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Lesson 87: To decide to do (~기로 하다)

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To decide to do: ~기로 하다




하품 = yawn
부품 = mechanical part
음악회 = concert
보관소 = storage center
분실물 = a lost item
수리비 = repair cost
짝사랑 = one sided love
우등상 = the prize given to the winner or best of something
중소기업 = small and medium enterprises

대다 = to press against
알아듣다 = to understand what one hears
맡기다 = to entrust with somebody
해내다 = to finish a job or task
적용하다 = to apply rule, law, discount
매매하다 = to buy and sell
신용하다 = to trust
우등하다 = to win, to be the best at
임대하다 = to lease, to rent

싱겁다 = for something to be tasteless, flat or dull
정숙하다 = to be quiet, mature and virtuous
애매하다 = to be ambiguous

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



In this lesson, you will learn how to add ~기로 하다 to the end of a sentence or clause to indicate that one “decides to do” an action. The usage and translation are fairly straightforward, to the point that the construction can almost be thought of as an idiom. However, I do feel that this is a grammatical principle that deserves its own lesson. Let’s get started.


To decide to do: ~기로 하다

In Lesson 29, you learned how to add ~기 to words to change a verb or its entire phrase into a noun. For example, look at the following sentence:

내가 친구를 공원에서 만난다 (to meet a friend in a park),

We can change this phrase into a noun by attaching ~기. For example:

내가 친구를 공원에서 만나기…

Now that this is a noun, there are various things that we can do with it. One thing we can do is attach ~(으)로 to ~기 and finish the phrase with 하다. For example:

내가 친구를 공원에서 만나기로 한다

When ~기로 하다 is added to the end of a clause like this, the speaker indicates that he/she has “decided” to do that action. For example:

제가 친구를 공원에서 만나기로 했어요 = I decided to meet my friend in the park

The verb before ~기로 is always conjugated in the present tense, even though the sentence usually describes an action that was decided to be done in either the past or the future. For example:

우리가 내일 만나기로 했어요 = We decided to meet tomorrow
우리가 어제 만나기로 했어요 = We decided to meet yesterday

Also notice that the “하다” at the end of the clause is in the past tense, as this form typically describes an action that was decided to be done. In other words, the decision occurred in the past.

This is a straightforward principle that has a simple and accurate translation. All I can do to help you now is show you a ton of example sentences:

저는 선생님이 되기로 했어요
= I decided to become a teacher

내일 친구랑 음악회에 같이 가기로 했어요
= I decided to go to the concert with my friend tomorrow

지금부터 그 친구를 신용하지 않기로 했어요
= From now on I decided to not trust that friend

애기가 이제 하품을 많이 해서 집에 곧 가기로 했어요
= I decided to go home soon because the baby is yawning a lot now

이제 그 일을 다 해내서 한 달 동안 쉬기로 했어요
= Now that I have finished all of that work, I decided that I will rest for a month

우수상을 주는 역할을 교장선생님이 하시기로 했어요
= We decided that the principal will have/take/do the role of giving out the top award

정부가 그 규칙을 땅을 매매하는 중소기업에 적용하기로 했어요
= The government decided to apply that rule to small and medium businesses that buy and sell land

그 부품이 고장이 나서 수리비가 얼마인지 알아보러 가기로 했어요
= That part is broken, so I decided to go to the store tomorrow to see how much the repair cost will be

핸드폰을 아직 못 찾아서 내일 학교 분실물 보관소에 가기로 했어요
= I still haven’t been able to find my phone, so tomorrow I am going to go to the school’s lost-item storage place (the lost-and-found)

우리 집에 안 쓰는 방이 있어서 그 방을 학생들에게 임대하기로 했어요
= There is a room in our house that we don’t use, so we decided to rent it out to students

저는 그 여자를 아주 좋아하지만 짝사랑이라서 얘기를 안 하기로 했어요
= I really like that girl, but it is a one-sided love (she doesn’t like me), so I decided to not talk with her

Notice in the sentence above that you can also apply this grammatical principle to a situation that one decides not to do.

저는 한국에서 태어났지만 태어나고 바로 미국으로 이사해서 한국어를 알아들을 수 없어요. 그래서 한국어를 이제 배우기로 했어요.
= I was born in Korea but moved to America right after I was born, so I can’t understand Korean. Therefore, I decided to learn Korean now.

You will also find times where the word “결정하다” (to decide) is substituted for “하다.” For example:

서울에 지하철로 가기로 결정했어요
= We decided that we would take the subway to Seoul

I find myself using ~는데 (Lesson 76 and 77) to give information or context as to why the action was decided. For example:

어제 먹어 봤는데 너무 싱거워서 소금을 조금 넣기로 했어요
= I tried (eating) it yesterday, and it was too bland so I decided to put a bit of salt into it

저는 어제 학생들에게 설명했는데 내용이 조금 애매해서 다시 하기로 했어요
= I explained it to the students yesterday, but the content is a little ambiguous so I decided to explain it again

우리가 원래 내일 만나기로 했는데 우리 둘 다 너무 바빠서 다음 주로 연기했어요
= We originally decided to meet tomorrow, but we delayed it to next week because we were both so busy

원래 떡볶이를 먹기로 했는데 친구 한 명이 매운 것을 못 먹어서 다른 것을 먹었어요
= We originally decided to eat 떡볶이, but we ate something different because one friend can’t eat spicy things

When an action placed before ~기로 하다 was originally supposed to happen but doesn’t, the construction is often translated to “supposed to do.” For example:

원래 떡볶이를 먹기로 했는데 친구 한 명이 매운 것을 못 먹어서 다른 것을 먹었어요
= We originally were supposed to eat 떡볶이, but we ate something different because one of my friends can’t eat spicy things

Pretty cool grammatical principle that will make your Korean sound really good!

That’s it for this Lesson!

Click here for a Workbook to go along with this lesson.
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