Level 3 Lesson 21 / linking verbs / -는데, 명사 + -인데, 형용사 + -ㄴ데

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안녕하세요! Now this is a lesson that a lot of you have requested! In this lesson we are looking at how “-는데” works in Korean. This is a verb ending that has a very wide variety of meanings, so this lesson is a little bit more lengthy than our other lessons. But we can promise you that if you listen through this lesson, you will learn a lot and your Korean sentences will become much more natural!


You can download a free PDF for this lesson here, or if you want to study with our TalkToMeInKorean textbooks, you can get them here. And after you learn the basics, try writing your own Korean sentences and get corrections from native speakers through HaruKorean, our 1:1 correction service.

  • http://facebook.com/trickymitchell 지아나

    저는 공부하고 있었는데 너를 전화가 왔어요. I was studying when i got your phone call .

    안 맞아요?

    • http://twitter.com/jinseokjin jinseokjin

      너를 전화가 왔어요. > 당신에게 전화가 왔어요.

      It was so close!

  • http://facebook.com/trickymitchell 지아나

    Could 는데/은데/~ㄴ데 be used for a situation like “I heard about that but I don’t believe it” just wondering because I was thinking

    “I heard about that” being the situation


    “but I don’t believe it” being the what happen

    Since 는데/은데/~ㄴ데 is used for those kinds of thing if it would work here too.

    • http://lang-8.com/368874 Greg

      Yes, you can think of it this way, though it’s more like standart English “but” here.
      그 얘기를 들었는데 믿을 수가/는 없어요

  • http://heatherhearts.blogspot.com Heather


    It was funny when you said that you could almost hear people screaming with joy. I was LITERALLY thinking when I clicked on this lesson that I can’t wait to learn about this because I see it EVERYWHERE.

    정말 감사합니다!

    P.S. Sorry that I didn’t use more Korean in this comment ^_^

  • Rike


    Is there also a future-tense form of “는데” ?

    I want to say “I will go back to Berlin on thursday, so how about meeting on friday?
    “목요일에 베를린에 돌아 가는데 금요일에 만나는것 어때요?” <ㅡ 이거 맞아요?
    Is there something like "돌아 갈 거인데" or do you only use the present form?
    감사합니다!! ^^

  • Paige

    I don’t always hear 는데 in K-pop, but I often hear it in K-drama.
    Also, this is a bit irrelevant to this particular lesson but I often am unsure of whether I should use 저는 or 제가. Could you tell me which word would be more appropriate for certain situations?

  • Steve

    I have a question about the fourth usage. The explanation is that it’s used to express surprise or exclamation, but the rising intonation makes it sound as though it’s a question! Is there a question aspect to it?

    이레슨 힘든 데 재가 배워 야 돼요!

  • LyricalSmurf

    I love and hate the versatility of such things at the same time but I’m glad you gave us the chance to understand -는데. Also, is there any tip on how to figure out when to use “-는데” over the “아/어/여서” ending, since to me it seems they can have similar meanings at times?

    2NE1 uses this a few times in “Lonely” and I guess it’s the 3rd usage only:
    너무 착한 넌데, 넌 그대로 인대, oh – You are a nice person, it’s just the way you are but…
    I don’t know 내가 왜 이러는지 – I don’t know why I am like this (why I behave like this)
    그토록 사랑했는데, 넌 여기 있는데, oh – There was so much love and you are here but…
    I don’t know 이제 날 찾고 싶어. – I don’t know…now i want to find myself (my favorite part :D)

    Also in their song “I love you”, 민지 씨 says :
    멈추지 마요 사랑의 dance – Don’t stop the dance of love
    이 밤을 그대와 보내고 싶은데 – I want to spend this night by your side (I’m guessing this is supposed to be the exclamation usage, at least that’s how i would use it ^^)

    I’m glad this makes more sense for me and i want to thank you as I probably know 90% of all this from TTMIK :D

    저는 TTMIK에서 공부하고 있는데, 너무 너무 행복해요. 혹시 언젠가 우리 선생님들을 만날 수 있어서 한국말로 이야기할 거예요. 감사합니다.

  • WendyM

    Today’s practice sentence:

    작은 침대에서 눕는데 너무 어려운데요. 그리고 더운 여름 밤에 자는데 안 쉬웠어요!
    To lie down in the small bed was too hard. And, sleeping on a hot summer night was not easy!

  • http://jkllr.net/ Doug


    I’m so glad you covered this. It was driving me crazy because I *was* literally translating things as “but” all the time. Plus my sentences sounded choppy. Thanks a lot for covering this thoroughly.

    FWIW, this grammar is almost nearly identical to Japanese “kedo” as in “X (na)n da kedo, …..”. I mention that in case anyone is doing a comparison.

  • Lua

    The verb 멋있다 means to be cool, doesn’t it? It means that this verb is a descriptive verb, isn’t it?
    Therefore why it is 멋있는데 instead of 멋있은데?


