어느 vs. 어떤 | [Grammar of the Week]

안녕하세요!

I was doing my usual researching and scoping through the “net-o-sphere” (internet), when I ran across this topic on multiple sites, “what is the difference between 어느 and 어떤?” They also included 무슨 in their question but I left that part out because we’ve gone over it quite a bit here at 23rdStation. However, I’ll briefly touch on it in today’s lesson.

Since this is a topic of interest, I figure it’s time to introduce you all to it as well and if you already have heard about it but may have questions about it, I’m hoping for the next two weeks I can clear up your concerns.

시작하자! (Let’s get started!)

“So what is 어느? I’ve heard of 어떤 but that other word… I’m confused. Why are they listed together like this?”

Definitions:

  • 무슨 | “what” 
  • 어떤 | “which”
  • 어느 | “which”

There was a time, not too long ago, that I told you that there can be a lot of different ways to say the same thing in Korean. This is an example of that. The key here is, learning the difference.

So let’s talk usage. How do these words differ? Since I won’t be devoting a whole week to 무슨, we’ll talk about that and 어떤 this week. Next week we’ll focus on 어느 because it is a new topic that we haven’t discussed. We’ll use this week to build a foundation for it so it’ll be familiar when you see it.

  • 무슨 | Part of Speech: determiner [dictionary definition below]
    • A determiner is a person or thing that decides or determines something.
    • A modifying word that determines the kind of reference a noun or noun group has, for example “a, the, every.”
  • Meaning:
    • “what; what kind” (or sometimes translated to mean “which”)
    • Describes a noun
      • i.e.,
        • 무슨 소다입니까? | “What kind of soda is that?”
        • alternate translation: “Which soda is that?”
          • Just to be clear, it does not actually mean “which” but you may see it translated to mean this. In that case, it is really only used in this manner for clarification purposes like when someone is confused. 
  • 어떤 | Part of Speech: determiner [see definition above]
    • Can also be used to ask about specific qualities, characteristics, conditions, etc.
    • Meaning:
      • For questions: “which; which kind” (can sometimes take on the meaning of “what”)
      • For statements: “some; any; certain; of a certain kind”
        • i.e.,
          • 어떤 소다입니까? | “What kind of soda is that?” / “Which kind of soda is that?”
          • 어떤 사람들은 우습다. | “Some people are funny.”

Okay so we will stop here. That’s a lot more that I could add but I feel it’ll be a bit much and so we’ll just wait until next week to add more information!

Examples on 어떤 all this week!

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