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Lesson 84: As soon as (~자마자, ~는 대로, ~자)

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Vocabulary
Introduction

As soon as: ~자마자
As soon as: ~는 대로
Three meanings of ~자

 

 

Vocabulary

Nouns:
특허 = patent

Common Usages:
특허를 내다 = to submit a patent

Examples:
이 신제품이 나오자마자 우리가 특허를 신청해야 돼요
= As soon as this new product comes out, we have to apply for a patent

새 기술을 개발하는 것보다 중요한 것은 특허를 먼저 내는 것이에요
= The more important thing than developing a new technology is being the first to submit the patent for it

신제품 = new product

Common Usages:
신제품 출시 = releasing a new product
신제품 개발 = developing a new product
신제품이 나오다 = for a new product to come out

Examples:
신제품 출시에 맞춰 제품 홍보를 위해 이벤트를 진행할 거예요
= To match the timing of the release of the new product, we are going to hold an event to promote it

스타벅스에서 신제품 컵을 출시할 때마다 사람들은 먼저 사기 위해 아침 일찍 줄을 서요
= When a new cup is released at Starbucks, people line up early in the morning to buy it

폭탄 = bomb

Common Usages:
시한 폭탄 = time bomb
폭탄 세일 = a crazy/big sale (“explosion sale”)
폭탄 제거 = the removal of a bomb
폭탄이 터지다 = for a bomb to explode

Examples:
공항에서 폭탄을 찾자마자 경찰관들은 그 폭탄을 처리해야 돼요
= As soon as the police find the bomb at the airport, they need to deal with it right away

건물 안에 폭탄이 있다고 하자마자 사람들은 밖으로 뛰어나갔어요
= As soon as somebody said that there was a bomb in the building, the people ran outside

폐기물 = waste materials

Common Usages:
폐기물 처리 = the removal/cleanup of waste materials
폐기물 스티커 = a sticker that is put on waste materials for people to come pick it up

Examples:
그 근처에 폐기물 처리 시설이 있어서 여름에는 심한 악취가 나요
= There is a waste removal facility nearby so in the summer there is a severe stench

쓰레기 봉투에 담기지 않는 큰 쓰레기나 가구를 버릴 때는 폐기물 스티커를 부쳐야 해요
= You need to put a sticker on any big garbage that isn’t in a garbage bag or any big furniture when you through it out

급행 = express (train)

Notes: This is a regular subway train, but it skips stations along the way. It usually will run in peak times during rush hour.

Common Usages:
급행 열차 = express (train)

Examples:
제가 급행 열차를 타자 잘 못 탄 것을 깨달았어요
= I got on the express train and then realized I got on the wrong one

급행 열차가 도착하자마자 사람들이 무리하게 탔어요
= As soon as the express train arrived, people got on excessively

급행 열차가 출발하자마자 일반 전철이 역에 들어왔어요
= As soon as the express train left, the regular train came into the station

붕대 = bandage, Band-Aid

Common Usages:
붕대를 감다 = to wrap a bandage around something

Examples:
발목을 삐끗해서 급하게 붕대를 감았어요
= I sprained my ankle so I had to quickly wrap a bandage around it

이 붕대를 풀자마자 애기가 기어 다니기 시작해도 돼요
= As soon as you unravel this bandage, the baby can start crawling around

연봉 = annual income, one’s yearly salary

Common Usages:
연봉협상 = negotiation of one’s salary
연봉인상 = raising one’s salary
연봉동결 = freezing one’s salary

Examples:
행정부가 직원 연봉 모두를 지불하는 책임이 있어요
= The administration department has the responsibility of paying all of the employees’ salary

지금 버는 돈이 많지 않아서 내일 회사에 도착하자마자 연봉 인상을 요구할 거예요
= The money I make isn’t a lot, so as soon as I arrive at the office, I am going to request/demand a raise in my salary

Verbs:
기소하다 = to prosecute

The noun form of this word (기소) translates to “prosecution.”

Examples:
경찰관들은 범죄자를 찾자마자 기소할 거예요
= As soon as the police find the criminal, they will prosecute him/her

아는 사람이 사기죄로 기소돼 지금 현재 감옥에 있어요
= A friend of mine was prosecuted for fraud, so he is in jail right now

강연하다 = to give a lecture

The noun form of this word (강연) translates to “giving a lecture.”

