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Lesson 76: ~는데 and ~는 데 in Korean

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Vocabulary
Introduction

The Difference Between 데 and 때
~는데 vs. ~는 데
The Most Common Meaning of ~는데

 

 

Vocabulary

Nouns:
손자 = grandson

Notes: Koreans designate names for members of their families much more than we do in English. 외할아버지 and 외할아버지 specifically refer to the grandfather and grandmother on one’s mother’s side. As such, you could use 외손자 and 외손녀 to refer to the grandson and granddaughter on one’s daughter’s side. On the father’s side, you can use 친할아버지, 친할머니, 친손녀 and 친손자 to refer to these members. In all situations, most people these days remove 친 and 외.

Examples:
저는 아들 한 명 밖에 없는데 손자 세 명이 있어요
= I only have one son, but I have three grandsons

손자나 손녀가 없으면 재산을 줄 사람이 없을 거예요
= I don’t have any grandsons or granddaughters, so I don’t have anybody to give my assets to

손녀랑 손자들 모두 할아버지가 돌아가신 날에 산소에 갔어요
= All of the grandsons and granddaughters went to the grave on the day the grandfather passed away

손녀 = granddaughter

Notes: Koreans designate names for members of their families much more than we do in English. 외할아버지 and 외할아버지 specifically refer to the grandfather and grandmother on one’s mother’s side. As such, you could use 외손자 and 외손녀 to refer to the grandson and granddaughter on one’s daughter’s side. On the father’s side, you can use 친할아버지, 친할머니, 친손녀 and 친손자 to refer to these members. In all situations, most people these days remove 친 and 외.

Examples:
손녀가 제일 사랑하는 사람은 할아버지예요
= The person who loves the granddaughter the most is the grandfather

손녀를 보러 가고 있었는데 사고가 나서 못 갔어요
= I went to go see my granddaughter, but I got into an accident, so I couldn’t go

외아들 = only son

Notes: This could refer to the only son among a group of daughters, or the only child in a family who happens to be a son.

Examples:
저는 외아들이라서 부모한테 사랑을 많이 받았어요
= I am an only son, so I get a lot of love from my parents

그 사람이 그 집안의 외아들이라서 항상 특별대우를 받아요
= That person is the only son of that household, so he always gets special treatment

장모님 = mother in law

Notes: The specific words for father- and mother-in-law are 장인 and 장모님. However, it is common
to politely refer to them as “father” and “mother” using 아버님 and 어머님.

Examples:
저는 우리 장모님과 잘 어울려요 = I get along well with my mother-in-law
이 잡채는 장모님께서 만드신 것이에요 = This japchae was made by my mother in law

저의 와이프가 예쁜데 장모님과 안 닮았어요
= My wife is pretty, but she doesn’t look like/resemble my mother-in-law

장모님이 한때 보수적이었다가 나이가 들면서 성격이 변했어요
= At one time my mother in law was very conservative, but as she got older, her personality changed

장모님께 선물을 직접 드리고 싶었는데 우리가 만나지 못하기 때문에 택배로 보내야겠어요
= I wanted to give my mother in law a present in person, but we didn’t meet, so I have to mail it to her

장인 = father in law

Notes: The specific words for father- and mother-in-law are 장인 and 장모님. However, it is common
to politely refer to them as “father” and “mother” using 아버님 and 어머님. You can refer to the father-in-law more politely by saying 장인어른.

Examples:
우리가 장인이 계시는 데에 갔어요 = We went to the place where my father-in-law is
결혼하는 것에 있어서 제일 힘든 것은 장인의 허락을 받는 일이었어요 = The hardest thing about being married is the task of getting permission from the father-in-law

부인 = wife

Notes: This is a polite way to refer to somebody else’s wife.

Common Usages:
귀부인 = upper class looking woman

Examples:
저 사람의 부인은 2년 전에 사고로 세상을 떠났어요
= That person’s wife died in an accident two years ago

저는 참석을 못 하는데 저 대신에 저의 부인이 갈 거예요
= I can’t attend, but instead of me, my wife will go

성인 = adult

Common Usages:
성인용품 = adult products
성인군자 = technically this refers to a “nobleman,” but these days a lot of people use is as a way to make fun of people who are trying not to do something bad by not taking any risks – like kissing somebody on the first date, or something!

