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Lesson 100: The confusing meanings of ~텐데(요)

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Vocabulary
Introduction

Would: ~ㄹ/을  텐데(요)
It is probable that, I suppose that…: ~ㄹ/을 텐데(요)
Using ~ㄹ/을 텐데 (or ~ㄹ/을 테니까) in the middle of a sentence

 

 

Vocabulary

Nouns:
= lot, ground
주사 = injection
연고 = ointment
큰길 = main road
품목 = items
특징 = specific physical characteristic
인생 = life
모임 = gathering, get together
식품 = food products
자식 = one’s child, children
하룻밤 = one night
시절 = a time in the past one remembers
최고 = the best/first
오늘날 = these days

Verbs:
반복하다 = to repeat
늘어나다 = to stretch
대출하다 = to loan
받아들이다 = to accept, to embrace

Adjectives:
가렵다 = to be itchy
커다랗다 = to be huge
다양하다 = to be various

 

Introduction

Okay, get ready for another lesson filled with grammar explanations. What else would you expect? With this being our 100th lesson, I wanted to make sure it was a good one. Before I say anything else, I want to take just a moment to thank anyone who has actually followed these lessons to this point. It initially took me two years to get to Lesson 100. I’ve since gone back and edited this lesson many times (just like all the others) to improve it. I wouldn’t be doing it if I didn’t enjoy it. One of the best parts about creating this resource is hearing from people who have used my website to help them with their studies. Hearing from you really motivates me to keep going.

I am incredibly happy with what I have created. As you have probably seen, there are still many more lessons after this one. I still have plans for so much more. The only thing holding me back is time. Keep an eye out for bigger and better things that I hope to install over the upcoming months and years. I’m just one person, so sometimes it takes a while to get everything finished – but I promise to continue to work on it.

In this lesson, you will learn about the grammatical principle ~ㄹ/을 텐데(요), and to a lesser extent ~ㄹ/을 테니까. Let’s get started.

 

 

Would: ~ㄹ/을 텐데(요)

텐데 is created by merging the noun 터 with 이다, followed by ~ㄴ/은데. 터 is another example of a “pseudo-noun” which is a noun that can only be used after a describing verb or adjective; like , , , etc. For the meaning described in this lesson, 터 is always described by ~ㄹ/을. For example:

~ㄹ/을 + 터 + 이다 + ㄴ데 = ~ㄹ/을 텐데

You can find the noun 터 in the vocabulary list of this lesson. This is not the same word as is being used in the grammatical principle we are describing here. The words are spelled the same, but they do not have the same meaning and are considered different words.

The meaning of 터 used in the grammatical principle is hard to define, but it is used to provide the connotation of some expectation or guess. For example:

터 = lot, ground
터 = pseudo-noun used to provide connotation of an expectation or guess

This lesson will focus on the use of the pseudo-noun.

~텐데(요) is commonly used to indicate that if some hypothetical situation happened in the past, something would have happened. These sentences usually have ~았/었더라면 or ~았/었더라도 seperating the two clauses. For example:

날씨가 좋았더라면…
날씨가 좋았더라도…

제가 돈이 있었더라면…
제가 돈이 있었더라도…

In Lesson 43 and Lesson 99, you learned that sentences that start like this usually end with ~았/었을 것이다. For example:

날씨가 좋았더라면 저는 공원에 갔을 거예요 = If it were nice out, I would have gone
날씨가 좋았더라도 저는 공원에 안 갔을 거예요 = Even if it were nice out, I still wouldn’t have gone

제가 돈이 있었더라면 그것을 샀을 거예요 = If I had money, I would have bought that
제가 돈이 있었더라도 그것을 안 샀을 거예요 = Even if I had money, I wouldn’t have bought that

In each of these cases, it would be natural to replace 거예요 with 텐데요. For example:

날씨가 좋았더라면 저는 공원에 갔을 텐데요 = If it were nice out, I would have gone
날씨가 좋았더라도 저는 공원에 안 갔을 텐데요 = Even if it were nice out, I still wouldn’t have gone

제가 돈이 있었더라면 그것을 샀을 텐데요 = If I had money, I would have bought that
제가 돈이 있었더라도 그것을 안 샀을 텐데요 = Even if I had money, I wouldn’t have bought that

This can also be done in the present tense situations as well, but only if the second clause is a supposition that would only happen if the first clause were true. For example:

내가 돈이 있으면 그것을 살 텐데 = I would buy that if I had money
음식이 더 있으면 좋을 텐데 = It would be good if there was more food

So why use 턴데(요) when you could just use 것이다?

