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Lesson 98: To pretend to: ~은/ㄴ/는 척하다

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To pretend to: ~은/ㄴ/는 척하다




설거지 = dish washing
사생활 = personal life
헛소문 = groundless rumor
단체 = organization/corporation
긴장감 = tension
사건 = events
놀이터 = playground
불교 = Buddhism
문단 = paragraph
야생 = wild

주장하다 = to argue
노동하다 = to work, to do labor
탈출하다 = to escape
퍼지다 = to diffuse/spread out/spread
정돈하다 = to arrange
흐르다 = to flow
강조하다 = to stress/emphasize
맡다 = to undertake/take on/handle/manage
외식하다 = to eat out somewhere
구하다 = to rescue
데다 = to burn (part of a body)
유출하다 = to leak
잘나다 = to be good, to do well, to be smart

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



In this lesson, you will learn a 보조동사 that allows you to indicate that one pretends to do something. Let’s get started.


To pretend to: ~//척하다

Some verbs can only be used when combined with some other grammatical principle to support another verb. Examples of these from previous lessons are:

있다 in ~고 있다 (Lesson 18). 있다 must come after ~고 For example:
지금 학교에서 시험 때문에 긴장감이 퍼지고 있어요
= The tension is spreading in the school now because of the exam

보다 in ~아/어 보다 (Lesson 32). 보다 must come after ~아/어. For example:
우리는 피해자들을 구하려고 노력해 볼 거예요
= We will try to save the victims

주다 in ~아/어 주다 (Lesson 42). 주다 must come after ~아/어. For example:
제가 지금 급한 일이 생겨서 저 대신 학생들을 맡아 주세요
= Something urgent came up, so take the students for me

These are all examples of 보조동사 in Korean. Essentially, verbs that assist another verb by adding meaning to them. In the three examples above, you can see how, depending on the 보조동사 used, you can indicate that one is doing, trying or asking for something.

Another 보조동사 is 척하다. 척하다 comes after ~는 when used with a verb in the present tense. For example:

엄마가 오자 저는 설거지하는 척했어요 = As soon as my mom came I pretended to do the dishes

척하다 can come after ~ㄴ/은 when the verb is being used in the past tense. For example:

아이는 엄마 말을 들은 척했어요 = The child pretended he listened to his mother

Below are many more examples:

선생님이 그를 보자 공부하는 척했어요
= He pretended to study when the teacher looked at him

고양이가 야생 개를 보고 누워서 죽은 척했어요
= The cat saw the wild dog and then lay down and pretended to be dead

물이 흐르는 소리를 못 들은 척하고 그냥 잤어요
= I pretended that I couldn’t hear the water flowing and just slept

그 친구가 팔에 덴 자국을 못 본 척하고 얘기했어요
= I pretended that I didn’t see the the burn mark on my friend’s arm and talked with him

그 이벤트가 마음에 들지 않았지만 감동한 척했어요
= I didn’t like that event, but I pretended that it impressed me

우리 아들은 TV를 보면서 침대를 정돈하는 척했어요
= Our son pretended to clean up his bed while watching TV

그 남자는 쉬운 일을 하면서 힘든 노동을 한 척했어요
= That man pretended to have done some hard work while doing something easy

학생이 그 문단을 읽는 척하고 수업 시간 동안 그냥 앉아 있었어요
= That student pretended to read the paragraph and just sat there during the class

그 단체가 우리 사생활을 보호하는 척하고 개인 정보를 유출했어요
= That organization pretends to protect our privacy, and leaked out our personal information

그 여자는 사랑하는 남자의 마음을 얻기 위해 불교를 믿는 척했어요
= That girl pretended to believe in Buddhism in order to get the heart of the man she loves

척하다 comes after ~ㄴ/은 when used after an adjective or 이다. For example:

여자는 자기 남자 친구한테 귀여운 척했어요
= The girl pretended to be cute to her boyfriend

원하는 것을 받으려고 남자는 슬픈 척했어요
= The man pretended to be sad to get what she wanted

그 사람이 부자인 척하고 항상 돈의 중요성을 강조했어요
= That person pretended to be rich and always emphasized the importance of money

저는 파티에서 행복한 척했는데 사실 요즘에 진짜 슬퍼요
= I pretended to be happy at the party, but I am actually really sad these days

아이들이 놀이터에서 자기가 경찰관인 척하면서 놀았어요
= The kids pretended that they were police officers at the playground

죄수가 감옥을 지키는 경비원인 척하고 감옥에서 탈출했어요
= The prisoners pretended that they were guards protecting the prison and then escaped (from the prison)

그 사람이 다른 사람들을 위하는 척하며 자기 의견만 주장해요
= That person pretends to be for other people, but just asserts his own opinion


Two common verbs used with 척하다 are 알다 and 모르다, which can be used to indicates that one pretends to know or not know. For example:

그는 정답을 아는 척했어요
= He pretended that he knew the answer

어제 외식했을 때 식당에서 아는 친구를 봤지만 모르는 척했어요
= Yesterday when I went out to eat, I saw a friend I know at the restaurant, but I pretended I don’t know him


The word 잘나다 is commonly used with 척하다 to indicate that one pretends to do something well. For example:

그녀는 시험을 잘 보고 친구들한테 잘난 척했어요
= She bragged to her friends after doing well on the exam

그 선생님이 서울대를 졸업하셔서 항상 잘난 척하셔요
= That teacher always brags because he graduated from Seoul National University


There are also some words that can be used instead of “척하다.” The most common alternative is “체하다,” which has a very similar, if not identical, meaning:

식당에서 교수님은 저를 모른 체했어요
= The professor pretended to not know me in the restaurant

That’s it for this lesson!

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