자료, 소재, 재료, 자재 for Material – Korean Words vs Words #4

3 Speed Only

With Explanation

There's nothing new under the sun. We make something new from what we have around us. The things we use to make something is called materials in English. Particularly, the materials we put in our foods are called ingredients. In Korean, there are 4 words for material: 자료, 소재, 재료, 자재. Let's see these words one by one.

자료

When you research something, we need a lot of materials. We find them and organize them to write or teach something. The word, 자료, is used for researches, it is not much used in other contexts.

Examples

강의를 준비하기 위해 자료를 수집하고 있다.
I am collecting materials to prepare the lecture.

자료가 너무 많다 보니 분석하는데 시간이 오래 걸린다.
As there are so many materials, it takes a lot of time to analyze them.

이번 논문에 필요한 자료를 찾기 위해 인터넷을 검색해 보았다.
I searched the Internet to find some material for my paper.

소재

The second word is 소재. It is used in two contexts: arts and state-of-the-art materials.

Examples for Arts

둘 다 미래 사회를 소재로 한 드라마인데 하나는 시청률이 높았고, 하나는 낮았다.
Both of the TV series are about the future society, but one of them was popular and the other was not.

조선시대 왕들의 일상을 소재로 한 소설을 써 볼까 생각 중이다.
I am considering to use the daily lives of Kings in Joseon Dynasty as a material for my next novel.

Examples for the State-of-the-Art Material

아이언맨의 수트는 첨단 소재로 만들어졌다.
The Iron Man suit is made of the state-of-the-art materials.

이번 제품은 우리 회사에서 새롭게 개발한 소재를 사용해 제작되었습니다.
The product is made of the new material that our company recently developed.

For these state-of-the-art materials, you can use 재료 we will learn next in the place of 소재.

재료

The third word is 재료. It is most common word for material. Except for the special cases for 자료, 소재, 자재, almost every material is 재료. In English, the materials for foods are called ingredients, but they are also called 재료 in Korean.

Examples

오늘 요리의 재료는 무엇인가요?
What are the ingredients for the dish today?

학교 미술 시간에 필요한 재료를 문방구에서 사와야겠다.
I should go to stationery shop to buy some material for school art class.

과학실에 왜 먹을 것이 있나 했는데, 알고 보니 내일 수업 때 사용할 실험 재료였다.
I wondered why there is something to eat in the science lab, I found out later that they were the experiment material we are going to use tomorrow.

자재

The final word for material is 자재. It is usually used for construction(건설). It is rarely used in other contexts.

Examples

좋은 자재를 써서 지은 집이라 쉽게 무너지지 않는다.
As the house is made of good materials, it won't easily collapse.

생각했던 것보다 건축 자재가 많이 필요하다.
Building materials are needed more than expected.