Looks like… -(으)ㄴ가 보다 and -나 보다

This post is sort of a continuation from the previous post on 것 같다. There, we learned that 것 같다 can be used to say that something seems like something else. It can be used to speculate about or give an uncertain opinion on something in the past, present, or future. Today, we will look at a similar structure.

(으)ㄴ가보다 and -나 보다 both mean the same thing; the form is simply different depending on what it they are attached to. This grammar means “looks like” or “seems like” and is used when the speaker has observed something that leads them to make whatever conclusion they have drawn. This is different from 것 같다 in that 것 같다 does not necessarily require the speaker to have observed something to use as the basis of their statement. Let’s learn how to use them.

-(으)ㄴ가 보다

-(으)ㄴ가 보다 can be used with descriptive verbs only in the present tense and with both descriptive and action verbs in the future tense. For the present tense, simply attach -은가 보다 to verb roots ending with consonants and -ㄴ가 보다 to roots ending with vowels. For the future tense, apply the future tense -(으)ㄹ 것이다 to the verb root and then add -(으)ㄴ가 보다 to that. It will come out looking like -(으)ㄹ 것인가 보다 or, to shorten it up, -(으)ㄹ 건가 보다.


  • 아연 씨는 보통은 고기를 잘 먹는데 오늘은 거의 안 먹네요. 배가 아픈가 봐요. (Ayeon usually loves meat [eats meat well] but today she’s hardly eating. It looks like she has a stomachache.
  • 정원 씨는 시험을 치르는 데 3시간 다 필요했는데 호찬 씨는 1시간 안에 문제를 다 푼 데다가 점수가 잘 나왔어요. 머리가 엄청 좋은가 봐요. (Jeongwon needed the full three hours for the test, but Hochan finished within an hour and got a good score. It looks like he’s really smart [It looks like his head is really good].)


  • 유정 씨는 오래 전부터 언젠가 미국여행 가겠다고 노래 불렀어요*. 요즘 돈을 많이 모으고 영어를 열심히 공부하고 있는 걸 보니 드디어 갈 건가 봐요. (Yujeong has been saying for a long time that she will travel to the US eventually. Seeing how she’s saving money and studying English hard, it looks like she will finally go.)
  • 일기예보를 듣고 보니 내일도 정말 무더울 건가 봐요. (Listening to the weather report, it looks like tomorrow will be really muggy too.)

*노래를 부르다— While this usually means “to sing (a song),” it is also used as an expression meaning that someone says something over and over.

-나 보다

-나 보다 is used for action verbs in the past and present tense, AND for descriptive verbs in the past tense. It can not be used with the future tense.


  • 학교 축구장은 진흙밭이 다 됐네요. 비가 많이 왔나 봐요. (The school soccer field turned into a mud pit. It looks like it rained a lot.)
  • 아이들이 선생님의 퍼즐을 잘 못 풀었어요. 너무 어려웠나 봐요. (The children couldn’t solve the teacher’s puzzle. It looks like it was too difficult.)


  • 동생의 방에서 코 고는 소리가 들려요. 낮잠을 자고 있나 봐요. (The sound of snoring is coming from my younger brother’s room. It looks like he’s napping.)
  • 요리법을 읽고 보니 이거 만드는 데 40분이나 걸리나 봐요. 우리 시간이 있어요? (Looking at the recipe, it looks like it takes about 40 minutes to make this. Do we have time?)


Happy studying~