은(는)가 보다 vs 싶다 – Korean Grammar vs Grammar #18

3 Speed Only

With Explanation

Although we are not sure about the future, we estimate or guess about it a lot. In Korean, 은(는)가 보다 and 싶다 are used to say our guesses. Although they are used in similar context, they have some different usage. We will learn them today.

싶다

If you find 싶다 in dictionary, you can find the following definition in the second place:

앞 말이 뜻하는 내용을 생각하는 마음이 있음
There is a mind about thinking what you meant earlier in the sentence.

It sounds a bit confusing, but you should remember this one thing, 생각(thinking). 싶다 is related with thinking. If you have any belief, idea, opinion about the topic, then it is 싶다. 싶다 is usually translated to think.

상상도 못했던 선물을 받았다. 꿈인가 싶었다.
I got the present I never imagined. I thought it was a dream.

비가 오는가 싶어 빨래를 걷었다.
I retrieved the laundry because I thought it was rainy.

집에 있겠다 싶어 전화했어.
I thought you might be at home, so I called you.

이번이 마지막 기회다 싶었는지 아주 열심히 한다.
They might have thought that this was their last chance. They are working really hard.

보다

If you also find 보다 in dictionary, you can find the following definition:

앞 말이 뜻하는 행동이나 상태를 추측하거나 어렴풋이 인식하고 있음.
You have guessed the action or state, or recognized them vaguely.

The keyword here is recognition. If you find the word, seem, in Google, it says like this:

You use seem to say that someone or something gives the impression of having a particular quality, or of happening in the way you describe.

As you all know, impression and recognition are closely related. If you want to say your impression from something, then you can use 보다. 보다 is usually translated to seem.

그렇게 시끄럽게 떠드는 것을 보니 다 왔는가 보다.
It seems that they almost arrived as they chat louder.

자는가 보다.
It seems that they are sleeping.

그 사람이 인기가 많은가 보다.
It seems that he is really popular.

Actually, it is more common to say ~나 보다 than 은(는)가 보다.

비가 오나 보다.
It seems that it's raining.

재채기가 계속 나는 것을 보니 감기가 들었나 보다.
I am sneezing continuously. It seems that I caught a cold.

는 것 같다.

If you don't know what to use, then you can use ~는/을 것 같다 in both cases. It also show your guesses and it is interchangeable with both words.

꿈인 것 같다.
집에 있을 것 같아서 전화했어.
그렇게 시끄럽게 떠드는 것을 보니 다 온 것 같다.
자는 것 같다.