When 텐데 is used, there is a certain feeling that is trying to be expressed. It is very hard to describe a feeling in words, especially one that is elicited from the use of a word in a foreign language, but I will try my best to explain this feeling to you.

It makes sense to me to split up this feeling and describe them in different sections. The thing is, the feeling“텐데” has is actually a combination of all of these descriptions, but I feel that different situations elicit a slightly different feeling. Therefore, after reading all of my descriptions below, realize that 텐데 is actually a combination of all of those feelings

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For sentences that have “if…” in the past tense, the reason for using 텐데 (vs. not using it) is very subtle. For example, in these two sentences:

날씨가 좋았더라면 저는 공원에 갔을 거예요 = If it was nice out, I would have gone
날씨가 좋았더라면 저는 공원에 갔을 텐데요 = If it was nice out, I would have gone

Their meanings are virtually the same. However, in the sentence with “텐데”, there is a slight nuance/feeling of regret. It is difficult to translate this into words. A sentence with a similar structure but no feeling of regret would typically not use 텐데(요). For example:

뛰다가 조심하지 않았다면 넘어졌을 거예요 = If I wasn’t careful when I was running, I would have fallen

Here, under most situations, it would be strange to write that sentence like this:

뛰다가 조심하지 않았다면 넘어졌을 텐데요

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For sentences that have “even if…” in the past or present tense, the reason for using 텐데 (vs. not using it) is also very subtle. For example, in these two sentences:

날씨가 좋았더라도 저는 공원에 안 갔을 거예요 = Even if it were nice out, I still wouldn’t have gone
날씨가 좋았더라도 저는 공원에 안 갔을 텐데요 = Even if it were nice out, I still wouldn’t have gone

Their meanings are virtually the same. However, in the sentence with “텐데”, there is a slight nuance/feeling of being annoyed. This is technically the same as the feeling of “regret” in my description above, but it feels closer to an annoying feeling when used with ~더라도. For example:

날씨가 좋았더라도 저는 공원에 안 갔을 텐데요 = Even if it were nice out, I still wouldn’t have gone
제가 돈이 있었더라도 그것을 안 샀을 텐데요 = Even if I had money, I wouldn’t have bought that

Again, it is very hard to translate this specific feeling of “텐데”, but its addition brings the translation closer to something like:

Ugh, even if it was nice out, I still wouldn’t have gone, and
Ugh, even if I had money, I wouldn’t have bought that

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For sentences that have “if” in the present tense, the reason for using 텐데 (vs. not using it) is also very subtle. For example, in these two sentences:

음식이 더 있으면 좋을 거야 = It would be good if there was more food
음식이 더 있으면 좋을 텐데 = It would be good if there was more food

Their meanings are virtually the same. However, in the sentence with “텐데”, there is a slight nuance/feeling of  “oh, that’s too bad.” This is technically the same as the feeling of “regret” and “being annoyed” in my descriptions above, but it feels closer to a “that’s too bad” feeling when used with “if” in the present tense like this. Again, it is very hard to translate the specific use of “텐데”, but its addition adds this feeling to the sentence:

음식이 더 있으면 좋을 텐데 = Oh, it’s too bad there isn’t more food, because if there were, I would eat it

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Remember what I said at the beginning of these descriptions – the feeling that I’m trying to describe is actually a combination of all of these… all taken on by one word. I’m trying to compartmentalize them, but try to realize that they’re actually all the same feeling. Because of that, any sentence using 텐데 could have any of these feelings, it’s really up to the mood and context of the sentence. For example, in this sentence:

날씨가 좋더라도 나는 갈 수 없어 = Even if the weather is nice, I can’t go
날씨가 좋더라도 나는 갈 수 없을 텐데 = Even if the weather is nice, I can’t go

The purpose of using “텐데” in the second example is to express this nuance/feeling. What is the feeling? Well, it’s a combination of regret (maybe less so), and being annoyed and saying “oh, that’s too bad.”

