Episode from the podcastTalk To Me In Korean

TTMIK Level 6 Lesson 17

Released Monday, 5th September 2011
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TTMIK Level 6 Lesson 17 / -거든(요)

In this lesson, we are going to take a look at the commonly used verb ending, -거든(요). It has a very subtle meaning, and when used correctly and appropriately, it can make your Korean sound much more natural and fluent.

Usages of -거든(요)
1. -거든(요) can be used to express a reason or some background explanation for something, except, -거든(요) forms a separate sentence from the sentence expressing a result. Other expressions that can express reasons for something are -아/어/여서, -(으)니까, and -기 때문에, but these are used in the same sentence with the result. However, -거든(요) is mostly added separately to your statement about what happened or will happen.

저도 모르겠어요. 저 방금 왔거든요.
[jo-do mo-reu-ge-sseo-yo. jeo bang-geum wat-geo-deun-yo.]
= I don’t know either. I just got here.

내일은 안 바빠요. 오늘 일을 다 끝냈거든요.
[nae-i-reun an ba-ppa-yo. o-neul i-reul da kkeut-naet-geo-deun-yo.]
= I’m not busy tomorrow. (Because) I finished all the work today.

2. -거든(요) can also be used when you are implying that your story is continued. When you mention one thing in a sentence that ends with -거든(요), the other person will expect you to mention another thing that’s related to what you just said in the next sentence.

제가 지금 돈이 없거든요. 만원만 빌려 주세요.
[je-ga ji-geum do-ni eop-geo-deun-yo. ma-nwon-man bil-lyeo ju-se-yo.]
= I don’t have any money now. (So...) Please lend me just 10,000 won.

지난 주에 제주도에 갔거든요. 그런데 계속 비가 왔어요.
[ji-nan ju-e je-ju-do-e gat-geo-deun-yo. geu-reon-de gye-sok bi-ga wa-sseo-yo.]
= I went to Jeju Island last week. But it kept raining.

Sample Sentences
1. 제가 지금 좀 바쁘거든요.
[je-ga ji-geum jom ba-ppeu-geo-deun-yo.]
= I’m a little busy now, so...

2. 아까 효진 씨 만났거든요. 그런데 이상한 말을 했어요.
[a-kka hyo-jin ssi man-nat-geo-deun-yo. geu-reon-de i-sang-han ma-reul hae-sseo-yo.]
= I met Hyojin earlier. But she said something strange.

3. 아직 말할 수 없어요. 비밀이거든요.
[a-jik mal-hal su eop-seo-yo. bi-mi-ri-geo-deun-yo.]
= I can’t tell you yet. (Because) it’s a secret.

** Generally, -거든요 is used when you want to soften your speech or express a reason for something indirectly, but sometimes when you are upset, you can use -거든요 as the sentence ending to express the reason that supports or explains your anger.

필요 없거든요!
[pi-ryo eop-geo-deun-yo!]
= I don’t need it!

이미 늦었거든요!
[i-mi neu-jeot-geo-deun-yo!]
= It’s already too late!
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