Examples:
성인이 없는 데로 가자 = Let’s go to a place where there is no adults
그 만화책은 성인들에게 인기가 많아요 = That comic book is popular among adults

한국에서는 성인이 되면 이중국적이 불법이에요
= In Korea, when you are an adult, it is illegal to have dual citizenship

일본에서 성인들은 미국 청소년보다 만화책을 더 많이 읽어요
= In Japan, adults read more comic books than young people in America

어린이들을 많이 칭찬해 줘야 되는데 안 해 주면 성인이 돼서 문제가 생길 수 있어요
= You need to praise children a lot, and if you don’t, when they become an adult, there could be problems

연어 = salmon

Common Usages:
연어장 = salmon that is marinated with soy sauce
훈제연어 = smoked salmon

Examples:
집에서 연어를 훈제하는 데 시간 이 많이 걸려요
= It takes a long time to smoke a salmon at home

연어를 먹고 싶은데 훈제하는 기계가 없어서 못 먹겠어요
= I want to eat salmon, but I don’t have the machine to smoke it, so I can’t eat it

산소 = grave

Common Usages:
산소에 모시다 = a polite way to say that one buries a person in a grave

Examples:
한국 사람들은 보통 명절 때 산소에 가서 제사를 지내요
= Korean people usually go to the graves (of their ancestors) and do Je-sa there during the holidays

손녀랑 손자들 모두 할아버지가 돌아가신 날에 산소에 갔어요
= All of the grandsons and granddaughters went to the grave on the day the grandfather passed away

그늘 = shade

Common Usages:
얼굴에 그늘이 지다 = “to have shade on one’s face” – used to indicate that it is clear that there is something wrong with somebody because they always have a sad looking face.

Examples:
그늘에 의해 이 식물은 빨리 죽었어요 = The plant died quickly because of the shade

여기가 너무 더운데 그늘이 있는 데로 가도 돼요?
= It is too hot here, can we go to a place where there is shade?

그 학생의 아버지는 매우 폭력적이라 항상 그 학생의 얼굴에 그늘이 졌어요
= That student’s father is very abusive, so his face always looks sad

그림자 = shadow

Examples:
그림자를 봤는데 누구인지도 몰랐어요 = I saw the shadow, but I didn’t know who it was
갑자기 어떤 사람의 그림자가 골목에서 보여서 도망갔어요 = All of a sudden I saw somebody’s shadow in the alley so I ran away

팔꿈치 = elbow

Examples:
팔꿈치가 아픈데 언제 나을지 몰라요 = My elbow is sore, and I don’t know when it will get better
무언가에 팔꿈치를 강하게 부딪치면 이상한 느낌이 나요 = If you hit your elbow hard on something, there is a strange feeling

버섯 = mushroom

Common Usages:
독버섯 = poisonous mushroom
식용버섯 = edible mushroom
팽이버섯 = Korean style “long” mushrooms
표고버섯 = shiitake mushrooms
버섯을 따다 = to pick mushrooms

Examples:
가게에 갔는데 버섯은 없었어요 = I went to the store, but there wasn’t any mushrooms

제가 가장 좋아하는 음식은 피자인데 버섯이 있는 피자를 못 먹어요
= Pizza is my favorite food, but I can’t eat pizza with mushrooms

대부분 사람들은 버섯이 식물이라고 생각하지만 식물이 아닙니다
= Most people think that a mushroom is a plant, but it is not

천국 = heaven

Common Usages:
천국에 가다 = to go to heaven

Examples:
여기가 운동을 좋아하는 사람의 천국이네
= This place is heaven for people who like to exercise

몇몇 사람들이 자기가 죽으면 천국에 간다고 생각해요
= Some people think that if you die, you go to heaven

주민 = resident

Common Usages:
원주민 = people native to an area
주민센터 = local government office for residents of a neighborhood (I go here to get important documents, vote in elections and register things relating to residency)
주민등록증 = identification card

Examples:
그 식당은 이 지역 주민들에게 인기가 제일 많아요
= That restaurant is the most popular among residents of this area

