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Lesson 95: 뿐: Just, Only (~ㄹ/을 뿐이다, ~ㄹ/을 뿐만 아니라)

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Placing 뿐 after a noun
Placing 뿐 after a verb/adjective
Using 뿐 in the middle of a sentence
Not only, but also: ~ㄹ/을 뿐만 아니라




술자리 = drinking party
무늬 = pattern/design
줄무늬 = stripes
체크무늬 = plaid
얼룩무늬 = camouflage
호피 = tiger/leopard skin
꿈속 = in a dream
신혼여행 = honeymoon
노예 = slave
후유증 = aftereffects, aftermath
부작용 = side effect
짝퉁 = a knock off item
곰팡이 = mold
생리 = physiology
생리 = menstruation
현상 = phenomenon
나무뿌리 = root of a tree
숙소 = lodging/accommodations
원주민 = aboriginal/native
= exterior

도망가다 = to run away, to leave quickly
괴롭히다 = to harass, to torment
파내다 = to dig out, pick out
패하다 = to be defeated, to lose

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




In this lesson, you will learn how to use 뿐 in a variety of situations. First, you will learn how to use 뿐 after a noun. Then, you will learn how to use 뿐 after a verb/adjective – both at the end of a sentence and in the middle of a sentence. Finally, you will learn how to use ~뿐만 아니라 to have the meaning of “not only A, but B.” Let’s get started.


Placing after a noun

The English translation of 뿐 is similar to “just” or “only,” but it is more of a grammatical principle than it is a word.  There is a variety of situations in which it can be used – all of which typically have this similar translation. The first usage I want to talk about is when placed after a noun at the end of a sentence. By placing 뿐 after a noun, you can create the meaning of “it is only/it is nothing but…(that noun)”. When doing this, you should attach 이다 to the noun and conjugate it to the future tense (~일). 뿐 can then be placed after this construction. For example:

그것을 사는 것은 돈 낭비일 뿐
상관없어요~ 그냥 돈일 뿐
제가 배우가 되는 것은 꿈일 뿐
그것은 농담일 뿐

However, you should know by now that you can’t end a sentence with a random thing word like “뿐.” Therefore, in order to make these sentences complete, we must also add 이다 to 뿐. For example:

그것을 사는 것은 돈 낭비일 뿐이에요 = Buying that is just a waste of money/Buying that is nothing but a waste of money
상관없어요~ 그냥 돈일 뿐이에요 = It’s nothing… it’s just/only money
제가 배우가 되는 것은 꿈일 뿐이에요 = Becoming an actor is just a dream
그것은 농담일 뿐이에요 = It’s just a joke

You should note, however, that sometimes 이다 (conjugated to the future tense as ~일) can be omitted and ~뿐이다 is attached directly to the noun. For example:

내가 먹고 싶은 것은 삼겹살뿐이야 = The only thing I want to eat is 삼겹살
내가 원하는 유일한 것은 너뿐이야 = The only thing I want is (just) you

There is a slight difference between the two forms. When you attach ~일 to the noun before 뿐 there is a negative connotation. For example, if you said this:

이것은 라면일 뿐이라서 너무 기대하지 마세요 = It’s just 라면, so don’t expect too much

Here, you are implying that it is just ramen; and, because it is bad, the listener should not get his/her hopes up.

However if you said:
오랫동안 라면을 먹지 않아서 제가 먹고 싶은 것은 라면뿐이에요 = The only thing I want to eat is ramen because I haven’t eaten it in such a long time

Here, you are implying that you haven’t eaten ramen in a long time (which is unfortunate, but you really miss the taste of ramen), so the only thing you want to eat is this food that you enjoy, but haven’t eaten in a while.



Placing after a verb/adjective

This same usage can also be applied to verbs and adjectives. When using 뿐 with verbs/adjectives, the preceding word is always connected to the future ~는 것 conjugation of ~ㄹ/을 것. Using a verb/adjective with ~ㄹ/을 것 before 뿐 is similar to adding the word “just” in a sentence in English. For example:

What are you doing?
I’m thinking.

What are you doing?
I’m just thinking.

