We have already introduced how to say “as soon as” or “right after” in Korean through a previous lesson, but there is more than one way to say these phrases in Korean. In this lesson, we are introducing a more advanced and more figurative way of saying “as soon as”.
1. Verb + -기가 무섭게
The word 무섭다 literally means “to be scary” or “to be scared”, but -기가 무섭게 has nothing to do with being scared or scary in its translation. When you say that something happens right after you do something, or even “as” you are doing it, you can say “verb + -기가 무섭게” and then say what happened.
수업이 끝나기가 무섭게
= as soon as the class ended
(using -자마자) = 수업이 끝나자마자
말이 끝나기가 무섭게
= as soon as he finished talking
(using -자마자) = 말이 끝나자마자
2. Verb + -기가 바쁘게
-기가 바쁘게 and -기가 무섭게 are almost always interchangeable and are used depending on personal preferences. Some people say 무섭게 more often, some say 바쁘게, and others may not use either of them at all and could just use -자마자 for everything.
문을 열기가 바쁘게
= as soon as I opened the doors
(using -자마자) = 문을 열자마자
밥을 다 먹기가 바쁘게
= as soon as he finished eating
(using -자마자) = 밥을 다 먹자마자
1. 아침에 눈을 뜨기가 무섭게 집에서 나왔어요.
= 아침에 눈을 뜨기가 바쁘게 집에서 나왔어요.
= As soon as I woke up in the morning, I left the house.
2. 문을 열기가 무섭게 손님들이 들어왔어요.
= 문을 열기가 바쁘게 손님들이 들어왔어요.
= As soon as we opened the door, customers came in.
3. 음식이 주문하기가 무섭게 나왔어요.
= 음식이 주문하기가 바쁘게 나왔어요.
= The food came out as soon as we ordered it.
4. 수업이 끝나기가 무섭게 학생들이 교실 밖으로 나갔어요.
= 수업이 끝나기가 바쁘게 학생들이 교실 밖으로 나갔어요.
= The students left the classroom as soon as the class was over.
5. 사람들은 공연이 끝나기가 무섭게 밖으로 나갔어요.
= 사람들은 공연이 끝나기가 바쁘게 밖으로 나갔어요.
= As soon as the performance was over, people went outside.