To that extent — -토록

Time for more grammar! I think I would consider this one to be… intermediate? But I don’t remember seeing it actually introduced in any of the textbooks I’ve check out! Anyway, let’s take a look at -토록, a grammar point used to indicate a certain extent of something.


-토록 indicates that something happens or exists to the extent of something else. For example:

He waited for his friend’s phone call all day.

Of course, we could use the adverb 하루종일 (all day long) to translate this sentence, but we could also use -토록 to sort of emphasize that he really did wait all day.

Another example we could consider is:

If you like her that much (to that extent), just confess!

Now, let’s see how to actually use -토록 to form these sentences in Korean.


-토록 is very easy to use! Just slap it on the end of (usually) a demonstrative determiner (ex: 이, 그, 저) or a word that indicates a time period for the most common and natural usage. The forms made by attaching -토록 to the mentioned determiners are so common that they are actually parsed as adverbs in their own right instead of determiner+-토록!

종일토록 친구의 전화를 기다렸다. (He waited for his friend’s phone call all day.)

그녀를 그토록 좋아한다면 고백해봐! (If you like her that much, just confess!)


If you’re familiar with the grammar point 만큼 you might be wondering what makes -토록 any different. Remember that 만큼 indicates that one thing is about the same or equal to something else. You can use it with descriptive and action verbs in multiple tenses as well as nouns while -토록 is more restrictive in what it attaches to. -토록 cannot attach to verbs at all:

( O ) 경훈 씨는 제가 공부한 만큼 공부를 열심히 했어요. (Kyeonghoon studied just as hard as I studied.)

( X ) 경훈 씨는 제가 공부한토록 공부를 열심히 했어요.

Also, -토록 cannot be used to equate things in the same way 만큼 can. For example:

( O동생의 키는 오빠의 키만큼 커요. (My younger brother is as tall as my older brother [My younger brother’s height is as big as my older brother’s height].)

( X동생의 키는 오빠의 키토록 커요.

만큼 cannot take the place of -토록 when -토록 is used with a specified period of time:

( O ) 종일토록 친구의 전화를 기다렸다.

( X ) 종일만큼 친구의 전화를 기다렸다.

The most overlap between -토록 and 만큼 occurs when 만큼 is attached to determiners. Just like with -토록, the forms made by determiner+만큼 are parsed as adverbs instead of being broken down into parts.

( O ) 그녀를 그토록 좋아한다면 고백해봐!

( O ) 그녀를 그만큼 좋아한다면 고백해봐!

The difference between the two here is that 그토록 is more like “that much” or “so much” not necessarily with a point of reference while 그만큼 feels like maybe the person who likes this mystery lady said something that indicated how much he likes her, prompting the 만큼 answer above from the other party in the conversation.


Happy studying~

The more… -(으)ㄹ수록

Hello, everyone! Today we’ll look at a grammar point that I remember loving when I first learned it. I would overuse it so much… Not good at the time, but of course that helped it stick in my mind! Today’s grammar, -(으)ㄹ수록, can be used when you want to express “The more…”. This is useful when you want to indicate that the scale or increase/decrease of a certain resulting condition or action is dependent upon the scale of some other thing. Sound confusing? It’s actually really simple!

Continue reading “The more… -(으)ㄹ수록”

Praise and blame — 덕분 and 탓

Welcome back, everyone! Today we’ll look at two grammar elements (words?) that express sort of of opposite meanings. Maybe you want to say that something happened thanks to someone else. Or, maybe you want to indicate that something is someone/something else’s fault. We can use 덕분 and 탓 to show praise and blame. Let’s check them out!

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~(으)ㄴ/는 반면에 and 대신에 — “On the other hand” and “instead of”

Welcome back, everyone! Today I bring you some intermediate grammar. I feel like it’s been a while since I wrote something for the majority in the middle. Sometimes you want to compare two situations or acknowledge two sides of one thing or issue. In that case, you can use 반면(에). If you want to talk about choosing one thing over another, you can use 대신(에). We’ll look at both of them individually.

