Korean expressions part 1

There are a lot of Korean grammar expressions to go through, and now we will cover some of them. Here we will learn how to express whether or not we know something, how to do something, no choice but to do something, as soon as we do something, and to end up doing something.

V + (은/는/든)지
V + (은/는/든)지 알다
V + (은/는/든)지 모르다

1. V + (은/는/든)지 알다/모르다 is used to express whether you know something or don’t know something. The ending V + (은/는/든)지 expresses ‘whether or not’ and we combine it with 알다 (to know) and 모르다 (to not know).

뭘 배우든지 열심히 해야 돼요. – Work hard at whatever you are learning.

내일 우리 만날 수 있는지 알고 싶어요 – I want to know if we can meet tomorrow or not.

그는 오는지 모르겠어요. I don’t know if he’s coming or not.

V + (ㄹ/을) 줄 알다
V + (ㄹ/을) 줄 모르다
V + (ㄴ/은,는,ㄹ/을) 줄 알았다

2. V + (ㄹ/을) 줄 알다/모르다 is used to express whether you know how to do something or don’t know how to do something. V + (ㄹ/을) 줄 알았다 is used to express that you knew or thought something.

한식을 요리할 줄 알아요? – Do you know how to cook Korean food?

기타를 칠 줄 몰라요. – I don’t know how to play guitar.

사람이 많을 줄 알았어요. – I thought there would be a lot of people.

V + (ㄹ/을) 수밖에 없다

3. V + (ㄹ/을) 수밖에 없다 is used to express ‘I have no choice but to do V’, or ‘I can only do V’.

친구가 늦게 올 거라고 해서 우리는 기다릴 수밖에 없어요. – Our friend said he is coming late, so we have no choice but to wait for him.

V + 자마자
V + 기가 무섭게
V + 기가 바쁘게

4. There are three related expressions here, all meaning ‘as soon as V’ / ‘right after V’, but out of the three, V + 자마자 is the most common, and V + 기가 무섭게/바쁘게 is used less.

아침에 눈을 뜨자마자 집에서 나왔어요. – I left the house as soon as I woke up in the morning.

수업이 끝나기가 바쁘게 학생들이 교실 밖으로 나갔어요. – The students left the classroom as soon as the class finished.

음식이 주문하기가 무섭게 나왔어요. – The food came out right after we finished ordering.

V + 게 되다

5. This expression means to end up doing V, or to happen to do V by chance.

여자친구가 한국에 살아서 오게 되었어요. – My girlfriend lives in Korea, so I ended up coming here.

V + (ㄹ/을)뻔했다

6. This expression means to almost end up doing something, or almost did something.

난 죽을뻔했어요. – I almost died.