Common Usages:
강연자 = lecturer
강연주제 = subject of a lecture
강연이 열리다 = to hold a lecture

Examples:
오늘 새로운 학교에서 처음으로 강연을 할 예정이라 준비할 게 많아요
= Today I am giving a lecture at a new school for the first time so I have a lot to plan

매주 수요일마다 새로운 강연이 열려서 원하는 강연을 선택해서 들을 수 있어요
= A new lecture is held every Wednesday, so if you choose the lecture, you can attend it

전달하다 = to convey, to deliver information

The noun form of this word (전달) translates to “delivering information.”
Examples:
인쇄가 다 되자마자 종이에 무엇이 쓰여 있는지 내용을 전달해 주세요
= As soon as the printing is all done, please tell me the contents that are written on the paper

엄마에게 감사의 마음을 담아 직접 만든 음식을 전달했어요
= I gave my mom some food that I made for her and had all of my love and thanks in it

인쇄하다 = to print

The noun form of this word (인쇄) translates to “printing.”

인쇄기 = printer

Examples:
이 서류를 그 프린터로 인쇄해 주세요 = Please print this document with that printer
이곳에서는 한지로써 초청장을 인쇄한다 = Here, we print wedding invitations using Korean paper

환호하다 = to cheer

The noun form of this word (환호) translates to “cheering.”

Examples:
선수들이 나오자마자 저는 소리를 질러 환호할 거예요
= As soon as the athletes/players come out, I am going to scream and cheer

선수가 공을 골대에 넣자마자 관중들은 환호하기 시작했어요
= As soon as the player put the ball into the net, the spectators/crowd started cheering

기다 = to crawl

CHANGE

Common Usages:
기어다니다 = to crawl around

Examples:
이 붕대를 풀자마자 애기가 기어 다니기 시작해도 돼요
= As soon as you unravel this bandage, the baby can start crawling around

독수리는 하늘에서 날아다니면서 땅에서 기어 다니는 쥐도 볼 수 있어요
= As eagles fly around in the sky they can also see mice crawling around on the ground

요구하다 = to demand

The noun form of this word (요구) translates to “a demand.”

Common Usages:
무리한 요구를 하다 = to make an unreasonable demand

Examples:
아버지는 자기 아들의 요구를 거절했어요 = The father refused his son’s demand

지금 버는 돈이 많지 않아서 내일 회사에 도착하자마자 연봉 인상을 요구할 거예요
= The money I make isn’t a lot, so as soon as I arrive at the office, I am going to request/demand a raise in my salary

쓰러뜨리다 = to knock down

Examples:
바람은 건물을 쓰러뜨렸다 = The wind knocked down the building
드디어 오늘 세계 최강의 선수를 쓰러드리고 우승했어요 = Today, I finally knocked down the strongest athlete and won the championship

연장하다 = to extend, to renew

The noun form of this word (연장) translates to “extension.”

Common Usages:
계약을 연장하다 = to extend/renew a contract
기한을 연장하다 = to extend a time limit
대출을 연장하다 = to extend a loan

Examples:
계약을 연장하는 김에 퇴직금에 대해 얘기할까요?
= While I am renewing my contract, shall we also talk about my severance pay?

부장님을 만나자마자 제가 저의 계약을 어떻게 연장할 수 있냐고 물어볼 거예요
= As soon as I meet the boss, I will ask how I can renew/extend my contract

외국인등록증이 만료되자마자 저는 그것을 연장하러 출입국사무소에 갔어요
= As soon as my foreign registration card expired, I went to the immigration office to renew it

저는 원래 계약을 연장하기로 했는데 회사가 예산이 없다고 해서 연장을 못 했어요
= I originally wanted to renew my contract, but my company said that there is no budget, so I wasn’t able to renew it

처리하다 = to handle, to dispose of, to process

The noun form of this word (처리) translates to “handling” or “disposing.

Examples:
이 사고는 보험으로 처리할 수 있어서 돈을 안 내도 돼요
= You can claim this accident under insurance, so you won’t have to pay

이 일에 관련이 있는 당국은 오늘 안에 일을 꼭 처리해야 돼요
= The authorities that are involved with this case should deal with it by today

공항에서 폭탄을 찾자마자 경찰관들은 그 폭탄을 처리해야 돼요
= As soon as the police find the bomb at the airport, they need to deal with it right away

남자가 경찰관에게 뒷일을 잘 처리해 달라고 몰래 돈을 주었어요
= The man asked the police officer to look after the affairs for him, and he secretly gave him money

폐기하다 = to destroy

The noun form of this word (폐기) translates to “destruction.”

