Episode 38: (으)려고 and 노력하다 "in order to try"


AH the last year of university proves to be harder than I thought ㅠ__ㅠ I have to do so many pages of reading I forget what it's like to not be in a constant state of reading. Nowadays I read EVERYWHERE and I still don't end up covering all the material I need to cover. Oh well, depressing things aside, these ~Weekly Korean~ episodes really help me get my mind off of university work and other stressful things so I'm very grateful to all of you who watch them and read my blog posts. *bows*

As for what we'll be discussing today, remember what we talked about last week? In Episode 36 we covered how to express your attempt/try at something using ~보다. However that doesn't illustrate that you put effort into trying. So this week we'll be looking at how to say that you put effort into trying to do something and for that we need two components: ~(으)려고 and 노력하다.


In Episode 27 I introduced the a particle ~러, which adds a meaning of "In order to/with a purpose of" to a sentence. ~(으)려고 is yet another way to add that type of meaning to a sentence by adding it to the stem of the verb. If the verb ends on a consonant we add ~(으)려고, but if the verb ends on a vowel we simply add ~려고, for example:

물을 마시려고... With the intention of drinking water/in order to drink water...

공원에 가려고… With the intention of going to the park/in order to go to the park…

Unfortunately, these examples are merely incomplete clauses rather than full sentences, so let's complete them!

공원에 가려고 신발를 청소했어요- I cleaned my shoes in order to go to the park

물을 마시려고 노력했어요- I put in effort for the purpose of drinking water

As you can see, we used 노력하다 in the second sentence, so the literal meaning of the sentence is a little awkward. So let's figure out how to use 노력하다 in order to come up with a more natural translation.


This interesting Korean verb is used to express an attempt/try which requires effort. 노력 is effort in Korean and adding 하다 turns it into a verb. The reason why I showed you how to use ~려고 first, is because 노력하다 is often used together with it, for example:

나는 일주일에 한 번 여자친구 같이 데이트를 하려고 노력해요- I try to go on a date wth my girlfriend once a week (To go on a date with my girlfriend once a week I put in effort)

한국어를 배우려고 노력하고 있어요- I am trying hard to learn Korean (In order to learn Korean I am putting in a lot of effort)

Looking at examples it is all fairly simple so here are a bunch more examples of different types of sentences with ~려고 and 노력하다:

돈 많이 벌려고 열심히 공부해요- In order to earn a lot of money I am studying hard (I am studying hard for the purpose of earning a lot of money)

부모님께 도우려고 아르바이트 두게 일해요- I work two part-time jobs to help my parents

Using ~려고 clauses as full sentences

I know that earlier I said that we can't really use incomplete clauses as sentences but that is only partly true. There are instances where it's possible:

Let's say someone is asking you if went to the bank-

은행에 갔어요?

If you are just about to go you can say-

지금 가려고- I'm just about to go

This is a very casual answer but we can add at the end to make it more polite-

숙제를 다 했어요?- Have you finished all the homework?

지금 하려고요- I am just about done

That is all for today!

Hope this wasn't too confusing.

Let me know if you have any questions :)

Much love,


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