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Episode 30: ~는 것 Explained!

안녕 친구들~!

HAPPY 30TH EPISODEVERSARY!!!!!! Thank you so much for sticking around for this whole time, helping me grow and guiding me through our Korean learning journey. I'm incredibly happy and honoured that you guys are sharing this experience with me! I hope we will continue studying together for many many more episodes to come!

As for what topic will mark our 30th episode, I decided to delve into the word of 것, which is an incredibly fascinating word in Korean. In its basic form it simply means "thing", both physical and abstract. However, when it is used in different grammatical concepts, its meaning drastically transforms. I will definitely not be able t cover everything about 것 in this episode, and that's why I want you to be on a look out for upcoming episodes where I will go into more details about it and will introduce more instances where it is used.

Basic Examples of 것:

As I previously mentioned, 것 has a basic meaning of "thing" so here are a few examples of common Korean sentences where it is used for its purpose of meaning "thing":

이 가게에는 재미있는 이 많아요- There are a lot of interesting THINGS in this shop

이 식당에 다른 이 있어?- Is there anyTHING else in this restaurant?

필요한 이 있어요?- Is there anyTHING you need?

What is ~는 것?

In simplest terms, adding ~는것 to a verb turns it into a noun. This will sound familiar to those of you who have seen my video about direct modifying or those of you who have studied direct modifying in the past, because it is pretty much the same thing.

To refresh our memory, when directly modifying using verbs/adjectives, we add 는 to the verb/adj, which then, in turn, modifies whatever noun comes after:

제가 먹는 음식- The food I eat

제가 보는 영화- The movie I watch

With ~는 것, it is basically the same thing. We are also changing the verb and adding 는 to it, however instead of having a noun for the verb to modify, we have 것, which is already a noun! Isn't that fascinating? Does that even make sense to you?

Using ~는 것 you are basically having the verb modify the word 것 to create a noun-like clause, which can then later be used as a part of a bigger sentence.

Here is how you add ~는 것 to verbs:

하다 --> 하는 것 (to do --> the act of doing)

자다 --> 자는 것 (to sleep --> the act of sleeping)

읽다 --> 읽는 것 (to read --> the act of reading)

있다 --> 있는 것 (to be --> the act of being)

With that said, now all you have to do is add whatever appropriate particle fits the sentence, because now you have a noun clause instead of a verb and you can use it however you want.

Noun clause as a subject:

수영하는 것이 재미있어요- The act of swimming is fun (Swimming is fun)

Noun clause as a topic:

수영하는 것은 취미예요- The act of swimming is my hobby (My hobby is swimming)

Noun clause as an object:

수영하는 것을 좋아해요- I like the act of swimming (I like to swim)

Here are some more examples of how to use ~는 것:

늦게 먹는 것이 건강에 나빠요- Eating late is not healthy

수업 시간에 음악을 듣는 것이 금지해요- Listening to music in class is prohibited

내 남친 기타를 치는 것은 좋아해요- My boyfriend likes playing guitar

Possible Confusions:

Example 1:

"I want Naengmyeon"

저는 냉면을 원해요

Subject - Object - Verb

Example 2:

"I want my boyfriend to buy Naengmyeon"

This sentence follows the same pattern as the Example 1 in terms of the subject - object - verb.

저는 (naengmyeon that my boyfriend bought) 원해요

So how do we say middle part? Let's first turn it into a Korean sentence:

남자친구는 냉면을 사요- My boyfriend buys Naengmyeon

Now, before we try and insert this sentence into the original one, we need to understand that it has to be altered. The reason for that is to create as simple of a sentence as possible. Otherwise we will end up with a multi-clause sentence with multiple verbs and subjects and objects, that isn't even correct.

That's why we need to use ~는것 to make sense of this mess of a sentence and turn Example 2 sentence into this:

남자친구가 냉면을 사는 것- The act of my boyfriend buying Naengmyeon

With this we can easily plug it into the original sentence, which will now make perfect sense!

저는 남자친구가 냉면을 사는 것을 원해요- I want the act of my boyfriend buying Naengmyeon (literally) OR I want my boyfriend to buy Naengmyeon

Abbreviating ~는 것:

Some of the instances of ~는 것 can be abbreviated, a.k.a. made shorter for convenience sake. That mostly happens in daily speech though so I wouldn't suggest using it in formal writing.

| 것이 = 게 | | 것을 = 걸 |

아침 일찍 일어나는 게 힘들어요- Waking up early in the morning is difficult

친구들이랑 노는 걸 좋아해요- I like hanging out with my friends

Hope this was helpful!

Let me know if you have any questions :)

Much love,


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