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.

We have a dialogue prepared in 100% Korean based on all the lessons in Level 3. If you want to check how much you can understand before studying all of the Level 3 lessons, try listening to the dialogue here.

Level 3 Grammar Textbook and Workbook

We’ve made the Level 3 lessons even better and published them as a grammar textbook! The grammar textbook itself is filled with very effective comprehension questions, but you can practice even further with our workbook for Level 3. Both are available now on our online bookstore.

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  • theredseA

    Could sample sentence 5 (어? 여기 있었는데) also imply “oh, so it was here” after finding the object you were looking for?

  • Katherine Traylor

    Ugh, I feel like this is going to be one of the ones we have to practice to really learn. 이것를 찰 배워러 연습 많이 해야 된데요… It’s kind of fun to figure out how these things we learn would translate, and I think for some of these there are sort of English substitutes, but there are a few different substitutes you’d have to use so it’s hard to memorize.

    In the PDF examples, 는데 seems to serve three purposes: 1) To gracefully introduce a subject that would otherwise seem to come out of the blue. 2) To add emphasis to a comment. 3) To introduce a contrasting statement.

    Just to be sure, would these slightly-adjusted translations also work?

    1. 내일 친구 생일인데, 선물을 아직 못 샀어요.
    Though/Although it’s my friend’s birthday tomorrow, I haven’t been able to buy a present.

    (Is there another way to translate “although”? I’m not sure it’s come up.)

    2. 이거 일본에서 샀는데, 선물이에요.
    So, I bought this in Japan. It’s a present for you.

    (From the way 는데 is described, it seems like it can be a sort of gentle topic opener in some cases. A lot of people now use “So…” to do that in English. Does it have the right conversational effect to be a translation for 는데?)

    3. 오늘 뉴스에서 봤는데, 그거 진짜예요?

    So, I saw it in the news today. Is it for real? (Ditto #3)

    4. 이거 좋은데요!

    Whoa, I like this! / Wow, this is good!

    (Several of the usages seemed to work the same way as English sentences starting with an exclamation. Unfortunately I don’t know enough about linguistics to know what to call it! You could also use “Man,” or (less politely) “Jeez,” or “Damn.” Does that sound right?)

    5. 어? 여기 있었는데.

    Huh? Dang, it was right here… (Ditto #4)

    6. 영화 재미있는데, 무서웠어요.

    Although the movie was interesting, it was scary. (Ditto #1)

    7. 영화 봤는데, 무서웠어요.
    So, I saw a movie, and it was scary. (Ditto #2-3)

    8. 저 지금 학생인데, 일도 하고 있어요.
    Although I am a student now, I’m working too. (Ditto #1, 6)

    Sorry to write a book, but this is really interesting. Thanks as always for the amazing lesson!

    • Seokjin Jin

      Great job! They are all correct!

  • TTMIK 좋은데요!!! 😀 😀 😀

    • Seokjin Jin

      Thanks! 🙂

  • SHINee was mentioned! :)))))) LOL :)))))

  • thank you I read about it in grammar book but I was confused about using it in other situations

  • behindtheblack

    I can think of two songs off the top of my head…

    GOT7 – A: “다 아는데” is said repeatedly.

    뜨래요 by 배치기 uses a lot of 는데. It’s pretty much the only part of the song I can remember.

    쏟아진 빗물 사이로 니 모습 보였는데
    내 손엔 잡히지 않아 눈에 눈물 고였는데
    너와나 사랑했다 믿었는데
    너에게로 다 잊기로 했었는데

  • 아직안갔네요집에 깜빡했네

    “내일은 목요일아닌데, 언제 또 만날까요?” 이게 할 수 있나?

  • xena p.

    난 남자가 없는데
    자꾸 이러면 안되는데

  • 마틴

    4Men – Here I Am

    Here I am, 여기, here I am
    Here I am, 네가 여기에
    여기 있는데

    Do they use -는데 here because the singer expects a reaction to the fact that he is there?

    • nadiud

      있다 – 있는데

      this sentence is correct

  • Mary Jane Gatchalian Castillo

    From I love you of Akdong Musician 🙂

  • b1gpotato

    wait shouldn’t it be 이는데 for 이다 ? when they spoke it sounded like 인데.

    미국사람이는데 영어를 못 잘 해요. 맞아요?

    • 애슐리

      no its 인데 and for 있다 its 있는데

    • 애슐리

      영어를 잘 못해요 is correct

    • sm4llpotato

      못 should come before 하다
      writing 못 잘 해요 is like writing “He (not do) did good” instead of “He did (not do) good”

  • 세실리아

    I am so confused with the 인 before ㄴ데on this sentences… I don’t understand where it come from…

    내일 친구 생일인데

    아직 9시인데 벌써 졸려요.
    Can anyone help?

    • 애슐리

      this 인 comes from the verb 이다 so 내일 친구 생일예요 -> 내일 친구 생일인데
      same for the second sentence

    • Ashley Heil

      sorry but I dont remember learning this…what does 이 다 mean??

