V-았더니/었더니/했더니 Mastering Korean Grammar 178

집에 갔더니 아무도 없었어요. 어제 야근했더니 너무 피곤해요. 

Korean, a language rich in expressions, offers unique insights into everyday experiences through its grammar. 

The grammar V-았더니/었더니/했더니 is a prime example, elegantly linking past actions to subsequent realizations or outcomes. This blog post unpacks this structure to enhance understanding and utilization in written and spoken Korean.

If you want to watch the lesson in Korean with English subtitles, please click the link below.

Usage Overview: Connecting Past Actions to Present Discoveries

• 았/었/했 (과거) + 더니: '-았더니/었더니/했더니' is an expression combining the past tense expression '-았/었/했-' and '-더니.

• This expression is used in two situations.

1) Past action (experience) → new fact or situation

'-았더니/었더니/했더니' is used to indicate that there is a new incident or situation, different from a past one.

2) Past action (experience) - (cause/reason) → result

'-았더니/었더니/했더니' is also used to indicate that a past incident or situation becomes the cause or reason for the following statement.

Let's find out them one by one.

Usage 1: Past action (experience) → New fact or situation: 

• Firstly, '-았더니/었더니/했더니' is used when knowing a new fact or situation after doing something in the past.

Explanation with Examples of usage 1: -았더니

Nana: 집에 갔더니 아무도 없었어요. (가다 + 았더니)
            (I went home and found nobody there.)

→ Here, '갔더니' is a combination of the verb '가다' and '-았더니.'

→ Nana went home. And she found that no one was there. She knew something new.

→ '갔더니' bridges past actions to present realizations.

Explanation with Examples of usage 1: -었더니

Nana: 창문을 열었더니 눈이 오고 있었어요. (열다 + 었더니)
I opened the window and saw it was snowing.)

→ Here, '열었더니' is a combination of the verb '열다' and '-었더니.'

→ Nana opens the window. And she found that it was snowing. This is a new situation she learned about.

→ '열었더니' bridges past actions to present realizations.

Grammar Tips for the Usage 1

① 1st person subject + (third-person subject)

 When discussing a new fact or situation learned after doing something, the subject of the previous sentence is in the first person. The subject of the following sentence is usually in the third person.

For example,

Nana: (제가) 창문을 열었더니 눈이 오고 있었어요. 
(I opened the window and saw it was snowing.)

 → (제) is the first-person subject. And '눈' is the third-person subject.          

※ There are exceptions; third-person subject + third-person subject

  Sometimes a third-person subject is used in the previous sentence, when the speaker talks about the experience after seeing the third-person subject's action completed.

For example,

Jian: 나나 씨가 질문을 했더니 미소 씨가 대답해줬어요. 
         (Nana asked a question and Miso answered.)

 → 나나 is the third-person subject, and 미소 is the third-person subject.

 → When Jian (the speaker) talks about the situation after seeing Nana and Miso's actions, the third person subject can be used like this.

Usage 2: Past action (experience)- cause/reason → result 

Secondly, '-았더니/었더니/했더니' is used when a past action becomes the cause or reason of the sentence that follows.

Explanation with Examples of usage 2: -었더니

Miso: 감기는 좀 어때요?
           (How's your cold?)

Nana: 약을 먹었더니 좋아졌어요. (먹다 + 었더니)
            (I took the medicine and I got better.)

→ Here, '먹었더니' is a combination of the verb '먹다' and '-었더니.'

→ Nana took the medicine. And she's got better. Her condition has got better because she took medicine. 

 '먹었더니' indicates that a past action becomes the cause or reason for the following sentence.

Explanation with Examples of usage 2: -했더니

Miso: 나나 씨, 피곤해 보여요.
          (Nana, you look tired.)

Nana: 어제 야근했더니 좀 피곤하네요. (야근하다 + 했더니)
(I worked overtime yesterday and I'm a little tired.) 

→ Here, '야근했더니' is a combination of the verb '야근하다' and '-했더니.

→ Yesterday, Nana worked lately. That is the reason why she was tired today. 

→ '야근했더니' illustrates that the past actions (= working overtime) become the reason for the next sentence (=I'm tired.).

Grammar Tips for the Usage 2

① 1st person subject + First person subject (1인칭)/ related subjects

• When talking about the cause or reason of the following sentence, the subject of the previous sentence is in the first person. The subject of the next sentence is either a first-person subject or a subject related to it.

For example,

1) first-person subject + first-person subject

- (제가) 어제 야근했더니 (제가) 피곤하네요. 
   (I worked overtime yesterday and I'm tired.) 

→ '제' is in the previous and following sentences are the first-person subject. 

2) first-person subject + related subject

- (제가) 약을 먹었더니 (제 이) 좋아졌어요.

→ Here, '제' is the first-person subject who took the medicine. And '제 몸이 (my body)' is the third-person subject that has got better. '제 몸이' is related to '제.'

