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Lesson 139: One Could Have Done, But Did Not

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Vocabulary
Introduction

~았/었어도 되다: One could have done, but did not
Negative sentences

 

Vocabulary

Nouns
쟁반 = food tray
양력 = solar calendar
음력 = lunar calendar
사방 = all around, all directions
언론 = the press, the media
언론사 = a press, media company
기둥 = pillar
진술 = statement
진술서 = a written statement
해충 = pest, insect
애벌레 = caterpillar
살충제 = pesticide
출장비 = business travel expenses

Verbs:
세차하다 = to clean one’s car
해지하다 = to cancel/close an account
예열하다 = to pre-heat
제거하다 = to remove/eliminate
단속하다 = to crack down on
정차하다 = to stop a car
헌혈하다 = to donate blood
과속하다 = to go to fast
착오하다 = to make an error
제비뽑기하다 = to draw straws

Adjectives
마렵다 = the feeling of having to go to the bathroom
축축하다 = to be damp/wet/moist (84 – 91 workbook)

Adverbs:
듬뿍 = an adverb to indicate that an action is done “a lot” or with a lot of a noun
굳이 = an adverb that is used to indicate that one doesn’t have to do something

 

 

Introduction

In this lesson, we will add complexity to a very common grammatical principle. ~아/어도 되다 was introduced in Lesson 49 as a way to indicate that one may do an action. Two lessons ago, I broke down the purpose of ~아/어야. In the previous lesson, I introduced the idea of including ~았/었 before ~아/어야. In this lesson, you will expand on these ideas to create sentences that end in ~았/었어도 되다. Let’s get started.

 

 

~/었어도 되다: One could have done, but did not

With your knowledge of from the previous lesson, you should be able to interpret the difference between the following two sentences:

먼지가 많아서 세차를 해야 했어요
먼지가 많아서 세차를 했어야 해요

In the first sentence, because there was a lot of dust, the person should have gotten a car wash – and did. In the second sentence, the person should have gotten a car wash, but didn’t. Adding ~았/었~ before ~어야 allows the speaker to indicate that the judgement came after the action was completed. Therefore, because correct judgment wasn’t applied, the wrong thing was done (i.e. the person should have gotten the car wash, but didn’t).

That same logic can be applied to adding ~았/었~ before ~아/어도 되다. Let’s first remember the purpose of adding ~아/어도 되다. In Lesson 49, you saw how adding this to the end of a clause allows the speaker to indicate that there is not a problem if the action before ~아/어도 되다 is done. For example:

출장비를 줄 테니까 돈을 안 챙겨도 돼요
= I’m going to give you business travel expenses, so you don’t need to bring money

오줌이 마려우면 지금 화장실에 가도 돼요
= If you have to go pee, you can go to the bathroom now

Let’s look at the effect of adding ~았/었 between the stem of the verb and ~아/어도 되다.

——–

Let’s say that you are at your school’s cafeteria. You take three plates of food, and are fumbling around with trying to carry them all at once. The lady at the counter could say to you:

쟁반을 가져갔어도 돼요 = You could have taken a tray

As we saw in the sentences earlier using ~았/었어야 하다, the ~았/었 indicates that the incorrect judgment was used and therefore the wrong action was performed. We see the same effect when adding ~았/었어도 되다. In the sentence immediately above, you could have taken the tray. There would have been no problem if you did take the tray – but you didn’t.