    • aaa

      이다 is something like “is”
      책이다 : is a book
      생일이다: is a birthday
      if X is followed by 이다 X is a noun [명사]

    • 애슐리

      and as in 구두예요 for exemple 🙂

    • 세실리아


    • Ashley Heil

      thank you!

  • 애슐리

    ” 저는 학교에 갈 수도 없다고 말했는데 ” Is it correct????

  • Esat Armağan Kaymaz

    당신은 내 어제 신고를 받지 않았는데…
    You didn’t answer my call yesterday?

    • nadiud

      신고 = report

      전화 = phone call

  • Matt

    일상 한국어 공부하고 싶는데, 너무 바빠요. = I want to study Korean everyday, but I am too busy.
    지금 쇼핑 센터 닫힌데, 어디에서 살 거예요? = The mall is closed now, so where will you buy it?

    • JooyeonPark

      지금 쇼핑 센터 “닫혔는데”

      It is not a problem that you wrote but you can also way like “경찰이 왔을 때 저는 먹고 있었어요”

      한국어 “매일” 공부하고 싶은데, 너무 바빠요

      레슨 안 어려운데!

      저기요? 뭐 하고 있어요?

      These are a little corrections for you! 🙂
      Other than these, perfect!
      Good job! Keep it up!

    • Matt

      박선상님, 감사합니다 for the corrections.

  • 조세핀

    장난해 장난해 하는데
    나는 절대로 장난이 아닌데~

    from miss a – only you ㅋㅋㅋ

  • 브라이언

    이 문법 “는데”는 원래 배웠는 것 같았는데, 이걸 봐서 진짜 더 잘 이해해요.

    • Seokjin Jin


  • César Duarte

    저는 브라질 인데, 축구를 안 촣아해요

    • Seokjin Jin

      ㅎㅎㅎㅎ 브라질 사람 전부가 다 축구를 좋아할 수는 없죠. ^^

  • 산티아고

    너 사랑하는데!!

    눈이 오는데, 노래방 가요.

    It’s snowing but I am going to the 노래방 (anyway). How do I say “anyway”?

    두 눈을 감으면 네가 보이는데. (보고싶어 from Girls day :D) I don’t know what it means but… 이거 의미 몰라는데… I also don’t know if that makes sence :P.


    • nadiud

      두 눈을 감으면 네가 보이는데 = I can still see you even when I close my eyes.

      It’s snowing but I am going to the 노래방 (anyway). How do I say “anyway”?
      anyway = 그래도
      > 눈이 오는데, 그래도 노래방에 갈거에요

    • 산티아고


  • Peter

    소주 없는데, 맥주 어때요?
    I don’t have soju, so how about beer?

    저는 한국어 잘 못 하는데, 영어로 설명해 주세요.
    I don’t speak Korean very well, so can you please explain it in English?

    이 레순는 진짜 어려운 것 같았는데, 정말 재미있었어요.
    I thought this lesson was going to be really difficult, but it was actually really interesting.

  • Vlad

    Hello! Thank you for your great work!
    I wonder if 은데, ending can be used for a question in future tense ? For example.
    “What will you do tomorrow?” will it be 내일 뭐 할 것는데?
    Thx in advance!

  • Sanjeeda Masroor

    It was the most difficult lesson ajik kaaji. Have to listen twice.

  • brad

    나는 다리 없는대 어떻게 축구 할 수 있어요? = I don’t have legs how can I play soccer?

  • Sena Rainey

    한국어 읽을 수 있는데, 이해할 수 없어요.
    I can read Korean, but I don’t understand it.

  • Nirali

    Can we say 어제 자고 있을데, 한국에서 전화가 왔어요 instead of 어제 자고 있었는데, 한국에서 전화가 왔어요?

  • Nirali

    And i also dont understand the difference between 외 and 위. Where to use which spelling?

    • Thomas Osekowsky

      외 and 위 have quite different pronunciations actually. 외 sounds like “way” and 위 sounds sort of like “we”

  • Thomas Osekowsky

    Based on the explanation, the first usage of ~은데 has a similar meaning to ~so,…

    In this case, 내일 일요일이라서 뭐 할 거예요? would have the same meaning of 내일 일요일인데 뭐 할 거예요?

    Is this correct?

    • Seokjin Jin

      Actually 내일 일요일인데 뭐 할 거예요, the sentence you wrote later, is more natural. 🙂

    • Thomas Osekowsky

      Ok I understand. Thank you for your reply!

    • Thomas Osekowsky

      I see. Thank you for your reply!

      석진 씨, 오늘 핼러윈인데 뭐 할 거예요?

