I am quite confused with the precise meaning of 어야 되다/하다 with the copula 이다. I know that 어야 되다/하다 means an obligation or that a certain condition has to be met.

But consider the following examples:

축구 정말 잘 하니까 선수여야 돼요.

How should I understand this example? Basically, it means "You play soccer so well that you must be a professional player." I see two possible meanings:

  1. You play so well that you must become a professional player.
  2. You play so well so that I guess you are a professional player (you cannot not be a professional player).

Similar example:

너는 너무나 아름다우니까 모델이어야 돼요.


  1. You are so pretty that you ought to become a model.
  2. You are so pretty that I am certain that you are a model.

Which interpretation is the correct one ?

(and, as a bonus question, how would I express the other meaning in Korean?)

  • 1
    Typo: 너무사 아름답니까 (X) 너무나 아름다우니까 (O)
    – PenPoint
    Aug 25, 2017 at 16:26
  • I will never say "선수여야 돼요" or "모델어어야(여야) 돼요". Not only does it sound weird, it sounds like Yoda talking. 1. 너는 너무 아릅다워서 모델해야 돼요. It sounds as weird as your example. 2. It is not even close to the example sentence.
    – user7
    Aug 25, 2017 at 17:38

1 Answer 1


In Korean, "-해야 되다/하다" can only mean an obligation, that is, "it is required that you do X".

So, "선수여야 돼요" can only mean "it is required that [someone] is a professional player." For example, I think the following is acceptable:

축구를 정말 잘 하는 사람이 필요하니까 선수여야 돼요.

= We need someone who's really good at soccer, so it must be a professional player (not just anyone).

To mean "from the evidences, I must conclude that [someone] is a professional player", you can use constructions like:

축구를 정말 잘 하는 걸 보니 선수인 것이 틀림없다/분명하다.

(or) 축구를 정말 잘 하는 걸 보니 분명히 선수다.

= Since he's so good at soccer (literally, "After seeing that he's so good at soccer"), he must be a professional player.

Similarly, the second example can be:

이렇게 아름다우시다니 (모델인/모델이신) 게 틀림없습니다.

Or slightly more conversational (and rather cheesy):

이렇게 아름다우시다니 모델이시죠?

  • There's no reason to add "너/당신" unless it's ambiguous.
  • "너무" is either "very" or (traditionally) "too much". I think it's possible to use "너무" here, but the word is overused, and "이렇게" sounds more natural, because you're describing something right in front of your eyes.
  • "-하다니" means something like "since (I can see / I just realized) X"

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