KOREAN

Something about '-게' in Korean

I had an online class today, and my dear W questioned me about ‘~게.’

Its usage was described like “뒤에 나오는 행위에 대한 목적이나 이유, 기준 등을 나타낼 때 쓴다. And its English translation was “This is used to indicate the purpose, reason or grounds for the action stated afterwards.” He said he was confused about the English translation when it’s in such sentences as below:

  • 음식을 덜어 먹게 개인 접시 좀 주세요.
    Please give me an extra plate so I can take some food to it.
  • 아이들이 만지지 않게 주의하세요.
    Please be careful so that kids don’t touch it.
  • 그곳을 찾아가게 약도 좀 그려 주세요.
    Please draw me a sketch map so I can find the way there.

So he was stuck in the phrase “~ so I can ~” he said. Then I questioned him if he knew “~게 하다.” He said yes.

I tried to make those sentences a bit simpler, and then I wrote English translations after these simplified sentences.

  • 음식을 덜어 먹게 해주세요. (개인 접시 좀 주세요 –> 해주세요)
    Please let me take food.
  • 아이들이 만지지 않게 하세요. (주의하세요 –> 하세요)
    Please do not let the kids touch it.
  • 그곳을 찾아가게 해주세요. (약도 좀 그려주세요 –> 해주세요)
    Please let me find the way there.

He still seemed confused but I thought it was natural not to understand right away. I was also once a language learner.

Seeing him wondering, I wrote the original sentences back, and then I tried to write word-to-word translation to make him understand better. And I asked him if these translation sound natural in English while it makes sense and sounds good in Korean.

  • 음식을 덜어 먹게 개인 접시 좀 주세요.
    Please give me an extra plate to let me take some food to it.
  • 아이들이 만지지 않게 주의하세요.
    Please be careful to make the kids not touch it.
  • 그곳을 찾아가게 약도 좀 그려 주세요.
    Please draw me a sketch map to let me find the way there.

He said these sentences sound unnatural in English ㅋㅋㅋㅋ and I said that was why this is translated like “~so I can~.” I could see him satisfied ㅋㅋㅋㅋ and I was satisfied about him understanding well. This is why I love to help people learn Korean. 😀 좋아 좋아~ Though my English sometimes does not go well and I cannot give a really good explanation. 그래도 좋았다.

“-게” is a transformative ending/particle that makes an adjective to an adverb. For example:

예쁘다 –> 예쁘게
맛있다 –> 맛있게

While a verb does not fully function itself in a sentence when “-게” is attached to its root. It should come before verbs. And this whole thing is called “사동사(causative verbs).”

~게 하다
To make/have/let somebody do something

Anyhow, I noticed that there might be a tough time when my learners do not know about it. So I jotted today’s memory and thoughts here. Hope this posting helps somebody.

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