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Lesson 82: ~구나, ~군 and ~군요

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Oh! I didn’t realize that…: ~구나, ~군 or ~군요



Click on the English word to see information and examples of that word in use. Use these sentences to give yourself a feel for how each word can be used, and maybe even to expose yourself to the grammar that you will be learning shortly.

A PDF file neatly presenting these words and extra information can be found here.

낚싯줄 = fishing line

Common Usages:
낚싯줄을 감다 = to wind/reel a fishing line

낚싯줄이 이렇게 비싸구나 = I didn’t know/realize that fishing line is this expensive
낚싯줄이 꼬이는 바람에 대어를 놓쳤어요 = The fishing line got all tangled so I missed the big fish

둥지 = bird’s nest

Common Usages:
새둥지를 틀다 = to find a new home

둥지가 나무에서 떨어졌구나 = Oh, I didn’t realize that the nest fell from the tree
저는 서울을 떠나 인천에 새둥지를 틀고 새롭게 시작할 거예요 = I am going to leave Seoul and set up my new life in Incheon

암호 = secret code

Common Usages:
암호 설정 = password setup
암호 변경 = password change
암호를 풀다 = to crack a password

저는 암호를 몰라서 이 컴퓨터에 접속할 수 없어요 = I don’t know the password, so I can’t access this computer
이메일 암호를 매달 새롭게 바꿔줘야 해서 성가셔요 = Changing one’s email password every month is really cumbersome/bothersome

비만 = obesity

Common Usages:
비만율 = obesity rate
고도비만 = extreme obesity
경도비만 = mild obesity
복부비만 = abdominal obesity
하체비만 = lower-body obesity
상체비만 = upper-body obesity

미국에서 비만이 아주 큰 문제이구나 = I didn’t realize that obesity was such a big problem in America
점점 더 청소년 비만율이 높아지고 있어서 사회문제가 되고 있어요
= The obesity rate of youth is increasing gradually, and is becoming a problem in society

식욕 = appetite

Common Usages:
식욕억제 = appetite suppressing
식욕 억제제 = appetite suppressant
식욕이 돋다 = to whet one’s appetite

수술을 받은 후에 식욕을 잃었구나 = Oh, I didn’t realize that you lost your appetite after the surgery
식욕을 돋구기 위해 식초를 넣으면 좋아요 = In order to get the appetite going, it would be good to put some vinegar in there

정상 = normal

Common Usages:
비정상 = abnormal
정상 수업 = normal class

오늘은 정상 수업이 있는 날이니 늦지 말고 학교에 와 주세요
= Today is a day where we have class as normal, so don’t be late and come to school

컴퓨터를 고치러 갈 때마다 부품이 모두 정상이라고 하는데 컴퓨터 충전이 안돼요
= Every time I go to get the computer fixed, they say that everything is normal, but the computer won’t charge

장마 = rainy season

Notes: During the summer in Korea, the temperature goes up and the air is humid. Temperatures may rise to 30 degrees or above. This isn’t terribly bad on its own, but the humidity adds to the heat. A rainy season (장마) comes every year sometime in July, and typically only lasts for a few weeks.

Common Usages:
장마철 = the time of the rainy season

한국에서는 장마가 7 월에 있어요 = There is a rainy season in Korea in July
장마가 다음 주부터 시작될 거에요 = The rainy season will start from next week

지필 = pen and paper

이 시험이 지필시험이구나 = I didn’t realize that this exam is a pen-and-paper exam
이 책을 지필 한 작가는 10년 전에 세상을 떠났다 = The author who wrote this book passed away ten years ago

생명 = life

Notes: Let me tell you a story. It is very hard to “place” a word in a particular lesson. Of course, the goal is to have the most common words appear in the earliest lessons. Then, for the words to become progressively more difficult as the learner increases their ability by going to higher lessons. One could argue that 생명 is too difficult a word for Lesson 82, but there are arguments against that. As I drive around Seoul I often see signs that say:

안전벨트는 생명벨트이다 = The seatbelt is a life-belt

Also, it is very common in the use of 생명보험, seen next.
Between Lesson 50 and Lesson 150, all of the words are equally common. It’s just a matter of if/when you come across them in your daily life.

