붙이다/부치다 – Korean Grammar vs Grammar #17

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When 받침(last consonant) ㅌ meets ㅇ in the next character, the sound becomes ㅊ. Sometimes, this sound rule makes confusing words. 붙이다 and 부치다 are one of them.

붙이다

붙이다 came from the verb, 붙다. It is the 사동 form of 붙다. 붙다 has many meanings. However, its basic meaning is gluing. If you put together something that were once separate, then it is 붙다. That's why it is used when you glue something, add some condition to the negotiation, light a fire(wood and fire were separate, but they become one when you light a fire).

나무에 불을 붙였다.
He lighted the fire on the wood.

문 위에 간판을 붙였다.
He added sign above the door.

긴 협상 끝에 그는 유리한 조건을 하나 붙일 수 있었다.
After the long negotiation, he could add an advantageous condition.

부치다

부치다 is the separate verb. It has nothing to do with 붙이다. It has many meanings.

Sending a letter.

봉투에 우표를 붙인 후, 우체국에 가서 편지를 부쳤다.
After gluing the stamp on the envelop, I went to the post office and sent the letter.

First 붙이다 from 붙인 is 붙이다 because the person(let's call him 무각) is gluing the stamp on the envelop. The second 부치다 from 부쳤다 is 부치다 because 무각 is sending the letter now.

Fanning a fan.

더운데 부채 부쳐주기 할까?
It's so hot. How about fanning each other?

Fan can be used with electronic ones and other fans in English. However, there are many separate words for fans in Korean. If it is paper and you should move your arm up and down to create wind, then it is 부채. If it is electronic one, then it is 선풍기. Finally, if the fan is used to extract bad smell out of a place, then it is 환풍기. The verb, 부치다, is only used with 부채.

Fry

The final meaning is related with cooking. It is to fry. Actually, the fry is translated to Korean in many verbs, 튀기다, 볶다, 부치다, 지지다, etc. 부치다 is used when you put a little oil on the frying pan and fry an egg or a pancake. The famous food in Korea that uses this way of cooking is 부침개 or 파전.

배고프면 달걀 프라이 부쳐 먹어.
If you are hungry, then make an fried egg and eat it.

In English, it is fried egg, but it is 달걀 프라이 in Korean. Although it is written as 달걀 프라이, many people read it as 달걀 후라이.