Estimate/Guess – Korean Aspects #2

When we were learning tense expressions, we learned that future tense endings like 겠 and -을/를 것이다 are used for estimation or guesses. They are not the only guessing expressions in Korean. We'll learn other expressions today.


It is used when you're guessing about the current or near-future situation. One thing to note is that it is 반말 expression. If you want to be polite, use -(으)ㄹ 거예요.

지금쯤이면 집에 있을걸?
She might be in her house now.

지금 끝내도 소용 없을걸?
It might be useless even if you finish it right away.

-은/는 모양이다.

It is used to guess the current situation or the intention of the action that someone did from what you saw or heard.

이제 준비하고 가려는 모양이네.
It seems that they are leaving after packing things up.

지금 밖에 눈이 오는 모양이야.
It seems that it's snowing outside.

In this sentence, usually, the speaker didn't check the outside, but saw or heard some information from others. Or he saw the outside and it was white everywhere, but it's hard to figure out it's still snowing.

-은/는/을/를 것 같아요.

Some people ask "why do Koreans use 'I think' or 'It seems' a lot?" The answer is that they use a lot of them in their native language. The culprit is -은/는/을/를 것 같아요.

곧 끝날 것 같아요.
It seems that it'll end soon.

A: 우승하셨는데 소감이 어떠세요?
B: 많이 기쁜 것 같습니다.
A: You won! How do you feel?
B: It's great!

In grammar books for native Koreans, they told us not to use the sentences like "많이 기쁜 것 같습니다" for your own feelings. If we translate the sentence directly, it is "it seems that I feel great." It's really odd. If you don't know your own feelings, who would? However, in real world conversations, you can sometimes hear this way of speaking. So, you should be aware of them.

-나 보다

-나 보다 and -은/는 모양이다 are same. You can use them interchangeably.

이제 준비하고 가려나 봐.
It seems that they are leaving after packing things up.

지금 밖에 눈 오나 봐요.
It seems that it's snowing outside.

-은/는 듯하다/듯싶다

It's about guessing what will happen soon.

오늘 내로 다 쓸 수 있을 듯해요.
It seems that I can finish writing it today.

곧 시작할 듯싶어요.
It seems that it'll start soon.

-을/를 텐데

It is used to guess the current situation.

지금쯤이면 다 끝내고 집에 갔을텐데.
They might have finished all of them and left.

One thing different from other expressions is that you can use -을/를 텐데 to show regrets. It's because you're guessing how your life has changed if you did differently in the past.

학교 다닐 때 공부 좀 열심히 했으면 지금처럼 살지는 않을텐데.
If I had studied harder when I was in school, I wouldn't live like this.

그 때 손을 꼭 잡고 있었더라면, 동생은 죽지 않았을텐데.
If I had held her hand tightly back then, she wouldn't have died.

-을/를 지도 모르다.

It is used to say something unlikely will happen.

차보다 걸어서 가는 것이 더 빠를지도 모르겠다.
It might be faster to walk than to ride a car.

정말 우승할지도 모르겠는데.
It seems that he could really win this time.

-기는 틀렸다.

It is used when you guess it is almost impossible to do something.

오늘 다 하기는 틀렸다.
It seems that we cannot finish it today.