Grammar of the Week | When do you usually? vs. Sometimes I… pt.2 어떨 때 vs. 어떨 때는


We’re moving on to part 2 of this lesson this week. I know last week was probably a lot to take into account and to remember so let’s just review really quickly before moving on.

어떨 때 takes on the meaning of “usually”.

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, (1) “in what kind of (state)?” and (2) “when things are (how)?”


  • 어떨 때 TV 보고 싶어요? | When do you usually watch tv?

Alright, so with that in mind, we’re going to move on to 어떨 때는. You may have noticed that even though the two look the same they are actually different because of the ending. This is important to keep in mind when trying to remember this and using it in sentences.

어떨 때는 means, “sometimes I (do this/that)”. -는 being a familiar particle known to mark subjects/topics.

So when using this, it’s a bit like a comparison. You’re going to be using this to say, “sometimes I do (this), but other times I do (that).”


  •  어떨 때는 드라이브는데, 어떨 때는 걸어요. (eotteol ttaeneun deulaibeuneunde, eotteol ttaeneun geol-eoyo.) | “Sometimes I drive but other times I walk.”

Of course, we can get more specific than this using different phrases but I think for now we’ll just stick with this because it is a lot easier to remember and go to the other ways of wording this later.

That’s it for this week! Next week we’ll probably move on to something easier.


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