Common Usages:
폐기물 = waste materials

Examples:
우리 학교에 안 쓰는 오래된 책상을 다 폐기할 거예요
= Our school is going to throw away all of the old desks we aren’t using

이 정보를 이용하자마자 개인정보 보호를 위해 바로 폐기해야 돼요
= As soon as you use this information, in order to protect your personal information, you should discard it right away

쓰러지다 = to collapse, to be knocked down

Examples:
바람에 의해 건물 전체가 쓰러졌어요
= The entire building collapsed due to the wind

바람이 불자 그 집이 쓰러질 것 같아요
= The house might fall down because of the wind blowing

열심히 운동하다가 갑자기 쓰러졌어요
= While exercising hard, suddenly I collapsed

할아버지께서 작년에 쓰러지신 후에 거의 음식을 드시지 못하고 계세요
= After falling last year, Grandpa can barely eat any food

길가에 쓰러진 사람에게 인공호흡을 해서 그 사람이 다시 살아났어요
= They administered first aid to the person who had collapsed on the roadside, and the person survived

Adjectives:
깔끔하다 = clean, neat and tidy

Examples:
이 식당은 음식을 깔끔하게 잘해서 인기가 많아요
= This place makes their food well and not to heavy, so it’s popular

우리 엄마 성격은 매우 깔끔해서 집이 항상 깨끗해요
= My mom’s personality is very neat-and-tidy, so our house is always clean

무리하다 = too much

Common Usages:
무리하게 = to do something too much

Examples:
운동을 무리하게 하면 무릎이 아파요
= If you exercise too much (too intensely), your knee can hurt

헬스를 무리하게 하면 다칠 수도 있어요
= If you work out too much, you can hurt yourself

급행 열차가 도착하자마자 사람들이 무리하게 탔어요
= As soon as the express train arrived, people got on excessively

Adverbs and Other Words:
한참 = a long time

Common Usages:
한참 동안 = for a long time

Examples:
아직도 산 정상에 도달하려면 한참 멀었어요
= It is still a long ways to go to reach the top of the mountain

한참을 생각해 봐도 미래를 위해 어떤 결정을 내려야 할지 모르겠어요
= I thought about it for a long time, but I don’t know what decision I should make for my future

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

 

Introduction

In this lesson, you will learn about the grammatical principle ~자마자 and it’s less common counterpart, ~자. Both have similar meanings, but as always I will dissect each one so you can understand them more clearly by the end of this lesson. Let’s get started.

 

As soon as: ~자마자

This is actually one of the easiest grammatical principles to learn and understand, especially because you have had tons of practice with learning new grammar by now. By attaching ~자마자 to a verb at the end of a clause, the speaker indicates that an action occurs “as soon as” another action does. For example:

집에 도착하자마자 밥을 먹어야 돼요 = As soon as we arrive at home, I need to eat

Just like many other Korean grammatical principles, the clause before ~자마자 is not conjugated to the past or future tenses. Rather, ~자마자 is attached directly to the verb and the tense can be assumed from the conjugation of the second clause. Below are many examples:

버스가 출발하자마자 사람들은 움직였어요
= As soon as the bus moved, people started moving

경찰관들은 범죄자를 찾자마자 기소할 거예요
= As soon as the police find the criminal, they will prosecute him/her

제가 가르치기 시작하자마자 학생들이 조용해졌어요
= As soon as I started teaching, the students got quiet

비행기 바퀴가 땅에 닿자마자 승객들이 자리에서 일어났어요
= As soon as the plane’s wheels hit the ground, the passengers got out of their seats

선생님이 조용히 하라고 하자마자 애들이 웃음을 멈추었어요
= As soon as the teacher said “be quiet,” the students stopped laughing

내가 친구들한테 쇼핑을 하자고 하자마자 친구들이 다 바쁘다고 했어
= As soon as I asked my friends if they want to go shopping, they all said that they are busy

급행 열차가 도착하자마자 사람들이 무리하게 탔어요
= As soon as the express train arrived, people got on excessively

선수들이 나오자마자 저는 소리를 질러 환호할 거예요
= As soon as the athletes/players come out, I am going to scream and cheer

이 신제품이 나오자마자 우리가 특허를 신청해야 돼요
= As soon as this new product comes out, we have to apply for a patent

이 붕대를 풀자마자 애기가 기어 다니기 시작해도 돼요
= As soon as you unravel this bandage, the baby can start crawling around

공항에서 폭탄을 찾자마자 경찰관들은 그 폭탄을 처리해야 돼요
= As soon as the police find the bomb at the airport, they need to deal with it right away