이웃주민들은 그 남자의 이상한 행동을 보고 범인으로 짐작했다
= The neighborhood residents saw that man do some weird actions and guessed he was a criminal

모든 주민들은 쓰레기를 거리에 당연히 그냥 버려서는 안 됩니다
= Of course, all residents should not just throw out their garbage on the street

경찰은 이 지역의 살인사건의 단서를 찾기 위해 지역주민들에게 협조를 구했다
= In order to find clues concerning the locality’s murder incident, police sought cooperation from local residents

Verbs:
묻다 = to bury

Notes: The word 묻다 can mean to ask or to bury. The one that means to ask is irregular, and therefore a conjugation to the past tense would be 물었다. The one that means to bury is not irregular, and therefore a conjugation to the past tense would be 묻었다.

Examples:
저는 저의 강아지를 묻었어요 = I buried my dog
타임캡슐을 땅에 묻기 위해서는 땅을 깊이 파야 해요 = In order to bury the time capsule in the ground, we have to dig deep (in the ground)

칭찬하다 = to praise

The noun form of this word (칭찬) translates to “praise.”

Notes: When creating a sentence indicating whom you praised and what the praise was, ~을/를 is attached to the person whom you praise, and ~라고 is attached to the praise that is given as it is technically a quote.

Common Usages:
칭찬받다 = to receive praise

Examples:
오늘도 수고한 자신에게 “잘했다!”라고 칭찬해주세요
Today as well, praise (the hard working) yourself by saying “you did well!”

엄마 아빠에게 칭찬을 받을 수 있도록 방을 깨끗이 청소했어요
= I cleaned my room (cleanly) so that I could receive praise from mom and dad

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

어린이들을 많이 칭찬해 줘야 되는데 안 해 주면 성인이 돼서 문제가 생길 수 있어요
= You need to praise children a lot, and if you don’t, when they become an adult, there could be problems

나는 엄마에게 내가 펭귄 먹이를 준 것에 대해서 가장 길게 이야기했다. 또한 펭귄을
만졌을 때의 느낌도 설명했다. 엄마는 내가 펭귄 먹이를 줬다고 하자 용감하다고
칭찬해줬다.
= The longest thing I talked about with my mom was giving the bait to the penguins. Also, I explained the feeling when I touched the penguin. Mom said that I was very brave, and she praised me for giving the penguins the bait.

출석하다 = to attend

The noun form of this word (출석) translates to “attendance.”

Common Usages:
대리출석 = to go to a class for somebody else, usually so the original person can skip the class
출석부 = book for attendance keeping
수업에 출석하다 = to attend class

Examples:
이 수업에 75% 이상 출석하지 않으면 시험을 못 봐요
= If you don’t attend more than 75% of this class, you can’t take the exam

요즘에는 출석부를 수기로 작성하지 않고 온라인으로 해요
= These days the attendance roll isn’t done by hand, it is done online

훈제하다 = to smoke a food

Common Usages:
훈제오리 = smoked duck
훈제연어 = smoked salmon

Examples:
집에서 연어를 훈제하는 데 시간 이 많이 걸려요 = It takes a long time to smoke a salmon at home
연어를 먹고 싶은데 훈제하는 기계가 없어서 못 먹겠어요 = I want to eat salmon, but I don’t have the machine to smoke it, so I can’t eat it

묻히다 = to be buried

Common Usages:
조용히 묻히다 = when some event or rumor “quietly” goes away without people noticing

Examples:
이곳은 중요한 유적이 묻혀 있어서 보존해야 해요
= There are buried relics at this place, so we need to preserve it

그 금이 원래 묻혀 있었는데 사람들이 이 지역에서 그 금을 자꾸 찾으려고 해서
드디어 어떤 사람이 찾았어요
= That gold was originally buried, but people kept trying to look for it in this area, so
eventually some person found it

피부가 타다 = to get a sun burn

Examples:
어제 해변에 가서 로션을 많이 발랐는데 피부가 탔어요
= I went to the beach yesterday, and even though I put on a lot of lotion, I got a sun burn

한국 사람들은 피부가 타는 게 싫어서 해변에 갈 때 옷을 많이 입어요
= Korean people don’t like getting sun burns so if they go to the beach they wear a lot of clothes

Adjectives:
무덥다 = hot and humid

This word follows the ㅂ irregular.