  • Thomas Osekowsky

    I understand somewhat the importance of 눈치가 있다… and everyone should have an average understanding of other people’s emotions through unspoken communication…

    But in my opinion its kind of ridiculous to expect everyone to be able to read each other’s minds all the time. In this case a difference between American culture and Korean is that we prefer someone who is more direct in this type of situation….
    Someone who drops hints, while expecting people to react in the way they expect through mind reading is not seen as the ideal type of person in a social situation.

    Instead of saying “where are you… Im hungry. (and expecting the other person to understand that you are also saying “bring me some food please”) We would ask more directly. like, “where are you? If you get the chance can you stop to get me a snack?

    If you just called and said “I’m hungry” and your friend returned without food for you, and you acted annoyed that they didn’t read your mind, the friend might be like, “uhhh, why didn’t you say you wanted me to bring you some food?”

    Although in this instance it would seem that Americans tend to prefer to be more direct, a contrasting example is in asking questions. When asking questions politely, in America we tend to be more indirect, while in Korea it seems awkward. For instance, we would say “Can you please give me some more?” but 좀 더 줄 수 있어요? is a bit strange, so Koreans would usually say 좀 더 주세요 which means “Give me more please.”

    I understand this barely touches on the complexities of the differences between the cultures, but it’s just an interesting observation i’ve made living in Korea that I thought I’d share.

    • Seokjin Jin

      Thanks for your comment! I am sure many people will understand what 눈치 is about from your comment. I also learn who foreign people react to other people’s request from you. Thanks. It reminds me a video about 눈치 which I joined. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TI1eggj7dqc

    • Thomas Osekowsky

      I’m glad I could add some insight.

      Thank you for posting the video! It did a really great job of describing 눈치 and was hilarious!

    • Thomas Osekowsky

      I’m glad that I could add some insight. Thank you for posting the video! It was hilarious and did a great job in explaining 눈치

  • Dania Freih

    저는 한국어 조금 할 수 있는데, 아직 배우고 있어요.

  • Sofia Fadil

    Thank you for this lesson !
    I have a question please : do we use the “n/eun/neun de” form with the conjugated verb dropping the “yo” or shall we add it to the verb stem ? I was quite confused with the two following sample sentences :

    1st example : 어제 자고 있었는데, 한국에서 전화가 왔어요, we can see the “present perfect” conjugation in 자고 있었는데 , can we just say 자는데 or the meaning will change?

    2nd example : 이거 일본에서 샀는데, 선물이에요 we can’t guess that the action of buying is in
    the past we only have the verb stem +neunde…Am I right ?

    I hope my question is clear 🙂
    Thanks in advance for your answer !

    • JooyeonPark

      The right answer is the latter. You add them to the verb stem.
      As for the first example, you can use “자는데” as well. It won’t change the meaning.
      And for the second example, we know the verb is the past tense. ‘사다’ is a present form and ‘샀다’ is a past form. So, we know it’s a past because there’s a ‘샀’ in it. Hope this helps! 🙂

    • Sofia Fadil

      정말 감사합니다 for your
      explanation , it’s helpful indeed .. 🙂

    • Jawhara_33

      Can I use 자고 있는데 instead of 자고 있었는데?

  • Kim Delosier

    Informative, but this (like lesson 3-25 ‘-네요’) is one of those grammar points with a nuance we’ll only be able to understand if we see100 example sentences, analyze them & have native speakers comment on them. Please, Korean learners, submit your sentences, & native speakers: please give us 3-5 more example sentences to decipher,,, this is so hard! Thanks…

  • 벨라

    when to use 는데 & 인데? are these two the same and can use interchangeable? example 내일 일요일(인데) 뭐 할 거예요. why “인데” ? can i say 내일 일요일(은데) 뭐 할 거예요 instead ?
    thank you~

  • Alaa Ali

    Someone correct me please
    요즘 많이 일했는데, 한국어 못 공부했어요.
    I have a lot of work, I can’t study Korean.

    시간은 없는데 요리 못해요.
    I don’t have time to cook.

    어제 태양의후예 봤는데, 엄마가 뉴스 봤어요.
    Yesterday I watched descendants of the Sun but mom watched the news.

    저는 level 3 에서는데 한국어 잘못해요.
    I am at level 3 but I can’t speak korean very well.

    왜 케이윌 는 안 듣있는데요?

    Why you are not listening to kwill.?

  • yourippehdees

    Lesson 21
    커피를 마시 는데 아직 자 고십어요.
    Even though I drank coffee, I still want to sleep.

    가게에서 다 달렸 는데 당일 휴업었어요
    I walked all the way to the store but it was closed for the day

    -는데를 공부 했 는데 아직 못 알아들어요
    Even though I studied ‘-는데’ I still don’t understand it.

    지금 여덟 시에 이는데 오늘은 사무실에 안 갈 거예요.
    It’s 8:00 now, but I’m not going to the office today.

  • Annie

    For song lyrics, there’s this line from ‘Converse High’ by BTS;
    “스치면 인연 스며들면 사랑
    이라고 누가 말했었는데”
    I don’t know what it means… but I noticed the grammar ^-^