    • http://small.dic.daum.net Greg

      있다 and 없다 are exceptions. You will never see 있은 or 없은. I think the only suffix that have this form with 있다 and 없다 is ~ㄴ들.
      Like… 재미있은들 저것보다 재미있겠어요? It should translate “let’s assume it’s interesting, but can it be more interesting than that?” I’m just throwing out. the particle is not important overall. Otherwise it’s always 있는 or 없는.

  • sumit

    hello teachers, i am a foreign worker from nepal currently serving in korea.Initially, i would like to thanks to the entire team of ttmik.When i came to korea i was just a half zero in korean language but now i am much more confident after going your lesson tutorial thoroughly and the credit goes to your team.eventually. i would like to suggest all the people who are keenly interested in korean language can surf this site it would be the greatest help for them. 고맙습니다 수고하세요

  • mayada wafeeq

    Well,I think I got so much confused so I’ll have to get one more look on this lesson but I have a question concerning the “but” usage..
    To say but with a verb ending in a vowel I think it’s for example 한 데 not 하는 데
    Is this right or not?!
    Thank you ^^

  • kenjikagekana

    제 개이 한국어 잘 말 은데.
    My dog speaks good Korean.

    Kim Hee-Jinn Sshee is pretty and dangerous. What shall I do?

    김히진 씨는 여쁜고 험한 은데. 나는 뭐할거예요?

    • http://twitter.com/jinseokjin jinseokjin

      My dog speaks good Korean.
      > 제 개는 한국어를 잘 해요.

      Kim Hee-Jinn Sshee is pretty and dangerous. What shall I do?
      > 김희진 씨는 예쁘고 위험해요. 저는 무엇을 할까요?

  • kenjikagekana

    김히진 씨는 여쁜고 험한 은데. 나는 뭐할거예요?

  • Claira

    어제는 비가 왔었는데, 친구가 못 만났었어요. (It rained yesterday, so I couldn’t meet my friend.)

    이 목요일이 생일인데, 우리는 축하할 까요? (This Thursday is her birthday, shall we celebrate for her?)

    아까 전홨었는데, 왜 아직 안 있어요? (He called me earlier, why is he still not here?)

    와, 이거 정밀 예쁜데! (Wow, this is really pretty!)

    그러면, 지금 뭐 할거는데? (If so, what will you do now?)

    내일? 내일은 저 뭔가 해야 돼는데… (Tomorrow? I have to do something tomorrow, so…)

    저한테 말한데, 못 기억해요. (She told me, but I can’t remember.)

    피곤하는 것 저한테 말했었는데, 지금 아직 놀았어요. (He told me he was tired, but he’s still playing now.)

    감사합니다! :)

    • http://twitter.com/jinseokjin jinseokjin

      친구가 못 만났었어요 > 친구를 못 만났어요.

      이 목요일이 > 이번 목요일이 or 이번 주 목요일이

      축하할 까요 > 축하할까요

      전홨었는데 > 전화했었는데

      왜 아직 안 있어요 > naturally I would say “왜 여기에 아직 없어요”

      정밀 > 정말

      지금 뭐 할거는데 > 지금 뭐 할 건데?

      저한테 말한데, 못 기억해요 > 저한테 말 했었는데, 기억 못 해요.

      피곤하는 것 저한테 말했었는데, 지금 아직 놀았어요.
      > 저한테 피곤하다고 말했는데, 아직도 놀고 있어요.

  • http://4514lover.blogspot.com DavidXian

    I think 그런데/근데 in Level 2 Lesson 6 is from this 형용사 + ㄴ데 pattern. 맞아요?
    Maybe from 그렇다/그러다 + ㄴ데 = 그런데
    The sentence before 그런데 acts as the background information. That’s why “그런데” mean “but” or “and”, depending on the context. Hehehe… Am I right?

    If I am right, Are 그런데 and 는데/은데/ㄴ데 interchangeable?

    • http://twitter.com/jinseokjin jinseokjin

      Hi DavidXian,

      Well, I think that it will be better not to think about the relation between 그렇다 and 는데/은데/ㄴ데.

      Sometimes it is complicated to think the rule or how it works, when it comes to language learning, right?

      Anyway, 그런데 is conjunction and there are complete sentences before and after the conjunction.

      Thanks for your comment.

  • Ronnie

    hi there thanks for such a helpful topic…

    TTMIK makes my korean study easier thanks a lot…

    however, I am struggling a lot right now… everything is mixed up in my mind concerning 으니까, 아서 ans 는데 topic do you have any advice. It is so quite challenging right now to answer a quiz that concerning the use of these topic since I am quite confused as of the moment.

    도와주십시오 ….

    • http://twitter.com/jinseokjin jinseokjin

      Hi Ronnie,

      Although we are helping you guys to learn Korean more easily, but it is always important to practice a lot.
      Which part do you feel hard most?
      If you click the link above, you see easily find the lesson episode you want to review.
      I hope this will help you a lot.
      Thanks for your comment.

  • Ronnie

    all of them means the same thing, “so”, “therefore”, “because” and “and”, and I want to know in which cases we can use 으니까 and 은데?

    • http://twitter.com/jinseokjin jinseokjin

      Hi Ronnie,

      Regarding “-(으)니까”, we already made a lesson so I hope you to check the lesson link below:

      -ㄴ데 is often used when you talk about different topic from the former topic you talked.