It is usually more natural to also conjugate the final 되다 in sentences like this.For example:

쟁반을 가져갔어도 됐어요 = You could have taken a tray

Let’s look at another example:

——–

Let’s say that you are driving with your friend and are looking for a good place to drop him off. You can’t just stop the car because you are in a “no stopping zone,” and the police have recently been cracking down on illegal stopping. You end up driving far away to drop him off. Later, you hear that the cracking down has stopped. Your friend could tell you:

불법정차단속이 끝났으니까 거기에 잠깐 멈췄어도 돼요, or
불법정차단속이 끝났으니까 거기에 잠깐 멈췄어도 됐어요
= They (the police) have finished the illegal no-stopping crack-down, so you could have left me off there

As we saw in the sentences earlier using ~았/었어야 하다, the ~았/었 indicates that the incorrect judgment was used and therefore the wrong action was performed. We see the same effect when adding ~았/었어도 되다. In the sentence immediately above, you could have stopped there. There would have been no problem if you did stop there – but you didn’t.

Below are many more examples:

언론사가 대통령을 인터뷰했어도 됐어요
= The media could have interviewed the president

그 계좌에 돈이 아예 없어서 해지했어도 돼요
= There is no money in that account at all, so you could have closed it

볶음밥이 많이 남아서 듬뿍 가져갔어도 됐어요
= There is a lot of fried rice left, so you could have taken a lot of it

옷이 많이 축축하지 않아서 그냥 입었어도 됐는데
= The clothes aren’t even that wet, you could have just worn them

생선 냄새를 제거하기 위해 창문을 열었어도 됐어요
= In order to get rid of the fish smell, you could have opened the window

여기에 아무 것도 없을 거라서 기둥을 세웠어도 돼요
= There won’t be anything here, so you could have erected a pillar here

제비뽑기를 해서 일을 맡기는 것 대신에 그냥 저한테 맡겼어도 돼요
= Instead of assigning that job by drawing straws, you could have just assigned it to me

현혈하는 것이 위험한 수술이 아니라서 오기 전에 아무거나 먹었어도 돼요
= Giving blood is not a dangerous surgery, so you could have eaten anything before you came

 

 

Negative sentences

In Lesson 49, you also saw that you can create negative sentences with the construction ~아/어도 되다. By doing this, the speaker can indicate that it is okay if something does not happen. For example:

이 야채에 살충제를 안 뿌려서 안 씻어도 돼요
= There isn’t/wasn’t pesticides sprayed on these vegetables, so you don’t need to wash them

It is also possible to use negative sentences with ~았/었어도 되다. You can use either ~지 않다 or 안, but I feel that it is more commonly done with 안.

The same logic applies as above, but it’s just the opposite now. It wasn’t necessary for something to be done. It would have been okay if it were not done, but it was.

Let’s say you borrow your friend’s car. Like a good person, you put gas in it after you’re done with it. Your friend could say to you:

기름을 안 넣었어도 됐어요
기름을 넣지 않았어도 됐어요
= You didn’t need to put gas in it
(It would have been okay if you didn’t put gas in it)

Again, the ~았/었 indicates that the incorrect judgement was used and therefore the wrong action was performed. In the sentence immediately above, you could have not put gas in. There would have been no problem if you didn’t put gas in – but you did.

Below are many more examples:

결국 일찍 도착해서 과속을 안 했어도 됐는데
= We ended up arriving early, so we didn’t need to speed/hurry

이 오븐은 금방 뜨거워져서 예열을 안 했어도 됐어요
= This oven gets hot quickly/immediately/right away, so you didn’t need to pre-heat it

애벌레가 해충이 아니라서 살충제를 안 뿌렸어도 돼요
= Caterpillars are not pests, so you didn’t need to spray pesticides

언론이 안 와서 결국은 진술서를 준비 안 했어도 됐어요
= The media ended up not coming, so we didn’t need to prepare a statement

결국은 열쇠가 내 주머니에 있어서 굳이 사방을 안 찾아 다녔어도 됐어
= In the end, the key was in my pocket, so I didn’t need to go around everywhere looking for it

오늘은 나의 생일이 맞긴 하지만 양력생일 말고 음력생일이 더 중요하다고 생각해서 선물을 안 샀어도 됐는데
= Today is my birthday, but my “lunar calendar” birthday, not my “solar calendar” birthday is

That’s it for this lesson!