Common Usages:
생명보험 = life insurance
생명을 살리다 = to save a life
생명을 구하다 = to save a life

생명을 살리는 일보다 중요한 일은 없어요 = There is nothing more important than living
이 사람은 저의 생명을 구해 준 은인이에요 = That person is the hero/savior who saved my life

생명보험 = life insurance

Common Usages:
생명보험을 들다 = to get life insurance

생명보험이 그렇게 중요하구나 = I didn’t realize that life insurance was that important
나라에서 치료비를 지원받지만 대부분 한국 사람들은 개인 생명보험을 가지고 있어요
= People get medical expenses reimbursed from the government but still, most Korean people have personal private life insurance

해군 = navy

Common Usages:
해군 대령 = naval captain/colonel
해군 장교 = naval officer
해군에 입대하다 = to enter the navy

해군에 입대하기 위해서는 체력이 좋고 건강해야 해요
= If you want to enter the navy, you need to be in really good health

선호도에 따라 해군에 지원할 수도 육군에 지원 할 수도 있어요
= Depending on your preference, you can apply for the navy, or apply to the army

대령 = colonel

Common Usages:
대령님 = colonel (used when referring to the person)
해군 대령 = naval captain/colonel

대령이 되기 위해서는 최소한 10년의 시간이 필요해요
= If you want to become a colonel, you need at least ten years

오늘 부대에 대령님이 방문하실 예정이라 더욱 각별히 준비를 해야 돼요
= Today the colonel is scheduled to visit the camp, so we will have to prepare especially hard

= side/face

Notes: You will often see signs in parking lots saying “전면추차.” This is telling people to park their cars with the front (side) in (i.e. not to back in).

Common Usages:
양면 = both sides
면으로 둘러 쌓이다

양면 테이프가 있어서 사진을 고정하기 더 쉬워요
= I have double-sided tape, so affixing the photos is easier

한국은 삼면이 바다로 둘러 쌓여 있는 반도국가에요
= Korea is a peninsular nation landlocked on all three sides

표면 = surface

Notes: It’s funny how it works sometimes. The day I was writing the information for this word, I received a box of apples via delivery. Written on the side of the box was “왜 사과표면이 부연가요?” This would translate to “Why is the surface/skin of the apple gray/not clear?”

Common Usages:
표면적 = surface area

이 돌의 표면이 아주 부드럽구나
= I didn’t realize that the surface of this rock was so soft

지구표면에 눈과 얼음이 많을수록 자외선이 반사돼요
= The more snow and ice on the earth’s surface, the more UV rays get reflected

보도 = sidewalk

Common Usages:
횡단보도 = crosswalk
횡단보도를 건너다 = to cross a crosswalk

걸을 때 자전거 도로가 아니라 보도에서 걸어야 안전해요
= When you walk, it is only safe if you walk on the sidewalk, not the bicycle path

횡단보도를 건널 때는 꼭 좌우를 살피고 손을 들고 건너야 해요
= When you cross a crosswalk, you must always look both ways (left and right) and raise your hand

선반 = shelf

Common Usages:
주방 선반 = kitchen shelf
선반에 얹다 = to put on a shelf
선반에 올리다 = to put up on a shelf

짐을 선반 위에 올렸어요 = I put my suitcase on the shelf
주방 선반이 망가져서 급하게 선반 대신 사용할 상자를 구해왔어요 = The kitchen shelf broke so in a pinch, instead of a shelf I got a box

불안감 = anxiety

Common Usages:
불안감이 엄습하다 = for a bad feeling/anxiety to come over someone

당장이라도 그 사람이 저를 찾을 수 있다는 불안감에 잠을 설쳤어요
= The anxiety of knowing that person could find me at a moment’s notice made me not sleep well

팀에 중요한 역할을 하는 선수가 부상을 당해서 내일 경에서 질 수도 있다는 불안감이 엄습했다
= The player with an important role to the team got injured, so the feeling of losing the match tomorrow has hit me

가속하다 = to accelerate

The noun form of this word (가속) translates to “acceleration.”