Common Usages:
무더운 날 = a hot and humid day

Examples:
옛날에는 안 그렇지만 요즘에는 한국에서 요즘은 아주 무더워요
= It wasn’t like this a long time ago, but Korea these days is very hot and humid

지금 날씨가 아주 무더운데 비가 곧 올 거라서 시원해질 것 같아요
= The weather is very hot and humid now, but it will rain soon, so it will probably get cooler

For help memorizing these words, try using our Memrise tool.

 

Introduction

In this lesson, you will learn about a grammatical principle that you probably hear all the time in Korean. Probably one of the most common grammatical forms in Korean is the usage of ~는데. Why did it take me until Lesson 76 to finally introduce to this principle? Its meaning is complex and difficult to understand, especially when a learner hasn’t quite mastered the basics of Korean grammar. If you do completely understand the usage of ~는데 after my two lessons describing it, you either owe it to yourself for having a good grasp of the Korean language, or you owe it to me for being a good teacher! Let’s get started.

 

 

The Difference Between and

First things first, I need to simply describe the difference between the words “때” and “데.” In Lesson 42, you learned how 때 is used to refer to a time. For example:

저녁 때 = During dinner/evening time
방학 때 = During the school vacation

As it refers to a time, it can also be used to indicate the time in which something happens. For example:

저는 돈을 받을 때 행복할 거예요 = When I receive (the) money, I will be happy
뼈마디가 아플 때 이 약을 드세요 = When your joints hurt, take this medicine

때 is a noun – a noun that refers to a “time.”

데 is another noun – but a noun that refers to a “place.” Synonyms of this word are “장소” and “곳” which you should be familiar with by now. While 곳 and 장소 can be used in many parts of a sentence, 데 is usually only used when being described by some verb or adjective using the ~는 것 principle.

For example:

성인이 없는 데로 가자 = Let’s go to a place where there is no adults
주민들이 살 데가 없어요 = There is no place for the residents to live
혹시 가고 싶은 데가 있어요? = Do you have a place that you want to go to?
우리가 장인이 계시는 데에 갔어요 = We went to the place where my father-in-law is
우리가 처음에 만났던 데에 갔어요 = We went to the place that we met for the first time
돈이 없어서 갈 수 있는 데가 없었어요 = He had nowhere to go because he had no money

In Lesson 25, you learned how to create the meaning of anybody, nobody, anytime, anywhere, nowhere, etc. You learned that you can create the meaning of “anywhere” or “nowhere” using “데” for example:

아무 데나 = anywhere
아무 데도 = nowhere

The meaning of 데 to mean “place” is easy to understand in the examples that have been presented so far. However, this becomes more complicated when you start learning about other grammatical principles that can be easily confused with the sentences we made earlier. Let’s dive right into this confusion.

~는데 vs. ~

As you just learned, 데 can be placed as the noun in the ~는 것 principle to mean “place.” This means that you will often see sentences that have the construction “~는 데.” For example:

성인이 없는 데로 가자 = Let’s go to a place where there is no adults
우리가 장인이 계시는 데에 갔어요 = We went to the place where my father-in-law is
돈이 없어서 갈 수 있는 데가 없었어요 = He had nowhere to go because he had no money

Notice the space between ~는 and 데. The space signifies that 데 is a noun (meaning “place”) and the clause before “는” is describing the noun. However, “~는데” (without the space) is a completely different grammatical principle and can create many different meanings – all of which are very hard to grasp.

I will describe one of these meanings in the remainder of this lesson.

 

 

 

The Most Common Meaning of ~는데

The most common meaning of ~는데 when placed between two clauses is very similar (but subtly different) than the English equivalent of “even though.” In English we use “even though” to negate an upcoming clause. For example:

Even though I don’t like meat, I will try some.

In that sentence, you are negating the fact that you don’t like meat, and the second clause (“I will try some”) indicates something opposing the first clause.

