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Episode 32: 생각하다 vs 줄 알았다


I'm pretty sure I've mentioned in the previous blog post that I will be going back home to Israel for two weeks in mid-August. I feel like recently I've been glued to my laptop 24/7 and I don't think that's right, so I want to do a cleanse while I'm at home and not take my laptop with me! :O I know I know, unbelievable right? Therefore, I need to make 6 videos in the next 7 days so that I can schedule them to release on their own while I'm away. Boy this shall be a tough week for me ㅠ__ㅠ

As for what we're delving into today.. I am kind of enjoying the ~는 것 wave we've been on for the past few weeks and I'm trying to think of as many new concepts as I can to throw at you while we're at it. Last week we've discussed ~것 같다, which can sometimes be translated as "I think". Interestingly no part of ~것 같다 means "to think" when translated literally. Therefore, I felt like it was my duty to let you know that Korean actually has a specific word with a meaning of "to think." That and more ways to express your thoughts is what we'll be discussing today! Let's goooooooo!

~고 생각하다:

As you've probably deduced, 생각하다 means "to think" in Korean. Here I will show you ways to share your what you're thinking using 생각하다:

그가 똑똑하다고 생각했어요- I thought that boy was smart

When the topic of your sentence is a verb or an adjective, like in this case, all you have to do is leave the verb/adj. in its un-conjugated, infinitive form and add ~고 to it. The rest of the sentence should be fairly straight forward. In this case we conjugated 생각하다 to indicate past tense. *Hint: There is a specific reason why I chose to make this sentence in past tense, which you will find out if you keep reading!

사람들은 중국말이 어렵다고 생각해요- People think Chinese language is difficult

This sentence follows the same pattern as the previous one.

의사가 유능한 사람이라고 생각해요- I think the doctor is a competent person

The topic of this sentence is a noun (사람- person) so notice how I added ~이라고 to it in order to connect it with 생각해요. To nouns that end on a vowel we simply add ~라고.

줄 알았다:

Now that we know two ways to express our thoughts/opinions/etc, ~것 같다 and ~고 생각하다, I want to introduce a fascinating new concept, which we don't have in English! In Korean there is actually a special way to express the fact that you thought your opinion was right but it ended up being wrong and you're admitting that. Did that sentence make sense? I really hope it did. It took me a while to come up with it ^^

Let's compare two sentences:

1. 그가 똑똑하다고 생각했어요- I thought that boy was smart

This sentence simply allows you to state your opinion. You met a boy at an after school academy, you remembered that instance and then you mentioned it. That's it.

2. 그가 똑똑한 줄 알았어요- I (mistakenly) thought that boy was smart

Using ~줄 알았다 allows you to let whoever you're speaking to know that what you thought originally was wrong. Let's say you met a boy at the academy and straight away assumed that he was smart but then the class began and you changed your opinion. That is one of the situations where you would use ~줄 알았다.

1. 후배라고 생각했어요- I thought you were a junior (younger colleague)

Once again, this sentence simply lets you express your thought/opinion without any other context.

2. 후배인 줄 알았어요- I (mistakenly) thought you were a junior (younger colleague)

This sentence would be used in a situation where you accidentally referred to someone in 반말 (informal speech) but then you find out they are actually your 선배* so you apologise saying that you mistakenly thought they were a 후배*.

*In English speaking work environment a person can refer to his/her coworkers as colleagues or teammates regardless of their age or experience. In Korea, you can't do that. There are specific terms that should be used when referring to those who are older/more experienced or younger/less experienced.

후배- Junior (younger coworker)

선배- Senior (older coworker)

Present, Past, Future Tense with 줄 알았다:

줄 is one of those Korean words like '수' or '적', which can only be described by verbs/adjectives in the ~는 것 form. With that said, it is possible to express thoughts about things or events that happened in the past, present or future tense. Those of you familiar with ~는 것 should find this very simple. Let me show you how:

Past Tense-

언니가 저한테 가방을 빌려준 줄 알았어요- I (mistakenly) thought my older sister lent me a bag

Korean verb for 'to lend' is 빌려주다 so when using it together with the ~는 것 principle we end up with 빌려준, because in past tense we add ~ㄴ/은 to verbs/adjectives.

Present Tense-

언니가 저한테 가방을 빌려주는 줄 알았어요- I (mistakenly) thought my older sister is lending me a bag

Future Tense-

언니가 저한테 가방을 빌려줄 줄 알았어요- I (mistakenly) thought my older sister WILL LEND me a bag

I know I mentioned this in the video but I can't stress enough the importance of taking your learning easy and not getting yourself stressed out with complicated concepts. We are starting to talk about complex multi-clause or multi-tense sentences, which can get very confusing. I myself don't feel 100% comfortable with these sentences yet, but I'm beating myself up with a stick about it. I'm just accepting my personal rate of learning and enjoying the process!

Let me know if you have any questions and I will try my best to answer them!

Hope this helped :)

Much love,


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