Hoping and Abilities – Korean Aspects #1

In English grammar, aspects are added to tense expressions. It's the perfect, progressive things in present perfect or past progressive.

In Korean, aspect is the attitude which the speaker has about the sentence. Like always, grammar words are hard. Let's see some examples.

철수는 내일 미국으로 간다.
철수 will go to US tomorrow.

철수는 내일 미국으로 가겠다.
I guess that 철수 will go to US tomorrow.

The difference between these 2 sentences is how much the speaker is sure about 철수 going to US tomorrow. In 철수는 내일 미국으로 간다, the speaker is 100% sure that 철수 will go tomorrow. However, in 철수는 내일 미국으로 가겠다, the speaker heard that 철수 will go to US some day but he's not sure when. Or he heard 철수 will go to somewhere tomorrow and he's not sure whether 철수 goes to US or somewhere else. In both cases, the speaker insn't 100% sure about the fact.

You can find the guessing nuance in the second sentence.

These nuances like guessing, hoping, judging, commanding, willing, ability, etc. are aspects in Korean grammar. Actually, in some grammar books, they insist that only guessing and recalling are aspects.

As a matter of fact, it doesn't matter to us, because our goal is to share your thoughts with Koreans. For this series, let's just define aspects as sharing your thoughts or opinion about the facts in the sentences.

This grammar rule is not simple. It changes words, endings, markers, word orders, even accents to show your opinion correctly.

In this first episode of the series, I'll first cover 2 cases, hoping and ability.


-으면 좋겠다:

It is used when you want to do something that you cannot do now.

애니나 좀 봤으면 좋겠다.
I wish I could watch animations.

-아/어야 하다:

It is used when you want some work or situation to happen as you wish.

이번에는 성적이 잘 나와야 하는데.
I want to get better grades this time.

-아/어야 좋다

It means that It is better when the situation goes as you wish.

이번에는 공격을 받지 않아야 좋을텐데요. 어떻게 될까요?
It's better not to get any attack this time. What will happen?

-으면 안 되다.

It is used when you don't want it to happen.

이 일이 알려지면 안 되는데.
It shouldn't be revealed.

-고 싶다/-고 싶어 하다

-고 싶다 is used when you want it. -고 싶어 하다 is used when you say someone else wants it.

물이 마시고 싶다.
I want some water.

꼬마가 물을 마시고 싶어 해요.
This kid wants some water.

-기(를) 바라다

바라다 means hope or wish.

네가 꼭 성공하기를 바랄게.
I hope for your success.


-(으)ㄹ 수 있다/없다

이 정도 문제는 초등학생도 풀 수 있어.
Even kids can solve the problems like this.

오늘은 갈 수 없어.
I cannot go there today.

-(으)ㄹ 줄 알다/모르다

These expressions are more focused on the skills you can learn.

프랑스어는 할 줄 몰라요.
I can't speak French.

저도 자전거 탈 줄 알아요.
I can ride a bike, too.