~(으)ㄴ/는 반면(에)

This grammar form translates more or less to “on the other hand” in English. You could also translate it as “while”. When used with action verbs in the past tense or descriptive verbs, attach ~(으)ㄴ 반면(에) to the verb root. If you’re dealing with an action verb in present tense, attach ~는 반면(에). You can use this when you want to compare two situations. Let’s check out some examples:

(Present tense descriptive verb) —저는 내성적인 반면 남자 친구는 외향적이에요. (I am introverted, but on the other hand, my boyfriend is extroverted.)

(Past tense action verb) — 세빈 씨는 이미 군대에 갔다온 반면에 승규 씨는 아직도 안 갔어요. (While Sebin has already gone to the army, Seunggyu has not yet gone.)

(Present tense action verb) — 한별 씨는 이번 방학 동안 태국 여행 가는 반면에 아라 씨는 집에만 있을 것 같아요. (While Hanbyeol is going to Thailand this vacation, it seems that Ara will just stay at home.)

We can see that the above examples are comparing two different things. We can also compare two aspects of the same thing:

(Present tense descriptive verb) — 강현 씨는 성격이 좋은 반면에 화를 낼 때 정말 무서워요. (Kanghyeon has a good personality, but on the other hand, he’s really scary when he’s angry.)

(Past tense action verb) —  승진 씨는 외국 여행을 몇 번 간 반면에 내국 여행은 아직도 안 가 봤어요. (While Seungjin has traveled internationally a few times, he still hasn’t traveled within the country.)

(Present tense action verb) — 혜림 씨는 매일 집에서 공부를 열심히 하는 반면 수업 시간 동안 핸드폰 게임만 계속 해요. (While Hyerim studies hard at home every day, she constantly does nothing but play phone games during class.)


If you want to indicate that one thing was chosen over another, this is the grammar you need!  It can be used directly after nouns, or after present tense action verbs in the form ~는 대신에.

(Nouns) — 사과 대신에 오레지를 먹을 거예요. (I will eat oranges instead of apples.)

(Present tense action verb) — 숙제를 하는 대신 게임을 3시간 동안 했어요. (Instead of doing homework, I played games for three hours.)

(Present tense action verb) — 바로 대학교에 가는 대신 제 친구는 1년 동안 휴학해서 여행을 하려고 해요. (My friend intends to take a break for one year and travel instead of going straight to university.)


Happy studying~


Direct quotations

Sometimes when we’re talking to someone, we need or want to reference what someone else said, or when we want to say that someone thought something. In English, we would just say “X said…” or “X thought…” or something along those lines. How would we quote someone or a thought in Korean? Let’s find out! Continue reading “Direct quotations”

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.

Continue reading “Looks like… -(으)ㄴ가 보다 and -나 보다”

Seems like… 것 같다

Sometimes we need or want to speak authoritatively on something that we know or believe to be true. However, sometimes we want to express that we are a little uncertain about we’re saying, or we just want to emphasize a little more that it’s coming from our own thoughts or opinions and not actual fact. Also, in Korean, saying something too directly can come across as rude, especially when speaking to your superiors. So how do we soften things up? Today, we’ll look at how to say that X seems or looks like Y.

Continue reading “Seems like… 것 같다”

Noun modifier endings

Today I’ll give you an overview of noun modifier endings. I’m not sure if this is actually the proper term for it, but it’s what my teacher used back in the day!

Noun modifier endings are  actually applied to action verbs and descriptive verbs to change them into forms that can then be used to modify following nouns. More simply, they turn action or descriptive verbs into what we would in English call relative clauses and adjectives respectively.

A relative clause is a clause starting with a relative pronoun, such as “that, who, which, etc,” that describes a noun. You can think of it as a long adjective. Let’s check out some examples in English first:

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-다가, -아/어다가, -았/었다가, -다가는, -에다가

This has been a much-requested grammar form! -다가 is a really useful grammar point that is used often in speech, so it would be really helpful to learn how to use it well.

I will cover four different “forms” of -다가, each of which has its own meaning(s). The four forms I’ll cover will be -다가, 아/어다가-았/었다가 (-다가 attached to a verb conjugated to past tense), and -다가는. Also, while it’s not the same as the verb endings that use -다가, I’ll explain the particle -에다가 as well.

Continue reading “-다가, -아/어다가, -았/었다가, -다가는, -에다가”