      For example,

      오후 10시인데 뭐 먹을래?
      It is 10pm and what do you want to eat?

  • http://www.facebook.com/babaaaac/ Dace

    여보, 아픈데 어디에 잘 의사 찾을 수 있어요?
    어제 친구를 책방에서 만나는데 같이 숙제 했어요.
    왜 엄마가 안 왔는데?
    저는 금요일 진짜 궈여운 영화를 봤는데…

  • 호세

    Congratulations because this lesson is really good! 20 minuts ago I had a big problem to understand 는데 in most of cases, but now I understand it perfectly… and tomorrow i have a korean test! Moreover, you are really kind and your english pronunciation is really easy to understand.
    I’ll definitely follow your lessons and share with my friends! Thank you very much

    PD: Two beautiful voices make it even better!

    • http://twitter.com/jinseokjin jinseokjin

      I am sure that Hyunwoo and Kyeongeun will like your comment a lot! Thanks so much for studying with us!

  • Kevin Han

    다음 금요일에 어려운 시험이 있는데 같이 공부할래요?
    저는 어제 밤에 나쁜 사람을 봤는데 돈을 훔쳤어요. 아이구!
    친구 개가 귀엽은데 너무 너무 비열해요.
    에일리가 저를 사랑해요? 진짜는데요????
    지금 8시예요! 왜 정말 늦은데요?
    저는 집에서 밥을 벅써 먹었는데요.

  • Michelle

    한 시 쯤 한국어를 공부하는에 벌써 피곤해요.
    Around 1 hour i’m studying korean, already i’m tired.

    어제 친구가 전화하는데 못 들었어요…
    My friend called me yesterday but I couldn’t listen it

    엄마가 음식을 했어요. 정말 맛없는네… 먹야 해요?
    My mother made lunch, isn’t tasty… I must eat it?


  • 온드르제이

    Hi. I would like to ask whether this sentence is correct:
    오늘 일이 힘든데, 저는 피곤해요. (The work was difficult –> I am tired.)
    (or would it be better with the 그래서 or -어서 conjunction?)
    오늘 일이 힘들어서 저는 피곤해요. (But then I lose the tense information about work being difficult in the past…)

    Thank you very much for TTMIK help!

    • http://twitter.com/jinseokjin jinseokjin

      The latter sentence is more natural.
      Yes, the happening in the first sentence is past happening, so I would say 오늘 일이 힘들었기때문에 저는 (지금) 피곤해요.

  • http://www.twitter.com/TaemLine Tiara

    이번 휴가를 한국에서 보내고 싶은데 돈이 없어요ㅠㅠㅠㅠ

  • Dotty Hamilton

    오늘 가고 십일 수도 있어요
    I might want to go today.

  • Dotty Hamilton

    아이고 I posted my comment on the wrong lesson – sorry it is my first post on TTMIK – although I have been using your lessons for about a year.

  • JUN

    내일 화요일인데, 할 일이 없습니다. :) :)
    왜냐하면, 내일은 공휴일입니다. :) :)
    그래서 집에서 휴식 할 수 있습니다. :) :)
    저는 너무 기뻐요.:) :)

  • Thomas

    I listened to the podcast today and I felt that “…는데” might in most cases be translated as: “Considering that…”.
    It should work very well for usage cases 1 and 2 and it will also work reasonably well for cases 3,5, and 6.

  • CyberMew

    Just wondering, how would I write it if I want to say even though Korean is difficult, it is still fun? How would I go about conjugating the ~데 to difficult?

    • Seokjin Jin

      Korean is difficult, it is still fun.

      Well, I would say withough “~데” like “한국어는 어렵지만 여전히 재밌어요”.

      However it is also okay to say like “한국어는 어려운데 여전히 재밌어요”.

      Both sentences are good. :)

    • CyberMew

      First time getting a reply! I appreciate your clarification! :)

    • Seokjin Jin

      :) You’re welcome.

  • André Norberg

    한국어가 재미있는데, 우리 같이 공부해요!

  • Nana Mohammad

    my english not very good
    so please can you write the 6 uses of 는데

  • Ran Abdel Rahman

    “아직 너를 사랑하는데” I found this sentence in Se7en’s song “I’m Going crazy”, but I cannot relate it to any usage mentioned in the lesson, could you please help me with that?!

    • Seokjin Jin

      I think that -는데 in 사랑하는데 was used to link verbs but the following phrase seemed to be omitted. Well, in song lyrics, that happens a lot.
      Originally, the sentence might be “아직 너를 사랑하는데 떠날 수 밖에 없어”.

    • Ran Abdel Rahman

      Thank you Seokjin for your help. I was revising the lesson today and I was glad to see your reply.

  • Rachel

    So, 데 can be used to show surprise, and 네 can also show surprise/impression, so is there a difference between 멋있는데요 and 멋있네요, or 잘 어울린데요 and 잘 어울리네요? Maybe a small nuance difference or something?

    • Seokjin Jin

      According to the context, 데 can be regarded as “and”, or “but”.

      For example, 멋있는데요 작은 것 같아요.