Level 9 Korean Grammar

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1

Advanced Idiomatic Expressions / 손 (Hand)

2

-아/어/여 버리다 / completed action

3

Advanced Situational Expressions: When You Are Unhappy

4

-고 말다 / (unintended) completed action

5

Advanced Situational Expressions: When you are worried

6

Advanced Idiomatic Expressions – 발 (foot)

7

Word Builder 18 / 비 (非)

8

Advanced Situational Expressions: Asking a favor

9

-(으)ㅁ / simplifying a sentence ending

10

Sentence Building Drill 15

11

Advanced Idiomatic Expressions – 마음 (mind, heart)

12

-아/어/여 보이다 / looks like, seems like

13

Word Builder 19 / 신 (新)

14

Advanced Situational Expressions: 후회할 때

15

Advanced Idiomatic Expressions – 기분 (feeling)

16

-(으)ㄹ 테니(까) / in return for, since it will be ...

17

-(으/느)ㄴ 이상 / as long as, since

18

-(으)ㄹ까 보다 / expressing concern or reason for a decision

19

Advanced Situational Expressions: 오랜만에 만났을 때

20

Sentence Building Drill 16

21

Advanced Idiomatic Expressions – 생각 (thought, idea)

22

Word builder 20 / 시 (示, 視)

23

-(으)면서 / while

24

-(ㄴ/는)다면서(요), -(이)라면서(요) / didn't you say ...

25

Advanced Situational Expressions: 길을 물어볼 때

26

Advanced Idiomatic Expressions – 시간 (time)

27

-더니 / this happened and then that happened

28

-(으)ㄹ 바에 / might as well, I would rather

29

Advanced Situational Expressions: 차가 막힐 때

30

Sentence Building Drill 17

-(으)ㄹ 바에 / might as well, I would rather

In Korean, in order to say something like “if I have to eat cold french fries, I’d rather not eat” or “if I am buying a suit, I might as well buy a matching tie”, using the structure -(으)ㄹ 바에 is the easiest way to make your point clear. -(으)ㄹ 바에 is used to indicate that a second option is much better than the first (not eating is better than eating cold french fries), but it can also mean “as long as you are doing + V”. Listen to this lesson and read the PDF to find out more about how to use -(으)ㄹ 바에.

In this TTMIK lesson, we will be introducing how  -(으)ㄹ 바에 works and where you can use it. Although this grammatical structure is fairly straightforward, the meaning of it is rather complex. It is essential to understand what 바 means. 바 is a dependent noun that is rarely used on its own, and when paired with other verbs, 바 can mean “method”, “content”, or “situation”. Used in -(으)ㄹ 바에, 바 means “situation” or “fact”. 


Structure

Verb stem + -(으)ㄹ 바에 

= Verb stem + -(으)ㄹ 바에야

= Verb stem + -(으)ㄹ 바에는


When you link two actions with -(으)ㄹ 바에, you imply that the first action or option is much worse than the second action or option, or it is so disappointing that you would rather choose the second option. 


Ex) 

식은 라면을 먹다 = to eat ramyeon noodles that have become cold

안 먹다 = to not eat 

—> 식은 라면을 먹을 바에는 그냥 안 먹을게요. 

= If I have to eat ramyeon noodles that have become cold, I would rather just not eat (at all).


Since you are saying that the second option (the action which comes after the -(ㅇ)ㄹ 바에 part) is better, you can also add expressions related to comparisons such as the following:

1. 차라리 = would rather

2. 낫다 = to be better

3. 그냥 = just

4. -고 말다 = to just do something and be done with the matter


Sample Sentences

1. 그 사람이랑 여행을 갈 바에는 저는 차라리 그냥 집에 있겠어요.

= If I have to go on a trip with him, I would rather just stay at home.


2. 너랑 결혼할 바에야 평생 혼자 사는 게 낫지.

= If I have to marry you, it would be better living by myself forever. 


3. 나중에 후회할 바에는 그냥 안 하는 게 낫겠어요.= If you’re going to regret it later, it would be better to just not do it. 


4. 이렇게 고민할 바에야 차라리 다른 사람한테 시키고 말겠어요. 

= If this is going to be such a headache, I would rather just ask someone else to do it.


5. 잠깐 밖에 못 쓸 바에는 중고로 사는 게 좋죠. 

= If I’m only going to be able to use it for a short time, it would be nicer to just buy it second-handed. 


Exceptions

Since 바 has the meaning of “situation”, -(ㅇ)ㄹ 바에 can also imply “if you’re going to do it anyway”. In this usage, it is usually preceded by 이왕 or 어차피. 


Sample Sentences:

1. 어차피 살 바에는 좋은 걸로 사세요. 

= If you are going to buy one anyway, get a good one.


2. 이왕 고칠 바에는 처음부터 다시 하는 게 낫겠어요.

= If you are going to modify it, it’ll be better to do it all over again. 

In Korean, in order to say something like “if I have to eat cold french fries, I’d rather not eat” or “if I am buying a suit, I might as well buy a matching tie”, using the structure -(으)ㄹ 바에 is the easiest way to make your point clear. -(으)ㄹ 바에 is used to indicate that a second option is much better than the first (not eating is better than eating cold french fries), but it can also mean “as long as you are doing + V”. Listen to this lesson and read the PDF to find out more about how to use -(으)ㄹ 바에.
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