Common Usages:
가속화 = acceleration

고속도로에서 가속해서 달리다 사고가 나는 사례가 많다
= There are a lot of instances of accidents on the highway because of cars accelerating

현재 유행하는 제품을 최대한 많이 생산하기 위해 가속해서 공장을 돌렸다
= In order to produce the product that is a hit these days the factory accelerated its production

감속하다 = to decelerate

The noun form of this word (감속) translates to “deceleration.”

Notes: In dangerous areas of streets or roads (for example, because of a sharp curve or bumps) there is often a sign warning drivers that they must slow down. This is often written as “절대감속.” 절대 is usually used to indicate that one should never do something, but this happens when the end of a sentence is negative. In very rare cases, like in 절대감속, 절대 can be used to say that one must do something.

I have also seen 감속 used on other road signs saying:

비, 눈 올 때 25-50% 감속 = When it rains or snows, decrease your speed by 25-50%
감속운행! = Slow down!

Common Usages:
속도를 감속하다 = to slow down one’s speed

터널에 들어가면 속도를 감속해야 사고의 위험을 줄일 수 있어요
= When you go into a tunnel, but lowering your speed, you can decrease the danger of an accident

앞차가 갑자기 감속하는 바람에 뒤에 따라오던 차가 속도를 줄이지 못하고 들이박았다
= The car in-front suddenly decelerated, and the car coming from behind couldn’t decrease their speed so they hit each other

칠하다 = to paint

Common Usages:
페인트를 칠하다 = to paint (with paint)

지붕 색깔이 너무 어두워서 엷은 하늘색깔로 칠했어요
= The color of the ceiling was too dark so I painted it a bright sky color

벽지를 붙이는 대신에 페인트를 칠하기로 결정했어요
= Instead up putting up wallpaper, we decided to paint the wall

쓰다듬다 = to pet, to caress

Common Usages:
손을 쓰다듬다 = to caress/pet somebody’s hand
머리를 쓰다듬다 = to caress/pet somebody’s hair
강아지를 쓰다듬다 = to pet a dog

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

나는 펭귄을 만져보고 싶어서 먹이를 먹고 있을 때 펭귄 머리를 쓰다듬었다. 매우
부드럽고도 이상한 느낌이었다.
= I wanted to touch the penguins, so when they were eating their bait, I pet a penguins head. It was a strange feeling, but also very soft.

당황스럽다 = to be embarrassed

Common Usages:
당황스러운 표정 = an embarrassed facial expression

저를 놀리곤 했던 친구를 길에서 마주쳐서 당황스러웠어요
= I bumped into a friend that used to tease me on the street so I was embarrassed

너무 당황스러워서. 물론 나는 네가 마음에 들기 때문에 꼭 말을 하고 싶었어. 하지만 너는 인기도 많고, 친구들도 많기 때문에 나한테 관심이 있을지 정말 몰랐어
= I am too shy. Of course, because I like you, I had to talk to you. But, you are so popular, and you have a lot of friends, so I really didn’t think that you would be interested in me.

불안하다 = to be anxious, to be uneasy

The noun form of this word (불안) translates to “anxiety.”

Common Usages:
불안감 = anxiety

거기에 밤에 가는 게 불안해요 = I don’t feel comfortable going to that place at night
여기가 좀 불안해서 집에 갈 거예요 = I am a little bit uncomfortable here, so I will go home

Adverbs and Other Words:
= at the very extreme of some place or time

Common Usages:
맨 앞 = at the very front
맨 뒤 = at the very back
맨 끝 = at the very end
맨 위 = at the very top
맨 처음 = at the very beginning

그 경치를 보려면 산 맨 위에 가야 돼요
= In order to see the view you need to go to the top of the mountain

보도로 맨 끝까지 걸어갈 수 있구나
= I didn’t realize that you could walk to the very end on this path

얼른 = adverb placed in sentences when speaker wants listener to do something quickly

Notes: A lot of accents in Korea pronounce this as 얼렁

Common Usages:
얼른 가 = go now/quickly!