I want to sleep
I just want to sleep

I’m tired
I’m just tired

If you can understand the subtle differences between the sentences with “just” and the sentences without “just” – than you can understand the differences between sentences with and without 뿐. For example:

저는 생각하고 있어요 = I’m thinking
저는 생각하고 있을 뿐이에요 = I’m just thinking

저는 자고 싶어요 = I want to sleep
저는 자고 싶을 뿐이에요 = I just want to sleep

저는 피곤해요 = I’m tired
저는 피곤할 뿐이에요 = I’m just tired

Notice that this meaning is very similar to the meaning of 그냥 in Korean. For example:

저는 그냥 생각하고 있어요 has a very similar (if not identical) meaning as:
저는 생각하고 있을 뿐이에요


저는 그냥 피곤해요 has a very similar meaning to:
저는 피곤할 뿐이에요

More examples:

네가 여기서 있는 것은 이 문제를 더욱 어렵게 할 뿐이야 = You being here just makes the problem worse
저는 그냥 모든 일에 최선을 다 할 뿐이에요 = I just do my best in everything I do

The future tense ~는 것 conjugation of ~ㄹ/을 것 gets added even if the action is in the past tense. In these cases the ~ㄹ/을 뿐 gets attached to 았/었. For example:

네가 시키는 대로 했을 뿐이야 = I was just doing as you ordered
저는 그것을 해봤을 뿐이에요 = I just tried it
저는 하늘을 봤을 뿐이에요 = I was just looking at the sky



Using in the middle of a sentence

If you place verbs and adjectives before 뿐 as you did in the previous section, you can also place 뿐 (and its preceding clause) in the middle of a sentence. If you do this, 뿐 does not get conjugated in any way, and the whole construction acts almost as if it were an adverb.

Let’s look at the following example:

그녀는 저를 쳐다봤을 그냥 앉아 있었어요 = She just sat there staring at me

The underlined part doesn’t really act like any other grammatical principle you have learned thus far, so it might take some time getting used to. This form is used when something is done while another thing is “just done” (where the meaning of “just” is 그냥”). I would say the construction of:

… ~할 뿐 … 하다 (as in the example 그녀는 나를 쳐다봤을 앉아 있었어요)

Is very similar to:

… ~하면서… 그냥 하다

For example:
그녀는 저를 쳐다봤을 그냥 앉아 있었어요 = She just sat there staring at me
그녀는 저를 쳐다보면서 그냥 앉아 있었어요 = She sat there while just staring at me

However, what I have noticed is that ~ㄹ/을 뿐 is used more commonly to indicate that somebody does something without doing another action. For example:

그녀는 저를 쳐다봤을 아무것도 안 했어요 = She just sat there staring at me, not doing anything


Other examples:

학생은 창문 밖을 봤을 뿐 아무 말도 하지 않았어요 = The student just looked outside and didn’t say anything
그 남자는 손톱을 물어뜯을 뿐 전화를 받지 않았어요 = The man didn’t answer his phone, and was just biting his fingernails

Though you will come across this usage from time to time, it is more commonly used with ~만 아니라 attached to it.



Not only, but also: ~/뿐만 아니라

By placing ~ㄹ/을 뿐만 아니라 at the end of a clause, you can create the meaning of “not only A, but also B.” This grammatical principle is one of my favorite principles to use in conversation, as it is very natural and makes your Korean look very good. I guarantee that if you use ~ㄹ/을 뿐만 아니라 in a conversation with a Korean person, you will turn some heads.

This usage is pretty straightforward. I will show some examples and talk about them after:

이 회사는 집을 제공할 뿐만 아니라 차도 제공해요 = Not only does this company provide housing, but it also provides a car
음식이 없을 뿐만 아니라 음식을 살 수 있는 돈도 없어요 = Not only do we not have any food, but we also don’t have any money to buy food either
우리는 복습할 수 없을 뿐만 아니라 새롭게 공부해야 하는 내용이 많을 거예요 = Not only will we not be able to review, but we will have to study more content (a sentence I actually said to my students in Korea. They were talking so much, I wanted to “punish” them by taking away our review class and making them learn more content before the exam.)

And, if I may, you could also make this sentence:
그는 가난할 뿐만 아니라 못생겼어요 = He is not only poor, but ugly

If the verb in both clauses is the same, it is common to omit the first verb and attach 뿐만 아니라 directly to the noun. The simplest example I could think of would be:
저는 사과를 샀을 뿐만 아니라 바나나도 샀어요 = Not only did I buy apples, but I bought bananas too

Instead of this, you could write:
저는 사과뿐만 아니라 바나나도 샀어요 = I bought not only apples, but bananas too

In fact, just using “뿐만 아니라” by itself has the meaning of “not only that, but…” For example:

건강한 과일을 많이 먹는 것은 중요합니다.
뿐만 아니라 운동을 자주 하는 것도 중요합니다

= Eating lots of healthy fruits is very important
Not only that, but exercising often is also important.

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, take me to the next lesson!