Grammar Tips for both usages

There are grammar points that are commonly applied to both uses.

※ '-았더니/었더니/했더니' + present/past (O), future (X)

• The sentences following '-았더니/었더니/했더니' can only be present/past tense sentences. But Future tense sentences cannot be used.

For example,

① Past: 운동했더니 땀이 났어요. (O) (I worked out and I started sweating.)

→ '났어요' is past tense. This is the correct sentence. 

② Present: 운동했더니 땀이 나요. (O) (I sweat after exercising.)

→ '나요' is the present tense. This is the correct sentence. 

③ Future: 운동했더니 땀이 날 거예요. (X) (I will sweat after exercising.)

→ '날 거예요. ' is thefuture tense. This is the incorrect sentence. 

Verb conjugation '-았더니/었더니/했더니' 

• -았더니/었더니/했더니 attachs after a verb stem.

① Vowel ㅏ, ㅗ: -았더니

    → 앉다 + 았더니 앉았더니

② Other Vowels: -었더니

   → 먹다 + 었더니 → 먹었더니

③ 하다: -해야 (하다 + 여야)

   → 공부하다 + 했더니 → 공부했더니

Practice with Real-life Examples

1. 점심을 안 (먹다) 배가 고파요.

→ 점심을 안 먹었더니 배가 고파요. (먹다 + 었더니)
   (I didn't eat lunch and now I'm hungry.)

2. 어제 늦게 (자다) 졸려요. 

→ 어제 늦게 잤더니 졸려요. (자다 + 았더니)
    (I slept late and now I'm sleepy.)

3. 열심히 (운동하다) 몸이 건강해 졌어요. 

→ 열심히 운동했더니 몸이 건강해졌어요. (운동하다 + 했더니)
    (I exercised diligently and my health improved.)

Short Dialogues for Better Understanding

나나: 너 감기 걸렸어?

미미: 어. 더운 줄 알고 옷을 얇게 입었더니 날씨가 춥더라고.  그래서 감기에 걸린 것 같아. 

나나: 그러게. 요즘 환절기라서 감기 조심해야겠더라.

→ Here, '입었더니' is the combination between the verb '입다' and '-었더니.'

→ This can be said like '옷을 얇게 입었더니 감기에 걸렸어. (입다 + 었더니)'


Nana: Do you have a cold?

Mimi: I thought it was hot, so I put on thin clothes, but it turned out to be cold. 

      So, I think I have a cold.

Nana: Yeah, it's in between seasons these days, so you should be careful not to catch a cold.

Challenge Yourself: '-았더니/었더니/했더니 ' Korean Grammar Quiz

Quiz 1: Try to fill in the blanks with the correct form of '-았더니/었더니/했더니.'

example) 먹다 (eat) → 먹었더니

1. 닫다 (close)

2. 오다 (come)

3. 신다 (wear)

4. 외우다 (memorize)

5. 산책하다 (go for a walk)

6. 일하다 (work)

Quiz 2) Complete the sentences using ‘-았더니/었더니/했더니.'

7. 미소: 영준 씨, 안 졸려요?

    영준: 네, 커피를 (마시다) 안 졸려요.

8. 미소: 미미 씨, 점심 먹으러 안 가요? 

    미미: 네, 아침을 늦게 (먹다) 배가 안 고프네요.

9. 미미: 나나 씨, 살이 많이 빠졌네요?

    나나: 네, 요새 계속 (운동하다) 살이 빠졌어요.


7. Miso: Youngjun, aren't you sleepy? - Yj: No, I'm not sleepy because I drank coffee.

8. Miso: Mimi, aren't you going to have lunch? - Mimi: No, I'm not hungry because I ate breakfast late.

9. Mimi: Nana, you've lost a lot of weight? - Nana: Yes, I lost weight because I've been working out.

★ Answer

1. 닫았더니 (닫다 + 았더니) 

2. 왔더니 (오다 + 았더니) 

3. 신었더니 (신다 + 었더니) 

4. 외웠더니 (외우다 + 었더니)

5. 산책했더니 (산책하다 + 했더니) 

6. 일했더니 (일하다 + 했더니)

7. 네, 커피를 마셨더니 안 졸려요. (마시다 + 었더니)

8. 네, 아침을 늦게 먹었더니 배가 안 고프네요. (먹다 + 었더니)

9. 네, 요새 계속 운동했더니 살이 빠졌어요. (운동하다 + 했더니)

❣️ Click the image to download the Quiz Pdf file.

Mastering 'V-았더니/었더니/했더니' for Fluent Korean

V-았더니/었더니/했더니 is a versatile and powerful grammatical structure in Korean, adept at connecting our past experiences to present realizations or consequences. 

Its proper use can add depth and nuance to your Korean language skills, whether you're navigating daily conversations or crafting intricate narratives. Keep practicing, and watch as your proficiency and understanding of Korean nuances flourish.


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