인쇄가 다 되자마자 종이에 무엇이 쓰여 있는지 내용을 전달해 주세요
= As soon as the printing is all done, please tell me the contents that are written on the paper

이 정보를 이용하자마자 개인정보 보호를 위해 바로 폐기해야 돼요
= As soon as you use this information, in order to protect your personal information, you should discard it right away

부장님을 만나자마자 제가 저의 계약을 어떻게 연장할 수 있냐고 물어볼 거예요
= As soon as I meet the boss, I will ask how I can renew/extend my contract

지금 버는 돈이 많지 않아서 내일 회사에 도착하자마자 연봉 인상을 요구할 거예요
= The money I make isn’t a lot, so as soon as I arrive at the office, I am going to request/demand a raise in my salary

This grammatical principle is pretty straightforward, but there are ways we can create a similar meaning using other grammatical principles. I would like to discuss these in the next sections.

 

 

As soon as: ~ 대로

In Lesson 79, you learned about the noun “대로” and how it can be used to indicate that one action is the same as some experience. For example:

예상한 대로 그 영화가 재미있었어요 = As I expected, that movie was funny

대로 can also be used to have a similar meaning as ~자마자. You can do this by describing 대로 with a verb in the present tense by using ~는 것. For example:

집에 도착하는 대로 밥을 먹어야 돼요
= As soon as we arrive at home, I need to eat

제가 가르치기 시작하는 대로 학생들이 조용해졌어요
= As soon as I started teaching, the students got quiet

비행기바퀴가 땅에 닿는 대로 승객들이 자리에서 일어났어요
= as soon as the plane’s wheels hit the ground, the passengers got out of their seats

Notice that only present tense conjugations are used in the first clauses here as well.

Using this grammatical principle to mean “as soon as” is perfectly acceptable, and Korean people say that the sentences with ~자마자 and 대로 have the same meaning. That being said, I feel that ~자마자 is much more common than ~는 대로 – and I would advise against using ~는 대로 in conversation. If you write a Korean test (TOPIK, for example), you might see some questions asking for a similar form of “~자마자,” where the answer will inevitably be “~는 대로.” But aside from that, I rarely see this form being used.

Also notice that this is another grammatical principle that could easily be confused with “~는데,” which you learned in Lesson 76 and Lesson 77.  Below are the different grammatical principles that could all be easily confused because they all have identical pronunciations. The only way to tell them apart is by context and understanding the situation of a sentence:

~는 데 – describing a place as “데” refers to a location
~는데 – setting up an upcoming clause while slightly negating the first one
~는 데 – indicating the amount of time or resources that were required to complete an action
~는 대로 – indicating that one action is the same as some experience
~는 대로 – indicating that one action happens as soon as another action happens

Now that you know about ~자마자 and ~는 대로, let me discuss how ~자 is used.

 

 

Three meanings of ~

In Lesson 44, you learned how to use ~자 at the end of a sentence to suggest that a group of people do something together. When ~자 is used to connect two clauses, it can have various meanings – one of which overlaps with the meaning of ~자마자. I would like to separate these meanings into three usages:

To indicate that one action occurs “as soon as’ another action does
~자 can be used to create essentially the same meaning that ~자마자 creates. Again, the speaker indicates that an action occurs “as soon as” another action does.

When ~자마자 is used, it is possible that the actions have already happened, or it is possible that they haven’t happened yet. For example, look at these three sentences:

집에 도착하자마자 밥을 먹어야 돼요
= As soon as we arrive at home, I need to eat
In this sentence, “arriving home” hasn’t happened yet.

경찰관들은 범죄자를 찾자마자 기소할 거예요
= As soon as the police find the criminal, they will prosecute him/her
In this sentence “finding the criminal” hasn’t happened yet.

제가 가르치기 시작하자마자 학생들이 조용해졌어요
= As soon as I started teaching, the students got quiet
In this sentence, “starting teaching” has already happened.

