서, and in doing so, explain how you can distinguish the usage of ~길래.

Let’s look at the following exchange between two Korean people:

Person 1: 옆구리가 아파 = My side is hurting
Person 2: 왜? = Why?
Person 1: 빨리 걸어서… = Because we’re (I’m) walking fast

The use of ~아/어서 indicates that Person 1’s side is hurting because of how fast he is walking. It would be unnatural to replace 걸어서 with 걷길래 here.

~길래 is placed on a verb or adjective that one directly experiences (usually by doing, seeing or hearing). That experience then leads the speaker to do a particular action or think a particular way.

Let’s change the conversation above slightly so that ~길래 could be used:

Person 1 sees Person 2 walking fast
Person 1: 바빠? = Are you busy?
Person 2: 아니, 왜? = No, why?
Person 1: 빨리 걷길래… = Because you’re walking fast

The use of ~길래 indicates that Person 1 experiences Person 2 walking fast. This leads him to think that Person 2 is busy.

Here’s another example:

자연분만이 제왕절개보다 회복이 빨라서 더 좋아요
= The recovery of a natural birth is faster than a c-section, so it is better

In this sentence, 빠르길래 could not replace ~빨라서. The end of the sentence above is an adjective, and therefore, the speaker did not do any action because of the previous clause.

Let’s change the sentence above slightly so that ~길래 could be used:

자연분만이 제왕절개보다 회복이 빠르길래 이번에도 자연분만하기로 했어요
= The recovery of a natural birth is faster than a C-section, so this time as well, I have decided to give birth naturally

With this sentence comes the presumption that the speaker has the experience of giving birth (both naturally and via C-section). This experience leads her to do the action of “deciding to give birth naturally.”

If the sentence changed a little bit, ~길래 could also denote that the speaker experienced this fact through hearing or seeing that the recovery of a natural birth is faster. For example:

친구가 자연분만을 했는데 제왕절개보다 회복이 빠르다고 하길래 저도 자연분만을 할 거예요
= My friend said that the recovery of a natural birth is faster than a c-section, so I too will give birth naturally

Below are many more examples. Notice that it is hard to translate the specific feeling of ~길래 and how it differs from other grammatical principles that would also translate to “because” or “so…” In all cases, keep in mind its usage as described above.

독감주사가 필수라고 하길래 저도 맞았어요
= They say that the flu shot is a necessity, so I also got it

강아지가 아주 순해 보이길래 잠깐 쓰다듬었어요
= The puppy looked so tame, so I pet it for a short time

제 친구가 요가를 같이 하자고 하길래 그렇자고 했어요
= My friend suggested that we do yoga together, so I agreed

그 의상이 파티에 제일 적절하길래 그 의상을 골랐어요
= That outfit is the most appropriate for the party, so I chose that one

방충망이 망가졌길래 아빠에게 고쳐 달라고 부탁했어요
= The screen was broken, so I asked dad to fix it (for me)

요즘에는 일교차가 심하길래 항상 겉옷을 가지고 다녀요
= These days, the daily temperature difference is severe, so I always bring my outerwear (jacket) when I go outside

제가 좋아하는 연예인이 선전을 하길래 그 제품을 샀어요
= A celebrity that I like is advertising that product, so I bought it

제 친구가 시합에서 우승을 했길래 친구를 축하해 줬어요
= My friend won the championship in a competition, so I congratulated him

모든 창구에 은행원들이 상담 중이길래 다른 은행으로 갔어요
= As the tellers at every counter were servicing customers, I went to another bank

IKEA가구는 쉽게 조립할 수 있다 하길래 저도 IKEA 가구를 샀어요
= They say that IKEA furniture is easy to assemble, so I also bought some

임신 초기에는 온갖 냄새가 괴로울 수도 있다고 하길래 저는 밖에 안 나갔어요
= They say that during the early stages of pregnancy, various kinds of smells can be painful (it is hard to stand the smell of various things), so I didn’t go outside

친구가 진한 커피를 시켰는데 너무 쓰다고 했길래 저는 은은한 향이 나는 차를 시켰어요
= My friend ordered a strong coffee, but said it was too bitter, so I ordered a light scented tea


As exemplified at the beginning of the lesson, often times ~길래 is used at the end of a sentence. This would be said in response “why” somebody does an action. More specifically, in response to what experience (of doing, seeing or hearing) led the person to do an action.

One way that you could translate the question in these types of sentences would be to use “what made you…” For example:

Person 1: 왜 그 식당에서 먹었어요? = What made you eat at that restaurant?
Person 2: 친구가 자꾸 강추했길래… = (…because) A friend kept recommending it….

… Or “what made you think?”

Person 1: 제가 한국으로 왜 귀화하고 싶다고 생각해요? = What made you think that I want to naturalize to (become a) Korean?
Person 2: 그냥 한국에서 오래 살길래… = Just because you’ve been living in Korea for so long…

Here are more examples:

Person 1: 왜 공연 표를 취소했어? = Why did you cancel your concert ticket?
Person 2: 사람들이 그 공연이 엉망이라고 하길래 = Because people say that it is a mess

Person 1: 오늘 얼굴에 어떤 로션을 발랐어? = What lotion did you put on your face today?
Person 2: 오늘 화장을 안 했는데. 갑자기 왜? = Why? I didn’t put any lotion on today…
Person 1: 피부가 아주 탱탱해 보이길래 = Because your skin (on your face) looks so nice/tight

Person 1: 왜 그 친구한테만 비밀을 말했어? = Why did you tell your secret only to that friend?
Person 2: 그 친구가 내 친구들 중에 가장 믿음직하길래 = Because, of all of my friends, (I’ve found that) he is the most trustworthy

That’s it for this lesson!

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