Here are many examples that try to show this nuance:

지금 안 가면 그 품목이 없을 텐데
= If we don’t go now there won’t be any items/products

연고를 지금 바르더라도 팔이 가려울 텐데
= Even if I apply the ointment, my arm will be itchy

주사를 안 맞았더라면 팔이 가렵지 않았을 텐데
= If I didn’t get a needle/vaccination, my arm wouldn’t be itchy

바지를 그렇게 안 입었더라면 안 늘어났을 텐데
= If you didn’t put the pants on like that, they wouldn’t have gotten stretched

큰길로 갔더라면 모임에 늦게 도착하지 않았을 텐데
= If we went via the main road, we wouldn’t have arrived late to the meeting/party

그런 행동을 요즘에 했으면 사람들이 받아들이지 않았을 텐데
= If he did that type of thing/action these days people wouldn’t have accepted it

그 사람의 인생이 조금 더 잘 풀렸다면 그런 결정을 하지 않았을 텐데
= If that person had looked after his life a little bit better, he wouldn’t have made that kind of decision

You’ll see this same feeling talked about in the next section, but in that section I talk about it being used as a “worry” feeling.

 

 

It is probable that, I suppose that…: ~ㄹ/을 텐데(요)

By placing ~ㄹ/을 텐데 at the end of a sentence, one can indicate that he supposes or expects something to be the case. This is typically done when the speaker is not the acting agent (the subject/topic) in the sentence. For example:

비가 올 텐데 = It will probably rain (I suppose that it will rain)
날씨가 추울 텐데 = The weather will probably be cold
그가 집에 없을 텐데 = He probably won’t be home

When I first learned about this usage, my first question was “what is the difference between those sentences, and the following sentences?:”

비가 올 것 같아 = It will probably rain
추울 것 같아 = The weather will probably be cold
그가 집에 없을 것 같아 = He probably won’t be home

There are actually two slight nuances that ~ㄹ/을 텐데 can add to the meaning of a sentence compared to ~ㄹ/을 것 같다.

When you use ~ㄹ/을 텐데, you are slightly more sure of something happening (sort of like the difference between (“I might go,” and “I will probably go.”)
When you use ~ㄹ/을 텐데, you are indicating a very slight feeling of being worried, annoyed, thinking “too bad” (where appropriate depending on the context).
For example, in the sentence:

날씨가 추울 텐데 = The weather will probably be cold…

You are indicating that the weather will probably be cold – and, as a result of that – you are a little bit worried or irritated (depending on the context). It is hard to translate this nuance into words, and this is sort of the feeling I was trying to describe earlier in the lesson. You could almost translate the sentence above to:

날씨가 추울 텐데 = Oh… the weather will probably be cold.., or, “I’m a little worried that it might be cold.” (Oh, it’s too bad that it’s going to be cold, it’s annoying that it is going to be cold, etc…)

More examples:

그 식당이 이미 닫았을 텐데 = The restaurant is probably already closed (Ugh, it’s too bad because the restaurant will probably already be closed/I’m irritated/worried because the restaurant will probably already be closed)

퇴근시간이라서 길이 막힐 텐데 = The roads will probably be jammed because it is rush hour (Ugh, it’s too bad because the road will probably be jammed because it’s rush hour/I’m irritated/worried because the roads will probably be jammed)

이게 최고일 텐데
= This will probably be the most

식품을 안 팔 텐데
= They probably don’t sell food products

대출을 못 받을 텐데
= We probably won’t be able to receive a loan

품목이 다양하지 않을 텐데
= There probably won’t be a wide variety of products

그 남자가 특징이 없을 텐데
= That man probably doesn’t have any special traits/characteristics

계속 반복해서 잔소리하면 싫어할 텐데
= If you repeatedly nag him, he probably won’t like it

 

 

Using ~ㄹ/을 텐데 (or ~ㄹ/을 테니까) in the middle of a sentence

In all the examples in this lesson so far, you have seen ~ㄹ/을 텐데 being used at the end of sentences. However, you can use ~ㄹ/을 텐데 to connect two clauses as well. The meaning it takes when used like this is “it is probable that… so.” For example:

그 식당이 이미 닫았을 텐데 가지 말자
= The restaurant will probably already be closed, so let’s not go

길이 막힐 텐데 지하철로 가자
= The roads will probably be jammed, so let’s take the subway

우유가 없을 텐데 하나만 사세요
= We probably don’t have any milk, so buy one

Just by the nature of the first clause, the second clause is usually some sort of a suggestion. However, not always:

부장님이 없었을 텐데 그래도 부장님을 만나러 회사에 갔어요?
= The boss probably wasn’t there, regardless, did you go to work to meet him?

