Grammar of the Week | When do you usually? vs. Sometimes I… pt.1 어떨 때 vs. 어떨 때는

안녕하세요!

I’m back from my vacation! And I’m back with a new lesson. We’re moving on from counting money. I thought that was fun for a while and a much needed break but now we’re moving back into grammar lessons. Today we’re talking about “usually” and “sometimes”. This isn’t anything new, we’ve covered this before, however, not quite like this. I’m super excited about this lesson so let’s get started!

i.e.,

  • “When do you usually go for a walk?”

How would you word this in Korean? You could use 언제 (eonje) since it does mean “when” and then create a sentence around this particular word, however, that won’t work here. This is a different sentence structure that we haven’t covered before and it all centers around 어떨 때(eotteol ttae).

Let’s start with the basics.

What is 어떨 때? Why are we using it?

어떨 때 takes on two meanings depending on how it’s used in a sentence. Today, we’re going to look at its meaning of “usually”. We’ll get to when you can use 어떨 때는 in a sentence to mean “sometimes”.

어떨 때 is derived from 어떻다 ‎(eotteota) and 때 (ttae). 어떻다 meaning “to be in (what state)” or “to be (how)”. And 때 meaning “time” or “when”. Combining these two together gives the meaning of:

  • “in what kind of (state)?”
  • “when things are (how)”

Reading that aloud doesn’t sound very natural, right? But the more natural way to say it in English would be, “When you do you usually do (this/that)?”.

i.e.,

  • 어떨 때 TV 보고 싶어요? | When do you usually watch tv?
  • 어떨 때 아침식사 먹어? | When do you usually eat breakfast?

Alright so we’re going to stop here. Next week we will be looking at 어떨 때는.

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