바닥에 물을 쏟아서 얼른 휴지로 닦았어요
= I spilled water on the ground, so I wiped it up with a paper towel quickly

이미 다 했어, 얼른 손 씻고 생일 파티 할 준비해.
= I already did everything. Go wash your hands and get ready for the party.

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In this lesson you will learn how to add ~구나, ~군 or ~군요 to the end of a sentence.  This grammatical form is often said when one realizes a new fact or piece of information. Allow me to break it down more than that. Let’s get started.


Oh! I didn’t realize that…: ~구나, ~ or ~군요

Just like many of the other grammatical principles that you have learned recently, creating a direct English translation for ~구나, ~군 or ~군요 is difficult. Instead, it is better to understand its usage and the subsequent meaning and feeling that it can create.

Regardless of if it attaches to a verb, adjective or 이다, these endings are added to the end of a sentence that speaker just came to realize.

When adding this to an adjective or 이다, ~구나, ~군 or ~군요 are attached directly to the stem of the adjective (or attached to 이 in the case of 이다). For example:

과학 선생님이구나

Let me explain when and why this phrase would be used.

As I stated earlier, ~구나, ~군 or ~군요 are added to the end of a sentence that the speaker just came to realize. In effect, the speaker is showing surprise of this newly discovered information. A speaker would use one of these endings at the end of a sentence that he/she did not know before. In this situation, the speaker would have just discovered that this person is a Science teacher. For example:

Person 1: 그 사람은 그냥 영어 회화 선생님이 아니야?
= That person isn’t an English teacher?

Person 2: 응. 원래 영어 회화 선생님인데 지금 과학선생님이야
= No, originally he was an English teacher, but now he is a Science teacher

Person 1: 아 진짜? 과학 선생님이구나
= Ah really? I didn’t know/realize he is a science teacher

Let’s look at another example, this time using an adjective.

Imagine you are going to go fishing for the first time. You go to the store to buy supplies, and you see the price of fishing line. You are surprised because you didn’t realize that fishing line is that expensive. In this case, you can say the following:

낚싯줄이 이렇게 비싸구나 = I didn’t know/realize that fishing line is this expensive

Below are more examples. As you may have guessed, ~구나 and ~군 are used in informal situations and ~군요 is used in formal situations. Also, ~구나 is very common in conversation – much more common than ~군. However, younger people commonly use ~군 when chatting on the internet or on their phones.

해군에 대령이군요 = I didn’t realize that you were a general in the navy
네가 매우 똑똑하구나 = I didn’t realize that you are so smart
이 시험이 지필시험이구나 = I didn’t realize that this exam is a pen-and-paper exam
지구 표면은 거의 다 물이구나 = I didn’t realize that most of the earth’s surface is water
생명보험이 그렇게 중요하구나 = I didn’t realize that life insurance was that important
이 돌의 표면이 아주 부드럽구나  = I didn’t realize that the surface of this rock was so soft

보도로 맨 끝까지 걸어갈 수 있구나
= I didn’t realize that you could walk to the very end on this path

미국에서 비만이 아주 큰 문제이구나
= I didn’t realize that obesity was such a big problem in America

햇빛으로 지면이 이렇게 뜨거울 수 있구나
= I didn’t realize that the earth’s surface could get so hot from sunlight

이 전철에 가방을 올려놓을 수 있는 선반이 없군
= I didn’t realize that there was no shelf to put your bag onto on the subway

You have learned many examples where 있다 and 없다 – although adjectives – are treated like verbs when adding some grammatical principle. Notice that when adding ~구나, ~ or ~군요, you treat 있다 and 없다 like adjectives.

