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Lesson 144: ~지 뭐: One doesn’t care about what the outcome of a situation is

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~지 뭐




악취 = stink
모의 = mock
환상 = fantasy
침낭 = sleeping bag
배탈 = a stomach ache
통계 = statistics
수치 = numbers, figures
가책 = the qualms of doing something bad
하수 = sewage
하수구 = water in pipes in a house
나흘간 = four days
부가세 = additional tax
지하도 = underground road
사직서 = letter of resignation (to resign from a position)
신호등 = traffic lights

양해하다 = to ask for an understanding for
철거하다 = to take down, to tear down
사직하다 = to resign from a job
입대하다 = to enlist in the army
체포하다 = to arrest
자수하다 = to turn oneself in
반발하다 = to resist, to oppose
얼얼하다 = for one’s face or mouth to be tingling or burning
입씨름하다 = to argue about/bicker over

곱슬하다 = to be curly
과도하다 = to be excessive
애매모호하다 = to be ambiguous

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In this lesson, you will learn how to end your sentences with ~지 뭐 to show that one doesn’t really care what the outcome of a situation is. I don’t really like “one doesn’t really care about what the outcome of a situation is” as a way to translate ~지 뭐. It just doesn’t sound very academic. Instead, let’s translate it to “to resign to the fact that.” Yes, much more academic. Let me break ~지 뭐 down for you and show you how we can use it. Let’s get started.

~지 뭐: To resign to the fact that…

In Lesson 93, you learned many ways that ~지 can be added to the stems of verbs or adjectives or 이다 to end a sentence. It is also possible to end a sentence with ~지 and then add 뭐 after it. For example:

침대가 없다니 침낭을 가져가지 뭐

I’ve heard Korean people try to make this type of sentence formal by saying ~죠 뭐요 instead of ~지 뭐. For example, by saying this:

 침대가 없다니 침낭을 가져가죠 뭐요

It is hard to say that this is “incorrect” if Korean people use it like this sometimes. However, I don’t like this, and I suggest you don’t use it like this. 

When a sentence ends in ~지 뭐, the speaker is implying a feeling that there is nothing that can be done about the situation. They will have to give up or resign to the idea that they will just have to bring a sleeping bag because there won’t be any beds. What else could one do? If somebody says that there isn’t any beds, and you need to go to this place anyways, well… I guess you’re sleeping on the floor, aren’t you?

As is typical with grammatical principles in Unit 6, it is difficult to translate ~지 뭐 to English. A proper translation usually requires a lot of words that describe the feeling that is trying to be conveyed. For example:

침대가 없다니 침낭을 가져가지 뭐 = Well, there’s nothing I can do. They say there are no beds, so I guess I’m bringing a sleeping bag.

Below are many example sentences with my attempts at translating the feeling that comes along with ending a sentence with ~지 뭐:

완벽한 남자랑 결혼하는 것이 그냥 환상이지 뭐
= I guess I just need to resign to the fact that marrying the perfect man is just a fantasy

과도하게 포장된 제품들만 먼저 반품하지 뭐
= I guess let’s first return the products that are excessively packaged

You might be thinking when you would ever say this. My wife actually said this to me when we were on a trip and she realized she bought way too many things to bring back with us. We had to return a few things, so she suggested that we return the things that have big packaging. I suggested from the beginning we don’t shop at all.

우리가 언젠가 살인자를 찾아서 그때 체포하지 뭐
= We will eventually catch the murderer, so I guess we’ll just arrest him/her then

일주일 동안 갔으면 좋겠는데 호텔이 없어서 나흘간만 가지 뭐
= It would have been nice to have gone for a week, but there are no hotels, so I guess we’ll just have to go for four days

학생들이 이 새로운 규정에 반발할 것 같아서 그냥 포기하지 뭐
= The students will probably resist/oppose this new rule, so let’s just give up

매운 떡볶이를 먹으면 입안이 얼얼해서 그냥 순한 맛 떡볶이를 시키지 뭐
= When I eat spicy ttokboki the inside of my mouth gets all tingly, so I guess we just need to order the plain

저 지하도로 갔어야 했는데 기회를 놓쳐서 다음 신호등에서 그냥 직진하지 뭐
= We should have taken that underpass, but because we missed the chance to get on it, we will just have to go straight at the next intersection

긴장하면 배탈이 엄청 자주 나는데 중요한 모의고사를 봐야 되니까 약을 먹지 뭐
= When I’m nervous, I have severe stomach pains, but since I have to do an important mock exam, I guess I’ll just have to eat some medicine (to make it better)

부가세를 깜박해서 생각보다 가격이 비싸서 이 컴퓨터 말고 다른 컴퓨터를 사지 뭐
= I forgot about the tax, so the price is more expensive than I thought, which means I guess I won’t be able to buy this computer, and I’ll have to buy another one instead

샤워를 하고 머리를 안 말려서 지금 머리가 곱슬머리인데 나가야 되면 모자를 쓰지 뭐
= After showering I didn’t dry my hair and now my hair is all curly, so if I have to go outside I guess I’ll just wear a hat


It is also possible to add ~지 뭐 to situations that occurred in the past tense to indicate that one had, in the past, resigned to some fact. For example:

동료를 싫어해서 사직서를 냈지 뭐
= I hated all of my coworkers, so I had nothing I could do, I submitted my resignation

한 시간 동안 회의에서 입씨름만 하다가 성과 없이 끝났지 뭐
= After just bickering for an hour during the meeting without any result, we just had to finish the meeting

3년 동안 취업하려고 했는데 일자리가 아예 없어서 입대했지 뭐
= I tried for three years to get a job, but there just aren’t any positions so I had to join the army


It is also possible to add ~지 뭐 to situations that will occur in the future to indicate that one will have to give up on something. I guess you could say that some of the examples in the first slew of sentences have already done this. That is, they refer to situations in the near future even though ~지 뭐 is added to the present tense form of a verb. However, I specifically want to mention that ~지 뭐 is commonly added to ~겠. For example:

집 근처 하수에서 악취가 나서 곧 이사를 해야 되겠지 뭐
= There is a bad smell coming out of some sewage near our house, so I guess we will just have to move soon

내용이 살짝 애매모호해서 학생들한테 다시 설명해야 되겠지 뭐
= The content is a little bit ambiguous, so I guess I’ll just have to explain it to the students again

범죄를 저지른 사람이 양심에 가책을 느낄 거라서 곧 자수하겠지 뭐
= People that commit crimes will feel the guilt on the conscious and will eventually turn themselves in

관련 통계에 대한 수치를 보면 그 문제에 대한 답을 찾을 수 있겠지 뭐
= If we look at the relevant statistic figures, I guess we can just find and answer

이 건물 화장실 하수구에 문제가 있어서 곧 건물을 철거해야 되겠지 뭐
= This building has a problem with its sewage pipes, so I guess we will soon have to demolish it

That’s it for this lesson!

Okay, got it! Take me to the next lesson!