In Korean, you would use the grammatical principle ~지만 to create this meaning. For example:

제가 고기를 안 좋아하지만 먹어볼 거예요

You could ask 100 Korean people and look in 100 Korean dictionaries for a concrete definition of “~는데” and never get a straight answer.  After constantly hearing it, using it, and reflecting on it, my personal definition of this principle is:

A meaning that is slightly less strong than “even though,” and/or often times setting up the situation for an upcoming clause.

Let’s work on the first part of that definition – a meaning that is slightly less strong than “even though.” You can use this grammatical principle to mean “even though.” For example, this sentence would be very similar to the sentence above:

제가 고기를 안 좋아하는데 먹어볼 거예요 = Even though I don’t like meat, I will try some

The second part of the definition provided above – “often times setting up the situation for the upcoming clause” is the key to using the principle. ~는데 is often used in sentences to connects two thoughts or ideas. Instead of separating them into two sentences you can use “~는데” to join them together. For example, instead of saying:

제가 밥을 먹고 있어요. 사실 밥을 별로 좋아하지 않아요

You could more naturally say:

제가 밥을 먹고 있는데 사실 밥을 별로 좋아하지 않아요

In these cases, the first clause sets up the scenario for the second clause. The meaning within this sentence also has a slight meaning of “even though.” For example, the meaning of that sentence is somewhere between:

I am eating, and I don’t really like it
Even though I am eating, I don’t really like it

But even those translations are debatable and could change depending on the situation. Translating ~는데 directly into English is very hard because not only is there no direct translation, the meaning is very variable.

While sometimes the meaning it takes on might have this slight “even though” feeling (as you have seen in the examples above), depending on the situation, it might not have that feeling at all. The key to understanding this grammatical principle is understanding the context of the conversation.

For example, if you wanted to ask a question to your teacher, you could do it like this:

질문이 있어요. 이 일을 언제까지 해야 되나요?
= I have a question. Until when do we have to finish this work?
(When does this work need to be finished?)

However, while perfectly correct, that sentence could sound awkward in a lot of situations. I’ve had the opportunity to speak to many foreigners who are studying Korean, and the number one “mistake” that they often make is not connecting their sentences with ~는데. Using ~는데 really makes sentences flow off your tongue, and the more comfortable you are with it, the more natural your Korean will sound. The sentence above could very naturally be connected to look like this:

질문이 있는데 이 일을 언제까지 해야 되나요?
= I have a question…until when do we have to finish this work?

I think that the best way to understand how this principle can be used is to see it in a lot of examples. Let’s get you on the right path right now with a bunch of examples right here:

저는 아들 한 명밖에 없는데 손자 세 명이 있어요
= I only have one son, but I have three grandsons

저는 참석을 못 하는데 저 대신에 저의 부인이 갈 거예요
= I can’t attend, but instead of me, my wife will go

제가 지금 가야 되는데 혹시 그것을 내일 저한테 줄 수 있어요?
= I have to go now; can you give that to me tomorrow?

우리는 이 일을 원래 해야 되는데 너무 복잡해서 하기 싫어요
= Even though we are/were supposed to do this (work), I don’t want to do it because it is too complicated

어린이들을 많이 칭찬해 줘야 되는데 안 해 주면 성인이 돼서 문제가 생길 수 있어요
= You need to praise children a lot, and if you don’t, when they become an adult, there could be problems

If the first clause occurred in the past, you can conjugate the first clause into the past tense, just like with other grammatical principles like ~기 때문에. For example:

가게에 갔는데 버섯은 없었어요
= I went to the store, but there wasn’t any mushrooms

일찍 일어났는데 아직 안 피곤해요
= I woke up early, but I’m not tired yet (even though I woke up early, I’m not tired)

그림자를 봤는데 누구인지도 몰랐어요
= I saw the shadow, but I didn’t know who it was

손녀를 보러 가고 있었는데 사고가 나서 못 갔어요
= I went to go see my granddaughter, but I got into an accident, so I couldn’t go

어제 해변에 가서 로션을 많이 발랐는데 피부가 탔어요
= I went to the beach yesterday, and even though I put on a lot of lotion, I got a sun burn

우리가 20분 전에 밥을 시켰는데 아직 도착하지 않았어요
= Even though we ordered our food 20 minutes ago, it still hasn’t arrived

