Episode from the podcastTalk To Me In Korean

TTMIK Level 7 Lesson 9 - PDF

Released Thursday, 1st December 2011
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In this lesson, we are taking a look at the verb ending -느라고, which is used to link two verbs or actions as reason and result. There are other expressions in Korean that you can use to talk about the reason for a result, but -느라고 is used specifically when the result is somewhat negative and you want to mention an excuse or reason.

Action + -느라고 + action/state

The verb that comes before -느라고 should be an action.
(ex. 먹다, 잡다, 읽다, 일하다, etc.)

The verb that comes after -느라고, however, can be either an action or a state.

일하다 + -느라고 + 못 가다
(work) + -느라고 + (can't go)

일하느라고 못 갔어요.
[i-ra-neu-ra-go mot ga-sseo-yo.]
= I couldn't go because I was working.
= I was working so I couldn't go.

Here, 일하다 is your excuse/reason for not being able to go somewhere.

-느라고 is usually associated with negative or undesirable results, but you can sometimes use it in a more neutral sense, to mention a goal or an objective.

시험 준비 하느라고 바빠요.
[si-heom jun-bi ha-neu-ra-go ba-ppa-yo.]
= I'm busy preparing for an exam.

먹을 것을 찾느라고 잠깐 냉장고를 열었어요.
[meo-geul geo-seul chat-neu-ra-go jam-kkan naeng-jang-go-reul yeo-reo-sseo-yo.]
= I opened the refrigerator for a little bit to look for something to eat.

The tense of the entire sentence is expressed through the second verb, so you can only use -느라고 with the verb stem of the first verb.

준비 했느라고 (x) 준비 하느라고 (o)
가겠느라고 (x) 가느라고 (o)

Sample Sentences
1. 운동하느라고 전화 온 줄 몰랐어요.
[un-dong-ha-neu-ra-go jeon-hwa on jul mol-la-sseo-yo.]
= I was working out so I didn't know that you were calling.
= I was working out so I didn't know I received a phone call.

2. 청소하느라고 계속 집에 있었어요.
[cheong-so-ha-neu-ra-go gye-sok ji-be i-sseo-sseo-yo.]
= I was cleaning so I stayed at home all along.
= I stayed at home all day because I was cleaning.

3. 뭐 하느라고 이렇게 늦었어요?
[mwo ha-neu-ra-go i-reo-ke neu-jeo-sseo-yo.]
= What were you doing to be so late?
= Why are you so late?

4. 그때 아마 일 하느라 바쁠 거예요. 그래도 연락해 보세요.
[geu-ttae a-ma il ha-neu-ra ba-ppeul geo-ye-yo. geu-rae-do yeol-la-ke bo-se-yo.]
= At that time, I will probably be busy working. But still try calling me.

5. 학비를 내느라고 돈을 다 썼어요.
[hak-bi-reul nae-neu-ra-go do-neul da sseo-sseo-yo.]
= I spent all the money paying for my tuition fees.

Instead of the full -느라고, you can also use -느라.
(ex. 운동하느라, 청소하느라, 뭐 하느라, 일 하느라, 학비 내느라, etc.)

Two more things to remember:
1. The subject of the two verbs should be the same when you use -느라고.
친구가 일하느라, 저는 여기 있었어요. (x)
친구가 일해서, 저는 여기 있었어요. (o)

2. You can't make an imperative or a "let's" sentence using -느라고.
지금 쇼핑 하느라, 같이 가자. (x)
지금 쇼핑 할 거니까, 같이 가자. (o)
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