How would I say the following?

Using "for":

  1. A cup for drinking.
  2. A bed for sleeping.
  3. A car for driving.

Using "to":

  1. A cup to drink from.
  2. A bed to sleep in.
  3. A car to drive in.

Thanks in advance!


3 Answers 3


A cup for drinking.
A bed for sleeping.
A car for driving.

These can be translated with the -ㄴ/는/ㄹ 'adnominaliser' endings that turn a verb into an adjective that can be placed before a noun.

adding -ㄴ emphasizes that the verb action happened in the past:

마신 잔 - the cup (that someone used) for drinking
잔 침대 - the bed (that someone used) for sleeping
운전 한 차 - the car someone drove

You could also add the 았/었 past particles in here for emphasis.

는 means the action is present or 'general':

마시는 잔 - A cup being used for drinking.
자는 침대 - A bed being used for sleeping.
운전 하는 차 - A car being used for driving

ㄹ means that the action is future or 'potential':

마실 잔- A cup to use for drinking.
잘 침대 - A bed to use for sleeping.
운전 할 차 - A car to drive

As for these examples:

A cup to drink from.
A bed to sleep in.
A car to drive in.

I don't think there's a way to add a preposition as 'neatly' as this in Korean, but you don't have to. Just saying 마시는 잔, 자는 침대, or 운전 하는 차 already implies the obvious location of the action.

If you wanted to emphasise the location of an action, or state a non-obvious location, you could use a separate word for the location and preposition. For example:

밑에서 자는 짐대 - a bed to sleep under

  • This is exactly what I was looking for. I added that last section to see if there was a semantic difference between that group of sentences and the ones above. Thank you! May 25, 2017 at 14:58
  • 1
    @LanceClark yep, vb + -ㄴ/는/ㄹ is a very flexible construction and I think it covers those examples - but ryanbrainard's point about using (을) 위하다 when saying 'do X for the sake of' a person or thing is very relevant. May 25, 2017 at 15:31

Depending on the situation, for/to could be translated a few different ways:

  • N(을) 위해(서): 예) 나는 손님을 위해서 요리를 했어요. (I cooked for the guest.)
  • AV기 위해(서): 에) 살을 빼기 위해서 매일 운동을 해요. (I work out everyday in order to lose weight.)
  • V는 N: 에) 잠을 자는 침대 (A bed for sleeping)
  • -용 (with some Sino-Korean words; from 用 meaning "use"): 에) 개인용 (for personal use)

From your examples, the V는 N pattern is the closest to what you're looking for, but I wanted to show the others because for/to is not something that can be directly and consistently translated, but rather depends on the sentence and has quite different grammatical patterns for different uses. In addition to the link above, I would recommend reading ~는 것 Describing Nouns with Verbs. This pattern is quite a big topic and fundamental to a lot of Korean grammar.


Pretty hard to simplify these extremely broad ranging words "to" and "for" in a non-context-dependent way, but in most of these cases, adding (으)ㄹ to the verb root and placing it before the noun could work.. 마시(다) (to drink) + ㄹ 컵 (cup)= 마실 컵 (a cup to drink from)

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