Also notice that these constructions are essentially the same as those using ~ㄹ/을 것 같다 (Lesson 35) and ~아/어서 (Lesson 36). For example:

길이 막힐 텐데 지하철로 가자
= The roads will probably be jammed, so let’s take the subway

길이 막힐 것 같아서 지하철로 가자
= The roads will probably be jammed, so let’s take the subway

You can substitute ~(으)니까 (Lesson 81) for ~ㄴ/은/는데 to end up with ㄹ/을 테니까. This creates a very similar meaning. For example:

그 사람이 집을 자식한테 줄 텐데 그 집을 우리에게 안 팔거야
그 사람이 집을 자식한테 줄 테니까 그 집을 우리에게 안 팔거야
= That person will probably give his house to his kids, so he won’t sell it to us

학생들이 이 내용을 이해하지 못할 텐데 이 내용까지만 하세요
학생들이 이 내용을 이해하지 못할 테니까 이 내용까지만 하세요
= The students probably won’t understand this content, so just teach them only up until this point

지도에 표시된 커다란 나무가 곧 보일 텐데 조금만 더 빨리 걷자
지도에 표시된 커다란 나무가 곧 보일 테니까 조금만 더 빨리 걷자
= We will soon be able to see the big tree that is marked on the map, so let’s walk just a bit faster

These are the examples from the start of this section, but now with ~테니까 in replace of 텐데:

길이 막힐 테니까 지하철로 가자
= The roads will probably be jammed, so let’s take the subway

우유가 없을 테니까 하나만 사세요
= We probably don’t have any milk, so buy one

그 식당이 이미 닫았을 테니까 가지 말자
= The restaurant will probably already be closed, so let’s not go

You can also use~ㄹ/을 텐데 and ~ㄹ/을 테니까 to indicate that you are going to (or intend to) do something – and the second clause reflects that. I emphasize “you” because typically the action agent in the sentence with either of these constructions is the speaker.

You will often see sources indicating that it is acceptable to use either ~ㄹ/을 텐데 or ~ㄹ/을 테니까 to express this usage of “intention.” It is my personal opinion that it is more common and more natural to use ~ㄹ/을 테니까 and not ~ㄹ/을 텐데 when indicating intention. For example:

지금 갈 테니까 조금 더 기다려 주세요
= I’m going to leave now, so wait just a little bit longer

제가 돈을 많이 벌 테니까 걱정하지 마세요
= I am going to earn a lot of money, so don’t worry

우리가 거기서 하룻밤만 있을 텐데 좀 더 싼 데에서 머물자
= We will spend just one night there, so let’s stay at a place that is a little cheaper

내가 다양한 야채를 살 테니까 야채로  맛있는 것을 만들어 먹자
= I will buy a variety of vegetables, so let’s make something delicious with them

그 나라에서 터를 잡고 살 테니까 이제부터 그 나라 언어를 배워야 돼요
= I intend to settle down in that country, so starting now I need to learn that country’s language

You could also, in theory, end a sentence with this usage. However, you should treat these as incomplete sentences, and they can only really be used when the second clause can be assumed from context. This is similar to ending a sentence with “~아/어서.” For example:

걱정 마. 내가 돈을 많이 벌 거라서… = Don’t worry. Because I’m going to earn a lot of money.
걱정 마. 내가 돈을 많이 벌 테니까… = Don’t worry. Because I’m going to earn a lot of money.

Wow! That’s the first real long lesson in a while. It’s a good thing, too, because this is the last lesson of Unit 4! Congratulate yourself on making it all the way up to Lesson 100!
… but don’t think that you are done yet. I don’t ever plan to stop writing lessons or adding to the existing lessons.

Still confused about what you learned? Why not review everything that we covered in Unit 4?

If you are confident in what you learned from Lessons 92 – 100, try taking our Mini-Test where you can test your knowledge on everything you learned in those lessons. If you have done that, you can also try taking our Unit 4 Test to test yourself on everything you learned in Unit 4.

If you are not into taking the tests, you could always head directly to Unit 5 and check out our first lesson in that Unit (Lesson 101).

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