Also notice that ~이/가 is used on the subject of these sentences. In Lesson 17, I indicated that one of the purposes of ~이/가 is to denote the subject of a sentence that the speaker just realizes or is experiencing. The nature of the sentences using ~구나, ~군 or ~군요 make it more natural to use ~이/가.

In Lesson 23, you learned about 그렇다 (which is an adjective) and the many ways it can adapt to grammatical principles. ~구나, ~군 or ~군요 are commonly added to 그렇다. This construction is often used when the speaker wants to refer to the previous situation and say “Oh! I didn’t realize that.” For example:

Person 1: 그 친구가 어디 갔어?
= Where did that friend go?

Person 2: 여기가 좀 불안해서 집에 갔어
= He was a little uncomfortable here, so he went home

Person 3: 그렇구나
= Oh… (I didn’t realize that fact)


When adding ~구나, ~군 or ~군요to a verb, ~는 should be placed between it and the verb. For example:

너도 암호를 모르는구나
= Oh, I didn’t realize that you didn’t know the password either

아들이 수영을 잘 하는군요
= Oh, I didn’t realize that your son is good at swimming

장마에 비가 이렇게 많이 오는구나
= Oh, I didn’t realize that it rains this much during the rainy season

강아지가 쓰다듬는 것을 싫어하는구나
= Oh, I didn’t realize that the dog doesn’t like to be pet

오늘 우리가 그냥 정상 수업을 하는구나
= Oh, I didn’t realize that we are just doing normal classes today


When adding this to a verb, adjective or 이다 in the past tense, you can attach ~구나, ~군 or ~군요 to ~았/었. For example:

벌써 먹었구나
= Oh, I didn’t realize that you already ate

어제 생일이었구나
= Oh, I didn’t realize that yesterday was your birthday

둥지가 나무에서 떨어졌구나
= Oh, I didn’t realize that the nest fell from the tree

수술을 받은 후에 식욕을 잃었구나
= Oh, I didn’t realize that you lost your appetite after the surgery

선생님도 그때 아주 당황스러웠군요
= Oh, I didn’t realize that you were very embarrassed at that time too

학교 앞 표면을 다 초록색으로 칠했구나
= Oh, I didn’t realize that you painted the front surface of the school green


~구나, ~군 or ~군요are used when one realizes something. Inherently, one usually realizes something about a fact that has already happened or is currently happening. However, it is also possible to add ~구나, ~군 or ~군요 to a sentence conjugated to the future tense. This would most commonly be done if one realizes that something will be the case. The realization still happens in the present tense, but the event will happen in the future. These realizations of future events are typically guesses, and therefore you would most commonly see ~겠다 used instead of ~ㄹ/을 것이다. For example:

돈이 없겠구나 = Oh, we will probably not have money
당황스럽겠구나 = Oh, you will probably be embarrassed


Sentences using ~구나, ~군 or ~군요 have a feeling that the speaker is speaking to himself/herself. This “self-talking” isn’t really part of the conversation – the speaker is just kind of mumbling to “Ah, I didn’t realize _______.”

The question is, then, if that were the case, why would we need to use “군요?” Why would we need to use polite speech if this form is used to talk to oneself? Well, you won’t see this is any other grammar book (I don’t think), because this is my personal opinion. I have been exposed to this form (in conversation, books, Korean tests, other writings, etc…) and I have the feeling that sentences before “~구나/~군/~군요” are mostly said to oneself.

I would say that, within one sentence, 90% of the feeling is that the speaker is speaking to himself/herself. The remaining 10% is the speaker wanting to show the listener that he/she is surprised about the fact. Therefore, while technically “self-speech,” a part of the function of the sentence is to show the listener that the speaker is surprised. This is the reason why we should use honorifics if the situation calls for it (if you are speaking to somebody who deserves high respect).

Anyways, that’s just my observation.

That’s it for this lesson!

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