선생님께 물어봤는데 문제를 이렇게 풀어야 된다고 했어요
= I asked the professor, and he said that we have to solve the problem this way

저는 원래 캐나다에서 왔는데 이제 한국에서 산 지 5년 됐어요
= I’m originally from Canada, but I’ve been living in Korea for 5 years now

그 금이 원래 묻혀 있었는데 사람들이 이 지역에서 그 금을 자꾸 찾으려고 해서 드디어 어떤 사람이 찾았어요
= That gold was originally buried, but people kept trying to look for it in this area, so eventually some person found it

This grammatical principle can be applied to adjectives as well. However, instead of attaching ~는데, you must attach ~ㄴ/은데, where ~은데 comes after an adjective that ends in a consonant, and ~ㄴ데 attaches directly to an adjective that ends in a vowel (or with the consonant ㄹ). This applies to 이다 as well (and also remember that 싶다 is an adjective).

You have learned many times that 있다 (usually) and 없다 (always) are adjectives. Although this is true, ~ is rarely added to these words. Therefore, I included 있다 and 없다 in the section above with verbs, where ~는데 is attached.   I first introduced 있다 and 없다 acting differently than most adjectives in Lesson 28. You also see 있다 and 없다 act differently than other adjectives when applying other grammatical principles – like when quoting questions (Lesson 53).

팔꿈치가 아픈데 언제 나을지 몰라요
= My elbow is sore, and I don’t know when it will get better

그 여자가 예쁜데 내 스타일이 아니야
= That girl is pretty, but she is not my style

저의 와이프가 예쁜데 장모님과 안 닮았어요
= My wife is pretty, but she doesn’t look like/resemble my mother-in-law

토론토는 되게 큰 도시인데 진짜 할 것이 없어요
= Toronto is a big city, but there is nothing to do there

여기가 너무 더운데 그늘이 있는 데로 가도 돼요?
= It is too hot here, can we go to a place where there is shade?

나는 그렇게 하고 싶은데 같이 할 수 있는 사람이 없어
= I want to do it like that, but I don’t have anybody to do it with

연어를 먹고 싶은데 훈제하는 기계가 없어서 못 먹겠어요
= I want to eat salmon, but I don’t have the machine to smoke it, so I can’t eat it

문제가 별로 없을 것 같은데 혹시 문제가 생기면 나에게 전화해 줘
= There probably won’t be a problem, but if one comes up, call me

지금 날씨가 아주 무더운데 비가 곧 올 거라서 시원해질 것 같아요
= The weather is very hot and humid now, but it will rain soon, so it will probably get cooler

그 사진에 있는 사람은 저의 아버지인데 7년 동안 한 번도 안 만났어요
= The person in that picture is my dad, but I haven’t seen him in 7 years

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The following is an example of a sentence that a person said to me at school. The person is in charge of preparing the science lab for us whenever we do experiments. She said it like this:

선생님이 내일부터 실험을 할 건데 재료가 뭐 필요하세요?
= You (teacher) are going to be doing an experiment starting from tomorrow (as in, in your classes this week), what (ingredients) do you need?

You might be confused with the use of “건데” in that sentence. Remember, 것 can be shorted to 거. When this happens, 이다 is now attached to “거” to make “거이다.” When 이다 attaches to a noun that ends in a vowel, the “이” can merge to the noun. Now, when I add ~ㄴ데 to this construction I come out with 건데. The above example could also be written in either of the following ways:

선생님이 내일부터 실험을 할 것인데 재료가 뭐 필요하세요?
선생님이 내일부터 실험을 할 거인데 재료가 뭐 필요하세요?

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~는데 is very versatile and using it makes your Korean sound very natural. The usage is a little bit hard to get used to, but by adding ~는데 into your repertoire of Korean you will very quickly discover its specific usage. I suggest using this principle very often, especially (as I mentioned earlier) to join two clauses together where the first can give the background scenario for the upcoming clause.

There are a few other ways that ~는데 can be used, but I will describe these in the next lesson. For now… that’s it for this lesson!

Click here for a Workbook to go along with this lesson.
Click here for Korean Short Stories specifically tailored to learners at this level.

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