~자 can replace ~자마자 to have a similar meaning when the actions have already happened. Therefore, some of the sentences we created earlier would work if ~자 were used instead of ~자마자. For example, all of these sentences would be acceptable:

버스가 출발하자 사람들은 움직였어요
제가 가르치기 시작하자 학생들이 조용해졌어요
비행기 바퀴가 땅에 닿자 승객들이 자리에서 일어났어요
선생님이 조용히 하라고 하자 애들이 웃음을 멈추었어요
내가 친구들한테 쇼핑을 하자고 하자 친구들이 바쁘다고 했어
급행 열차가 도착하자 사람들이 무리하게 탔어요

However, in sentences where the actions have not already occurred, ~자 cannot replace ~자마자. For example, these sentences that we made earlier would not be natural if ~자 replaced ~자마자:

경찰관들은 범죄자를 찾자마자 기소할 거예요
선수들이 나오자마자 저는 소리를 질러 환호할 거예요
이 신제품이 나오자마자 우리가 특허를 신청해야 돼요
이 붕대를 풀자마자 애기가 기어 다니기 시작해도 돼요
공항에서 폭탄을 찾자마자 경찰관들은 그 폭탄을 처리해야 돼요
인쇄가 다 되자마자 종이에 무엇이 쓰여 있는지 내용을 전달해 주세요
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부장님을 만나자마자 제가 저의 계약을 어떻게 연장할 수 있냐고 물어볼 거예요
지금 버는 돈이 많지 않아서 내일 회사에 도착하자마자 연봉 인상을 요구할 거예요

To show a cause-and-effect
It is also possible that ~자 could be used to show a cause-and-effect relationship between the two clauses. For example:

바람이 불자 그 집이 쓰러질 것 같아요
= The house might fall down because of the wind blowing

엄마가 소리를 지르자 아기가 깜작 놀랐어요
= The baby was surprised because the mother raised her voice

물가가 비싸지자 사람들이 그 도시에 안 가요
= People don’t go to that city because the price of goods is getting expensive

~자 is not as common as other ways to show cause-and-effect that you have already learned. For example, in Lesson 37 and 38 you learned how to use ~아/어서 and 때문에 to create this type of meaning. The sentences above would more likely be said as:

물가가 비싸져서 사람들이 그 도시에 안 가요
물가가 비싸지기 때문에 사람들이 그 도시에 안 가요

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Let me just step in to provide my personal insight on this ambiguous situation.

This is one of the reasons why learning a language can be so difficult. There are always many, many ways that you can state the same thing.  Not only that, but one thing can be used to have many meanings. For example, any of the following could be ways to translate “because” into Korean:

~아/어서
~기 때문에
~(으)니
~(으)니까
~자
(and others…)

Not only that, but each of those could have different translations/usages than “because.” For example, ~자 could be used to create any of the following meanings:

– As soon as..
– Because…
– Let’s…
– And…
(and others…)

This is not related to the explanation of this lesson, but instead related to the study of Korean (or any language) in general. I am including this here to attempt to describe the ambiguity of languages. As a beginner of Korean (or maybe any language), learners try to get definite, black-and-white answers for what something means. They want to hear that “A means B, and C means D.” However, languages don’t work like that. Instead, “A means B, but it could also mean X and Y. And C means D, but it can also mean X and Y.”

As you progress into more difficult (and real) Korean, the key to understanding any sentence is context. When we see ~자 being used, it might be very ambiguous if it is used to indicate a cause-and-effect relationship or to indicate “as soon as.” For example:

엄마가 소리를 지르자 아기가 깜작 놀랐어요

What is the meaning of the sentence? Could it be:
1) The baby was surprised because the mother raised her voice, or
2) As soon as the mother raised her voice, the baby was surprised

I discussed a similar problem in my discussion with ~(으)니 (Lesson 81) and the ambiguously similar meanings it can have. Is the Korean sentence above best translated to the first English translation, or the second? The answer isn’t as important as you would think. In both situations, the end result is the same. If you heard that Korean sentence in a real conversation, you wouldn’t stop the speaker and say “Hold on a minute – did the baby wake up because the mother raised her voice? Or as soon as she raised her voice?” In most situations, you wouldn’t need the clarification, and if you did, the context would probably make it clear.

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To indicate that one thing is inherently two things
When ~자 is attached to 이다, the speaker can indicate that one noun is inherently two nouns. For example, if somebody is a teacher and also a student as well, they could say:

저는 선생님이자 학생이에요 = I am a teacher and a student

Here are more examples:

이 식사는 우리 점심이자 저녁이에요 = This meal is our lunch and dinner
요즘 핸드폰은 전화기이자 컴퓨터예요 = Cell phones these days are phones and computers
저의 남편은 저의 제일 친한 친구이자 제가 제일 사랑하는 사람이에요 = My husband is my best friend and the person who I love the most

One common way that ~자 is used with 이다 like this is when the speaker indicates that this is the “first and last” of something. For example:

이것은 처음이자 마지막 기회예요 = This is the first and last chance
그 사람은 우리 나라의 처음이자 마지막 왕이었어요 = That person was our country’s first and last king

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!