I stumbled on this question:

집에 __________ 비가 내리기 시작했다.

(1) 도착하거나

(2) 도착하니까

(3) 도착하거든

(4) 도착하려고

The right answer is (2).

But I don't understand the reason. What is the meaning of '니까' in this sentence? It doesn't seem to mean 'because'.

  • 1
    I think it more likely means, " Just as I got home, it started to rain." or " It started to rain as soon as I got home" or " No sooner did I get home, it started to rain". Commented Nov 28, 2020 at 4:49

3 Answers 3


That's correct. Like it's other connective counterpart, 어서/아서, it both can provide reason for something and conjoin two clauses in sequence. In (으)니까's case, however, this sequential conjoining can be translated as "When (I) [first clause], I discovered/realized that [second clause]".

Thus, for your sentence

집에 도착하니까 비가 내리기 시작했다

a translation would be "When I arrived home, (I discovered that) it started to rain".

Note two things about (으)니까:

  • When it is used for sequences like this, the subject of the first clause is usually the speaker
  • Unlike its usage in providing reasons, you don't conjugate (으)니까 into the past tense (as seen in the sentence above)
  • Side question: Is it possible to use (으)니까 without a second clause, and would the meaning remain the same (taking the previous sentence as a second clause)? (ex. 비가 내리기 시작했다. 집에 도착하니까....) Commented Jun 29, 2016 at 12:03
  • Absolutely! In fact, fragmenting a construction in this sort of way is extremely common. Although, note that there is another verb ending "다니까(요), -라니까(요)" that takes on another meaning. So, keep that in mind.
    – blimpy
    Commented Jun 29, 2016 at 12:14

blimpy and Rathony's answers are useful, so I will answer why other options are incorrect.

  • -거나: "A하거나 B하다" implies that A and B are both possible options. However, selecting "집에 도착하다" or "비가 내리기 시작하다" is unnatural.

  • -거든: If you write "집에 도착하거든", then it implies "If you arrive home, then ..." However, there is no causality between arriving home and raining.

  • -려고: "집에 도착하려고" means "To arrive home, ...", but "비가 내리기 시작했다" implies that you didn't make the weather rainy.


'니까' is an emphatic form of '' which is a conjunctional connective suffix used to connect two clauses. It has two meanings as follows:

  1. It provides a reason, basis, prerequisite for the second clause as in:

봄이 오(까) 꽃이 핀다. Because spring has come, the flowers bloom.

  1. The first clause contains (usually) a timing of an action before stating another fact in the second clause as in.

서울역에 도착하(까) 일곱 시였다. When I arrived at Seoul Station, it was 7 o'clock.

"집에 도착하니(까) 비가 내리기 시작했다" can be translated to

When I arrived home, it started to rain.

which could also mean

It didn't rain until I arrived home.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.