조절, 조정, 적응 – Korean Words vs. Words S2 #5

In the episode of control words, there was an example sentence like this:

이 버튼을 눌러서 소리의 크기를 조정할 수 있다.
This knob controls the volume.

Someone asked me, "Shouldn't 조정 here be 조절?". I answered him or her, "Yes." And he or she(I hope there is a pronoun for both gender) asked me what is the different between them. This is about the Korean words for English word, adjust, and the answer to the question.

조절

If we find 조절 in 국어사전, it says:

균형이 맞게 바로 잡음. 적당하게 맞추어 나감.
To make some balance. To make something appropriate.

When something is out of balance, in other words, there are too many or much of something or too few or little of something, then we use the word, 조절.

급커브들을 조심하고 그에 따라 속도를 조절하세요.
Watch out the sharp bends and adjust your speed accordingly.

당뇨 환자들은 탄수화물 섭취량 조절에 노력해야 한다.
The patients of diabetes must try to control their ingestion of carbohydrate.

Sometimes, 조절 is used with the Konglish word, 컨디션 like 컨디션 조절. It means to adjust your shape or physical balance or mental state to perform best in games, work, etc.

조정

If we find 조정 in 국어사전, it says:

어떤 기준이나 실정에 맞게 정돈함
To arrange or tidy according to some standard or reality.

Both mean similar. However, 조정 is used a lot for systems, public services, company rules, or schedule, etc. because they follow some standard or reality.

회사의 구조 조정으로 인해 많은 사람이 일자리를 잃었다.
Due to the restructuring of the company, many people lost the job.

버스 노선을 일부 조정하기로 결정했다.
They decided to change the routes of some bus lines.

If you are interested in stock market news, you can see the phrases like 상향 조정 or 하향 조정. When you think that a company will be great in the future, companies do 상향 조정(increase of (target price of stock)). If not, they do 하향 조정(decrease of (target price)).

Then, should we 조정 or 조절 소리 크기? It depends. If you think the volume is too much, then it should be 조절. If you think that the volume is unrealistic or you want to emphasize that you are adjusting the system of the machine, it should be 조정. I searched Naver for 2 words and 조절 is much more popular than 조정 with 소리 크기. Still, there are some 조정s. You can safely think that both are interchangeable with the volume.

적응

Finally, when you adjust, adapt, or get used to some situation, it is called 적응 in Korean.

그는 혼자 밥을 먹는 것에 적응하는데 한참이 걸렸다.
It took a long time for him to adjust to eating alone.

그녀는 군인으로서의 생활에 빨리 적응하지 못했다.
She couldn't adjust herself quickly to military life.